I’m diverging from the ongoing conversation that arose from the Bode Miller custody case (which we can always come back to) to talk about a brand-new (as of this AM) Washington case. And really, I’m happy to have it to talk about because sometimes I get the feeling that some of you think I am generally anti-male/anti-father. Here’s a case that (might) help convince you I’m not.
It’s called In Re BMH and is from the Washington Supreme Court. I’m only going to do a superficial job at the moment (both Hanukkah and Thanksgiving approach), but it’s a start.
Laurie and Michael Holt began a romantic relationship in 1993. In 1995 they had a son, CH. They never married and they separated in 1998. (Just so you’re not in suspense, I think it is quite clear that Michael Hold is a legal parent of CH and that’s not in question here.) Continue reading
Going for two days in a row with posts here, which is one way of getting back in stride. It does mean, however, that I haven’t had a chance to look at comments. My apologies. I’ll get to them, I promise.
Meantime, this morning my local paper (The Seattle Times) had an advice column Q and A that seemed pertinent. It’s from ”Ask Amy” and I found it on the columnists website.
There has been a lot of discussion here about unmarried fathers and their rights. (You can use the tag “unmarried parent” I think.) A lot of it has been sympathetic to men who are shut out of their genetic children’s lives. And indeed, that sympathy may be perfectly appropriate in a number of instances. It all depends, I think.
The question Amy is asked, however, arises from the “other side of the coin” Continue reading
My last post was about a new law in Mississippi that requires the collection of cord blood under specified circumstances. (Read the post for details.) I want to further develop some of the ideas there and actually tie it all back to a discussion of “human nature” that came up recently in a series of posts about putative father registries. (I’ve linked to the first in the series. You can read as many as you want and either read or skim the extensive comments, too.)
The proponents of the cord blood collection statute say that their primary concern is teen pregnancy. I think that reducing the rate of teen pregnancy is then tied to increasing prosecution of men who commit statutory rape–which is to say older men who have sex with women who are 16 or under. The way MS law is written, “older” there must mean men over 19.
Let’s assume for a moment that older men are deterred by the prospect that the cord blood DNA will serve as crucial evidence to support their prosecution. (I think this is open to question for some of the same reasons I’m about to discuss in a different context.) Continue reading
This is a continuation of a series of posts on putative father registries. Check back over the last three posts (and the extensive comments accompanying them) to get up to speed. The most recent post will at least help you understand the terrain of the discussion. In particular, it discusses what putative father registries are for. This is important to have in mind.
I’m working myself round to considering an objection to putative father registries–that objection being that they amount to sex registries. Though the term “sex registries” has been used some here, I’m not sure it has a general and agreed upon meaning–at the very least it doesn’t have one of which I am aware– which might mean we are actually talking about different things. Now for starters, I suppose I’d better say what I mean by “sex registries.” Continue reading
There’s an ongoing discussion here about putative father registries–you can see it in the last two post and the extensive comments. There’s one point that was raised (I’m sorry that right at the moment I cannot give proper credit to the person who raised it–my internet access is a little too clunky) that I wanted to pull out for a post as I think it warrants fuller discussion.
[I'm writing this after drafting this post. I now realize this is going to take more than one post. In this post I will set up the problem (subject of course to your objections that I'm not being fair, etc.) and in the next I'll get to the sex registry part.]
Let me start with a description of what we’re talking about. I’m actually going to begin by reminding you all what the problem is that lead to the putative father registries. This is partly because for all the discussion of the comments and for all the objections (many of them good ones) being raised, I don’t see much attention being paid to the actual underlying problem. Continue reading
I want to think a bit more about the putative (or responsible?) father registries that were the subject of yesterday’s post. You can go back for a quick look to get up to speed about what they are and there’s already a lot of discussion in the comments.
Perhaps what I really want to do is consider how registries might work rather than how they actually do work. I draw this distinction because the way they currently operate may be problematic. In particular, the idea of requiring registration and then making it hard to figure out where to register and failing to inform men that they need to register simply creates a trap. That’s indefensible in my book.
So let’s instead think about a registry system that is widely publicized and simple to access. Continue reading
I’m really playing catch-up here–no new news. Months ago now federal legislation was introduced to create what amounts to a national putative father’s registry.
I’ve written about the idea of putative father registries before and we’ve discussed it some. It all ties in with the discussion of the parental rights of unmarried men, which is partly what is at issue in the ICWA case.
I’ll start with a bit of background. Suppose an unmarried woman is going to give birth and wants to place the child for adoption. She can go ahead and make arrangements and sign papers. But what about the rights of the man who must have been involved in the creation of the child? The adoption cannot be completed unless/until either his rights are terminated or we know he has no rights to begin with.
The last point may seem surprising (unless you’ve been reading here regularly) Continue reading
There’s a case I’ve been following for a long time that I want to return to here. You can read earlier posts here but in truth, you will be missing probably the most important developments–lost in the time I had no online access.
The case is a hard one–an unmarried genetic father objected when the genetic mother placed the child for adoption. Under conventional South Carolina law (which is the law that applied) his protests would have been in vain as he didn’t comply with the requirements an unmarried man must meet before he can object. (And there is a long discussion to be had about that, of course.) But the man here was Native American and hence, could invoke the Indian Child Welfare Act. Continue reading
On the “better late than never” theory I thought I would take the time to offer some reflections about the ICWA case that was argued this week. For those who took the time to look, there were many reactions to it out there. News reports, transcripts and blogs are all available and I don’t have the facility to link to them just at the moment. I suppose, though, I can summarize reactions in two different ways.
First off, the justices didn’t seem to be heading in a uniform direction. It’s always a bit dangerous to place too much weight on the questions that get asked, but it’s still an interesting thing to look at. Continue reading
My apologies for neglecting all the comments on the last post. It’s the travel thing this time. I’ll do my best to catch up. But I also wanted to pick up and what may prove to be a very important argument (or not-it is always hard to tell in advance.) Today–right now–the Supreme Court hears argument in Adoptive Couple vs. Baby Girl. There’s an excellent pre-argument summary here and I’ve written about the case before, too. Indeed, I had picked up on this case when the previous opinion (from the South Carolina Supreme Court) was issued.
As the pre-argument discussion I linked to makes clear, there are a number of issues here and lots of directions that the Court could choose to take. This is why it is hard to say whether it will (in retrospect) turn out to be an important case. Continue reading