Kansas Stomps on Fundamental Rights

Posted on January 28, 2014

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It’s well established that when and how to have children is a private, individual decision protected by the Constitution.

This news story shows how some states continue to burden that right, at least for anyone who wants to conceive with the help of a sperm donor and without the thousands of dollars of out of pocket expense for a doctor to play intermediary, such as the lesbian couple in the story

This ruling stomps all over reproductive freedom. The State shouldn’t be going after this guy. They should be requiring child support of the baby’s actual second parent, the other mom. Why don’t they? Oh, right, they don’t recognize the relationship.

Kansas doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage OR same-sex second parent adoption. There has, however, been a recent ruling in Kansas for a parentage order for a same-sex second parent. (see footnote 27 in the above link.) This suggests there IS legal precedent in Kansas for going after the other mom for child support.

What is perhaps lacking is political will to do so when they can harass the hapless sperm donor instead. What the impact of this ruling amounts to is, if you’re a lesbian with a low income, your ability to have children may be burdened out of existence. With reasonable evidentiary rules, a legal affidavit at the time of the donation, and/or testimony from all involved parties, should be sufficient under sane evidentiary rules to establish that the sperm donor was a sperm donor. It shouldn’t require lining a doctor’s pockets to the tune of thousands of dollars a try, probably not covered by insurance. Is there risk involved in accepting a sperm donation this way? Yes. But it’s a private risk which adults should be free to take. Much like they take risks to reproduce the more conventional way.

I see a connection here to other rights around reproduction which the medical establishment often seems determined to stomp out of existence. Rights such as to make choices surrounding birth (location, who will be in attendance, what sorts of interventions are and are not appropriate, etc.) Ultimately, it comes down to compromising the privacy and bodily integrity of women in the name of “safety” and ameliorating liability. One may hope that this nonsense will be put to rest by the same court that legalized midwifery in Kansas in 1996. That was a fight that went up to the Kansas Supreme Court. Hopefully this guy is able to take his fight up the appeals chain. Maybe he’ll get help from GLBT rights groups?

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Posted in: Law, Parenting, rants