March 28, 2014

Case limits fathers’ rights in delivery room during labor

When Michigan women are in labor with a child, they typically want the father in the delivery room to support them during the process. But, if they don’t for some reason, does the man have the right to be there? A recent court case has decided that fathers do not have the right, even if they are married to the mother.

A recent case is causing a stir among fathers’ rights groups that claim the law discriminates against putative fathers — those who are not married to the soon-to-be mother. Besides, the men were involved in the conception and pregnancy, so shouldn’t their rights extend to the labor and delivery? Because there is no precedent to make a solid decision, the court is looking to previous Supreme Court cases. It was determined that women have the right to privacy and full control of their bodies during pregnancy.

The case came about when a formerly engaged couple ended their relationship while the woman was pregnant. The man felt he had the right to know when the woman was in labor. He also wanted to be present in the delivery room, even though the couple was no longer together.

However, the man was not extended these rights because he is considered to be a putative father. But, what about fathers who are married to the mother? They still do not have the legal right to be in the delivery room due to precedent and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act that protect patients’ privacy.

This case shows that even when paternity is established, men are still not entitled to certain rights. Strangely enough, they can be awarded custody and be forced to pay child support, but they are not legally entitled to be present for the child’s birth.

Source: Baltimore Post-Examiner, “Plotnick v. DeLuccia sets limits to fathers’ rights” Kimberly Rice, Mar. 22, 2014