New Jersey Ruling Allows Mothers to Keep Fathers Out of Delivery Rooms
Taken from syracuse.com:
"Mothers can block dads from delivery rooms, New Jersey judge rules
By John Mariani | firstname.lastname@example.org on March 13, 2014 at 9:58 AM, updated March 13, 2014 at 11:05 AM
An expectant mother can keep the child's father out of the delivery room during labor, a New Jersey judge has ruled in a first-of-its-kind case.
Superior Court Judge Sohail Mohammed made the ruling in the case of Plotnick v. DeLuccia, who were estranged, unmarried parents, according to the New Jersey Law Journal.
Mohammed determined that the mother's right to privacy and to control her own body while she is pregnant let her keep the father out of the delivery room.
"Any interest a father has before the child's birth is subordinate to the mother's interests," Mohammed wrote in a decision rendered in November in Passaic County and published Monday. "Even when there is no doubt that a father has shown deep and proper concern and interest in the growth and development of the fetus, the mother is the one who must carry it to term."
According to his research, Mohammed wrote, it was the first time a New Jersey or U.S. court had been asked to decided whether a putative father had the right to be notified that the mother was in labor and to be allowed in the delivery room over the mother's objections.
Steven Plotnick, the father, asked the court in November for an injunction that would make him be notified when Rebecca DeLuccia, the mother, went into labor and allow him to be present when the baby was born. Plotnick also sought to sign the baby's birth certificate, have his last name entered on the certificate and be given parenting time.
DeLuccia became pregnant in February 2013 and the couple had been engaged until September, when DeLuccia broke it off, the papers say.
In ruling against Plotnick, Mohammed cited Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court decision that overturned laws forbidding abortion, and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which dumped a state law that required women to tell their husbands when they were having an abortion.
To rule for Plotnick on the labor notification and delivery-room questions "would create practical concerns where the father's unwelcomed presence could cause additional stress on the mother and child," Mohammed wrote. "Moreover, such a finding would also lead to a slippery slope where the mother's interest could be subjugated to that of the father's."
He said he also had to consider a New Jersey Supreme Court ruling that disclosing a hospital admission violates a patient's right to privacy.
It would be inappropriate to rule on Plotnick's requests regarding the birth certificate because DeLuccia did not consent to them, Mohammed said. The time had not come to decide on the parenting-time request because the baby's best interests cannot be judged before the child is born, he said.
The ruling was rendered Nov. 19, the day the child, a girl, was born. The decision followed a hearing in which DeLuccia participated by telephone from the delivery room, NJ.com noted.
Plotnick's lawyer, Laura Nunnink, told NJ.com that her client never wanted to be in the delivery room. He wanted to see his daughter at the hospital as soon as he could after the baby was born.
"It was important that he have the right to bond just as the mother would," Nunnink said. "It was unfair that he not have that right from the day the child was born."
DeLuccia always planned to give Plotnick access to the baby "as a visitor, through normal hospital procedure," said Joanna Brick, her attorney.
Plotnick did not appeal because he was allowed to see the baby, Nunnink said.
Bruce Eden of Dads Against Discrimination told NJ.com that the ruling was "another example of New Jersey's anti-male discrimination in the family courts." Divorce and custody settlements give fathers financial obligations for child rearing but not the same rights as mothers and wives, he said,
"It takes two to tango," Eden said. "Why are they allowing only the mother?" "
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