“Barbara Wire, 23, black hair, brown eyes, medium height, in search of 60-something man, gray hair, hazel eyes who lodged in Motel Roachey in Chattahoochie, Wisc., Oct.5, 2001. May have fathered child.”
Ever placed an ad like that?
If you have tried to give up your child for adoption in Florida since October 2001, then you probably have.
A new law was passed requiring mothers who are contemplating giving up their baby for private adoption to publish their sexual history in a local newspaper in an attempt to alert the father in case he wants to claim the child.
Slight invasion of privacy?
Would you like to print all the men you’ve slept with, a description of the child, your name and physical characteristics, along with the date and city or county of conception in a newspaper once a week for four weeks?
That is one of the most demoralizing things I have ever heard of. Mothers have to put all their business out on the line, just to give the dad a chance? If he wanted the baby, he should not have left in the first place.
Even if you are underage or conceived through rape or incest, you still must publish this ad.
Supporters claim this law will decrease the number of babies given up for adoption and cases like the “Baby Emily” suit, in which a father sought custody of his child after she’d been legally adopted, and ended up causing nothing but turmoil.
This law will also have negative results.
The number of abortions in the state will probably increase. So let me get this straight. It’s possible to obtain an abortion without the father’s consent, but I can’t give up the baby for adoption without his consent?
In the end, mothers will be left with three options:
Have an abortion to avoid embarrassment
Have the adoption despite public humiliation,
Have an unwanted child that might lead to abandonment or poor upbringing.
There are alternatives to this degrading exercise.
Thirty other states have systems that allow men who might have fathered a child to put their name into a confidential registry that is checked before an adoption can go through.
Florida officials considered this option, but thought men would be embarrassed by it. So it’s O.K. to embarrass the women instead?
Would this law have passed as easily if there were more women serving the state?
Women should not have to print their sexual history in newspapers. It should be stopped immediately.
But the state won’t be reconvening until March, so until then – what will you do?
Dominique Drake, 18, is a freshman business student from Cleveland. She is The Famuan’s assistant opinions editor. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.