NJ Court Hears Case on Father's Right to be at Birth
50 years ago, dad's didn't want to be at the birth of their children. Now we have a guy who sues his ex-fiancee for access to the birth room. I'm guessing he hasn't been there before with someone who actually still loves him. Can't imagine what it would be like to be there when the mom-in-labor doesn't want him to be anywhere near her.
But that is just one example of the strange times we live in. What did the judge have to say? According to New Jersey Law Journal:
Ruling in a dispute between estranged, unmarried parents, Superior Court Judge Sohail Mohammed held that a woman's right to privacy and to control her body during pregnancy allows her to shut the father out.
"A finding in favor of plaintiff for both notification and forced entry into the delivery room would in fact be inconsistent with existing jurisprudence on the interests of women in the children they carry pre-birth," he wrote in Plotnick v. DeLuccia.
"It would create practical concerns where the father's unwelcomed presence could cause additional stress on the mother and child. Moreover, such a finding would also lead to a slippery slope where the mother's interest could be subjugated to that of the father's."
Mohammed said in his opinion, published March 10, that according to his research, "the issues of whether a putative father has a right to be notified when a woman enters labor, and whether a father has a right to be present at the child's birth over the mother's objection, have never been litigated in New Jersey or the United States."Interesting that the only law the judge could find was the controversial finding of a right to privacy in Roe. We would love to hear from other lawyers as to whether this stretching of a right that was already a stretching of a phantom right seems right to you. What other approach might the judge have taken to reach the right result here. Obviously, since it was the only case on point, very few ex's are clamoring for access to the birthing room. But it does make for an interesting case study. Maybe this could be a future bar exam question.