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12 fathers sue Utah over adoption laws

12 fathers sue Utah over adoption laws

(File Photo)

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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SALT LAKE CITY — Twelve biological fathers are suing the state of Utah, claiming its adoption laws amount to legalized fraud and kidnapping.

All of them had children put up for adoption without their consent.

Attorney Wes Hutchins, who has worked in adoption law for more than two decades, believes this lawsuit could be the first of its kind in the country, and could eventually become a class-action case.

Hutchins said the case originated with what he describes as the broken promise of a former attorney general, during a network TV program about a Utah adoption case where the biological father was denied custody when the baby was adopted without his knowledge.

"He would investigate the issues and if there was a need for change, he would work with the Legislature to bring about change," Hutchins said the state's top cop promised.

Hutchins said he went undercover with a woman (his wife) posing as a birth mother seeking to give birth in Utah. He said they presented that attorney general and his successor with evidence birth mothers were being coached to lie.


"Statements like, ‘We'll just go home and tell the birth father that the baby died,' or 'Come to Utah, but don't tell the birth father where you're coming,'" Hutchins said. " 'Don't tell him anything.' "

Hutchins claims Utah law permits birth mothers or people representing them to commit fraud, encouraging out-of-state women to give birth here because the laws exclude the rights of birth fathers.

"A birth mother, or anyone working with a birth mother, can commit fraud in placing the child for adoption," Hutchins explained, "but that is not a basis to overturn the adoptive placement."

In other words, a birth father can sue for damages, but not to get the child back.

All of the fathers in the lawsuit to date have fought to stop the adoptions of their children. A couple of them were able to gain custody, but not all have been successful.

The lawsuit seeks both monetary damages and to strike down the Utah Adoption Act.

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Becky Bruce


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