Diatribe: Judge Rules That Fathers Have No Legal Right To Be Present At The Birth Of Their Children.
I was invited to be in the delivery room with my sister and her husband when my oldest niece was born. It was an unbelievable experience and the fact that they chose to share it with me made me feel loved in a way that I had never felt before. I can think of no moment more miraculous, intimate and emotional than the moment a new person is welcomed into the world.
Becoming a parent is a beautiful thing. While nature relies primarily on the woman to bring a baby to the world, she cannot do it alone. Yet, in many circumstances it seems that the rights of a father come secondary to those of a mother.
Last Monday, New Jersey Superior Court Judge Sohail Mohammed ruled that a father does not have a legal right to be in the hospital room at the time of his child’s birth if the mother does not want him there. Privacy rights, Mohammed wrote in his opinion, protect the interests of the mother over the interests of the father.
The case began when a couple, Rebecca Deluccia and Steven Plotnick got engaged after Deluccia became pregnant. They later called off the engagement but Plotnick then sued for the right to be in the area near the delivery room so that, when it was medically appropriate, he could see his child.
“The court finds that mother enjoys a fundamental right to privacy until her child’s birth. The father also enjoys a pre-birth interest in the child. However, that interest is not equal to the mother’s constitutionally recognized right or privilege.” – Superior Court Judge Sohail Mohammed
The ruling will not be appealed as both parents were able to work out some of their disagreements. Both agree that Plotnick is the father, Deluccia will allow him to visit and his name will be included on the baby’s birth certificate.
Plotnick, apparently, was never asking to be present in the delivery room with Deluccia but near enough to greet his child as a newborn. Surely, as a result of Judge Mohammed’s ruling, similar legal issues will surface in future cases.
What do you think? Should fathers have the right to be present when their children are born?
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