Virtual Mothers and the Meaning of Parenthood
Annette Ruth Appell
Washington University in Saint Louis - School of Law
September 1, 2000
University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform, Vol. 34, No. 2, p. 683, 2000
Washington University in St. Louis Legal Studies Research Paper No. 10-11-08
Professor Appell supports the use of the traditional parental rights doctrine, which accords biological parents, particularly poor mothers and mothers of color, parental status alienable only voluntarily or upon proof of unfitness. She defends the doctrine against the criticisms that it is regressive and does not protect the interests of children or de facto parents. She contends that the attacks on traditional parental rights doctrine are misguided because they work to the disadvantage of families who do not easily fit the dominant norm, i.e., minority, single-mother, lower income, or politically and legally under-represented families. After examining the constitutional underpinnings and application of the parental rights doctrine as well as proposals to change it, she concludes that the doctrine provides more concrete standards than any alternative and serves to protect those families most vulnerable to intervention or dissolution.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 109
Keywords: Feminist Jurisprudence, Mothers, Families, Children, RaceAccepted Paper Series
Date posted: November 21, 2010 ; Last revised: July 26, 2011
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