Florida Court Strikes Down Punitive Adoption Law

The Fourth District Court of Appeals struck down a Florida law that required birth mothers, including rape victims and teenage girls, who wanted to give their child up for adoption to take out newspaper ads publicizing their sexual histories, purportedly to identify the father. The court said the law “violates a fundamental right to privacy,” according to the Miami Herald. The state, which refused to defend the law, also failed to show how the rights of the father or the state could outweigh “the privacy rights of mother and child in not being identified in such a personal, intimate and intrusive manner,” the Herald reports.

“It subjected women to public humiliation and harassment for no benefit,” said Mariann Wang, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union’s Reproductive Freedom Project, according to Click10.com. Florida state Senator Walter Campbell, sponsor of the bill, acknowledged that it had problems but wants to try again. According to the Associated Press, he wants a bill passed that would establish a confidential registry for men who believed they fathered a child; if a woman named as a partner puts a baby up for adoption, the man would be notified.


Associated Press 4/23/03; Miami Herald 4/24/03; Click10.com 4/24/03

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