What Rights Do Fathers Have Before the Baby Is Born?

Written by regina hamilton
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What Rights Do Fathers Have Before the Baby Is Born?
Father's rights begin before the child is born. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Father's rights have advanced greatly over the past two decades. Divorced and single fathers now have greater access to custody, support and have an easier time becoming an important part of their children's lives. However, the issue of father's rights before the child is born can become complicated. Issues regarding abortion, paternity, adoption and medical care are common terms involving the rights of the father.


Fathers of unborn children have few rights when it comes to abortion. Currently, they are not allowed to force the mother of the child into having an abortion against her will. Also if the mother wants to abort the child there is little the father can do to stop her.

Paternity Testing

If the paternity of the father is in question then either party can file a paternity suit to establish who the father of the unborn child is. Courts typically rely on DNA paternity testing to determine conclusively who the father is. Fathers have the right to file a paternity suit to determine if they are or are not the father of a child. The results can help determine child support, custody issues and access.


Fathers do have rights when it comes to the adoption of the unborn child. Fathers have the legal right to be notified if there is a chance that they have fathered a child out of wedlock. Fathers may also file a petition to contest the adoption once they have established their parental rights toward the child. Fathers who are not married to the mother generally cannot block an adoption unless they can show they have taken all reasonable measures to accept responsibility for the child.

Doctor Visits

Fathers are encouraged to get involved with the pregnancy if they want to become a part of the child's life. However, if the mother does not want the father present then legally there is little she can do. By law, however, the mother's medical records and visits are confidential.

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