The Bogeyman of Three (or More) Parents

11 Pages Posted: 2 Aug 2008 Last revised: 5 Aug 2008

See all articles by Brian Bix

Brian Bix

University of Minnesota Law School

Date Written: August 1, 2008


Each generation of law scholars, policy analysts, and politicians comes up with bogeymen: outcomes so scary that the mere hint that a policy, rule, or case decision might lead to that outcome is treated as a strong argument for a contrary view. This paper consders, briefly, a recent bogeyman of parental rights cases: the recognition of three (or more) legal parents. Two recent cases recognizing three legal parents, in the context of same-sex parenting and the use of new reproductive technologies, evoked outrage from some commentators. This paper considers the reasons behind the strong reaction, and whether the response was justifed. The paper notes that three parents is ever more common as a social fact, and also occasionally pesent as a legal reality, even (or especially) in the sort of cases that do not evoke strong responses.

Keywords: parental rights, multiple parenting, family law

Suggested Citation

Bix, Brian, The Bogeyman of Three (or More) Parents (August 1, 2008). Minnesota Legal Studies Research Paper No. 08-22, Available at SSRN: or

Brian Bix (Contact Author)

University of Minnesota Law School ( email )

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