(WOMENSENEWS)–Women wishing to give their babies up for adoption in Florida are being forced to take out newspaper advertisements detailing their sexual histories under a new state law requiring that they make exhaustive efforts to locate the children’s fathers, whom they must attempt to notify as part of adoption proceedings.
Six women have challenged the law on the grounds that it is an unconstitutional invasion of their privacy, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported Wednesday.
“The adoption community is up in arms against this [law],” Boca Raton attorney Charlotte Danciu, who represents the six women, told the newspaper. “When women come into my office and find their whole lives have to be exposed in the newspaper, they are like, ‘Forget it.’ They can abort without consent, but they can’t give the child an opportunity to live without humiliating themselves.”
A Palm Beach County circuit judge declared the notification law unconstitutional in cases where women were raped. But he upheld the law as constitutional under all other circumstances. Danciu plans to appeal that part of the decision.
Under Florida adoption requirements revised last year, birth mothers must attempt to notify the birth father about adoption proceedings. If background searches don’t work, women must place legal notices about the adoption in a local newspaper where the baby was conceived.
In those notices, the mother must identify and describe herself, name or describe the possible father or fathers, and list the date and the city or county of conception.
“The intent of the bill was that we in Florida would never have to suffer through all these failed adoption cases, many of which seemed to have occurred in Palm Beach County,” said state Sen. Skip Campbell. “Most of the problems you have in adoption cases have been notice requirements.”