Thursday, January 3, 2013

Thousands of Kansas Sperm Donors Emerge to Protest State's Child Support Claims

SAN NARCISO, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- Over three years ago, a well-intentioned, 46-year-old race car mechanic in Kansas donated his sperm to a lesbian couple seeking to conceive a child. A written agreement that waived the donor's parental rights and financial obligations was executed between the parties at the time of delivery. However in October, Kansas filed a petition to have the donor legally declared the father of the three-year-old child and held responsible for support payments under state law. Citing a 2007 case before the Kansas Supreme Court, lawyers for the donor argued that their client bore no parental responsibilities because of his agreement with the couple. The case attracted national attention this week with the announcement of a January 8 hearing. As an unexpected result, thousands of unmarried men with illegitimate children and mounting child support debt filed motions Thursday to have their statuses changed to "donor," and their financial obligations overturned.

Donations from sperm banks and licensed physicians routinely free donors from any responsibilities, but in this case the man provided his sample directly to the couple after responding to an ad posted on Craigslist. Interestingly, the state government -- not the couple -- is pursuing the legal action.

"It certainly might have a negative effect on other men's willingness to help couples who need a donor, which would be harmful to everyone," the legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights told reporters Wednesday. "I also think it undermines everyone's respect for the law when you see it operate so arbitrarily."

The donor said he and his wife had fostered a daughter, but have no children of their own.

"I just wanted to help this couple -- and to get rid of all these mason jars full of sperm cluttering up my workshop," he explained. "At fifty bucks a pop, it's a pretty lucrative side business. And clearly, I have a problem."

But while Kansas braced to defend itself against potential accusations of making decisions based on an anti-gay agenda, the state instead found its courts inundated with petitions from the fathers of illegitimate children who claim that they too are merely sperm donors and should incur no financial penalties for their generosity.

Delron DuPree, 38, has fathered over thirteen children with nine different women. He is just one of about 2,800 men hoping to appeal their support obligations.

"I weren't never married to none of those gals, and never had no intention to get hitched," DuPree said. "My lady friends was only interested in my seed, in having babies before they got past a good birthing age -- you know, like after 20 -- so I was trying to help out. Then the state slapped me with all this child support crap. I was just a sperm donor. In a fashion, I think I was the victim -- the one being used. Should've charged all them girls with statutory rape, not me. But it's like they say -- ain't no good deed don't go unpunished."

According to the courts, nearly all the men filing petitions have similar stories, including former basketball star Dennis Rodman, who claimed he was donating heroic amounts of sperm across the country to strangers because they "wanted genetically superior athlete fashion babies."

The movement has received the support of former Rep. J.C. Watts (R-Okla.), an erstwhile Baptist minister and conservative congressman who was elected on a platform of family values. He admitted to siring one child out of wedlock, though records indicate he was paying child support for other illegitimate offspring. Watts announced in December his intention to re-enter political life as the GOP chairman. He is now championing the "sperm donor reclassification" campaign underway in Kansas.

"As a victim of abusive, arbitrary big government myself, I understand the plight of these good Samaritans," Watts said. "I would say helping women realize their dreams of motherhood, when all other traditional avenues are closed to them, epitomizes the essence of family values. Some of these men have donated so much sperm to so many needy women, it's hard to imagine they've got any swimmers left. But the state of Kansas has taken it upon itself to blur the line between gracious donor and deadbeat dad in order to earn a few extra bucks and foster discrimination."

Congressman Todd Akin (R-Mo.) joined the chorus of protests and pointed out that Kansas has some of the nation's strictest abortion laws, which he described as relevant.

"You can't get public funding for an abortion in Kansas unless your life is in danger or you're the victim of incest or rape," Akin noted. "Private insurance won't cover abortions in Kansas except in cases of life endangerment. The health exchange won't authorize an abortion unless -- you guessed it -- the woman's life is in peril. And a woman must receive state-directed counseling to discourage her from an abortion, then wait 24 hours if she's going through with it anyway. There are no facilities that perform abortions in 97 percent of the state's counties. Why? Because Kansas understands there's no need. They've already got a process that weeds out real victims from women who've just changed their minds after accepting a sperm donation. Now, if deadbeat daddies and illegitimate pregnancies were such a huge problem here, I'd expect something different. But it's clear to me that Kansas is full of a lot of sperm donors, not rapists or irresponsible adulterers. Therefore, I call on Kansas to do the right thing and stop persecuting these men for offering a helping hand...or other appendage."

Akin added that the only reason Kansas should consider making the donor in the original case the legal parent is to prevent lesbians from raising the child.

(c) 2013. See disclaimers.

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