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Baby Vaughn: Failed Adoptions and False Choices

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Guest blogger Robin Sax: Few people would disagree that abortion is one of the most hotly contested issues in our country. The passion from the pro-choice and pro-life camps is evident. From printed words to television screens, from debate podiums to our living rooms -- whenever the issue is even mildly discussed, tensions flare on both sides. Seldom is there an opportunity or an issue that bridges both viewpoints. But now we have one: the broken adoption system in the United States. That's because the right of a mother to choose (pro-choice) and the desire for the child to be born (pro-life) are both at play whenever a mother takes the adoption route.

Abortion laws affect many areas of American life. Take their effect on crime, for example. Many are familiar with the theory that legal abortion reduces crime. Proponents of the theory argue that unwanted children are more likely to become criminals. In particular, it is argued that the legalization of abortion in the United States after Roe v. Wade has reduced crime in years since. Opponents generally dispute these statistics and will point to some negative effects of abortion on society. This camp encourages women to choose to put their children up for adoption rather than have abortions.

Every mother has a right (and a responsibility) to develop a life plan for her unborn child. Today, as most of us already know, there are essentially three legal options for an American woman who is faced with an unwanted pregnancy: 1) Keep and parent the child, 2) Have the child and place him/her up for adoption or 3) Terminate the pregnancy. Obviously the choice is very difficult, and thus the source of many heated debates. But the great misfortune is that the adoption system is truly broken in America.

The mechanisms to both put a child up for adoption and to adopt a child are fraught with so many problems. Many will pursue an adoption option in a foreign country (sometimes risking medical difficulties in the child) rather than stay domestic. The domestic system has a high probability of failed adoption, legal difficulties or failed placement. Therefore, women who have an unwanted pregnancy are choosing to terminate rather than pursue adoption as a viable alternative. In turn, more Americans must go abroad to China, Russia, etc., to adopt.

A woman should have a valid alternative to either aborting her baby or being forced to raise a child she does not want. Adoption should be that valid alternative. But some states will not recognize a mother's right to place her child up for adoption. This leaves a woman with only the two alternatives: aborting or parenting. In the case of Baby Grayson Vaughn, the birth mother had the constitutional right to place her newborn child up for adoption. Her choice was protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. Because of her constitutional right to choose what to do with her body, no man should be able to object to this newborn adoption. Any interference from a unwed father can be viewed as a violation of freedom of choice, a violation of privacy rights and of Due Process.

So how is that 3-year-old Grayson is caught in a torturous battle between his prospective adoptive parents, Jason and Christy Vaughn of Sellersburg, Indiana, and his birth father, Benjamin Wyrembek of Swanton, Ohio? Will this case end in tragedy on October 30 -- the day the Ohio Supreme Court has ordered the boy to be returned to his birth father (a total stranger) and be taken away from the only parents he has ever known?

While some people criticize the Vaughns, thousands of their supporters are in a fight against the clock to save Grayson from what experts have deemed "court-sanctioned child abuse." How is custody of Baby Vaughn even an issue when his birth mother herself chose the Vaughns as parents, acknowledged her own inability to care for the child and expressed the belief that Benjamin Wyrembek is not fit to parent his child? Why are we punishing this mother for choosing adoption as a viable option and selecting the Vaughns -- loving parents -- to be her child's mom and dad?

It has been three years since Christy Vaughn first held Grayson after he was born; she took him home nine days later. Now the courts want to take this child away from the only parents -- and siblings -- he has ever known. One question we might ask: Does Grayson's mother regret having her child? Any birth mother faced with this kind of contested adoption could understandably regret that she did not choose abortion.

A woman must have the constitutionally protected right to place her newborn up for adoption, and not be forced into electing either abortion or parenting an unwanted child. While the "father's rights" people may be going crazy out there, please know that I agree that fathers deserve rights (of course!). But in this specific case, the woman's rights trump. And I am not alone in my thinking: The Supreme Court agrees. In Planned Parenthood of Central Mo. v. Danforth, the Court made it clear that the reproductive rights of a woman are constitutionally protected and superior to the claimed rights of all others, even her husband.

Adoptive children and families are suffering injustices, as in Baby Vaughn's case, with the unfair adoptions laws. We must speak out and begin to mend this terrible state of affairs.

next: Bob Saget Posts Video of Screaming Baby
151 comments so far | Post a comment now
vince October 19, 2010, 10:22 PM

Josh Smith is a punk choad-smoker. Ohio law most certainly does not state that. It states that that creates a _presumption_ of paternity. So does a DNA test, you imbecile. Turn in your man card. You probably live off of child support, too, you half-witted eunuch.

curious October 20, 2010, 11:05 AM

You know if he really wanted to be a father to this child then why did he not support the child for 3 years or send him birthday or christmas gifts or even call to find out how he is doing or anything else. To me that would be a caring parent wanting to know how my child was. Has he paid one doctor bill or bought one stitch of clothing or even offered? NO! So how can anyone say that he is fit to be a parent. This guy is 33 years old, and doesn’t he live with his parents. Does he even have a job? How is he going to support this child. So what makes him qualified to be a parent because he sure has not acted like one so far. There is a difference in being a parent and a sperm donor. I do believe in this case that the birth mother did do what was in the best interest of the child, and the Supreme court judges that voted against the Vaughn family got it wrong, because it is obvious by their decision that Grayson’s best interest was not even considered.

Rebecca Herman October 20, 2010, 12:53 PM

According to the court ruling awarding him custody, the father is employed and lives independently. As soon as the DNA test came back, he put Grayson on his insurance (also in the court papers). He sent money to Grayson for a birthday gift and sent money a couple of other times. He had to go to court to get a court-ordered visit with his child because of how uncooperative the Vaughns were. ALL THIS is in the court papers and I am not making this up.

Deb October 29, 2010, 4:09 PM

Fathers have the right to parent their children too. If the mother chose adoption, that does NOT automatically revolk the rights of a father to that child. An ethical attorney would know that.

w w October 30, 2010, 12:57 PM

Five years ago, my sister was in the process of divorcing her second husband and was pregnant. She was in the process of giving up her son for adoption, but her ex would not sign the paperwork. Nor does he pay child support. So my sister had to move back in with my parents just to be able to take care of this child.
Intercourse is such a selfish act with ugly consequences for those not mature enough to understand the commitment of raising a child. The person affected the most is the child who had no choice in the matter. SAD!!!

MM November 1, 2010, 9:38 AM

The real action that’s in the child’s best interest is to uphold the father’s rights and stop tossing fathers aside as if they don’t mean anything. He deserves the chance to raise his child!

Kelcie November 10, 2010, 4:11 AM

This is a no win for any party, especially the child, and while everyone certainly presents arguable points for either side, I am content to sit back and follow the money. That will happen - it is part and parcel of our justice system. And it will be the tell-tale desire and motivation clue for me - which party files for losses and compensation first. Then I will know who has this child’s best interest at heart and which party has underlying self-serving motivations. Time will tell.

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