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NJ Judge Rules Mom Can Bar Dad From Delivery Room – Do You Agree? [POLL]

Jeoffrey Maitem Collection: Getty Images News
Jeoffrey Maitem Collection: Getty Images News

Does a father have any rights to be in the delivery room of the child he’s just fathered?

Apparently none.

That all goes to the mother of the child, according to a New Jersey judge – citing the privacy rights of the mother should she want the baby’s father not to be present for the delivery.

According to a story by Jessica Beym of the South Jersey Times on nj.com, , this all has to do with a decision handed down in February regarding a case between unmarried, estranged parents.

The key issue is whether the father’s presence could cause undue stress on the mother at the time of delivery.

According to the story:

Superior Court Judge Sohail Mohammed — who handed down the February decision regarding a case between estranged, unmarried parents — determined that a woman may keep the father out of the room, based on her right to privacy, the report states.

“A finding in favor of plaintiff for both notification and forced entry into the delivery room would in fact be inconsistent with existing jurisprudence on the interests of women in the children they carry pre-birth,” he wrote in the decision Plotnick v. DeLuccia.

“It would create practical concerns where the father’s unwelcomed presence could cause additional stress on the mother and child. 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.”

Background to the decision is provided in this article by Charles Toutant in the New Jersey Law Journal:

Steven Plotnick and Rebecca DeLuccia began a relationship in late 2012. Soon after DeLuccia learned she was pregnant in February 2013, Plotnick proposed marriage and DeLuccia accepted, but their engagement ended by September. They each retained counsel, who negotiated over Plotnick’s request to be involved in the pregnancy and in the child’s life afterward. In November, as the date of delivery neared, Plotnick filed for an order to show cause seeking the right to be notified when DeLuccia went into labor and to be present at delivery, among other relief.

Mohammed, who sits in Passaic County, held a hearing Nov. 19, 2013, in which DeLuccia participated telephonically from the hospital, where she had gone into labor. He denied the relief from the bench. DeLuccia delivered the child later the same day.

Mohammed cited the doctrine of Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973), that women have the right to control their bodies during pregnancy. He also cited Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833 (1992), which struck down a state law requiring married women to notify their husbands before having an abortion.

In addition, the New Jersey Supreme Court held in Kinsella v. NYT Television, 382 N.J. Super 102 (2005), that disclosure of a patient’s hospital admission to the would violate the New Jersey Hospital Patient Bill of Rights.

Brian Schwartz, chairman of the New Jersey State Bar Association’s Family Law Section, says the decision “clears up the issue for once and for all that the woman gets to make that decision” about who is present when she gives birth, and is a “good opinion for moms to know they have a safe haven in the hospital.”

Bottom line here is that Plotnick the father, while barred from the delivery room, was allowed to see the baby later on in the nursery.

I know there’s no clear cut answer here. It’s true that it’s a good decision in that mom’s have a safe haven – but to me it looks to be a crappy decision for dads who seek to be part of the birthing process.

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