Unmarried men usually have a more difficult time making decisions for their child before and after they are born. This is because the woman carrying the child has certain rights to her body and her privacy. Sometimes this can make it difficult for unmarried fathers or soon-to-be fathers, to feel like they are a part of the child’s life and are able to make decisions for that child. However, all is not lost; there are a few options for fathers’ seeking rights of their unborn child.
The first step in the process is to understand what rights are inherent to the expecting mother and what rights you have as a father in this situation. When it comes to medical decisions for mom and baby, the father has little say. This is due to the fact that the child is unborn and the woman is given all decision-making power about healthcare, medical testing, and even adoption. It is best to try and communicate with the expecting mother instead of trying to fight with her on every point. This will likely and hopefully get you further to your goals, in that respect.
However, unmarried fathers do have rights if the mother is not taking good care of the child. For example, if the mother is abusing drugs or alcohol while pregnant, this could jeopardize the health of the baby. If proved that the mother was acting inappropriately, it could bode well for the father in the custody hearing and adoption process after the birth.
It is always great when fathers want to be an integral part of their child’s life. However, before birth, fathers may have more complications trying to make decisions for the child. If the child is in danger, this completely changes the outlook of the courts, in that respect. Remember that state statute, as interpreted by a judge, will determine the outcome of the child custody hearing after the birth.
Source: findlaw.com, “Fathers’ Rights Before Birth,” Accessed March 23, 2015