Oregon Woman Loses Appeal in Sperm-Donor Case
WASHINGTON (AP) _ An Oregon woman who does not want to share parenting rights with the California man who donated his sperm for her artificial insemination lost a Supreme Court appeal today.
The court, without comment, let stand a ruling that Kevin McIntyre is entitled to a trial in seeking to prove he donated sperm only after Linden Crouch said she would let him help raise the child.
Ms. Crouch says no such agreement was made.
Nationwide, more than 20,000 children are born each year through artificial insemination, the court was told.
In most cases, women are inseminated with sperm obtained through a sperm bank from donors who remain anonymous to them. But McIntyre, from Moraga, Calif., has known Ms. Crouch, from Ashland, Ore., for over 13 years.
Ms. Crouch gave birth to a daughter, Glenellen Susan, on Nov. 24, 1986, after being artificially impregnated with sperm she had asked McIntyre to donate.
He says Ms. Crouch told him before he agreed to donate his sperm that she wanted him to share parenting with her. He says she also agreed to his request for visitation rights.
In other action today, the high court:
- Agreed to use the case if a Mississippi death row inmate to provide new guidelines for police questioning of suspects.
The court said it will hear an appeal by Robert S. Minnick, a convicted murderer who said his confession was unlawful because he was denied his right to have a lawyer present.
- Refused to reinstate the California murder conviction of a Black Panther Party member who was shackled during his 17-month trial.
The court, without comment, let stand a ruling that the shackling at Johnny Spain’s trial violated his rights.
- Rejected an appeal by a Utah city accused of unlawfully promoting religion by subsidizing the Mormon Church and by putting a church symbol on city property.
The court, over one dissenting vote, refused to kill a lawsuit that says the city violated the constitutionally required separation of church and state.
- Refused to give new life to a copyright lawsuit over actress Shirley MacLaine’s 1983 best-selling book, ″Out on a Limb.″
The court, without comment, let stand rulings that MacLaine’s book about reincarnation and other spiritual subjects did not infringe the copyright of a 1977 book written by Charles Silva.
- Rejected an appeal by a former member of the Church of Scientology of California who wanted the church declared a phony religion.
The court, without comment, rejected an appeal by Larry Wollersheim of Aspen, Colo.
Still pending before the justices is an appeal by the Church of Scientology of California aimed at overturning a $2.5 million ″emotional distress″ award won by Wollersheim.
- Rejected a chemical company’s challenge to federal standards for clean water.
The court, without comment, left intact rules that govern more than 1,000 factories producing organic chemicals, plastics and synthetic fibers.
Oregon’s artificial insemination law denies any parental rights to sperm donors who are not the woman’s husband.
The law states, ″Such donor shall have no right, obligation or interest with respect to a child born as a result of the artificial insemination.″
Invoking that law, a state trial judge threw out McIntyre’s lawsuit seeking parental rights.
But a state appeals court, by a 2-1 vote, reinstated his suit in 1988. The appeals court said the state law, when applied to McIntyre, violated his constitutionally protected due-process rights.
The appeals court said McIntyre is entitled to a trial in Jackson County, Ore., on his allegation that Ms. Crouch broke an oral agreement.
The Oregon Supreme Court refused to hear Ms. Crouch’s ensuing appeal last Nov. 30, but postponed any trial until Ms. Crouch could appeal to the nation’s highest court.
In the appeal acted on today, Ms. Crouch’s lawyer argued, ″Mr. McIntyre’s claim, at the most and if proven, is that he has lost a quantity of sperm because he was tricked by Ms. Crouch.″
″This was conduct between private parties,″ the appeal said. ″The government was not involved (so) a liberty interest under the (Constitution’s) due process clause does not exist.″
Ms. Crouch’s appeal said the appeals court ruling ″calls into question the legal relationships among donors, fathers and children conceived by artificial insemination in Oregon.″
Her appeal said most states have artificial insemination laws.
McIntyre’s lawyer urged the justices to reject Ms. Crouch’s appeal. He said McIntyre had tried since 1980 to adopt a child, and since 1983 had sought to have a child through a surrogate mother.
The case is Crouch vs. McIntyre, 89-1424.