Background: For fathers and the children who love them and need them, Massachusetts sometimes looks a lot like feminist hell. In this series, Ned Holstein, Executive Director of Fathers & Families, points to four um…problematic…Massachusetts family law bills.
The first three bills Holstein cites are Massachusetts HB 113, HB 1396 and HB 92–to learn more, see my blog posts Amazing New Bill Says Dads Can Be Arrested for Leaving the State, Under New Bill, Restraining Orders Can Be Extended Without Notice and Don’t Want Your Baby? Call Massachusetts’ New ‘Abandon Your Baby Pickup Service’. On a related note, also see my blog post Massachusetts Joins CA., CT. in Passing Legislation to Protect Hamsters Caught in Abusive Relationships.
The fourth bill is explained below.
When an incarcerated woman delivers a baby, HB 104 provides that â€œâ€¦every effort shall be made to keep infants of twelve months or less born to incarcerated mothers with their mothers.â€Â (emphasis added)
(The word â€œshallâ€ is important because in law, it means that the thing must be done, without room for discretion.)
But suppose there is a perfectly good Dad?Â This bill would have the baby stay with Mom in prison even if there is a perfectly good Dad on the outside !
Or suppose Mom is in prison for domestic violence or other violent acts, or child abuse, or is psychologically unbalanced, or is on drugs? This bill makes no exceptions!
And what happens after twelve months? Is baby suddenly expelled from prison into the care of someone he/she has hardly ever seen before?
The hazards of prison are very real. Violence. Drug use. Infectious diseases. Sensory deprivation. Lack of pediatric medical care.
There are strong medical benefits to nursing, but these benefits max out after a month or so. At that point, even with a great mother, baby needs to get out of the big house if there is a competent caretaker outside, such as Dad. Maybe even before.
In summary, this bill is dreadful for babies. And it demonstrates how ready our society is to simply throw away what Dads have to offer children.
Â Glenn Sacks, www.GlennSacks.com