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Are there laws regarding endangerment of an unborn child or fetus? I am wondering if the father could be in violation of the law

New York, NY |

I am 4 months pregnant and my ex-boyfriend , who has already acknowledged paternity through written emails, refuses to fill out medical forms for our baby. He won't come to the doctor's appointments and doesn't want to be a part of the child's life. Even though he says he will pay support in the future, I am undergoing genetic testing now and it does no good when I don't know the father's medical history since his history is used to determine the genetic probability that our child will suffer problems. The doctors must do the tests with only my information and I feel this is unfair and it puts our baby at risk. Is there a way to make him comply? Is there a law protecting fetuses? Will his acknowledgment of paternity via email hold up in the meantime? He will fill out the proper forms

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Attorney answers 5


Unfortunately there are no laws in effect to compel the father to submit to medical testing. Every person has the right to procreate regardless of their medical status or genetic flaws. The emails of the father admitting paternity are of no value. Once the child is born, you must obtain an order of filiation from the Family Court regardless of these emails unless the father has acknowledged paternity on a legal document through the hospital at the time of birth. There is no legal document that I am aware of where a father to a child born out of wedlock can acknowledge paternity before the birth of the child.

The opinion herein does not constitute legal representation in any way or establish an attorney-client relatioship.


Under the law, your ex is not the father until the child is born and he either signs an acknowledgement of paternity at the hospital or you take him to court to declare him the father (filiation proceeding in family court). Until that time he has no obligation other than moral to your or the child. There is no way to compel him to do anything at this time. Sorry.

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The short answer to each of your questions is No.

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Yes, there are laws regarding endangering an unborn child, but nothing in your narrative above indicates there has been any violation of these laws. There is no legal basis to compel your ex-boyfriend to cooperate with genetic testing or even simple paternity testing at this time. Once your child is born, you may be able to compel paternity testing and seek child support from the child's father. An email from your ex-boyfriend stating that he acknowledges paternity of your child may be useful in compelling paternity testing, but it will not conclusively establish paternity. In New York, paternity may be conclusively established by completing an official form at the hospital or by an Order of Filiation issued by the court afterwards; however, may be possible for an attorney to prepare an enforceable agreement now that will provide for acknowledgement of paternity and child support. I suggest you consult with a local attorney to discuss this and other relevant issues. You can find attorneys in New York by searching among the profiles here on Avvo. Good luck!

Ms. Brown may be reached at 718-878-6886 during regular business hours, or anytime by email at: All of Ms. Brown’s responses to questions posted on AVVO are intended as general information based upon the facts stated in the question, and are provided for educational purposes of the public, not any specific individual, and her response to the question above is not legal advice and it does not create an attorney-client relationship. Ms. Brown is licensed to practice law in New York. If you would like to obtain specific legal advice about this issue, you must contact an attorney who is licensed to practice law in your state.


Although there are some laws the facts you provide don't rise to the level of a violation. No one can be compelled to undergo the medical testing you mention. To not do so definitely is causing you frustration and unnecessary angst but cannot be deemed endangerment of the fetus. I am sorry. Upon the birth of the child you can bring an action to establish paternity as well as for support. But till then I wish you the best.

The above answer does not constitute an attorney client relationship and/ or retention of counsel. This answer is based upon the facts presented and may change if additional information is provided. The rules of the Bar for New York State may require me to advise that this could be construed as attorney advertisement.