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Who gets the baby? A mix-up at OHSU's fertility clinic creates a tangle of lawsuits.
The Oregonian ^ | 9/22/06 | ELIZABETH SUH and ASHBEL S. GREEN

Posted on 09/22/2006 8:52:55 AM PDT by momfirst

He says the clinic gave a stranger his sperm and then lied about it.

She says the clinic coerced her into taking the morning-after pill and then offered her a free abortion.

Now he wants to know whether he's a father without his consent.

And she just wants to be left alone.

Oregon Health & Science University concedes it gave his sperm to her, but beyond that it's not saying much.

On Monday, a Multnomah County Circuit Court judge will be asked to sort out whether the man has the right to learn whether the woman has had a baby and if it is his.

The case involves a high-stakes clash of an anonymous woman's right to privacy and an unwitting sperm provider's desire to have a relationship with a biological child.

It also raises serious ethical questions about how OHSU handled the mistake.

"OHSU is deeply sorry for this situation," Barbara Glidewell, OHSU patient advocate and ethicist, said in a statement. "Health care providers are human, and error is inevitable. Our goal now is to respect the decision-making and privacy of everyone involved."

Experts say the man, who goes by the initials M.H. in court papers, might have a chance to find out whether he is the father based on the unusual circumstances of the case. But they all agree that state law and court precedent strongly favor the woman.

"It's his right against hers and the child's," said Caroline Forell, a professor at the University of Oregon School of Law. "My guess is they add up the rights of the child and her and that trumps his."

Mistakes and allegations

In September 2005, M.H. gave workers at OHSU's fertility clinic a container of his sperm to be used to artificially inseminate his fiancee.

(Excerpt) Read more at oregonlive.com ...


TOPICS: News/Current Events; US: Oregon
KEYWORDS: fertility; ivf
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Read on to get the full story - mind-boggling.
1 posted on 09/22/2006 8:52:56 AM PDT by momfirst
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To: Salvation

Worthy of an Oregon Ping, for sure...


2 posted on 09/22/2006 8:53:56 AM PDT by momfirst
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To: Coleus
I'm sure you'll find this interesting.
3 posted on 09/22/2006 8:57:50 AM PDT by Question_Assumptions
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To: momfirst
"It's his right against hers and the child's," said Caroline Forell, a professor at the University of Oregon School of Law. "My guess is they add up the rights of the child and her and that trumps his."

Did I read this correctly?? It appears that Prof. Forell thinks that, presuming that the child's 'wishes' are the tie breaker between the parents opposing wishes, that it is the presumed 'wish' or best interest of the child to NOT have a relationship with his/her father. ???
4 posted on 09/22/2006 9:03:54 AM PDT by posterchild
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To: momfirst
"It's his right against hers and the child's," said Caroline Forell, a professor at the University of Oregon School of Law. "My guess is they add up the rights of the child and her and that trumps his."

Why are the child's rights and the mother's rights inseperable? It seems to me the child would have an interest in knowing his father even if the mother doesn't want that stranger in her life.

Oh the troubles we create when we manipulate nature.

5 posted on 09/22/2006 9:05:03 AM PDT by SolidSupplySide
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To: posterchild
Did I read this correctly??

I did a double take on that one, too. Unbelievable!

6 posted on 09/22/2006 9:05:34 AM PDT by Elyse
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To: posterchild

But the child will have a father...The question is whether or not to allow a total stranger to have contact with it, and possibly be able to interfere in it's upbringing.
What if the sperm donor is a hard-core moonbat of some kind?
But then, the same thing could be said from the donor's point of view. What a wierd situation.


7 posted on 09/22/2006 9:09:41 AM PDT by LongElegantLegs (You can do that, and be a whack-job pedophile on meth.)
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To: SolidSupplySide
Oh the troubles we create when we manipulate nature.

Such common sense, yet we continue to push the envelope "for science." I'm still shaking my head in disbelief at this whole situation.

8 posted on 09/22/2006 9:12:42 AM PDT by momfirst
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To: momfirst

What a mess. FWIW, the mother & M.H. ought to be fighting OHSU together.


9 posted on 09/22/2006 9:12:47 AM PDT by Sloth ('It Takes A Village' is problematic when you're raising your child in Sodom.)
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To: momfirst

That certainly is bizarre. Is there actually a child? Did the man and his fiancee have a child? Is the woman the biological molther of a child.

Too many unanswered questions.


10 posted on 09/22/2006 9:12:48 AM PDT by Jaded (does it really need a sarcasm tag?)
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To: Jaded
Is there actually a child? Did the man and his fiancee have a child?

Due to confidentiality, we may never know... but you got me thinking, assuming that both coupled actually did have a child, and assuming that the recipients both had M.H.'s sperm, those children would be biological half-siblings. Theorhetically, they could be back in court in 18 years trying to find out who their brother/sister is...hoping it's not their boyfriend/girlfriend - I know, odds are slim to none on that last one, but this whole situation raises SO many more questions than answers.

11 posted on 09/22/2006 9:20:34 AM PDT by momfirst
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To: momfirst

What a terribly written story, it was very difficult figuring out what happened to who! (Whom?)

Anyway, men are notoriously mistreated in abortion cases where they don't have a say in their child's life or death--OHSU screwed up royally here, and there *should* be repurcussions for that staff. How wussy was that woman when they "forced" her to take the morning-after pill?!? I'd have had there rear ends in a sling instantly! >:-(


12 posted on 09/22/2006 9:25:11 AM PDT by pillut48 (CJ in TX (Bible Thumper and Proud!))
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To: Jaded
Is there actually a child?

I've got to believe there is a child. Otherwise the "mother" would demonstrate that there's no controversy here and that M.H. should leave her alone.

13 posted on 09/22/2006 9:25:40 AM PDT by SolidSupplySide
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To: momfirst
Experts say the unique case poses a variety of tough questions.

I'm sure glad they had experts around to point that out.

There really is no way to be totally fair here, but lots of money is going to change hands, I'd bet.

Seems like the fairest thing to happen is the mother/child keep their anonymity, but the biological father gets to have a test performed and know if the child is from his sperm.

14 posted on 09/22/2006 9:26:01 AM PDT by NMR Guy
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To: momfirst
"It's his right against hers and the child's," said Caroline Forell, a professor at the University of Oregon School of Law. "My guess is they add up the rights of the child and her and that trumps his."

Such a statement completely discounts the potential desire of the child to have a relationship with the biological father. So much for equal treatment under the law. It was for such reasons that I considered supporting the Equal Rights Amendment way back when. It would have given a Constitutional reason to turn back the anti-male thrust of case law. The cons outweighed the pros, however, and I'm glad on balance that it didn't pass. I think one reason why it faded as a cause is because the feminists realized the "wrong" court could reverse many of their judicial activism gains. Still, the above statement pisses me off and shows there is a long way to go.

15 posted on 09/22/2006 9:34:37 AM PDT by NonValueAdded (Treaty Fetishism: "[The] belief that a piece of paper will alter the behavior of thugs." R. Lowry.)
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To: momfirst

When the mother and her husband get full custody of the child don't be surprised if they don't get back at him for being so hard on them that they make him pay child support. I have heard cases worse than this where the biological father has to pay whether he ever sees the kid or not.


16 posted on 09/22/2006 9:49:32 AM PDT by Abathar (Proudly catching hell for posting without reading the article since 2004)
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To: momfirst

I presume that, when she was to get pregnant by an "anonymous" sperm donor, that the hospital had interviewed the donor, had blood tests, knew the medical history. That information would be made available to the recipient, so medical science would have an accurate medical history if the child needed it later.

Further, the mother may have wanted to choose the race of the donor, or some other characteristic.

Obviously, none of that information is available from M.H..

Or at least, if it is, the woman has no right to that information (of course, she had no right to his sperm either, but that ship has sailed).

The child would certainly want to have access to that information, if the child was informed that he had a biological father separate from his family. I suppose the child might have been kept in the dark in the previous arrangement, since the parents would have the medical information and could provide it without revealing to the child the circumstances.


17 posted on 09/22/2006 9:49:47 AM PDT by CharlesWayneCT
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To: momfirst

Even with slim odds it could happen. Think about all of the people you come into contact with and every once in while you find a connection. Artificial insemination has always given me the creeps. I feel horrible for people who cannot concieve, but the thought of children having annonymous DNA it's just not right. To purposely go in and donate sperm and eggs, then another person comes along and uses either of the two is just too weird. I know in the case of adoption it's along the same lines but I just view adoption differently.


18 posted on 09/22/2006 9:51:34 AM PDT by panthermom
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To: momfirst

That could happen anyway--one night stand, promiscuity, drunkenness. It's sad but there are thousands of children out there who aren't the child of who they think they are!

Unfortunately, unless children are born as a result of marital acts between monogamous, married parents who stay married, trouble often follows.


19 posted on 09/22/2006 9:58:43 AM PDT by GatorGirl
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To: momfirst; abcraghead; aimhigh; Archie Bunker on steroids; bicycle thug; blackie; coffeebreak; ...

Oregon Ping

Please notify me via FReepmail if you would like to be added to or taken off the Oregon Ping List.

20 posted on 09/22/2006 10:01:15 AM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: momfirst

So when does he have to start providing child support but have no visitation rights.


21 posted on 09/22/2006 10:04:08 AM PDT by art_rocks
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To: LongElegantLegs
What does the word "father" mean?

I'd suggest that the child's father is the person who provided the sperm. There are good fathers and bad fathers. Some men who provide sperm are bad fathers, some very bad indeed. But it is kind of loose or poetic to say they are not fathers, and it confuses conversation.THe child may have a step father, an adoptive father, a father in the eyes of the law, and any of those "fathers" may not be the father who provided the sperm. But since when is law a canon of reality?

It sounds lovely to talk about the man who takes up the responsibility of interacting with, providing for, guiding, sometimes tolerating a child as being a "real" father. But doing so creates problems. For example. A man begets a child on his wife, has a very large insurance policy with the future child as beneficiary, very much wants to be a father and husband, and a piano falls on him. He's not there for the mother and child, so he's not the father, some would say. So does that mean the child is not his child and therefore does not get the payout of the policy? Of course not?

Then "Father" is going to end up meaning different tings in different ssituations.

The child, I think, has a father. The Mom, the child, OHSU, of the courts may decide that the father is not allowed to do major parts of the job of fathering.

I'm babbling, maybe, but this comes down to unnatural gnosticism, where the notion of the "real" father is divorced from the notion of the "natural" father. I don't think it's good discourse or good thinking.

22 posted on 09/22/2006 10:07:05 AM PDT by Mad Dawg (Reality is not optional.)
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To: momfirst
When the couple came in, they allege, workers there prevented them from leaving until she swallowed the medicine, also referred to in the documents as the morning-after pill, as a nurse watched.

"Prevented"? I'd like to hear exactly how. I don't believe for a second that they were physically prevented from leaving until she swallowed a pill she didn't want to swallow. If that had actually happened, the couple should have called police immediately, and filed charges of false imprisonment right after a detour to a hospital emergency room to get her stomach pumped.

Amazing, though, that fertility clinics don't cover all this in written contracts in advance. This sort of error is quite rare, and I guess they don't want to remind people that it can happen. But they can pretty easily transfer liability to the patients involved, if the patients have contractually agreed in advance to do X in the event of an error, and then subsequently refused to do X after an error actually occurred.

23 posted on 09/22/2006 11:22:39 AM PDT by GovernmentShrinker
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To: Mad Dawg

Under well-established common law, a man is the legal father of any child born to his wife during a marriage. Unless a state's case law or statutory law has explicitly overturned this, or there has a been a court-ordered termination of paternal rights in a specific case, the common law holds. Plenty of men have found this out the hard way, when they were forced to pay many years of child support for a child born to their ex-wife during the marriage and biologically fathered by another man.


24 posted on 09/22/2006 11:26:35 AM PDT by GovernmentShrinker
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To: Mad Dawg

Under well-established common law, a man is the legal father of any child born to his wife during a marriage. Unless a state's case law or statutory law has explicitly overturned this, or there has a been a court-ordered termination of paternal rights in a specific case, the common law holds. Plenty of men have found this out the hard way, when they were forced to pay many years of child support for a child born to their ex-wife during the marriage and biologically fathered by another man.


25 posted on 09/22/2006 11:26:38 AM PDT by GovernmentShrinker
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To: SolidSupplySide
Oh the troubles we create when we manipulate nature.

I always think of this quote. "Science has made us gods even before we are worthy of being men". Jean Rostand

26 posted on 09/22/2006 11:33:24 AM PDT by IndyTiger
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To: momfirst
"It's his right against hers and the child's," said Caroline Forell, a professor at the University of Oregon School of Law. "My guess is they add up the rights of the child and her and that trumps his."

My relative weightings:

His rights: 0.0%
Her rights: 0.0%
Best interest of the child: 100.0%

27 posted on 09/22/2006 11:42:32 AM PDT by Onelifetogive (* Sarcasm tag ALWAYS required. For some Freepers, sarcasm can NEVER be obvious enough.)
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To: momfirst

It seems to me that we need some rules related to the operation of these clinics. First, all "natural" rights to your sperm and egg must be waived to start the process. It is a business and a contract, not natural procreation. Something goes wrong, there must be a legal fix to the problem (money) that doesn't ruin a child's life.


28 posted on 09/22/2006 11:49:56 AM PDT by Onelifetogive (* Sarcasm tag ALWAYS required. For some Freepers, sarcasm can NEVER be obvious enough.)
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To: momfirst
They had been trying unsuccessfully for several years to start a family, according to court documents. That day, they paid $515 for sperm from an anonymous donor.

This is a counter-example to the law of supply and demand.

29 posted on 09/22/2006 12:04:49 PM PDT by wideminded
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To: GovernmentShrinker
So, if I understand you correctly, the husband of the mother (the man who went to the clinic with her, because they, for whatever reason, were not able to conceive together) is the legal father of the child (if there is a child). Is this understanding correct?
30 posted on 09/22/2006 12:06:42 PM PDT by Talking_Mouse (wahhabi delenda est)
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To: Talking_Mouse

I don't know Oregon law, but that would be the case under common law, and remains the case in many if not most states. He would also be the legal father if she'd gone out and gotten pregnant from a one night stand and DNA tests proved conclusively that he was not the biological father.

The origin of this obviously predates DNA testing, though it was applied even in cases where the racial characteristics of the baby obviously ruled out the husband as the biological father. Remember that under the original concept of marriage in English-U.S. law, the wife was not a full-fledged person, since she was female and not eligible to enter into contracts on her own behalf (among other things). The husband was the only legally responsible person in a "nuclear" family (the children being below the age of majority), and he was therefore legally responsible for the wife and children -- that included being responsible for the wife getting pregnant by another man. The law was also not willing to give any man other than the husband any rights whatsoever to a baby which emerged from the husband's wife/property, because that would have been interfering with the husband's ownership rights to his wife.


31 posted on 09/22/2006 12:26:12 PM PDT by GovernmentShrinker
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To: LongElegantLegs

"What if the sperm donor is a hard-core moonbat of some kind?"

Then the hospital should not have donated the sperm.

Now the father has the right to see that this child is raised as he sees fit irrispective of his background.


32 posted on 09/22/2006 12:28:33 PM PDT by stultorum (In hoc signo vincet.)
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To: Onelifetogive

There's plenty of law that applies here. There was certainly a contract, and the clinic clearly didn't uphold it's part of the contract (which apparently didn't give the clinic the right to avoid any responsibility for this sort of error as long as they offered the woman in question a morning-after pill in time to prevent the pregnancy). This clinic will end up paying through the nose, and any individuals found to have played a part in withholding the truth from the man will have a heck of a tough time hanging on to their medical/nursing licenses or getting malpractice insurance in the future. However, none of that avoids complications in the child's life, or in the life of the man who (apparently) became the biological father of a child without his consent, due to the unauthorized actions of the clinic staff.


33 posted on 09/22/2006 12:31:41 PM PDT by GovernmentShrinker
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To: stultorum

The clinic shouldn't have "donated" the sperm to an unauthorized recipient, no matter what the qualities of the man who produced it. And I respect a clinic which does not deny services to someone because s/he fits their personal definition of a "moon bat". Remember, the clinic did not select this man to be an anonymous donor; he was there to provide sperm to his fiancee, not to some woman he'd never met. I would hope they would screen out people who would widely be regarded as "moonbats" as anonymous donors (but in practice, clinics don't get involved in selecting sperm donors -- anonymous donor sperm comes from independent sperm banks, with both the bank and specific donor selected by the female patient).


34 posted on 09/22/2006 12:37:27 PM PDT by GovernmentShrinker
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To: momfirst

Let's just hope that the DNA test results show that M.H. is not the father. Problem solved....


35 posted on 09/22/2006 12:46:32 PM PDT by demkicker (democrats, terrorists, Powell, McCain, Graham & Collins are intimate bedfellows)
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To: Abathar
"When the mother and her husband get full custody of the child don't be surprised if they don't get back at him for being so hard on them that they make him pay child support. I have heard cases worse than this where the biological father has to pay whether he ever sees the kid or not."

He is going to get so much money for the clinic and I suspect they will have to pay any child support payments demanded by the mother too. The clinic is to blame. I bet they never make that mistake again, and if they do they never tell anyone about it. It's funny, there wouldn't be any problem if the clinic had just kept it's mouth shut.
36 posted on 09/22/2006 12:52:36 PM PDT by monday
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To: momfirst

Test tube procreation is wrong. In-vitro is wrong. All this stuff is wrong. It should be outlawed.

I hope I made my opinion clear.


37 posted on 09/22/2006 12:54:07 PM PDT by Puddleglum
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To: monday
Until the kid gets a blood test, or has detached earlobes and during his 5th grade science class discovers that mom and dad don't have them, and he shouldn't either.

The clinic did the right thing by announcing they blew it, but the donor seems way too serious about taking the child from the parents she/he has and won't accept the fact that given the circumstances its not their fault. Most men would be mad, but I doubt they would do what he is trying to do and take the kid from the mother.

38 posted on 09/22/2006 12:58:56 PM PDT by Abathar (Proudly catching hell for posting without reading the article since 2004)
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To: GovernmentShrinker

Don't they make babies the old-fashioned way any more?


39 posted on 09/22/2006 1:06:43 PM PDT by stultorum (In hoc signo vincet.)
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To: Puddleglum

"Test tube procreation is wrong. In-vitro is wrong. All this stuff is wrong. It should be outlawed.

I agree.

See my post above this one.


40 posted on 09/22/2006 1:07:55 PM PDT by stultorum (In hoc signo vincet.)
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To: Abathar
"Most men would be mad, but I doubt they would do what he is trying to do and take the kid from the mother."

It would be depressing to know you had a child that you could never meet. I suspect he is just trying to get as much money as he can from the clinic though. To do that he has to establish paternity. The mother ought to call his bluff and demand child support. I bet that would make him change his mind, although, technically the clinic is responsible for the child's creation and so should be legally liable for it's child support. Not the man.
41 posted on 09/22/2006 1:10:17 PM PDT by monday
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To: GovernmentShrinker
However, none of that avoids complications in the child's life, or in the life of the man who (apparently) became the biological father of a child without his consent, due to the unauthorized actions of the clinic staff.

Here is where I think the laws should fix things. Once you hand over your DNA, you no longer have any rights in the ordinary biological sense. Sperm and/or egg donors should NEVER be hounded for child-support or any such nonsense. This is a similar (albiet different) situation. You put your semen in a cup to be used (in certain contractual ways) in a fertility clinic, you should have ZERO biological rights or responsibilities. ALL rights and responsibilities should be contractually defined. The father should NOT be the person whose DNA matches, but should be the person stated in the contracts to be the father. Ditto for the mom.

I don't think the bio-parents deserve ANY legal standing based on biology. The contract, and NOTHING ELSE, should be legally binding.

42 posted on 09/22/2006 1:10:24 PM PDT by Onelifetogive (* Sarcasm tag ALWAYS required. For some Freepers, sarcasm can NEVER be obvious enough.)
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To: monday
I agree if I found out I fathered a child it would bother me and I would at least like to know if the child is in a stable environment and taken care of, but it would stop there.

I would never seek to get parental rights or try to wedge myself into their family, I would let them know I hope that the child is happy and healthy, and if they ever need any medical information to call me, and that would be it.

I would also ask that if the child finds out and wants to meet me that when they are adults that they give them my address to they can contact me if THEY want, but I would not instigate a meeting at all unless the child knows the truth and wants to meet me themselves.

43 posted on 09/22/2006 1:17:48 PM PDT by Abathar (Proudly catching hell for posting without reading the article since 2004)
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To: posterchild

Does that surprise you?


44 posted on 09/22/2006 1:20:45 PM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: Abathar

The clinic lied about it.


45 posted on 09/22/2006 1:23:10 PM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: momfirst

Would you say the same about gun control?

I doubt it.

The internet can be used for adultry. Do we ban it?

I doubt it.

Mistakes and bad people can make anything seem not worthwhile.

I think it would be intellectually honest for you not to judge in-vitro because of a few idiots.

If that's what you want to do then I would believe that it would be intellectually honest for you to give comparisons of all technology in the world that can be mis-used by bad or mornonic people.


46 posted on 09/22/2006 1:24:05 PM PDT by Almondjoy
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To: momfirst
That same day, a husband and wife from Marion County also were at the clinic.

They had been trying unsuccessfully for several years to start a family, according to court documents. That day, they paid $515 for sperm from an anonymous donor.

Shortly afterward, OHSU contacted the woman to inform her of the mix-up.

"Jane Doe" alleges clinic doctors then told her she had to get "medicine" to make sure she did not become pregnant.

When the couple came in, they allege, workers there prevented them from leaving until she swallowed the medicine, also referred to in the documents as the morning-after pill, as a nurse watched.

They also allege workers offered the woman a free abortion, in case she became pregnant, and two free artificial inseminations, in case she did not.

I am a little confused? Did the woman have the baby after taking the morning-after pill? And she never had the abortion offered?

47 posted on 09/22/2006 1:24:17 PM PDT by rawhide
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To: Onelifetogive

No matter what any clinic tells you, courts will still be liable for child support. Every form should have stamped on it, "NO MATTER WHAT, YOU MAY BE RESPONSIBLE TO PAY CHILD SUPPORT FOR ANY NUMBER OF CHILDREN."


48 posted on 09/22/2006 1:26:06 PM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: nickcarraway
No matter what any clinic tells you, courts will still be liable for child support. Every form should have stamped on it, "NO MATTER WHAT, YOU MAY BE RESPONSIBLE TO PAY CHILD SUPPORT FOR ANY NUMBER OF CHILDREN."

That's why I'd rather have the law say: "You will NEVER have any legal responsibility for or legal rights to offspring produced from your DNA unless specified in your contract."

49 posted on 09/22/2006 1:57:36 PM PDT by Onelifetogive (* Sarcasm tag ALWAYS required. For some Freepers, sarcasm can NEVER be obvious enough.)
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To: Onelifetogive

It would never work. The courts would never be contrained by that.


50 posted on 09/22/2006 1:59:19 PM PDT by nickcarraway
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