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Author Topic: Fathers rights revisited
Koner
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There have been several discussions about "fathers rights" on this board so I thought some of you would find this article interesting.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,143352,00.html

I'm sure that there are hundreds, perhaps thousands of children out there who were put up for adoption by mothers without the father ever knowing that they were going to be a father. I hope that someday that can be corrected and that expectant mothers who are looking to put their children up for adoption are legally forced to provide proof of the fathers consent to the adoption.

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aupton15
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Seems like it would be difficult to enforce. How would you propose this occur? Would women who got pregnant through rape have to confront their assaultor? What if the woman says she doesn't know who the father is, just to avoid getting his consent? This would be difficult to enforce in cases of undocumented (no marriage or extended living together) sexual relationships. While I agree that a father should have some say in the fate of his child, it strikes me as a very difficult thing to enforce, practically speaking.
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Koner
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Cases of rape would be an obvious special situation in which the "father" would have no legal rights. The courts can easily handle that situation.

I don't buy the argument that a woman doesn't know who the father is. She knows who the POTENTIAL fathers are. Each of those men have the right to be informed that they MAY be the father. They have the right to then either prove their paternity or to give their consent to the adoption.

As for enforcement its NOT difficult at all. Either the expectant mother provides to the court proof of the fathers consent to the adoption with contact information so that they can confirm the consent or the adoption isn't granted and the mother is held responsible for the child. It is a simple policy.

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aupton15
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I figured cases of rape would be a special situation, but it still leaves some gray area that could cause problems. A woman could be raped, but not report it. Happens frequently. But it doesn't mesh well with the bureaucratic attitude of "if it isn't documented, it didn't happen."

Another problem I have with your system is that it puts all the burden on the woman. Between all the paperwork going in to adoption, and the actual carrying of the baby, I think they might have enough to deal with. Obviously the father can't initiate this, as the cases you're talking about are when the father doesn't even know about the child. Perhaps adoption agencies could ask for information about the father before taking the child in an effort to prevent the situations you're talking about. I just don't think adding responsibility to the mother is the way to solve this problem.

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Koner
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deleted. Somehow I submitted the same post twice. Sorry

[ January 05, 2005, 12:05 PM: Message edited by: Koner ]

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javelin
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I think I'd rather have the adoption option be as easy as possible, since the abortion option is always lurking.
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aupton15
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I agree with you javelin, but I think the issues Koner is bringing up are going to be important in the near future. No doubt there are some fathers who will be most unhappy about their situation, and will bring lawsuits regarding their rights as 50% genetic contributors. I'm just not sure about HOW the policy is going to work. This could actually become a big issue for people opposed to abortions as well, since a parallel argument could be made for paternal consent. In fact, that might be the issue that keeps a plan like Koner's from happening.
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LoverOfJoy
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quote:
I don't buy the argument that a woman doesn't know who the father is. She knows who the POTENTIAL fathers are. Each of those men have the right to be informed that they MAY be the father. They have the right to then either prove their paternity or to give their consent to the adoption.
What's to stop her from saying the father is some friend of hers that she hasn't really had sex with? If some other man later claimed to have had sex with her she could feign ignorance by saying she was drunk at the time.

My wife and I started the adoption process here in Utah (wish us luck). I believe I was told that men who think they may be a father are required to sign into some registry if they want to keep their parental rights.

This puts the burden on the man to take initiative to keep parental rights.

a quick search found this.
quote:
An unmarried father's consent, as noted above, is only required when:
1. for a child placed with adoptive parents more than six months after birth, the unmarried father has developed a substantial relationship with the child, taken some measure of responsibility for the child and his future, and demonstrated a full commitment of the responsibilities of parenthood.
2. for a child placed when under six months of age, the unmarried father manifested parenthood, prior to the mother's relinquishment or consent to adoption, including: initiating a paternity proceeding, filing notice of said proceeding with the registrar of vital statistics in a confidential registry established for this purpose, and if he had actual knowledge of pregnancy, paid for a fair and reasonable amount of expenses.

This is for Utah only. Not sure how it compares to most other states.
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Adam Masterman
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quote:
As for enforcement its NOT difficult at all. Either the expectant mother provides to the court proof of the fathers consent to the adoption with contact information so that they can confirm the consent or the adoption isn't granted and the mother is held responsible for the child. It is a simple policy.
Warning! Disasterous Consequences!! California has a law making it legal to abandon your baby at a police station or hospital within 72 hours of birth, and I've read about many child advocates who spread this fact far and wide. The reason is that every child left with police is one less child left to die in a dumpster. I realize the good impulse behind your idea, but frightened young mothers don't need to be backed any further into the corner, the consequences are already horrible.
Adam

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Koner
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Here is the thing. I'm a 35 year old single man. For the past 15 years I've been in the military and have been stationed all over the country. Not living in any one place for more than 3 years. Because of my career I have not married because I feel that I would be asking too much to ask a woman to live my chosen lifestyle. At this point I'm getting toward the end of my military career and am beginning to consider life after. I would like to be married and the thing that I want more than anything in the world is to be a father. To think that a woman has so many options available to her to prevent that from happening for me is to me most offensive.

I'm appalled by the idea that a woman could become pregnant with my child and then without informing me walk into a clinic and have the child aborted. I'm appalled by the idea that a woman could become pregnant with my child and then without informing me move out of town and have the child without my ever having knowledge of it and give the child up for adoption. The realization that there could, if the circumstances were there, be a child of mine out there somewhere in the world being raised by someone who I don't know, is to me discusting.

It is NOT placing undue responsibility on the expectant mother to provide information about the father of the child in order to give the child up for adoption. As long as she has custody of the child it is her responsibility. Adoption agencies, Child protective services, Friend of the Court, Social Services or whoever is handling the legal aspects of an adoption, hell maybe even the potential adoptive parents could possibly take on some of those responsibilites. But the point is that EVERY effort should be made to inform a man that HIS child is being put up for adoption and that he has the right to contest it and accept custody of the child or to consent to the adoption. Placing a legal notice on page D-12 of a newspaper he may or may not read should not be enough to constitute informing a man of his his right to contest an adoption.

As far as the case of a child abandoned at a police station or hospital. Like the case of rape, that is a special situation where the courts can act in the best interest of the child and grant an adoption.

quote:
1. for a child placed with adoptive parents more than six months after birth, the unmarried father has developed a substantial relationship with the child, taken some measure of responsibility for the child and his future, and demonstrated a full commitment of the responsibilities of parenthood.

So a woman could become pregnant with my child today, break up with me next week. Then find out she is pregnant with my child. NEVER inform me of that fact. 8 months later deliver a child, MY child and give it away to adoption without my EVER having knowledge of the fact that I'm a father. That is discusting. Anyone who would adopt a child who may in fact have a very loving caring biological father out there who would be a father if only he was given the opportunity is selfish and acting not in the best interest of the child but out of their own selfishness.

All consentual adoptions, with special exemptions for certain circumstance, should require the consent of BOTH biological parents before the adoption can be finalized.

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Dave at Work
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quote:
So a woman could become pregnant with my child today, break up with me next week. Then find out she is pregnant with my child. NEVER inform me of that fact. 8 months later deliver a child, MY child and give it away to adoption without my EVER having knowledge of the fact that I'm a father. That is discusting. Anyone who would adopt a child who may in fact have a very loving caring biological father out there who would be a father if only he was given the opportunity is selfish and acting not in the best interest of the child but out of their own selfishness.
What's more, while she can do all of this without the consent of the father, she can also hide the pregnancy from the father and later on, assuming she retained custody, go to the courts to demand child support from the father for a child he had no idea even existed and had no opportunity to do any financial planning to provide for. From what I understand this child support can be backdated and does not have to start from the date of notification. I'm not saying that the father should be exempt from child support, but that he should be informed within a reasonable timeframe that he is a father so that he can make any necessary changes in his lifestyle or employment situation so that he can reasonably expect to be able to handle his responsibilities and be a part of the decision making process even if he is no longer in the mothers day to day life.
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Kent
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As a man who has fathered four children, I think very little of a father's rights outside of marriage because I feel the child's rights should come first. I think marriage is the only real protection a man has at this point for retaining his right to raise a child. The power is retained by single women to do whatever they choose with their fetus. I don't disagree with the law on this point. If the man is not involved enough in the life of the woman he impregnates to know he has a child, why should he be given special consideration to be a single parent when there are two parent homes that will adopt the child? Just because it is a man's sperm doesn't mean he would be the best single father for the child.

HOWEVER, I think that a woman who chooses to raise the child herself should still be able to get financial support from the "sperm donor". Men have a responsibility to only impregnate women with children they can support. The world doesn't need more "unwanted" children, either plan it right or don't do it. If a man wants "protection" from the woman doing whatever she wants with the fetus, marriage remains the best protection. I believe it should be a man's only protection to "parent".

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javelin
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There needs to be rights that go with the responsibility.
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Koner
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quote:
As a man who has fathered four children, I think very little of a father's rights outside of marriage because I feel the child's rights should come first. I think marriage is the only real protection a man has at this point for retaining his right to raise a child.
This is VERY shortsighted. The man doesn't even have to KNOW that he is a father. A single woman isn't required to even inform the man that he is an expecting father. She can simply decide that she doesn't like the guy anymore and leave and thereby deny him his parental rights and responsibilties.

quote:
The power is retained by single women to do whatever they choose with their fetus. Just because it is a man's sperm doesn't mean he would be the best single father for the child.

I'll go even further and say that the MARRIED women retains the very same power. Your wife could get pregnant with a child, either yours or some guy she could be seeing on the side, and have an abortion without your ever knowing it. How does that make a father of four feel? To know that your wife retains the power to have YOUR child ripped from her and thrown in the waste bin and you don't even have to be informed. I find that discusting as well.

quote:
I don't disagree with the law on this point. If the man is not involved enough in the life of the woman he impregnates to know he has a child, why should he be given special consideration to be a single parent when there are two parent homes that will adopt the child?
He might be very much in love with the woman and may in fact want to marry the woman. He might want to be very involved with her life and the life of their child. She can deny him that just because she decides she doesn't like him and doesn't want him in her life.

As a father of four children you should in fact be concerned with a fathers rights. Both those of a married man and those of a single man.

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Zyne
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Don't sow seeds in a field if you don't know what's going to happen to the crop.

Men ought to be on notice that when they do sex, they might be becoming fathers. Sex ed 101.

If you don't like it, keep your "donation" to yourself.

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Dagonee
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quote:
The power is retained by single women to do whatever they choose with their fetus. I don't disagree with the law on this point. If the man is not involved enough in the life of the woman he impregnates to know he has a child, why should he be given special consideration to be a single parent when there are two parent homes that will adopt the child? Just because it is a man's sperm doesn't mean he would be the best single father for the child.
Why should a mother be given special consideration to be a single mother when there are two patent homes that will adopt the child? Just because a woman gives birth doesn't mean she will be the best single mother for the child.

Best interest of the child is a fine standard, but a case can be made for almost any person or couple that someone else will provide better parenting to the child. Either parental rights mean something or not. If not, why should the mother's matter more than the father's?

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Richard Dey
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While natural selection can have no laws, unnatural selection can -- and here are two that seem to me pertinent to this smouldering discussion (since I disagree even with Zyne on this one!):

(1) Paternal tracking is a sine qua non of civilization.

NB: Civilization does not, and mootly cannot, exist without it. It doesn't say marriage; it is just referring to knowledge. I'm not saying that the War of the Spanish Succession was civilized, but I am agreeing with UnS on this point. It doesn't matter who the mother is if a child needs something only its paternal ancestors can provide.

(2) If women are the objects of sex, men will become its subjects.

If we continue down the present deviant line of heterosexual amazons and sisified pseudo-straight cuckholds, we will eventually be obliged to track all reproduction in a data bank. Is that preferable to expecting mothers to do the right thing by their children?

How can anybody out there defending god-defined marriage be opposed to the simple step of requiring every mother to identify the father's of her children? What sicko power does any mother pretend to maintain by withholding such information or mischarging it?

I have a case very close to me of a son whose mother refused on her deathbed to identify the father. That is child abuse.

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aupton15
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Individual cases can be compelling, but I don't think it is compelling enough to add more paperwork and confusion to the system. By and large, men and women who are having sex together are aware when a pregnancy occurs. While Koner is technically correct that a woman CAN hide and terminate a pregnancy, I would bet that this is not happening often in committed relationships. If you are concerned that it would happen to you, then the question you should probably be asking is about the state of your relationship, not how the government can make laws to fix it.

Edited for spelling.

[ January 06, 2005, 09:53 AM: Message edited by: aupton15 ]

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LoverOfJoy
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How many women have sex with military men and don't currently know how to contact that man? Heck, how many women have sex with men (military men or otherwise) without even knowing their last name?

Some women simply don't know how to contact the man. If a man hasn't given the woman enough information for her to keep in touch with him, what should women be required to do to contact them?

If I were to have sex with a woman and then move out of town and never speak to her again, should she be required to hunt me down if she finds out she got pregnant? I'd definitely appreciate any efforts she makes but in instances like that (and I'm sure there are plenty of similar ones) I'm not sure I'd be entitled to that effort.

On the other hand, if I had sex with a girlfriend and she got pregnant and started avoiding me I'd be mad if she didn't return my calls or let me know that she was pregnant and putting the baby up for adoption. In that latter case, if I suspected that she was pregnant I could place my name on that registry and if she tried to adopt, I'd be notified.

Of course, this assumes that she doesn't leave the state first. I'd be all for either a nationwide registry or requiring agencies to check all states' registries (if they have one).

If men make efforts to stay involved and find out if their sex resulted in pregnancy, I'm all for fathers' rights. If men engage in one-night stands I have much less sympathy for them.

I also worry about men being given yet another tool to threaten a woman. Perhaps some safeguards are needed to prevent abusive men from getting access to "their" children through father's rights. We all agree that rapists can lose certain rights. I'm afraid that perpetrators of domestic violence could abuse father's rights laws if there are any holes in the law not patched.

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Koner
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quote:
Don't sow seeds in a field if you don't know what's going to happen to the crop.

Men ought to be on notice that when they do sex, they might be becoming fathers. Sex ed 101.

If you don't like it, keep your "donation" to yourself

This is the type of response that I have come to expect from you Zyne. It adds nothing constructive to the conversation and only serves to annoy people at its absurdity. Men and women alike, whether they have taken Sex ed 101 or not, are well aware that sex sometimes results in pregnancy. Based on your posting style I'm guessing that somewhere in your past a man has done you wrong. That is too bad. But your apparent hatred for men is misplaced because the mistreatment of the opposite sex is equal on both sides. In my 15 years in the Navy I've known just a handfull of men who have cheated on their wives or girlfriends while deployed. I can't say the same for the wives and girlfriends back home though. In fact we in the Navy have several terms for the wives of men deployed who are looking for a man to spend time with depending on where they are home ported. In Charleston SC, Kings Bay, Georgia, Groton CT, and Bangor/Bremerton WA we called them Boomer Widows. In San Diego and Pearl Harbor we called them WestPac Widows. I can give you more examples of men, military men, who have gone on deployments only to get "dear John" letters (I've gotten a couple of them myself in fact) than you might be able to imagine. I can give you many examples of faithfully married men who have gone on 6 month deployments who have come home to empty houses and divorce papers, the wife having sold every personal item he owned (lesson here is to NEVER give your wife a general power of attorney). I can give you multiple examples of faithfully married men who have gone on 6 month deployments who came home to wives that are 4 months pregnant.

neither men nor women are innocent of cheating, mistreatment or breaking the hearts of the ones who love them. I suggest you work out your issues with men in a more constructive manner.

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LoverOfJoy
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The amusing thing is that the argument Zyne makes could also be made regarding women and abortions.

Don't want to lose father's rights? Don't go planting.

Don't want a baby? Don't invite the farmer into your field.

Women ought to be on notice that when they do sex, they might be becoming mothers. Sex ed 101.

If you don't like it, don't accept "donations".

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aupton15
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Perhaps more amusing is that both of these arguments are probably good ones. If more people took personal responsibility for their sex lives we wouldn't have to have politicians deciding these things for us.
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LadyKat
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I agree wholeheartedly.
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JLMyers
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quote:
I'm appalled by the idea that a woman could become pregnant with my child and then without informing me walk into a clinic and have the child aborted.
Blame God, it's her body. However, if she decides to have the baby the father should have rights. And if she decides to give it up for adoption the father should be the first to have the opportunity to raise his child. As the father of two I would be disgusted if my wife had an abortion without notifying me. Of course she never would, and we have made it impossible for her to have more children. And she doesn't allow me to go farming without her. [Wink]

KE

[ January 07, 2005, 04:05 PM: Message edited by: JLMyers ]

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Zyne
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I'm not sure what the giving of a general power of attorney to a wife has to do with getting a woman pregnant in a situtation where you're likely to be unawares if she carried the baby to term, gave birth to it, and gave it up for adoption. Sounds like a general rant against women to me.

LoJ, that's the argument they make. We know we could get preggers anytime we do it, so we ought to be prepared to bear and raise a child any time we do it. They'd do away with contraception altogether.

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Gaoics79
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Koner, perhaps your circumstances are not quite the same as most, but I do find it a bit strange how caught up you are with this idea. It seems to me, if you get into any kind of even remotely committed relationship, it is highly improbable that any woman is going to be having your babies without your knowledge. That is, unless you're talking about having one-night stands or something, which seems like an odd way to go about creating a new life.

I don't always agree with Zyne, but this time she does have a point (double standard or not): if you are having unprotected sex (generally the only kind that leads to babies) with women under less than committed circumstances then perhaps you should be looking to your own behavior as in need of reform, rather than the adoption system. Surely even in the military people are able to have sex with people they know and trust, who aren't going to jump state if they get pregnant.

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