Sen. Lynch Prata’s ‘Rhode Island Parentage Act’ passes Senate


STATE HOUSE – The Senate yesterday passed legislation to update Rhode Island’s laws regarding parentage so that they are fair to all types of parents, including those in the LGBTQ community. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairwoman Erin Lynch Prata sponsored the legislation (2020-S 2136A), which would repeal outdated and discriminatory state law regarding parentage and replace it with a uniform act that provides procedures establishing parentage, genetic testing, surrogacy agreements and assisted reproduction.

“The Judiciary Committee heard heart wrenching testimony about the ways in which our outdated laws are impacting parents and children. As our laws stand right now, a couple who have a child via a sperm donor may have to hire a lawyer or advertise to determine parentage in order to terminate the parental rights of an anonymous sperm donor.  Parents may be unable to make medical decisions for their child when they’re incapacitated due to complications. This is simply unfair. Rhode Island law needs to be updated so that the state no longer puts up unnecessary obstacles to loving parents simply because they are not heterosexual or have not conceived through traditional reproduction methods,” said Senator Lynch Prata (D-Dist. 31, Warwick, Cranston).

She added, “The last time our parentage laws were updated was in the 1970’s. Our society has changed considerably since then. This bill represents a legislative solution to a serious equality and rights issue for all loving and nurturing parents.”

The Rhode Island Parentage Act provides for the following paths to legal parentage in Rhode Island: birth, adoption, acknowledgement, adjudication, genetics, assisted reproduction, surrogacy, de facto parentage, and presumptions. It also provides clear standards for the Family Court to apply in order to establish parentage.

The bill now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.


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