"'The idea that the birth mother can travel from any state to Utah and be in Utah for two or three days and then give birth to a child and then leave the state with the sole purpose of cutting off the rights of the biological father has to stop,’ Hutchins said.”
Hutchins had employees from his law firm call adoption agencies at random posing as a woman whose unmarried sister was pregnant and wanted to place the child for adoption although the child’s father was opposed. Here’s what the agencies told these women:
“’If he’s going to just be a total pain in the butt, then we can definitely just not have him involved at all.'
“’I’d say literally over 99 percent of the time the guys just get caught up in it and everything, and then they find out they’re gonna have to pay $30,000 in legal fees, they’re just like, “Whatever, never mind.'
“’You can tell the birth father anything after you give birth; might be easier to tell the birth father that you were in an accident, and the baby died.
“…Three agencies promised to pay airline tickets, travel expenses and put the woman in a furnished apartment until the baby was born.
“One offered what they called ‘final placement money. It’s usually about $3,000’ a woman with an agency said.
“Another said, ‘We will give you an envelope of cash when you place, and you can spend that however you want.’”
Hutchins brought his concerns to the Utah Adoption Council (UAC) where he had been president. UAC is made up of adoption agencies, attorneys, adoptive parents, and birth parents. He told Salt Lake TV station KSL “’Fraud [should be] no longer acceptable as a method of taking a child from one home, destroying a family, and placing (the child) in another home to create another family.’”**
Salt Lake City attorney David Hardy, who represents LDS Family Services, the adoption arm of the Mormon Church, responded : “‘Wes has taken more of the approach of some of the rights of fathers that are, in many ways, inconsistent with Utah code.”
As we're written here,*** the Utah code is designed to deny fathers their constitutional right to nurture their child. An unmarried father’s consent to adoption is not required unless the father files a paternity action in Utah before the mother executes her consent and within 20 days of learning that she resides in Utah, intends to give birth in the state, that the child was born in the state, or that the mother intends to execute her consent in the state. A cryptic text message from the mother-to-be that she is in Utah is sufficient to put a father on notice to file his action, never mind that he may be thousands of miles away, and has no way of knowing she plans to give up the baby, and no knowledge of the situation in Utah.
|Fathers and Children at play|
Hardy added "Wes has had a different vision of what’s best for children in the state of Utah." … Fathers aren’t best for children? This would be news to a lot of men. On Mother’s Day I spent the day at the Portland, Oregon Zoo with my husband, daughter, son-in-law, two grandchildren, and another daughter. I saw a zillion fathers of all kinds, dark, light, thin, heavy, young, old --well the old ones might be grandfathers. I saw the same thing at the Washington DC Zoo on Easter. Lots of dads, pushing strollers, carrying toddlers on their shoulders, wiping messy faces, leading youngsters up to the window to see the pandas.
Hutchins resigned in protest as president of UAC. He is founding a new organization to work in the best interests of all parties to adoptions.
Next we’ll write about Mormon practices on which the Draconian Utah law is based.