When you think of father’s rights the first thing that may come to mind are issues of child visitation or parenting time. The second thing that might surface are questions about child support, in terms of both setting appropriate levels and then making sure that those obligations are being consistently met.
But the scope of what can be covered by the umbrella of fathers’ rights has the potential of being much broader than that. As we wrote in a blog post last June, there might be circumstances in which the term could apply to a man’s reproductive rights.
The post focused on the case of an Elyria man who is under court order to not to father any more children in the next five years. That’s unless and until he gets caught up on $100,000 in overdue child support that he owes for four children he has obligations to. In issuing the order, the judge said it was simply a matter of common sense.
The man appealed the court decision and lost at the first appellate level. But his attorney had indicated that the case would be taken to the Ohio Supreme Court. The argument being made was that the order against further procreation amounted to an illegal infringement on the man’s privacy and reproductive rights.
Well, earlier this month, the high court gave its decision. It amounted to no decision at all because the court refused to hear the appeal without offering an explanation.
The Elyria man’s attorney says it’s disappointing that the justices refused to even provide a reason for its action. The Lorain County judge who imposed the condition in the first place, though, says he’s pleased with the outcome and that he might use such orders more in the future in cases where overdue child support is an issue.
If nothing else, this story reflects that the law regarding fathers’ rights has the potential to be expanded to fit situations that might never have been contemplated when the law was first enacted. Whether there is a case to be made in such instances is complicated and is best determined in consultation with an experienced attorney.
Source: The Medina Gazette, “Appeal declined for Elyria man barred from procreating,” Brad Dicken, Oct. 16, 2014