In a 2-1 decision, the Oregon Court of Appeals reversed the lower court making Schnitzer, 70, the sole legal parent of the boy, Samuel. The majority opinion stated that Sause had not demonstrated a full commitment to parenting as required by Oregon's assisted-reproduction law to have parenting rights.
Sause plans to appeal to the Oregon Supreme Court which hears only a small fraction of the cases brought to it. If the Supreme Court refuses to hear the case, Sause will be barred from contact with Samuel until, as an adult, he is willing to see her. If the Supreme Court takes up the case, it may be another several years before a final decision is reached.
Schnitzer has two adult daughters from a former marriage but he wanted a son. At the time she donated her eggs to be implanted into a surrogate--bringing another woman into the mix--Sause understood she would have visiting right to the boy. Schnitzer denied this, and prevented her from seeing Samuel until she won that right in 2017 when Samuel was two.
|Cory Sause with Samuel|
What the two justices who decided against Sause--Roger DeHoog and Josephine Mooney--ignored in their opinions is that Samuel is a human being, with feelings and needs, not a piece of property. They criticized the lower court judge for deciding that Sause is the boy's legal mother "based largely on Sause's genetic connection." Judge Jacqueline Kamins dissented, finding that Sause met the requirements to be a legal parent to Sam.
Samuel will not be able to grasp that he can no longer see Mommy--as he calls Sause--because she didn't quite do the right thing as the right time. When Samuel learns that his mother fought to stay in his life--but his father prevented her from doing so--what will he think of his father? The boy might well become a legal orphan before he reaches his teen years. Who will care for him then? Schnitzer has said that his two daughters--now in their 20's--would care for him as well as a younger brother, also born to a surrogate with eggs from a different donor. They might, of course, but raising children is a huge responsibility for young women with their own goals. The boys could end up being shuttled from boarding school to summer camp and back again.
This decision was critical not only to Schnitzer, but to the Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) Industry. Robin Pope, a Portland fertility and adoption attorney (her tagline "Forming Families through Adoption" has been changed to "Family Formation Lawyer") wrote a friend-of-the-court brief supporting Schnitzer on behalf of the Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorneys, formerly the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys. The organization repurposed itself as the supply of adoptable infants decreased and ART took off. AAAA needed a win to assure people considering spending thousands of dollars on legal services that contracts with egg donors are inviolable, and that the purchaser of the eggs would be the sole parent of the resulting off-spring. An egg donor was just bit of genetic material, so insignificant that even using the word "mother" in reference to her as in "not a mother" was incorrect.
How awful. Can't anyone try and see things from the child's view? I saw a famous couple who used ART say their children don't have a mother. I disagree. Everyone has a mother. She may not have raised us, and now she may not have even bore us, but she still contributed half of our DNA, which makes her our mother. We also have grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins on our mother's side. We are still descended from her.ReplyDelete
This hurts me to read. Selfish adults who play with lives.
I have to wonder... Men like Schnitzer buy and sell others without a thought. However, they forget that even with their "genetic material" the children that they create to buy or sell or whatever, they have the genetic material of other human beings - the mother - the biological matter of a completely different genetic pool (we hope). Do they not understand science enough to understand that their perfectly chosen children will never be what they want? They will not be a little them - not ever. How very sad for these children - born of sterile need and lacking the comfort of loving parents. This is worse than adoption... it is what writers have been trying to say for years - this building the "perfect" human. Sigh... how horrid.ReplyDelete
Why would anybody give their DNA away? They are forcing their child to live without them. Men and women need to stop, just stop setting their children up for failure.ReplyDelete