In an unprecedented case, a New Jersey judge has ruled that a woman preparing to give birth can keep the father of the child from entering the delivery room.
Superior Court Judge Sohail Mohammed said all patients are allowed to decide who can be at their hospital bedsides — pregnant women included. According to the Newark Star-Ledger, the judge said fathers have no legal right to be present at the birth of their children.
The case started with a couple, Steven Plotnick and Rebecca Deluccia. They got engaged after Deluccia became pregnant, but later broke up. Plotnick then sued for the right to be present at the birth of his child.
In his ruling, Mohammed said the father's "unwanted" presence in the delivery room could put stress on the mother and harm the fetus.
"Any interest a father has before the child's birth is subordinate to the mother's interests," Mohammed wrote. "Even when there is no doubt that a father has shown deep and proper concern, and interest in the growth and development of the fetus, the mother is the one who must carry it to term."
According to the Star-Ledger, Plotnick's attorney, Laura Nunnink, said he never asked to be in the delivery room, only to be able to see the baby at the hospital as soon as possible after the birth.
Plotnick will not appeal Mohammed's ruling because he was allowed to see the child after the birth, Nunnink said.