Judge says pregnant women can bar fathers from delivery room

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NEW JERSEY —

Some dads-to-be could be kept out of the delivery room in New Jersey. In a decision released this week, a judge ruled pregnant women can block the biological father of their children from entering the room.

"The ruling stems from the case of a couple who got engaged after the woman became pregnant, but later broke up. That father sued for the right to be present at the birth of the child, though a judge disagreed."

That's according to Superior Court Judge Sohail Mohammed. The case started back in November when Steven Plotnick sued to get Rebecca DeLuccia to inform him when she went into labor. He wanted access to the baby when it was born.

The two went to court the same day DeLuccia went into labor and gave birth to a baby girl. Mohammed ruled that day all patients, including pregnant women, can decide who can be at their hospital bedside. The decision was released on Monday.

The Star-Ledger explains Mohammed based his opinion on two landmark abortion cases — Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Mohammed wrote, "Any interest a father has before the child’s birth is subordinate to the mother’s interests" since it's the woman carrying the baby to term.

NPR's Jennifer Ludden explains, "The judge ruled that requiring the father's presence would pose 'unwarranted strain' on the mother."

"It's just safer in general to have people the mother is most comfortable with to be in the room there with her."

Essentially, the decision asserts a father has no legal right to be in the delivery room. But not everyone agrees. Some groups say the ruling is discriminating against fathers, making it seem that they are nothing more than visitors.

“It’s a sad day for fathers, and for father’s and men’s rights ... The way we look at it is a child is born, a child had two parents and they should be two equal parents.”

According to Headlines and Global News, Plotnick will not appeal the decision. He was able to see the baby soon after she was born.