California fathers' rights bill stuck in committee

When actor Jason Patric agreed to allow his ex-girlfriend to be inseminated with his sperm, the two were still on good terms. However, after they had a falling out, Patric was no longer allowed to see his biological son. In an effort to ensure that no other fathers who had substantial involvement in their children’s lives were denied child custody or visitation and dismissed as sperm donors, Patric helped to inspire legislation that would grant these fathers rights. For better and worse, the proposed legislation is currently stuck in a California Assembly committee.

In essence, the bill would allow any man who donated sperm to biologically father a child to petition for various rights if they have been substantially involved in a child’s life. Protections like these currently exist in many states for step-parents and grandparents if they have been involved in a child’s life to a certain extent.

The proposed legislation passed the state Senate without any major opposition. However, vocal opponents have prompted the Assembly to hold the bill in committee for the time being. Planned Parenthood, the National Organization for Women and the Academy of California Adoption Lawyers are concerned that the bill could infringe upon the rights of same-sex couples and single mothers who intended to have a child without a sperm donor’s involvement with parental rights. They deem that the proposed legislation is too broad.

Perhaps if a revised version of the bill more specifically spells out how single mothers and same-sex couples can protect themselves and their intentions, it will be able to move out of committee and onto the Assembly floor more quickly.

Source: The Associated Press, "California Paternity-Rights Bill On Hold," Laura Olson, Aug. 13, 2013

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