Donor Daddy Support
For those who haven’t heard, the state of Kansas has slipped to a new legal low: They are trying to get a sperm donor to pay child support. The short version is that William Marotta answered an online ad from a lesbian couple seeking help in getting pregnant. Rather than go the expensive medical route, the couple had Mr. Marotta drop of a cup of his sperm and then, by whatever homemade method they used, one of the pair was artificially inseminated. Successfully, too; Jennifer Schreiner got pregnant.
Sadly for Jennifer, things did not work out with her partner and they broke up. The child was born and Ms. Schreiner applied for support from the state to help raise her child. Apparently, however, Kansas state law states that whenever a woman gets pregnant by artificial insemination not administered by medical personnel, the donor is liable for $6000 plus child support. It is, according to Mr. Marotta’s attorney, an outdated law. Of course, this is coming from the state whose Board of Education tried to make “Intelligent Design” (Creationism) part of its state curriculum.
The thing is, this is not the first time artificial insemination by non-medical personnel has been done. The Huffington Post article linked above notes Amazon sells artificial insemination kits for about thirty dollars, as opposed to the Kansas state approved doctor-monitored method which can cost two or three grand, a cost not likely to be covered by any insurance. (Hello, insurance company, I’d like to make a claim: I’m not pregnant.) It’s easy to see why a couple would go the Amazon route or even try some other homegrown method.
On top of that, the three signed an agreement absolving Mr. Marotta of all legal parental rights and responsibilities. It was understood from the start he did not want to be a part of the child’s life, and Ms. Schreiner and her partner did not want him to be involved beyond the sperm donation. The state has a standard practice of determining paternity and pursuing support, however, whenever a mother applies for state aid. This makes sense, but when the father has been legally removed from the parental picture by agreement with the mother, that should be the end of it.
I can see the argument the other direction on this: So Mom wants help from the state and Dad’s not going to pay, so the taxpayers have to support the child instead? Yes, that’s right. Let me put it in a different light: Suppose the couple had been heterosexual and, in fact, married, but the male part of the couple was infertile. They go the inexpensive route and have a donor use an Amazon kit. Wife gets pregnant, problems arise in the marriage, they divorce. Who is liable for child support, the ex-husband or the sperm donor? According to Kansas, the sperm donor, whose involvement was minimal at best. I am willing to bet they’d go after the ex-husband in such a case, however.
This actually becomes an argument in favor of permitting homosexual marriage. If the couple were able to marry, the responsible for a child conceived during a marriage would more easily be placed on the non-pregnant member of the marriage. Ms. Shreiner’s partner could be made to pay child support. Kansas does not allow gay marriage, but they want to pursue somebody for support, so they go after the biological father. That’s just wrong, in my opinion. the Kansas Department for Children and Families is pursuing this to relieve their own burden and, frankly, because the couple involved are homosexual. Ms. Schreiner and her former partner are supporting Mr. Marotta’s case, stating they do feel he should support the child, that the agreement they signed with him three years ago should be binding on that point. In short, only Kansas feels he should be obligated to pay.
Originally, the case was set to be heard on Tuesday (January 8, I believe; the articles only say “Tuesday”) but that’s now been pushed back to April. Hopefully, Kansas will get its collective head out of its legally aging ass and see the modern world on this and drop the case. Hopefully.