A Utah man can continue efforts to establish a father's right to participate in a woman's decision to have an abortion, a judge ruled Monday.

Jon Michael Reynolds, 25, will immediately take the issue of a father's parental rights regarding unborn children to the Utah Court of Appeals. The case could set a precedent regarding constitutional rights of fathers.Third District Judge David Young ruled Monday that the abortion issue could be separated from the current divorce proceedings between Michael Reynolds and his 18-year-old wife, Jennifer.

Following the ruling, Mitchell Barker, attorney for Michael Reynolds, said, "We're very pleased the Utah Court of Appeals will have an opportunity to decided the very important issue of a father's rights regarding his unborn child. The case is no longer urgent, because Mrs. Reynolds had an abortion, but it is not moot because it is likely to come up in courts again.

"My client does not want other fathers to go through the pain that he did."

Representing Jennifer Reynolds' interests, Robyn Blumner of the American Civil Liberty Union said she doubts the Utah appellate court will change what U.S. Supreme Court has established - that a third party has no right to interfere with a mother's right to have an abortion.

In March, Michael Reynolds was seeking custody of his unborn child. He wanted the court to rule a father should be able to share responsibility in an abortion decision and order the mother to carry the fetus to full term so he could attempt to obtain custody.

Young originally granted the father's request for a temporary restraining order barring his wife from aborting their unborn child. But one week later, on March 30, Young lifted the order by ruling there was no legal basis for it.

About an hour after the ruling, the Utah Court of Appeals granted another temporary restraining order, finding the father deserved another hearing.

However, by the time the appeals court's order was served on the mother, she had already obtained a medical abortion.