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Attorneys Weigh In On N.J. Ruling About Keeping Fathers Out Of Delivery Rooms

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PATERSON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Attorneys weighed in Tuesday after a New Jersey judge has ruled that a mother can forbid her child’s father from being in the room when she is in labor.

New Jersey Superior Court Judge Sohial Mohammed issued the decision last month in the case of Plotnick v. DeLuccia – a lawsuit involving estranged and unwed parents, according to NJ.com.

Mohammed ruled that a woman may keep the father of a baby out of the room based on the right to privacy, and noted that the question of whether a father has the right to be told when a woman goes to in labor or to be in the room regardless of the woman’s objections has never been litigated in the U.S., the newspaper reported.

Speaking to 1010 WINS Tuesday, Brian Schwartz, chairman of the New Jersey State Bar Association Family Law Section, said the ruling was a victory for women who are already under a lot of stress as they prepare to give birth.

“I think the pregnancy and the time of delivering a baby is a very stressful time of the mom. Mom and dad don’t really have a signification relation although they did create a child together, and I believe that her right to privacy in that case trumps his quote-unquote, ‘right to access,’” Schwartz said.

Schwartz said Judge Mohammed wanted a ruling that did not leave any doubt about whether the father could be in the room over the mother’s objection.

“He didn’t want to leave a gray area. It’s pretty clear that the mom in this case gets to make a determination as to the dad’s involvement, solely with regards to the pre-labor and labor, and then right after. So I think in that regard, it will help women, and men, going forward in the future,” he said.

But Laura Nunnick, who represented plaintiff Steven Plotnick in the case, said her client would not have caused any stress to the mother of his child.

“In other cases, maybe that might have been a valid reason. In this case, there was no history of domestic violence, or no history of previous problems between the parties, so there really was no history that my client’s presence should have provided any added stress,” she said.

In issuing the ruling, the judge cited Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which invalidated a state law that required women to notify their husbands about getting abortions, according to published reports.

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