That Strange “Fathers’ Rights” Lobby and the Florida Law Invading Women’s Right to Privacy

Originally published at International Association of Voluntary Adoption Agencies and NGOs

There has been general agreement from those across the ideological and political spectrum that Florida’s new law requiring women to publish the details of their sexual resumes if they want to place a baby through private adoption should be changed. But now, in an Aug. 22 column in The Washington Times, Dianna Thompson and Glen Sacks claim that the law makes sense because a father has a right to raise his child, an adopted child must have complete knowledge of the medical and genetic background of his father to get proper medical care and many adopted adults will want to seek out their biological fathers. Old and weak arguments, to be sure, when weighed against requiring a woman who may have had a one-time sexual relationship that resulted in pregnancy to publish details that she would hesitate to share with anyone other than a confidential counselor. But Thompson, as founder and executive director of the American Coalition for Fathers and Children (ACFC), has an ax to grind, even if her web site was last updated almost three years ago. A good part of the ACFC site turns out to be something called the “Second Wives Crusade.” Why would a “second wife” be concerned about any of this? Simple: if a woman has the choice of adoption over the objection of – and maybe in the light of a disappearing hit-and-run lover – the biological father, that man may have to pay child support for the child that resulted from his playboy spree. Glenn Sacks, who often teams with Thompson, has his agenda too, perhaps best illustrated by a column entitled “Shouldn’t Men Have a Choice, Too?” Sacks writes approvingly of the man who tried to pressure a woman into placing the child for adoption for having an abortion. Instead, the woman chose to parent the child. The Florida controversy is quite simple. One side says that women ought to be able to make free, informed choices about whether to place a child for adoption, be a single parent or have an abortion. That side does not want the fear of public disclosure to eliminate the adoption option. The other side is concerned about equal rights for men, as if men and women were similarly situated in a pregnancy. Hopefully, Florida’s legislature will fix their law and meanwhile women who want to plan adoptions can use licensed agencies and avoid the publication requirement.

William L. Pierce is President and Executive Director for the U.S.A. Committee for IAVAAN, and a Senior Fellow of the Discovery Institute.

William L. Pierce

William L. Pierce, Ph.D., is a Senior Fellow with Discovery Institute. Pierce is also the Executive Director of the U.S. Committee for the International Association of Voluntary Adoption Agencies & NGOs (IAVAAN), the Publisher and Executive Editor of Adoption/Medical News, and was the Founding President & CEO of The National Council For Adoption. Pierce writes from Washington, D.C.