Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Florida court overrides egg donor law

The courts are redefining the American family, and revisiting laws saying that sperm and egg donors have no parental rights. The Miami Herald reports:
A custody battle in Florida between two lesbians could fuel the growing national debate over the definition of motherhood.

It also might force state lawmakers to reconsider a 19-year-old law regarding the rights of sperm and egg donors.

The women, now in their 30s and known in court papers only by their initials, were both law enforcement officers in Florida. One partner donated an egg that was fertilized and implanted in the other. That woman gave birth in 2004, nine years into their relationship.

But the Brevard County couple separated two years later, and the birth mother eventually left Florida with the child without telling her former lover. The woman who donated the egg and calls herself the biological mother finally tracked them down in Australia with the help of a private detective.

Their fight over the now 8-year-old girl is before the state Supreme Court, which has not announced whether it will consider the case. A trial judge ruled for the birth mother and said the biological mother has no parental rights under state law, adding he hoped his decision would be overturned.

The 5th District Court of Appeal in Daytona Beach obliged, siding with the biological mother and saying both women have parental rights. ... Another appellate court ruled Florida's ban on gays being able to adopt unconstitutional in 2010.
The article uses the term "biological mother" to mean the egg donor. A better term would be the DNA mother, or genetic mother. There is no father involved in this case, as it appears that both women are happy to condemn the child to growing up without a father.
It's unknown why they later decided to separate, but "their separation does not dissolve the parental rights of either woman, nor does it dissolve the love and affection either has for the child," the appellate decision said.

The birth mother cites the state's law on sperm and egg donation, which says that donors "relinquish all maternal or paternal rights," to argue that the biological mother wasn't the child's parent. ...

Ultimately, the state Supreme Court may have to wrestle with Judge Monaco's closing sentences: "We still ought to come to grips with what is best for the child. Here, having two parents is better than one."
Correction -- having a mother and a father is better than having just one parent. There is no known advantage to having some court declare two mothers.

The separation should not have dissolved anyone's parental rights, but the egg donor had no parental rights under Florida law before the separation. She was not on the birth certificate and she did not adopt the child.

The Florida judges are happy to play God and redefine the family based on their own personal prejudices about "what is best for the child." No good can come from this process. The more these judges exercise their power, the more they undermine the American family.

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