Does a Father Have Rights?
17 Jun, 2019
In the state of Massachusetts, parental rights can be a complex topic. With the government’s greater involvement in the lives of its citizens, it’s important we’re aware of how current law will impact the rights of parents.
The assumption often is that no matter the situation, both mother and father have equal rights of their children. Unfortunately, Massachusetts law says otherwise. According to the Law Offices of Renee Lazar, in cases of unwed parenthood, fathers “do not actually have any rights regarding their children at all until further court action is taken.”
This means that until a court order says so, an unwed dad doesn’t have any rights under Massachusetts law. For mom, however, “determination of motherhood is made the moment a child is born regardless of marital status,” the Law Offices of Renee Lazar says in her blog post. In order for the father to be granted equal rights, he must take immediate action once the child is born.
If the parents of the child are married and facing custody issues, Family Law Rights says, “it is possible under [Massachusetts] law for fathers to gain primary custody of children.”
“Massachusetts law provides that custody decisions need to support the child’s happiness and welfare, and the judge also needs to take into account any effects the child’s present or past living conditions may have or had on his or her mental and/or physical health.”
- Family Law Rights
Unfortunately, in some situations the father is robbed of rights whether he is married to the mother of the child or not. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that fathers have NO legal rights in situations of abortion, regardless of marital status (Planned Parenthood v. Danforth and Planned Parenthood v. Casey).
According to BBC article, “American courts have consistently decided that a woman’s right to an abortion can’t be vetoed by a husband, partner or ex-boyfriend, and also that a woman doesn’t have to notify the father that she intends to have an abortion.”
These radical laws infringe on the rights of fathers to protect their preborn child from extermination. Our prayer is that through education and support, mothers-to-be will allow their child’s father to have equal involvement in making such a crucial decision as having an abortion.
As we observe Father’s Day this month, we recognize that God’s design for parenting includes both father and mother, as seen throughout Scripture. While not every child has the opportunity to be raised by both parents – whether due to a lacking presence, a situation of abuse or a death in the family – if both mom and dad can be in the picture, it’s essential they are.
We believe it’s important for every father to encourage and support his significant other as they seek counsel in making decisions regarding their child, and we pray that each father is given the opportunity by the mother to be involved in his preborn child’s life.
For more information about our educational resources for parents, visit our patient website.