Fathers Rights for Unborn Children

pregnant woman and hands image by Lars Christensen from Fotolia.com

Both married and unmarried fathers have somewhat limited rights regarding their unborn child, especially relating to whether or not the mother can have an abortion. Only the mother can determine if the child will or will not be carried to term.

If you are an unmarried father, you are entitled to custody challenges, visitation and the prevention of the adoption of your child without your consent. However, those rights do not begin until after the birth of the child.

The Law

Courts refuse to intervene in a mother's right to privacy and control of her own body unless there are circumstances that show probable child abuse. The U.S. Supreme court has ruled against a father's interest in protecting the life of an unborn child or even being informed of a planned abortion. The ruling stipulates that mothers are entitled to a right of privacy or a zone of privacy regarding their bodies and states can not enact statutory obstacles to this right, accord to Findlaw.

Establishing Paternity

Although confirmation of a father's paternity through blood or DNA tests may help determine his right to child custody or visitation, it will have little effect on establishing rights to his unborn child. Additionally, if the mother refuses to comply with the father's request for a DNA or blood test, a court can not force her to comply.

Abuse of an unborn child

If you suspect that the mother of your unborn child is engaging in harmful behaviour toward the child during the pregnancy, you can go to court to intervene on behalf of the baby. For instance, if the mother is engaged in excessive drinking or uses illegal drugs, this conduct can be considered harmful to the foetus.