Thanks to the comment and link left by Rebecca on yesterday’s post.
There is another glimmer of hope for fathers who have been shut out of being a father when the mother relocates to Utah for the purposes of surrender. Will the bill pass is the big question. With the spotlight on Utah – I think there might be a small window of hope. Yet at the same time we have to remember those laws favor adoption agencies in Utah, and you can bet they are scrambling and lobbying and doing whatever they can to make sure this bill never makes it to a vote. Much like this bill I talked about in Utah – you can’t have it both ways that would require the court to open an adoptees records upon the written request of the adoptee’s physician. That bill didn’t pass because Utah adoption laws aren’t written in the best interests of the child no matter what they say to the contrary, because if they were – it would have passed.
A state lawmaker has introduced a bill aimed at preventing an unmarried woman from coming to Utah to give birth and pursue adoption without informing the biological father of her plan, a problem highlighted in a Friday Utah Supreme Court ruling involving an unmarried Colorado father.
House Bill 308, sponsored by Rep. Christine Watkins, D-Price, would require pregnant women to give notice by mail or publication to out-of-state unmarried fathers if they plan to give birth and place infants for adoption in Utah.
Watkins’ proposed bill also simplifies the process an unwed father must follow to initially protect his rights, eliminating the requirement that he initiate a court action before he can file a notice of intent to claim paternity with the state’s putative father registry. That change would apply to Utah residents as well as unwed fathers who reside elsewhere.
The bill would require a notice to be sent to the unmarried father’s last known residence or published in a newspaper where he was last known to reside that informs him of an adoption plan and what he needs to do to protect his rights. It sets a deadline of 30 days for the father to act once he receives the notice or the mother gives consent or relinquishes the baby.
An unwed father who files a paternity notice with the state registry would then have an additional 30 days to begin a court paternity action and file other declarations about his interest in assuming custody and caring for the child. If the unmarried father does not respond, his consent to the adoption would be assumed, the bill says.
“I am very sympathetic to fathers loving their children,” said Watkins, who has two brothers and four sons. “A lot of fathers don’t want to give up on their children. I thought, ‘You know, let’s give these guys a chance.’”
There is more to the article linked above but I just wanted to note a small concern – I hope the bill actually does not provide an either/or provision to notification. Sending notification to the last known residence is completely different from publication in a newspaper in his location – what newspaper? the least read one? and exactly where would that notification be buried and could it be a John Doe / Jane Doe type notice? Those types of notifications are unethical.