Have you seen the promo for Katie Couric’s show today with Jason Patric? He’s the actor suing for custody of a child he donated sperm to create. In the clip, Katie asks why his name in not on the birth certificate. Really? Katie Couric doesn’t know the answer to that question? It’s because he didn’t want his name on the birth certificate. It was a condition of his donating the sperm. The promotion is about him going from "Dad" to sperm donor. No, Katie - he wanted to be a sperm donor up until he decided he could use custody as a weapon against his ex-girlfriend.
Mr. Patric wasn’t turned into a sperm donor. It was the role he chose. When an ex-girlfriend decided she wanted a child and came to him to request his sperm, Mr. Patric made it clear he wanted nothing to do with the child. He was so adamant, he wrote a 20 page letter detailing how he would not be financially responsible or in any other way responsible for the child. He insisted that his name not be included on the birth certificate and even lied to friends and family about being the father. After a brief reconcilation with the girlfriend a couple of years later, Mr. Patric decided he deserved joint custody and is now suing for that custody.
Mr. Patric is clearly a social dominance oriented individual who can’t stand the idea of a woman having more control than he does over what he now perceives to be his property. Even in the clip posted on Katie Couric’s website, Mr. Patric displays aggression and malevolence towards the mother rather than love towards the child.
The only way Mr. Patric comes across as sympathetic is through lies and fabrications about what his role has been in the child’s life. But enough about him. The broader issue (that is worthy of discussion on Katie’s show) includes sperm donation, unwed fathers, non-biological lesbian mothers and the issues surrounding what makes you a parent.
The issues of gender, social dominance, combined with money in our legal system are all interjected in the case law surrounding family formation. Those issues are at the heart of the move by this actor to turn California law on its head for the sole purpose of allowing one man to use custody as a weapon against his ex-girlfriend.
The segment reveals more about Katie Couric and the producers of her show than it does about the motives of Mr. Patric. Those of us who actually base decisions on facts clearly understand that Mr. Patric was and remains a sperm donor. The more interesting question is why the mainstream media is willing to lie about the facts to overturn a law which protects lesbian couples as well as single men and women from frivolous litigation, regarding support and custody, while recognizing the rights of individuals to form family units through a mutual agreement to co-parent.
SB 115 reintroduces (as state policy) the premise that biology is everything - at least when that biology is connected to sperm. Irrespective of the intentions of a lesbian couple to form a family together or a single mother to raise her child alone, the right of the biological sperm donor to decide that he wants to claim his property shall be affirmed and protected by the state of California. Some have asserted that the right to support is implied in this statute. That is incorrect. That decision will be left to the California Supreme Court since it is not guaranteed by the language of the statute.
SB 115 is a one-way right written solely for the benefit of the sperm donor, who at any point can sue for custody. There is no provision to exclude that right if a written waiver is signed at the time of donation.
Even more dangerous is the fact that SB 115 alters power relationships between women and men, even when they agree to mutually co-parent. SB 115 interjects the superiority of male sperm donation in family formation, irrespective of written agreements. Such power is not given to egg donors or surrogates that are in the same position as sperm donors. It is not lost on us that the author and supporters of SB 115 have made no attempt to afford such power to mothers who are not listed on the birth certificate.
The issue of who should be considered a parent is complicated and should be treated with the utmost care taking into consideration both the rights and responsibilities owed to children in our society.
Biology is not everything, nor is it nothing. However, moving from our current system where mutual agreement to co-parent is the starting place to a male dominant system is not the answer. It negates the ability of lesbian couples and single women to control the make-up of their families.
Katie, you should be ashamed to be participating in such an anti-woman, anti-lesbian piece of legislation and the fabricated publicity campaign designed to ensure passage of this heinous legislation. We know one thing for sure - we’re embarrassed for you.