A PREGNANT woman can ban a baby’s father from the delivery room during the birth, a judge has ruled.
In a landmark ruling, New Jersey judge Sohail Mohammed handed down his decision just in the nick of time – ruling that “baby daddy” can be banned while the woman went into labour in hospital, NJ.com reports.
The new mum gave birth to their baby girl later that day, on November 19. The ruling has only now been made public.
New parents Rebecca DeLuccia and Steven Plotnick got engaged after Ms DeLuccia became pregnant last year, but called off their wedding and became estranged.
Mr Plotnick then sued for the right to be present at the birth of their child.
However, the judge upheld Ms DeLuccia’s wish to ban him from the delivery room, saying her ex’s presence would cause her stress and could harm the baby.
Patients, and pregnant woman especially, have strong privacy protections to ensure they decide who is at their bedside while in hospital, said Judge Mohammed.
“Any interest a father has before the child’s birth is subordinate to the mother’s interests,” Judge Mohammed wrote.
Fathers have no legal right to be present at the birth of their children, he added.
Mr Plotnick’s desire to be in the delivery room was “laudable” but his “unwanted” presence could put stress on the mother and endanger the baby, the judge ruled.
The case was the first legal dispute in the US between unwed parents over who could be present at the birth of their baby.
Mr Plotnick’s lawyer Laura Nunnink said his client only wanted to see the baby after she was born, which he was later allowed to do.
“He wanted to be a very involved father from the instant his child was born,” said Ms Nunnink.
“It was important that he have the right to bond just as the mother would. It was unfair that he not have that right from the day the child was born.”
Bruce Eden of Dads Against Discrimination said the ruling was “another example of New Jersey’s anti-male discrimination in the family courts.”
“It takes two to tango,” said Mr Eden. “Why are they allowing only the mother?”