Philadelphia Family Pride is shocked and saddened to learn that the Pennsylvania Superior Court ruled to strip the parental rights of a non-biological, non-gestational lesbian mom after the married couple broke up during the pregnancy that they planned and paid for together.
The non-bio mom did everything right including being listed as the "co-intended parent" on their contract with the sperm bank, listed as the "partner" on the agreement with the fertility clinic they used, and retained a law firm to start the adoption process months before the baby was due. Affidavits that they signed as part of the adoption process state that they both intended to be parents to the child and that the non-bio mom was intending to adopt the baby after it was born. They also both chose the sperm donor, split the costs of the assisted reproduction and hiring of a doula, as well as visited their obstetrician together.
The Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas granted the non-bio mom's petition after they broke up and started divorce proceedings, holding that she is a legal parent of the child. The plaintiff, the parent who was pregnant, appealed to the Pennsylvania Superior Court who released their opinion on Friday, Feb. 24th, reversing the lower court's ruling, saying they could find no "enforceable contract in place that conferred parental rights on [the non-bio mom]."
PFP, as part of our educational mission, holds this case up to show the need for our legislature to pass a law like the Uniform Parentage Act (HB 115) conferring parental rights on intended parents using assisted reproduction. We also strongly encourage couples using an unknown sperm donor to sign an intended parents agreement (like one used for known sperm donors). Finally, same-sex couples in Pennsylvania who haven’t, should go through the second parent adoption process as soon as possible.
Finally, since we elect judges in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, we urge voters to do their due diligence when choosing who to vote for in this year's primary and general elections. Supporting judicial candidates who will protect LGBTQ rights is important at all levels of the judiciary in Pennsylvania. This case is a prime example of that.
It is still too early to know if the non-bio mom will appeal to the state supreme court and the chances of them hearing the case, but we will continue to follow this case.
Read the Superior Court decision and dissenting opinion.
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