Law lecture examines parenting, genetics and the law
Douglas NeJaime, Anne Urowsky Professor of Law at Yale Law School, will discuss the origins of what the public has assumed are children’s true parents, parentage laws, and the role of genetic or gestational status in his lecture “True Parenthood”. This event, the 2022 Distinguished Visiting Professor of Law Lecture, will be held 12:15 p.m., Wednesday, April 20, online virtually and in-person in Rm. 114 at the University of Cincinnati College of Law.
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About the lecture
Judges, lawmakers, commentators, and the public routinely assume that a child’s true parents are her biological parents. Legislatures too often adopt parentage laws that exclude nonbiological parents. Courts too often prefer an absent biological parent over a person who has been parenting the child but in the absence of a biological connection. While this preoccupation with biological parenthood presents itself as a natural and pre-political fact, it is in reality a modern construction. And it harms too many families, perpetuating troubling forms of exclusion and depriving children of the consistent parental care they deserve. This is not to say that biology does not matter. Instead, a focus on parent-child relationships that exist in fact, across diverse family forms, leads us to think about the biology of parenthood differently. Parenthood, as a biological concept, reflects the social dimensions of parenting. As emerging research on the parenting brain suggests, the “biological parent” is the person who commits to parenting and consistently cares for the child. It is that person, regardless of their genetic or gestational status, who is the child’s true parent.
About the lecturer
Douglas NeJaime, Anne Urowsky Professor of Law at Yale Law School, teaches in the areas of family law, legal ethics, law and sexuality, and constitutional law. Before joining the Yale faculty, NeJaime was Professor of Law at UCLA School of Law, where he served as Faculty Director of the Williams Institute, and also served on the faculties at UC Irvine School of Law, Loyola Law School, and Harvard Law School.
NeJaime is the co-author of Family Law in a Changing America (with Ralph Richard Banks, Joanna Grossman, and Suzanne Kim), Cases and Materials on Sexuality, Gender Identity, and the Law (with Carlos Ball, Jane Schacter, and William Rubenstein), and Ethical Lawyering: Legal and Professional Responsibilities in the Practice of Law (with Paul Hayden). His research can be found in such scholarly journals as N.Y.U. Law Review, Stanford Law Review, Yale Law Journal, Harvard Law Review, and the California Law Review. NeJaime has been a leader on national efforts to reform parentage laws to accommodate families that feature nonbiological parent-child relationships, including those formed by same-sex couples and through assisted reproduction. In fact, he led the effort to pass comprehensive parentage reform in Connecticut, serving as the principal drafter of the Connecticut Parentage Act, Public Act 21-15, which passed with near-unanimous support in both chambers of the legislature and was signed by Governor Ned Lamont in 2021.
He received his AB from Brown University and JD from Harvard Law School.
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