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Mississippi Supreme Court Acknowledges Parental Rights For Non-Biological Mother

A Mississippi woman has regained her parental rights to the child born during her marriage to her ex-wife in a new ruling by the Mississippi Supreme Court.

From the AP:

Mississippi’s Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a woman has parental rights to a 6-year-old boy born to her ex-wife when the two were married, in a case watched by gay rights activists and groups aiding in vitro fertilization.

Christina “Chris” Strickland brought the appeal, challenging a lower court decision that an anonymous sperm donor still had parental rights and that Strickland did not. Strickland ultimately hopes to win 50-50 custody of Zayden Strickland, who bears her last name and was born by Kimberly Day through artificial means when Day and Strickland were married.

All nine state Supreme Court justices found problems with the original, lower court ruling by Rankin County Chancery Judge John Grant III.

It’s difficult to rationalize how a judge gives an anonymous donor (who is unknown to the child and probably always will be) equal rights to a birth mother but cuts out the other woman who has been a mother to the child since birth.

If Strickland had been a man in a heterosexual marriage that had a child through use of an anonymous sperm donor, I’m certain he would have still been treated like the father he was and been given parental rights without question.

Chief Justice William Waller Jr. acknowledged the Mississippi legislature needed to clarify state law:

“The Legislature should speak directly to the recognition of the legal status of children born during a marriage as the result of assisted reproductive technology,” Waller wrote.

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