WHEREAS, Senate Bill 516 and House Bills 722, 723, and 724, which would permit genetic testing to rebut the presumption of paternity when a child is born during marriage, are currently pending before the Senate and House Judiciary Committees of the Pennsylvania Legislature; and
WHEREAS, the existing case law sets a high standard of "clear and convincing evidence," under limited circumstances, of "no access or [of] the husband's inability to procreate at the time of conception" in order to rebut the presumption; and
WHEREAS, after review and application of the considered alternatives, the Family Law Section of the Philadelphia Bar Association finds that passage of this legislation would cause the following deleterious results:
· in divorce matters, there would be an increase in ancillary litigation in the Courts of this Commonwealth
· in custody cases, a mother could use this legislation as a means to cut off the rights of the man who had raised her child as his son
· in an attempt to avoid possible future support obligations, fathers would be likely to rush their children for genetic testing prior to the closing of the statutorily allowed window for such testing
· the integrity of the family unit could be threatened by a third party who could file a claim of paternity of a child in that family; and
WHEREAS, while the pending bills would benefit some individuals, the Family Law Section believes the greater good and best interests and welfare of the children of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania would be served by maintaining the law as set forth by the Appellate Courts of Pennsylvania.
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Board of Governors opposes the passage of the legislation set forth in Senate Bill 516, House Bill 722, House Bill 723 and House Bill 724, or other comparable legislation as presently written.
PHILADELPHIA BAR ASSOCIATION
BOARD OF GOVERNORS
ADOPTED: August 26, 1999