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The R.I. Uniform Parentage Act

The R.I. House & Senate have now passed a final version of the R.I.U.P.A., or Rhode Island Uniform Parentage Act.  Governor Raimondo is expected to sign the legislation, which will allow for same-sex couples who have a child via surrogacy, IVF, or other reproductive assistance programs to voluntarily acknowledge parenthood of the child without having to first advocate for themselves in the R.I. Family Court.

Previously, R.I.’s outdated laws had nightmarish scenarios for many same-sex parents.

Take one example: An unmarried, lesbian couple uses a sperm donor and becomes pregnant by I.V.F.  Though the couple decided together to become pregnant, and the couple planned together and sacrificed together to plan for that baby’s arrival, only the parent in this couple that physically gave birth to the newborn would be recognized as his or her parent.  This left the poor “other” parent (the one who did not give birth to the child) in the loathsome position of having to suffer from a cumbersome legal process to “become” the equal parent.  And, while this process was being played out, it left the newborn with only one parent at law.  Now, with the U.P.A. passage, both parents of the child can acknowledge parenthood of the newborn immediately, giving the child two loving, legal parents right from the start.

Otherwise the “non-birth” parent (truly, for such a lack of better phrase…) would be unable to make medical decisions for their newborn, unable to choose a daycare for the child, unable to add the child on their insurance, etc. unless and until they went through with a full adoption of that child, which (unbelievably) often required service of process upon the sperm donor involved.  Until now, to summarize, one parent among same-sex couples had to adopt their own child.

It was an archaic, discriminatory, and humiliating ordeal for both parents involved and now thanks to Senator Erin Lynch Prata, Esq., and Representative Carol Hagan McEntee, there will be more children being born into the arms of loving, caring, legal parents.  Be proud, Rhode Island!

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