The government of Florida began enforcing a statute Oct. 1, that makes it mandatory for any woman, including victims of rape or incest, wishing to put her child up for adoption, to place an ad in newspapers in and around the areas she visited or lived around the time of conception, in order to notify the father. The statute is just now making headlines due to a lawsuit filed by four single mothers, including a 12-year-old rape victim, who object to having their personal history publicized. This is a grossly unjust punishment to inflict upon a mother trying to find a better home for her child, and it should be repealed immediately.
According to People Magazine the statute was proposed by state Senator Walter Campbell in an effort to protect the rights of the 0.1 percent of fathers who, as reported by the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse, sometimes come forward to dispute the adoption of their children when proceedings have begun without their consent.
The statute received overwhelming support in the legislature even though most of the legislators now admit they never even read the proposal. Florida voters should probably think twice before they go to the polls this year about a Legislature that puts laws into action without even reading them.
The state of Florida has the third highest teen pregnancy rate in the nation and the toughest adoption laws. Most of the laws make a conscious effort to protect the rights of children and to give parents the opportunity to provide the best home possible for their children. But this statute doesn’t fall into either of those categories. It punishes women by making an already difficult experience even more agonizing by asking women to tell everyone their past.
If the Legislature wants to make up for this mistake, perhaps it should go back to the drawing board and make some new laws that don’t hinge adoption on the consent of a biological father who obviously never cared anyway.