' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: Arizona law forces parenthood on the unwilling

Friday, April 27, 2018

Arizona law forces parenthood on the unwilling

Three-day-old embryo--8 cells in toto, 
barely visible to the naked eye. At
implantation (between 5-8 days), an 
embryo is approximately one-
hundredth of an inch long.
A bill signed by Arizona Governor Doug Ducey on April 3 requires that frozen embryos go to the party who wants "to develop them" in the event of a dispute. In other words, the non-consenting partner is forced to become a parent, sort of. The law  provides that the unwilling parent would have no parental responsibilities and would not have to pay child support.

The bill was supported the Center for Arizona Policy, part of the anti-abortion Family Research Council. To tell the truth, the anti-abortion people drive me nuts. They love babies (or embryos) until they're born. Then it's "tough luck, parents" if they need some help raising the kids. Arizona won't even pay teachers and support staff a living wage--they rank 47 out of 59 in teachers' pay--and they are staged a one-day strike today.

The forced-parenthood statute came as a result of a court decision denying Ruby Torres the embryos created with her fiance, later her husband, in 2014, before she underwent cancer treatment. When her husband filed for divorce two years later, Torres wanted to use the embryos, which could be her last chance at having children. A family court judge ruled for the husband, finding that under under the contract they couple signed at the time the embryos were created, they could not be released unless both parties agreed. Torres is appealing the decision, and thus would force her ex-husband to have biological children he did not want to have.

There is no federal law on the disposition of frozen embryos. For the most part, custody of embryos has been decided by state courts upholding the parties' contract that both must agree to have the embryos released and developed. In a few cases, courts have ruled for woman who otherwise could not have a child, holding that the woman's interest in having a child outweighed the man's interest in not being a father. The Arizona law and these court decisions fly in the face of  U.S. Supreme Court decisions recognizing the right of people--women or men--not to have children. Thus the government cannot prohibit couples from using birth control and, subject to a few restrictions, women may choose to have an abortion.

As the title says: It's a business
It is not only women who seek to create a child out of an embryo against the co-donors wishes. Nick Loeb is fighting to obtain two frozen female embryos "mothered" by actress Sofia Vergara. While he presumably could find an egg donor and create more embryos, he apparently wants a daughter who will inherit Vergara's stunning beauty. In the latest skirmish, he sued her in Louisiana for the embryos. Louisiana has the most favorable laws for the rights of the unborn, designating biological material as "juridical persons" (ie, legal) that cannot be destroyed. The court dismissed the lawsuit because neither party, nor the embryos which were created and are stored in California, has any connection to Louisiana.

Granting rights to embryos is not the only insanity coming out of the Pelican state. A bill pending in the legislature would allow adoptees to have their original birth certificates only if they and their parent are registered with the state adoption registry. And there's more: applicants for registration must receive psychological counseling, which assumes that an otherwise sane person who happened to be adopted needs psychological help or is otherwise impaired.  Please! adoptees might want counseling, but that should be their choice, not mandated. Of course, if the adoptee and the first parent are both registered, the adoptee does need the OBC to find the first parent. Fortunately, legislators listened to the opposition and the bill was deferred.
The award-winning first season

What's missing in all this litigation is the welfare of the children. In taking the unwilling parent out of the equation, Arizona creates half orphans. It creates "fathers" who do not wish to "father" a child. It ignores the purpose of parental obligations and payment of support which is to benefit the child. And of course while the law negates responsibility, nothing stops the resulting child from seeking out the sperm donor--nor should it. It also doesn't address the rights of the bio-parent if he changes his mind and decides he wants a relationship with his kid. The NJ bill erases the name not only of the surrogate, but also the egg and sperm donors--that is, the biological parents--if they are not the couple who pay someone else to have "their" baby. 

In the pre Roe v. Wade days, women were forced to become mothers in part as a way of punishing them for sexual transgressions. The influence of the Catholic Church which was now against abortion (it wasn't in the early days of the Church) was consuming and intense. Many women were coerced, either by their own parents, poverty and punishing social mores, to give up their children for adoption. Today, the Family Research Council and their ilk are embracing single parenthood, at least as long as the children are conceived in a test tube, not through what they consider "sin".--jane 

In Custody Disputes Over Frozen Embryos, A Controversial New Law Says They Should Go to Whoever Wants to Make a Baby
Arizona Teachers Plan to Strike on Thursday
Anti-abortion Rep. Tim Murphy resigns after report he asked lover to end pregnancy
A Judge Just Ruled that this Woman's Frozen Embryos must be 'Thawed and Discarded'
Sofia Vergara's Frozen Embryo Lawsuit filed by ex Nick Loeb is Dismissed


Embryo 'adoption' just creeps us out

Gay Moms Want Sperm Limits in The Kids Are All Right

"It's a market unlike any other…A valuable, thought-provoking look at the baby-making business." -- BusinessWeek

The Handmaid's Tale: Season 1 
The award-winning first season from Hulu with Elisabeth Moss. 

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