“Baby Makes Three
N.J. Court Allows Lesbian Co-Mother on Birth Certificate
Arthur S. Leonard
Last week, a New Jersey Judge handed down a ruling with potentially wide-spread impact for the state’s families, granting full parental rights to the lesbian partner of a woman who gave birth from artificial insemination.
Kimberly Robinson, 35, the birth mother and her partner, Jeanne LoCicero, 31, met in 2003, registered as domestic partners in New York City while they were residing in Brooklyn and were married last year in Canada.
In New Jersey, a lesbian or gay man applying for adoption must go through a lengthy process that, according to one attorney who argued on behalf of the lesbian mothers, takes between six months and two years “threatening the well being’ of a child, particularly in the event that the child’s legal parent dies or becomes incapacitated.
However rather then apply for a second parent adoption, LoCicero petitioned to be considered as a full legal parent.
The couple aimed to take advantage of New Jersey’s statute governing ‘artificial insemination’ under which the husband of a woman inseminated with donor sperm is considered the child’s legal father.
New Jersey Superior Court Judge Patricia Medina Talbert ordered that “Jeanne LoCicero is presumed to be the parent of Vivian Ryan LoCierco born April 30, 2005” and made her decision retroactive to April 30, so that LoCierco would be a legal parent of Vivian from the moment of birth and inscribed as such on the child’s birth certificate.”
“This court has before it strong public policy that establishes unequivocally this State’s focus upon the best interest of children,” Talbert concluded. “The Court is unable to discern any State’s interest that would preclude LoCierco from the protection of the statute.”
Information Courtesy of Gay News June 2 – 8, 2005
Probably MOST single mothers, both gay and straight, would have been better off if this couple had used the procedures already set out for adoption, as opposed to establishing new family policy.
For this particular ruling can and probably eventually will come back to haunt other single mothers who might want to use anonymous donors to create families.
First of all although many are not aware of it, a sea change has taken place in the clientele that uses anonymous donors. Although touted for years as a method for married couples to have children when the problem is a man’s low sperm count, better methods of IVF now enable even men with the lowest sperm count to be able to have their own children. Thus, fewer and fewer married couples have the need to use anonymous donors anymore. Instead singletons (women both gay and straight) now make up two-thirds of the clients using anonymous donors to create their families.
Many of these singletons use anonymous donors, who have no legal rights to either custody/visitation or legal/financial obligations to whatever child is created from their donation. They are paid a small fee and then disappear back into the anonymity from which they came benefiting all three parties involved. The male donor has no legal or financial obligation to any children created from his donation, the mother has no worries about losing her child should a sudden custody battle erupt and the child is secure with its loving, committed one-parent family that it’s not going to be abducted by a crazed and spiteful non-custodial parent, possibly never to see it’s mother again.
Of course in the 80/90s, more and more women began utilizing this method of creating families, as our own men became progressively more selfish, unstable and childlike. The western male’s constant fixation with remaining single for longer and longer periods was at odds with the biological time clock of women and, quite frankly, we faced extinction if women didn’t have the sense to act when we did. Nevertheless many people have resented women taking the step of creating families on our own through the use of artificial insemination and have been ceaselessly working on ways to make it more difficult, if not impossible, for single women to continue getting donor sperm.
From phony medical reports to slanted statistics on single motherhood, everything but the kitchen sink has been tossed into the mix here in an attempt to derail this project, but since nothing appeared to stop the trend of women obtaining their dream of motherhood through anonymous sperm donors, the forces that wish to stop this have now begun using a new tactic.
Under the guise of ‘best interest of the child’ many have managed to get laws passed in some countries even outlawing anonymous donors. Now in England, for instance, all donors must be registered and the children, once adults, allowed their contact information. Of course, this will eventually morph, as its framers intend, into laws making donors responsible for child support or allowing them visitation BEFORE the children are 18, thus making moot the whole point of women using anonymous donors. As it is, every country that has passed these sorts of contact laws has seen a drop of about 85% in donations almost overnight, and again, this is the intent of the law to STOP single women from having children using anonymous sperm donation. It has NOTHING to do with the best interest of the children involved here; but instead is a tool being used to stop single women from having children.
It’s that simple.
Thus I return to the recent New Jersey Superior Court ruling that allowed two lesbian mothers to BOTH be placed on the birth certificate using the ‘best interest of children’ as it’s logic. Unfortunately, this ruling has the potential to morph into a public policy that it IS ALWAYS in the best interest of children created from anonymous donors, to have two parents’ names on their birth certificates and then we are a hop, skip and a jump away from it being illegal for single women to use anonymous donor sperm any longer…
This is the danger I see.
Of course, I’m happy for the two women involved in the individual case even though they could have gotten the same result waiting six months or so and not have jeopardized the reproduction hopes of millions of women in western civilization and possibly western civilization itself if we don’t keep our population numbers up.
That could have happened.
That it didn’t speaks to the need for women to become aware that when they bring these sorts of policy changing cases into court, more is at stake then just their own family…