For once, a sensible law!

The law can be an ass. But once in a while a law is passed that actually seems to make sense. In particular, I am referring to

And it seems to be working. A few days ago, a baby was left at a hospital in the Milwaukee area and found an estimated 4 minutes after being dropped off, in fine shape. Although it is a shame that such a thing happens in the first place, this law should prevent unwanted newborns from being discarded in dumpsters.

The news reports have been saying that no one is actively looking for the parents. In a similar case a few months ago, after a sufficient time elapsed, the court stripped the (still unknown) parents of any parental rights. That seems OK to me, too.

In contrast,

From The Miami Herald

What a difference in legislation! The Wis law seems motivated by concern for the child, but the Fla law was drafted by a heavy-handed moralist who is more concerned with punishment than welfare!

As I understand it, the purpose of the Florida law is to give reasonable notice to a father before his child is put up for adoption.

The Wisconsin law gives a safe harbor only for 72 hours after the baby’s birth, and is intended to encourage a new mother to give up her baby into a safe environment.

The Florida law is targetted more at planned adoptions, and babies that are older than 3 days.

While I agree its effect as applied to rape victims is terrible, the other side of the coin is worth considering: is it not fair for the father of the child to give consent before the baby is adopted? And if the mother refuses to name the father, to apply some sort of legislative incentive for her to do so?

This law may not be the best means of addressing that goal. I’d be very intereted, though, in hearing alternate proposals to protect a father’s interest.

  • Rick

I meant to contrast the two laws, not as different means to the same end, but as examples of what I think is legislation with well-thought-out consequences (Wisconsin) compared to a posturing moral absolute position (Florida). It is mostly a coincidence that they both deal in babies.

I realize the intent of the law, and the intent is admirable. But this seems to be a blatant example of Big Brotherism. “We know what’s best for you, and no matter how embarrasing it may be, you will get the Official State Treatment forced down your throat, you fornicating fools, so stop yer whining.”

The Wisconsin law says, to me, “Hey, kids, we realize circumstances aren’t ideal, but if you have any heart at all, we have a legal alternative to stuffing the baby in a trash bag with the rest of your garbage.”

I don’t have a good, original alternate solution off the top of my head, but here’s one, and it doesn’t seem too bad in comparison:

A link to a related, recent thread:

Try this, Bricker: set up a confidential registry where unmarried fathers can file to protect their parental rights. A father would provide the registry with his name, her name, and the approximate dates of their sexual encounters. Require adoption agencies/brokers to check with the registry before accepting a child for adoption, and if the mother’s name is present, require them to ascertain whether the claimant is the father or not.

There would be nothing to stop any man who had had sex with a woman from registering to protect his parental interests if he so desired, even if he had no idea if the woman had gotten pregnant, as long as he knew her name.

And if he didn’t know the name of the woman he’d had sex with, I’d say society’s interest in protecting his parental rights is way less than its interest in encouraging women to give up children for adoption in cases where they are reluctant or unable to bring up the children themselves.

Anything wrong with that?

Well said RTFirefly, sounds like a much more humane plan.
[bitchy comment]
I have an old bus ticket here, we can write the list on the back of it…
[/bitchy comment]

[anal guy]
Would it not be possible for someone to lie and say that he had had sex with X girl whom he wanted to make life difficult for?
[/anal guy]

As I have understood it, he can say what he likes, it’s a confidential file. Unless the girl turns up pregnant and needs to check her scorecard against the list it won’t be relevant.

For it to make trouble he would have to falsely register the liason, and then contact somone she knows and tell them she is in the list, which they couldn’t check anyhow. Sounds simpler to just put a note under the new boyfriends windshield wiper saying “Hi Bob, I shagged Marcie”.

Given that it would be a confidential file, pun, Iteki has it right. For him to cause her trouble, she’d have to get pregnant and put the baby up for adoption. And he’d get most of the trouble - he’d have to have a blood test and possibly a DNA test to verify his (lack of) paternity of the child.