Ethics Question: A Man’s Rights

There is a long history of oppression of women on many fronts in our society. Socially, politically, economically, and legally, among others. There are a number of very good bloggers here who often address gender issues, and I’m not typically one of them.

But two things happened to me yesterday that brings up a gender issue that nobody speaks about: a man’s rights in an unplanned pregnancy. I reconnected with an old friend on facebook who had knocked up his (much younger) girlfriend a few years ago, and didn’t want a kid. She wanted to keep it, putting him in a catch-22. Either he could be involved in this kid’s life as a father but separately from the mother, he could try to make a family out of this unit, or he could choose to have nothing to do with the mother or the child.

But the problem, as I see it, is this: no matter what he chooses, he’s on the hook for 18 years of financial support. Legally, there were good reasons for setting up the system to favor the rights of the mother and the welfare of the child. Back when the policies that govern this issue were established, the following things were true:

  • women did not have significant earning power in the workforce,
  • abortions were unsafe and, in most places, illegal,
  • being a single mom was a dreadful social stigma, and
  • having a child was often the only legal leverage a woman had against her spouse.

In other words, before women had the right to choose, the ability to work and make money, and basically to control their own destiny, this was an incredibly important legal protection granted to them by the courts.

But now, women do have earning power, they do have access to abortions if they want them, and choice is a paramount right for them. Yet it is still the case that, no matter what the man wants, he’s on the hook for 18 years of financial support regardless of what he chooses.

Although this happened to my friend years ago (and he chose to go for the raise-a-family option), my wife found out that one of her friends is in this situation right now. His ex-girlfriend is pregnant by him and wants to keep the baby. He doesn’t want it. I think that it’s early enough (2 months) that he shouldn’t be on the financial hook for the next 18 years. But legally, not only is he responsible, but even sperm donors have been legally held accountable for financial support, and in multiple states, and even in the UK as well.

So, I’m curious as to what you think. What do you think a man’s legal obligations should be when he impregnates a woman?

Now, mind you, I think that the choice of whether to have the kid or not should always lie with the woman (it’s her body), but I think the man should be able to choose whether he wants to be a dad or not. I think that if she chooses abortion, it’s his responsibility to pay half. But I think that if she chooses to have the child, with or without him, he should have the right to say, “without me, please.”

Right now, the courts always place the welfare of the child first. Is this the right thing to do in this day and age? What do you think?

Comments

  1. #1 Ethan (not that one, the other one)
    June 24, 2009

    Right now, the courts always place the welfare of the child first. Is this the right thing to do in this day and age?< \i>

    Yes. I realize that this isn’t fair, but the question answers itself.

  2. #2 Qwerty
    June 24, 2009

    As the wife of a man duped by someone into this situation long before I met him, I think that the woman’s intentions should be weighed into the situation. My spouse just happened to be the first “sucker” to impregnate this woman. She’s duped two other men afterward. She leads them on to working two or three jobs prior to the child being born, claims she doesn’t want to get married while “she’s a whale” and then serves them in the delivery room immediately after delivery. This way they HAVE to pay child support based on an inflated salary and are completely willing to have a child with a woman they believe they will marry as soon as the baby is born. She now brings in $60,000 a year just by breathing. Almost NONE of that money goes to the children. She still receives welfare, food stamps, etc. She drives a brand new car every year and lives in a McMansion while the kids go barefoot and wear hand-me-downs from her sister’s kids. She’s living with a guy who is running a similar scam with 6 kids from 6 different women who he got addicted to drugs after the kids were born and had them declared unfit. He probably gets another $100,000 from their support. They live like kings and queens while their victims are kept from their kids because they refuse visitation (which the courts won’t do anything more than say “Ms. So-and-So, you MUST let Mr. X see his child according to the terms of your custody agreement” and when she doesn’t they just tell her the same thing all over again) but have to pay for them. My spouse is supposed to get his daughter about 10 weeks a year, he’s lucky to see her 10 times a year. Case workers don’t care and always side with the moms. In fact, my spouse was forced to pay for the mother of his child’s college education since he was responsible for “knocking her up” even though she was 22 at the time and an adult responsible for her own actions as well. The judge who oversaw the case was 96 years old and punished him for “not making her an honest woman” even though he was perfectly willing to marry her up unto the day he met me… SHE refused him. It’s an unfair standard that no one can live to. The courts could enforce his custody so he could see his daughter but they won’t… but god-forbid he be one day late with a support payment… they threaten jail time. Patently unfair. What is she doing with the college education my spouse paid for? Nothing. Collecting welfare for the last TEN years.

  3. #3 tbell
    June 24, 2009

    dude,
    my working assumption is that if you have sex, you are running the risk of assuming legal responsibility for any offspring that might result. Even if the birth control was deliberately sabotaged. Them’s just the risks of doing business. Tends to make one careful about birth control and choice of partners.

    However, I think holding the sperm donor responsible is completely outrageous.

  4. #4 Betsy
    June 24, 2009

    sperm donors shouldn’t be held responsible for child support. That’s stupid. The woman knew what she was doing going in. It takes an awful lot of effort to get pregnant that way. There is nothing accidental about it.

    However, adults should be having this conversation BEFORE they have sex. I insist on it in every relationship. After the “have you been tested for AIDS or HPV” discussion, there has to be an understanding of what happens and whose decision it ultimately is about a pregnancy. Then everyone goes in with eyes wide-open. Doing otherwise is irresponsible. However, men still know this could happen if they have sex, and women can still die giving birth. We can’t have men deciding that they WANT the child when she doesn’t, and therefore, it has to be HER choice and his only option is persuasion, or a vasectomy.

  5. #5 phisrow
    June 24, 2009

    tbell: Do you think of all instances of fraud as “just risks of doing business” or is unilateral sabotage of birth control a special case?

  6. #6 Sam
    June 24, 2009

    Gender equality is not only law, it is part of our culture. When a man and a women agree to have recreational sex they are agreeing not to have a baby. For a woman to keep a child and demand financial support from the unwilling father is extortion.

  7. #7 Christy
    June 24, 2009

    I believe that child’s best interest is the most important: the man should support the child – he is the father. But I also think it is despicable when women deliberately have a child to “hook” a man or to avoid working. In these cases the mother is not acting in the best interest of the child.

  8. #8 hotpat
    June 24, 2009

    I know a young man who got a young woman pregnant.
    He didn’t want the child and she did. He got drunk one night, went over to her house, and punched her hard in the stomach. I forget how far she was in the pregnancy, but the child did not survive. The young man spent a few weeks in jail and paid a $2000 fine.

    This was regarded by some in the community as a victory for the male: a few weeks in jail and $2000 was a modest price to pay in comparison to 18 years of child support.

  9. #9 Andrew
    June 24, 2009

    Sadly, it’s not yet the case that women have equal earning power to men, nor is being a single mother even socially neutral, let alone the mark of quality and character being a family woman is. As single fathers become more prevalent, they’re often considered heroic for taking the responsibility on top of their daily lives, whereas single mothers are seen as a matter-of-course, natural type of single parent.

    As for abortions, although they are legal, many States have seen fit to make them difficult to obtain.

    However, it is true that woman are no longer as legally disenfranchised as before. In fact, the laws are constructed to be so heavily in favor of the woman (and upheld by the courts as such) precisely because the other three bullet points (among others) aren’t quite “there yet”.

    While the idea that a sperm donor could be successfully sued for child support is ridiculous and something ought to be done about that, we still have a ways to go before the argument you’ve constructed in favor of equalizing other legal outcomes re: child support will be fully applicable.

    When that day comes, though, I’ll be shoulder-to-shoulder with you.

  10. #10 SLC
    June 24, 2009

    Hey, it’s very simple. If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime. That’s what condoms are for.

    With regard to sperm donors, usually the identity of the donor is held secret.

  11. #11 Andrew
    June 24, 2009

    When a man and a women agree to have recreational sex they are agreeing not to have a baby.

    Given that no court would accept that the “reasonable man” would believe that recreational sex with birth control involved completely eliminates the chance of pregnancy, I don’t think you can honestly make this claim.

    They are agreeing that the sex they’re having is not for the purpose of making a baby, but they aren’t actually in charge of fate any further than the failure rate of the birth control involved.

  12. #12 Andrew
    June 24, 2009

    Just to clarify, when I say reasonable man, I’m using the legal term. I’m not specifying the gender – the reasonable man in law could easily be a woman. The “reasonable man” is simply a hypothetical person working with what’s considered common knowledge – in this case, that birth control is not 100%.

  13. #13 Izzy
    June 24, 2009

    Considering the plethora and quality of birth control options available today, the number of unplanned pregnancies is staggering. I do think a man should have the right to say “I don’t want anything to do with this”, but it’s probably a good idea to put this in writing early on. Say, before the 12th week of gestation. People are fickle. If he says, “sure, let’s have the baby” initially, he shouldn’t have the right to say “oh, nevermind” a month before birth. But the woman shouldn’t force him into being a father either. Responsibility for proper use of birth control lies with both parties, and if you’re sloppy for convenience or because it “kills the mood” or the condom is “uncomfortable” or whatever, then you’re knowingly taking a risk.
    Holding a sperm donor financially responsible is ridiculous. Getting pregnant from that is no accident. Likewise, deliberately manipulating birth control to “accidentally” get pregnant and “trap” the guy is disgusting. Sadly, it still happens.
    As for the conversation before sex, it’s a really good idea, but people lie or change their minds, too. In my opinion, if you’re not in a long-term, meaningful relationship where you can trust the other person, use a condom, no compromise. And additional birth control is a good backup too.

  14. #14 Sam
    June 24, 2009

    @Andrew: True. However, the “reasonable man” would also know that abortion is an option.

  15. #15 Sam
    June 24, 2009

    A women who uses birth control would be unlikely to oppose abortion.

  16. #16 Andrew
    June 24, 2009

    @Sam: Also true; however, abortion is not birth control and is a different kettle of fish, because only one party can decide to have the abortion (the man can’t force the woman to have one against her will, and that’s true no matter how you come down on the subsequent child-support issue).

    Basically, recreational sex isn’t an iron-clad agreement “not to make a baby”. It’s an agreement to not to try to, at best. Even if both parties agree abortion is an option, no one would ever think the actual discovery of a pregnancy might not change one or both minds; I don’t think there’s room for a different outcome there, either.

  17. #17 Andrew
    June 24, 2009

    A women who uses birth control would be unlikely to oppose abortion.

    How do you figure?

    Birth control is the prevention of conception; abortion is the termination of something conceived. I have known many women, and dated a few, who were very pro-birth control, but also adamant that if the birth control failed, the baby would be kept. I know the plural of anecdote isn’t data and you have no reason to trust my word, but I really don’t see abortion as being equivalent to other birth controls. I don’t even see it as being birth control in the first place.

  18. #18 D. C. Sessions
    June 24, 2009

    I think the man should be able to choose whether he wants to be a dad or not.

    There’s this awesome-cool technological solution to this problem, and it has the side benefit of preventing disease transmission.

  19. #19 rob
    June 24, 2009

    tough question. also the laws are outmoded. ultimately, the choice lies mostly with the woman, because she is the one undergoing the risk of pregnancy. let’s look at possibilities:

    man wants it, woman wants it: no problem here. good luck!

    man doesn’t want it, woman does not want it: no problem here either.

    now it gets tricky, when one party does not want the child. the real issue seems to be how much you think you can force someone to do something against their will.

    can you force a woman to complete a pregnancy or not?

    can you force a man to pay for a child or not?

    there is risk in pregnancy or abortion. a woman should not be forced to do either against her will. on the flip side, there is financial risk for the man for 18 yrs and he should not be forced either.

    i think:

    if the woman wants to have the child and the man doesn’t, that is her choice, and the man should not have to pay. tough luck for her.

    if the man wants the child and the woman doesn’t, that is her choice, and the woman should not have to have the child. tough luck for him.

  20. #20 Zuska
    June 24, 2009

    D00ds, if you do not want to be daddies, either do not have sex, or get a vasectomy. There are no other sure fire guaranteed ways to avoid producing a child. Every form of birth control has a chance of failure, even when used properly.

    If you plan to have sex and do not want to be a daddy, then (1) take responsibility for using birth control, (2) have a conversation with your potential sex partner before sex about your lack of desire to not be a daddy and what the two of you will do should a child ensue from your coupling. If all that seems a big turnoff then either you shouldn’t be having indiscriminate sex, or you should be willing to accept the risk that your indiscriminate sex runs the risk that you will end up being a daddy and therefore responsible for sharing the at least the finances of raising a child for 18 years.

    If you think you can just walk around in the world using your dick whenever you want in whatever way you want with absolutely no consequences, physical or financial to yourself, then what you are operating on is a sense of male privilege. You need to get over that, for the sake of yourself, your potential sex partners, and society in general.

    Women always know that sex runs the risk of leaving them with a child. The problem for them is it isn’t quite so easy to just walk away from the kid as it is for men. When they do, people tend to get all upset and moral about it. “I had this baby, but I don’t feel like paying for it. I’m going to leave it at this hospital doorstep.” “I got pregnant, but I don’t feel like paying for it. I’m going to have an abortion.” Yeah, people tend to frown on those sorts of choices. But it takes two to make that baby, and here we are arguing over whether or not the guy should be obligated in any way to help care for the child? Why aren’t we just as outraged at what is essentially the male equivalent of leaving the baby at the hospital doorstep – assuming that someone else will care for, raise, and pay for the child he had a hand in creating?

    Please note: I am not anti-abortion. In the above, I was merely trying to point out that when a woman who’s become pregnant chooses to have an abortion, there’s a large segment of society who condemns her for that choice – for what they see as her lack of responsibility. But with men, there’s no condemning of their abdication of responsibility – rather we are discussing whether or not the poor souls ought to be “coerced” into paying for the kids those vile women “trapped” them into having.

    But now, women do have earning power, they do have access to abortions if they want them, and choice is a paramount right for them. Yet it is still the case that, no matter what the man wants, he’s on the hook for 18 years of financial support regardless of what he chooses.

    Just want to echo the above commentor who pointed out that many, many women do NOT have equal earning power to that of men – not even women in many privileged and high-powered careers – and that access to abortions, even for those who are knowledgeable and wealthy is a very iffy prospect in vast regions of the United States. And as the anecdote of the drunken shit who punched the woman in the stomach illustrates, women are far more likely to be on the receiving end of manipulation, coercion, and violence from men than they are to be in the position of tricking poor d00dz into fatherhood.

  21. #21 Zuska
    June 24, 2009

    And describing this as a gender issue nobody speaks about is a joke. Men’s control over women’s bodies has been the NORM for millennia and it is only recently that women have been able to assert some control over their own reproduction and to use the law to force men to take responsibility for their role in reproduction. But you should talk to single or divorced mothers about just how difficult it is to actually collect child support that is legally ordered by the courts, and how often it goes unpaid or underpaid.

  22. #22 NFG
    June 24, 2009

    > However, adults should be having this conversation BEFORE
    > they have sex. I insist on it in every relationship.

    A very good idea, but not a reasonable one when it comes to casual sex. In the heat of the moment I’d have agreed to nearly anything, the rational mind is not really at play here.

    > A women who uses birth control would be unlikely to
    > oppose abortion.

    A woman using birth control is unlikely to be awash in the hormonal juice that makes her crave motherhood. Having seen this in action I can confidently say that being pregnant can make a woman’s mind change about many things.

    > If you think you can just walk around in the world using
    > your dick whenever you want in whatever way you want

    This is hardly constructive, we’re not talking about rape here.

    The Japanese have a system that works very well. If a woman gets pregant, the man has the option of allowing the baby to register with his family name. If he does not want the baby, the choice of birth is left solely up to the woman, but she makes that choice knowing full well that financial, familial and parental responsibility is all hers. The child will not legally have any privileges afforded by the father’s family, name or status.

    That really seems reasonable to me. Both sides have the choice. In our western society the tables are decidedly titled in favour of the woman, as far as decision-making goes. Both sides consented to sex, but the man is completely out of the loop the instant she is pregnant and he doesn’t want a child.

    It does not help that single moms are financially supported by the state when her situation doesn’t allow a decent income. Why would a woman chose any path but childbirth when she doesn’t have to pay for any component of the motherhood process?

  23. #23 Andrew
    June 24, 2009

    The Japanese have a system that works very well. If a woman gets pregant, the man has the option of allowing the baby to register with his family name. If he does not want the baby, the choice of birth is left solely up to the woman, but she makes that choice knowing full well that financial, familial and parental responsibility is all hers. The child will not legally have any privileges afforded by the father’s family, name or status.

    I think this will be my last comment on this topic since I feel I’ve explained myself fairly well, but I feel like this has its ups and downs.

    On the plus side, it does give both participants a choice, and the complete disavowal of the child even as a legal heir is a very complete and rational circumstance. What is important, though, is that as I understand the Japanese system, the man gets one chance to do that. If he decides to stay in at that point, “walking away” after that point will mean support payments, etc.

    However, giving men the unilateral ability to walk away from a pregnancy if it’s early enough does have the undesirable side effect of tacitly accepting irresponsibility on the part of the man; if nothing else, this really does reaffirm the existing power inequality between genders.

    With Japan being a highly patriarchal society, more so than most Western nations, I can see why this is their solution. I’m not saying it’s an invalid solution, but I do see it as being one that skews male.

  24. #24 Andrew
    June 24, 2009

    It does not help that single moms are financially supported by the state when her situation doesn’t allow a decent income. Why would a woman chose any path but childbirth when she doesn’t have to pay for any component of the motherhood process?

    Okay, I’m a liar. I had to speak up for this, because I missed it on my first read-through.

    How about: Because she doesn’t want to have a child?

    Not to mention that the financial support is nowhere near the loss of earning power a single woman experiences when she becomes a single mother.

    I really think you’re being exceptionally naive when you say this. Money from the government doesn’t make having a child as a single mother a no-brainer and it’s really, really silly to suggest it does.

    Sorry. Now I’ll try to go.

  25. #25 Onkel Bob
    June 24, 2009

    Bad cases spawn bad law.
    What you’re asking for is blanket remedy for individual cases. What if the male was drunk and the female sober? What of the worst cases – rape – incest – molestation? What of subsequent marriage or children, is the father still responsible if the mother marries or has another child out of wedlock with another father? If the welfare of the child is paramount, is the father obligated to obtain any job that allows him to pay these reparations – is he legally prohibited from low paying or high risk jobs?
    No – each case – each and every one – must be evaluated on an individual basis and determination made on the facts of that case. Demanding a blanket remedy is only going to engender resentment, avoidance, and disrespect of the statute. As such the man may be forced to provide remedy, may be alleviated from remedy, or may only be forced to provide conditional remedy.

  26. #26 Jennifer Ouellette
    June 24, 2009

    I haven’t scrolled through all the comments and thus may be repeating what’s been said several times. But we’re talking about bringing a little PERSON into this world. And I’m sorry, if a guy gets a woman pregnant HE IS 50% RESPONSIBLE FOR THAT LIFE. PERIOD. It is not an option, in my opinion. Actions have consequences, even when taken in all innocence/with good intentions. Why should the child suffer? Women simply don’t have equal earning power to men yet, and even if they did, it’s a question of personal responsibility. If you help bring a child into this world, even if your decision would be for her to have an abortion, you are not absolved of that responsibility just because you don’t want the child.

    That said, it is equally irresponsible for a woman to have a baby against the father’s wishes, to become deliberately pregnant without consulting him (or going against his wishes) and so forth. I do not absolve women from responsibility either. Were I in a position to give your friend’s girlfriend advice, I would advise her to discontinue the pregnancy rather than force him to be a reluctant father, or risk raising her child as a single parent.

  27. #27 Kim
    June 24, 2009

    Statistics show that in two-parent heterosexual families, the father is the primary wage earner and spends significantly less time raising the children than the mother (although the modern father spends a lot more time with his children than traditionally).

    So practically it still makes sense for the father to have a legal financial obligation to the child whether he raises it or not.

  28. #28 Jack
    June 24, 2009

    RE Andrew’s comment that the so-called ‘Japanese System’ “gives men the unilateral ability to walk away from a pregnancy”.

    Don’t be dramatic, women walk away (via abortion) from pregnancies too :P

  29. #29 NewEnglandBob
    June 24, 2009

    One this this is NOT: very simple. I did not vote because I did not like any of the choices.

    I do feel that sperm donors should not be responsible at all.

    As far as sex between the ‘mother’ and the ‘father’ – the circumstances can dictate wildly different outcomes. Unfortunately, no one discusses the situation beforehand and then draws up a mutually agreed upon contract.

    Life is messy and often unfair.

  30. #30 anonymous
    June 24, 2009

    I find it amazing how much many of these comments sound like anti-abortion rhetoric.

  31. #31 Ian
    June 24, 2009

    So much for personal responsibility, eh?

    I find the idea of being able to force an abortion because some guy might be inconvenienced reprehensible mysoginistic barbarity. Why not just take away the right to vote and drive cars while we’re at it?

    I love the “women can work now” argument for allowing the man to walk away. In order to work they need daycare. Look up the cost of that and ask yourself if YOU could afford that. It ain’t cheap.

    All of these things boil down to guys just wanting disposable fucktoys. Grow up.

  32. #32 nails
    June 24, 2009

    I don’t know where you live, but single mothers are the poorest group of people in america. They are even poorer when they are women of color, and mothers get paid way way less than childfree women and men. It isn’t an even playing field at all. Not to mention that men who could afford their children and a good career as single dads without the free services of women they know would rely on the severely undervalued skills of child care workers who are almost always women. Being a single mom still has social stigma attached to it, especially for poor people but also for those who can afford it. There are several layers of sexism to the system in place, and noting that some women have made the same amount of money as a starting point for this conversation ignores the experiences of the vast majority of single mothers.

    The ignorance of history, or women’s studies is extremely obvious in the post. It is just awful.

    I understand that the dudes paying is an unfair option, but all the options available are unfair to someone.

    mother forced to abort:
    unfair to her because her bodily integrity/autonomy are taken away. eek. a really big deal.

    mother has no assistance financially:
    this is (MOST OF THE TIME) much more unfair to the kid than the mom. children do not ask to be born and deserve to be taken care of by the people who caused their creation. If you check out statistics about poverty you can see that it is not uncommon for this to be the difference between a child growing up in poverty or not. growing up poor means living a lot of your childhood in fear- the statistics about crime in relation to poverty show that it is dangerous in a very real way.

    dad is financially responsible only: this is unfair…financially.

    it doesn’t seem like a debate at all to me. anyones autonomy, or a child deserving to be taken care of fully, vs losing a chunk of income. it is unfair, but is the least unfair thing to do. the money given as child support is determined by income so it does not have the same sort of detrimental impact on men, and again they are in economically better standing the vast majority of the time.

  33. #33 NFG
    June 24, 2009

    I find the idea of being able to force an abortion because some guy might be inconvenienced reprehensible mysoginistic barbarity.

    I didn’t notice anything said that resembles this at all. What’s being tabled is the responsibility of a man to pay for a child he doesn’t want, and how fair it might be to make the woman solely responsible for that decision. I think perhaps you’re letting your preconceived notions colour your interpretation of this discussion.

  34. #34 photon
    June 24, 2009

    Hmmm – seriously biased poll you’ve got there!

    How about an option to vote for the man meeting his legal obligations? I’m not aware of any child support system that requires a father to pay half of “whatever the woman chooses”.

    Given all the other options are aimed at the father not having any responsibility for his own kids, the poll is simply dishonest.

    Seriously guys, it’s your dick, you’re responsible for what you do with it, and for the results. If you don’t want to use a condom, you know the risks!

    Sort of ironic topic for a blog called “Starts with a bang”! :)

    @NFG – look at the last option on the poll!

  35. #35 Texas Reader
    June 24, 2009

    Your poll qualifies as “push poll” because “he should have to pay whatever a court deems reasonable for 18 years” should have been an option as opposed to the ugly first question.

    I agree he’s in a tough spot,but geez, if guys would wear condoms to protect themselves from diseases they’d also be very likely to not be in this pregnancy situation.

    And yes, I always use condoms.

  36. #36 Katherine
    June 24, 2009

    The primary reason for child support payments is so that the CHILD is not left disadvantaged. Claiming that women have an ‘easy out’ option (abortion) is not justification for the man’s ability to walk away any time he chooses. Abortion is not an easy out, and many women find themselves unable (for whatever reason) to go through with one. Why should you abandon her or your child just because she has the option to choose not to have the child?

    Sure, it isn’t fair. But life isn’t fair. Walking away from a child is unfair to the child, and that is the basis of the law.

  37. #37 Ethan Siegel
    June 24, 2009

    For the record, both my friend and my wife’s friend were using condoms at the time. They broke.

    Sometimes responsible people who do the 99% responsible thing end up pregnant. The question that I meant to raise, is that if you believe in this definition of feminism:

    Feminism is the radical notion that women are people.
    ~Cheris Kramarae and Paula Treichler

    Is it really fair to stick the man with half of the responsibility and none of the choice? Would this even be an issue if we viewed abortion as a socially acceptable thing to do?

    I don’t have scientific answers to these questions, just my own opinions. I encourage you to keep sharing yours!

  38. #38 Charlotte
    June 24, 2009

    Is it really fair to stick a woman with all the physical burden of, on the one hand, pregnancy and childbirth, and on the other hand abortion? This isn’t a question of fair, this is about how you deal with a situation which (we’re assuming) both parties are equally responsible for creating. And to claim that a single mother has earning power equivalent to a similarly qualified man is frankly laughable.

    Interesting how many of your male commenters seem to have no clue how much of a physical burden pregnancy is, or how difficult a single mother’s life can be. Do any of you guys actually have children? You seem to think that once a woman gets hold of what a court deems a fair proportion of her ex-partner’s income, she can just lie on the sofa all day eating marshmallows.

    Sexually active women know that if their birth control fails then they face the unpleasant choice between abortion or an unplanned pregnancy. Sex comes with responsibility – why is that so hard for guys to accept?

  39. #39 Texas Reader
    June 24, 2009

    “is it really fair” – no ethan, it’s not, in the sense that the fair thing would be for men and women to both have the risk of pregnancy, and for a man to be able to take an embryo from a pregnant woman and bring it to term in his body if he wanted the baby and she wanted an abortion. that would be fair. HOWEVER, the realities of biology leave those scenarios as impossible. it’s not women that make it unfair, it’s the nature of the biology.

    and i really think the author of this post owes us all an apology for the snide option 1 in the poll.

  40. #40 Gotchaye
    June 24, 2009

    Charlotte, I haven’t seen anyone saying that men should be able to take no responsibility for their sexual activity. I’m not saying that I think that there’s much of anything wrong with current laws, but it makes no sense to respond to people with beliefs as in the original post with strawmen and rhetoric straight out of the anti-choice playbook.

    Look at what’s being said here. Men should be aware that sex carries this risk. If they had been responsible, this wouldn’t be a problem. It’s not fair, but the realities of biology have taken the choice out of his hands. And so on. Why exactly should abortion be legal in the first place, then? If a woman gets pregnant, then she’s on the hook to give birth and both parents have to support the child. For that matter, these arguments only seem to work because the status quo is the way it is – couldn’t we as easily set up the laws differently and say that women should be responsible about choosing to have children without a father willing to stick around?

    I think there’s something to these “men’s rights” complaints. I’m not sure what ought to be done about it, though. Moral hazard is going to be a huge issue here – men are choosing whether or not to pay for the child independently of whether or not the woman has the child. A man has every economic incentive to choose to have no financial obligation, even if he would actually prefer the woman to have the child. That’s not to say that dead-beatery would be epidemic (well, more epidemic) than it is now, but I think that a system that basically just lets men choose whether or not to pay for a child if the woman decides to have it is rather tilted in favor of men, and perhaps more tilted in favor of men than the current system is tilted in favor of women (in those places where abortions are easy to get).

    We’d need some way of gauging whether or not the man would choose for the woman to have an abortion. I’m sure there are indicators that we can look for, but I don’t know what they’d be. At the least, it seems to me that the man should have to put up an amount of money sufficient to cover an abortion (or perhaps half of an abortion) even if the woman decides to keep the child and he decides that he doesn’t want anything to do with it, to at least cut back on the moral hazard a little bit.

  41. #41 Ethan Siegel
    June 24, 2009

    Texas Reader,

    I find it hard to believe that you were offended by the “snide option 1″ that insinuates a man should be responsible for half the cost of an abortion if a woman chooses that, and half the cost of raising a child if she chooses that. I don’t see where, why, or how that offends you.

    I find it more offensive that 3% of my voters genuinely believe that a man should be able to force a woman to have an abortion.

  42. #42 brook
    June 24, 2009

    Sometimes consequences suck.
    A consequence of sex can be babies and yes, like it or not, daddy doesn’t have to have anything to do w/baby (or mom) but it is his child and he is responsible.
    I have tried to instill an understanding in my children (half of whom are sexually active half not yet) that if they can’t imagine dying for sex, or being tied to somebody for life (because maybe you’re only paying $ for 18 years, you’re paying soul forever) then zip the pants back up.

    If they aren’t comfortable talking about these things with the object of their desire before sex than is there enough trust to make the sex any good? I don’t think I’m unbelievably stupid – I know they aren’t always going to follow Antioch’s rules (or was it Wesleyan, I can’t remember) but perhaps enough will stick to help them as they learn how to be both themselves and partners.

    Zuska puts it all much better than I. Go read her posts again.

  43. #43 Andrew
    June 24, 2009

    I came back to check on the posts since I left, and I’m pleased to say that the discussion evolved along the lines I thought it might.

    I would like to say that I like the point that since the woman carries the larger share of the physical, emotional, and mental burden of a pregnancy, it does seem fair, in a sense, that a man would be called upon to take up a significant share of the financial burden – despite, or perhaps particularly, if he does not wish to be involved, because then the woman is also taking on the entirety of the burden of raising the child. Yes, it’s the woman’s decision to keep the child, but it’s the man’s decision to be involved or not. If he chooses not to be involved in raising the child, then his share of the responsibility is financial.

    It’s not as though abortions are free and easy to handle. the choice for women is two bad choices, as well. The trauma (there is emotional trauma, due to hormone crashes, etc. Possibly physical trauma, too, in some cases) of the abortion, or keeping the child and all it entails. Women don’t “walk away” from pregnancies nearly so easily as men do, and many are not inclined to in the slightest. Nature has gifted us with the urge to keep our offspring.

    Personally, I can’t wait for the coming of the male birth control bill. I have a feeling that it will be a boon to all involved. Zeroed sperm counts, plus ovulation suppression, plus superior ARVs to handle AIDS and sex might finally, finally become “safe”.

    I’ll try to make this my last word. I know I’m long-winded.

  44. #44 Texas Reader
    June 24, 2009

    ethan – what is offensive i think is obvious – you portrayed it as the man having to pay whatever the woman wants him to. the courts make that decision, after looking into the financial capacity of both parents. making it sound like it’s any old number a woman wants is offensive as it implies that men are horribly victimized.

    andrew – the man providing money for the child’s care is not to equal out the woman’s burden – it’s to insure the child has adequate food, housing, etc. since the father is considered as responsible for that as the mother.

  45. #45 MadScientist
    June 24, 2009

    I’ll vote for the guy having to pay half of whatever. I don’t want to encourage a society where the guys just go “hey, I had my fun, it’s you who wanted the kid, so that’s your problem”. One exception I can think of is if the woman just wants a kid and says “hey, I want to get pregnant and have a kid but I really don’t expect anything of you”. So, before hopping into bed and playing it unsafe, you might want to ask the gal what she wants.

  46. #46 Paul Murray
    June 24, 2009

    Reminds me of a song by Roxette.

  47. #47 Sophos
    June 24, 2009

    It is pretty obvious that the last two options is ridiculous. When two people have consent sex together, both should be responsible for whatever consequences (in this case impregnated or not). Since both are responsible for the child, and that the woman holds a heavier responsibility of being needed to carry her child for 9 months, it is absolutely ridiculous for the man to be allowed to force the woman to abort the baby.

    Since both are responsible, there should not be such thing as the man is not held responsible if only the woman chooses to have the kid.

    In my humble opinion, if the woman chooses not to have the kid, the man has to pay half of the abortion fee.

    But if the woman chooses to have the kid, the man would have the choice whether to acknowledge it as his child, like what NGF mentioned much earlier.
    So the man will have the choice for the baby to be registered with his name or not.

    BUT, as long as the woman chooses to have the kid, the man is responsible for half of the financial expenses of the kid [probably until 12 years old]. The man is still responsible.

  48. #48 caia
    June 25, 2009

    Men: if you want total control over the outcome of your ejaculations, don’t ejaculate into (or in some cases, near) the vagina of a woman or girl of reproductive capacity.

    Once an embryo/fetus is in her body, it’s IN HER BODY, and since she’s the one who will have to deal with the medical consequences to life and health of whatever choice she makes, she’s the one who should get to make the decision.

    Can’t live with that? Get a vasectomy, or stopping having vaginal intercourse.

  49. #49 Andrew
    June 25, 2009

    “I can assure you it has not recurred, Mandrake. Women uh… women sense my power and they seek the life essence. I, uh… I do not avoid women, Mandrake. But I… I do deny them my essence.”

  50. #50 Nils Ross
    June 25, 2009

    I’m a big advocate of ‘awareness raising’ when it comes to men’s rights. But the fact that you can get a split vote in a two-person relationship imposes certain realities. Essentially, if men didn’t HAVE to pay child support in certain circumstances, they wouldn’t end up paying it, even when they ‘should’. They’d simply claim they didn’t want the child — even if at the time they did. The courts wouldn’t be capable of ascertaining whether they were telling the truth.

    Basically, I have to view it this way. You ejaculate, that’s you giving up your genetic material; what she ends up doing with that genetic material isn’t under your control. If you don’t want to land in this situation, use a condom. Period.

    Oh, and exercise the same kind of judgement in sexual situations that women are expected to. We expect women to avoid situations where they might be sexually exploited–the same applies to men. Don’t have sex with your vindictive ex-girlfriend who wants you back. Use protection. And so on.

    Sperm donors? Obviously they shouldn’t be liable. That’s the point of sperm donors. It’s a completely different situation.

  51. #51 Dunc
    June 25, 2009

    Is it really fair to stick the man with half of the responsibility and none of the choice?

    The biological facts of the matter are not fair to either sex. Reality has no sense of fairness.

  52. #52 Cannonball Jones
    June 25, 2009

    Seems I’m (just) in the majority, was actually surprised. I’ve always maintained that men should only be tied to support if there is full agreement to carry on with the pregnancy and have always been holding that corner alone. I know and sympathise with all the arguments against that position but I just can’t get behind the idea that men should have zero choices in the situation.

    That said, the simple answer is for both parties to just use some damn birth control. Women, get on the pill or get the implant or whatever if you don’t want a kid. Guys, if you don’t want a kid then stop being idiots and carry some damn condoms. It’s not rocket science.

  53. #53 MadScientist
    June 25, 2009

    I’m a bit surprised with the results – what a pity the results aren’t split into “guys’ votes” and “gals’ votes” (not that you can trust the guys not to click on the “I’m a girl” button).

    At any rate it looks like the general opinion is:
    Caveat Humptor

  54. #54 Ethan (not that one, the other one)
    June 25, 2009

    I’m pretty sure that should be Caveat Copulator :-)

  55. Right now, the courts always place the welfare of the child first.

    Unless abortion was outlawed again while I wasn’t looking, this isn’t true.

    I don’t think the male should be legally liable when he doesn’t get a say in the outcome, but it’s hard for me to be sympathetic to any party in a situation like this. I don’t know if it’s really all that great for a child to be raised by such hideously irresponsible people.

    Me, I’m gonna stick to having sex with guys and M->F transgenders, thankuverymuch.

  56. #56 rob
    June 25, 2009

    i skimmed the comments quickly-there are quite a few. i noticed a heavy leaning towards the situation where the woman wants a baby and the man doesn’t.

    what about if the man wants the baby and the woman doesn’t? what happens then? if she agrees to carry the pregnancy to full term and let the man raise it, does she have to pay child support? can she go ahead and have an abortion against the will of the man? what if the man agrees not to push for child support?

  57. #57 Xanthippas
    June 25, 2009

    Unfair though it may be, I think it is the fate of nature (at the moment at least) that women shall bear the children, and men shall be responsible for them whether they chose to have them or not. It’s not fair that despite being responsible, you can find yourself “on the hook” for child support for the next 18 or 19 years (or possibly longer, depending on the child’s condition.) But then, neither is it fair to be born into a world where the man who made you wants nothing to do with you. At least the father had a choice. And frankly, the man is morally obligated to be a father, not merely a paycheck. However, the law cannot force men and women to be decent human beings.

  58. #58 Mu
    June 25, 2009

    I find it more offensive that 3% of my voters genuinely believe that a man should be able to force a woman to have an abortion

    Odd, I thought that was exactly what you were proposing. While not with physical force so with economic pressure; you have the abortion I want because I don’t want to pay child support, and if you don’t, you’re screwed.
    That’s why it’s so hard to convince the anti-abortion folks that most liberals are truly pro-choice (empowers women), not just pro abortion (male still in charge).

  59. #59 AgnosticNews
    June 25, 2009

    Those who pick options #3 and #4 do not have a leg to stand on, as both are contemptible options, particularly #4. Clearly, it is ultimately the decision of the woman, and supremely so, whether or not to keep the child or have an abortion.

    If the decision to keep the child was consensual, then the man is clearly obligated to provide support for the child as well.

    However, in the case that contraception was used during the sexual activity, it is obvious that an implicit agreement to not have a child was made. If it can be established that the contraception was deliberately sabotaged by the woman (which would be hard to do), then it is clearly her entire responsibility to care for the child.

    The only dilemma is in the case of accidental pregnancy where, either through the use of contraception or through explicit agreement, both parties had initially agreed not to have a child, and further, the woman has exercised her right to keep the child and requires financial support from the father who has never consented to the process. We have a few major conflicting (and independently moral) choices:

    1. Maximization of care for the child
    2. Personal freedom of finances for the father

    (2) isn’t as selfish as the wording sounds, considering that this type of obligation has the capacity to seriously undermine or destroy the aspirations of the father, whether it be in education and career or in future relationships (if the case is one in which he does not wish to stay with the mother, which is certainly within his right). Keep in mind that in this case, he has been entered into this contract independently of consent.

    (1) is certainly important. If, however, the woman has chosen to keep a child in circumstances where she could not support the child without the help of the father (as is often the case), knowing that the father did not want to have or support the child, then she has deliberately chosen to have a child in conditions where she could not guarantee that she could care for it, in which case, she has been highly irresponsible with her right to choose. If she felt that abortion was against her personal or religious principles, then adoption was clearly the better option. This is, however, an attempt to clarify a decision which is in no way this simple in practice, as there is obviously a tremendous number of emotional and external factors involved in such a decision, including pressures from family and community, past experience, and etc.

    So, for option 1: Clearly, if the father wanted her to have an abortion and she consented, then he is obligated to pay half of the costs. That’s without question, and the cost of an abortion is in no way a life-ending expense. If the above conditions are met, then I feel that the father is not obligated to expenses for the care of a child. I could see a case made for the father covering half of the early expenses (diapers no be cheap), but certainly not until the child has reached adulthood.

    So, I elect option 2 in the case considered, but only under the following conditions:

    1. Agreement to not have children before conception. (implicitly through use of birth control or through explicit agreement, where the latter should be stressed)
    2. The father clearly expresses his desire to not be obligated to the child, though the final decision (keep, adoption, abortion) lies entirely with the woman.
    3. The father should record his opinion for posterity (to prevent irresponsible mind-changing as a method of exemption from responsibility to the child later on), preferably through a notarized document.
    4. In the case that the father agreed to an abortion, he is obligated to pay half of the costs if the woman consents to having one performed. (This one was easy)
    5. In the case that the father did not want the child and met the previous conditions, and the mother decided to keep the child and demands (or requires) child support, then the father is not obligated to share expenses until adulthood. If the woman requires support, then the father (in any circumstances) should be required to meet the gap in caring for child during the early years, for items such as diapers and other infant necessities.

    All these conditions met, the father should not have any obligation to the mother or child.

  60. #60 AgnosticNews
    June 25, 2009

    I should add that under condition (5), meeting the gap really means the gap of necessity, and that if the father so chooses, he may personally control the way the support is spent so that it is focused on the child and on the child alone. In this way, unnecessary demands on the part of the mother for child support (and claimed necessity of the support) can not be abused for personal benefit. Yes, I’ve seen many cases where child support checks are turned into shoes, purses, and liquor, with little to none of the money spent responsibly. Such usage of child support money should be considered fraudulent, and it happens all too frequently.

  61. #61 Petter Häggholm
    June 25, 2009

    Ethan,

    From reading the comments, I think that your poll results may be skewed by poor wording of the first option: “[The man] should be responsible for paying half of whatever the woman chooses.” Most people read this and take it to mean “the man should pay child support according to the whims of the woman”, whereas it seems from your own comments that you meant “whether the woman chooses to keep or abort the child, the man should pay half [in child support or abortion costs]”. A lot of people seem to have dismissed #1 out of hand as a strawman argument.

  62. #62 AgnosticNews
    June 25, 2009

    Mu @ 57:

    Odd, I thought that was exactly what you were proposing. While not with physical force so with economic pressure; you have the abortion I want because I don’t want to pay child support, and if you don’t, you’re screwed. That’s why it’s so hard to convince the anti-abortion folks that most liberals are truly pro-choice (empowers women), not just pro abortion (male still in charge).

    This is simplistic nonsense. You’ve chosen the empowerment of the female to an elevation not equal to her peers, but superior to men to a potentially tyrannical degree. Ethan Siegel has stated quite clearly that the choice lies completely with the woman, but the question is one of power of obligation beyond this point. If the man has clearly not consented to the process and wants her to have an abortion, using “economic pressure”, you have already supposed that the economic obligation already lies with him despite his non-consent.

    He can not force her economically, but she should realize that her decision (not to abort and not to put the child up for adoption) places the welfare of the child under her watch. Since the choice has been left entirely with her to begin with, she assumes the obligations consequent to her decision. If she is incapable of supporting the child, then she has made a decision against the interests of the child (opposed to adoption) to begin with.

    We should empower women, and they certainly should have the choice when it comes to their bodies. However, empowerment comes with responsibility, and I feel that empowering women includes placing the consequent responsibilities of their choices with them just as much as it would for a man. If we empower women and allow simultaneous abdication of responsibility for their decisions, then we have not empowered them at all, but treated them as if they were somehow less capable of making reasonable decisions or dealing with consequences than a man, which transfers the role of patriarchy to the state as opposed to the male.

  63. #63 Dan
    June 25, 2009

    I think things are about as fair as they can be right now. Imagine a man who ‘opts out’ of fatherhood and gets off the hook from 18 years of financial hell. 10 years in, and he changes his mind and decides that he wants to be a part of the child’s life – should the mother be able to say to him, ‘Sorry, you opted out, you have no rights…’?

    The law is there to enforce parental responsibilities, and support rights of mothers and fathers.

  64. #64 AgnosticNews
    June 25, 2009

    Dan@62: Imagine a man who ‘opts out’ of fatherhood and gets off the hook from 18 years of financial hell. 10 years in, and he changes his mind and decides that he wants to be a part of the child’s life – should the mother be able to say to him, ‘Sorry, you opted out, you have no rights…’?

    Yes, she should be able to have that right. If the father has chosen to abdicate responsibility, then he has played no role in the life of the child aside from the initial biology. This process should work both ways… if the father can “opt out” (under the conditions of my previous post), then he has made a decision and has freely elected to play no role. Just as the mother should bear the responsibility of her choices, so should the father bear the responsibility of his own. By placing abdicating his support, he abdicates his say, and so the arbitration lies entirely with the mother.

    This is true of adoption and sperm donors as well. The source of the genetic material is not the ultimate arbitrator of parental rights, and willing abdication of those rights and their transference to adopting parents gives immunity to the sperm donor from forced support, but also the immunity of the adoptive (or sperm recipient) guardians from the control of the biological parents.

  65. #65 Dan
    June 25, 2009

    @AgnosticNews: ‘The source of the genetic material is not the ultimate arbitrator of parental rights’ – so do you think that a woman who falls pregnant by man A should be able to refuse him access to the child and have man B be its father?

    The law that protects man A’s access rights is the same one that prevents his total abdication of responsibility. Where there is no contract (such as adoption or sperm donation), this seems to me to be a sensible position.

  66. #66 AgnosticNews
    June 25, 2009

    Dan@62″so do you think that a woman who falls pregnant by man A should be able to refuse him access to the child and have man B be its father?”

    Only in the event that he has indeed chosen to opt out of the process. If he has provided support and not chosen to surrender his rights to the child, then he certainly has the right to access, as he has taken responsibility.

    Your initial problem included that he had indeed “opted out”, and so in that case, he has abdicated responsibility, and the woman, if she retained responsibility, is the sole legal guardian and retains all parental rights to the child. If she wants man B to share those rights, then while the child is in her custody, she should be able to do so. Man A has revoked his say in the process. If man A is to be held accountable for his decisions, then the account must go both ways.

    Further, if the event is such that the woman does not want the father near her child, then the situation is not a healthy one for him to be in, and I feel that such a situation is not in the interests of the child.

    I should have been clear to refer you to my posts at #58 and #59 to give you a feel where I was coming from, and the conditions under which I would consider this to be a dilemma to begin with.

    But, in the event that he has opted out and the woman has not required support from him, then yes, the decision-making process has been surrendered to the woman, and she has assumed full responsibility. I’ve little respect for the man’s change of heart if the woman can not bring herself to respect it either.

  67. #67 Charlotte
    June 25, 2009

    AgnosticNews@63:

    should the mother be able to say to him, ‘Sorry, you opted out, you have no rights…’?

    Just as the mother should bear the responsibility of her choices, so should the father bear the responsibility of his own. By placing abdicating his support, he abdicates his say, and so the arbitration lies entirely with the mother.

    Do you really think that’s in the best interest of the child? Most people I know who had absent parents were desperate to see them as kids, everyone I know who’s been adopted wanted to at least meet their biological family. Also, @58, I don’t see the use of contraception as an agreement not to have a child, but as an agreement to attempt to avoid conception whilst knowing that it’s not possible to eliminate that possibility entirely. Once conception has occurred then that agreement is irrelevant. (In the case of birth control sabotage this obviously isn’t relevant, I would tend to view the man in that case as a sort of sperm donor who shouldn’t be held responsible to the child for anything except a family medical history.)

    I’m a bit taken aback to have been linked to ‘anti-choice rhetoric’ as that’s absolutely not my position. I’ve been assuming that abortion (at any stage) is an unpleasant procedure, based on a bad experience with emergency contraception.

  68. #68 Kendall
    June 25, 2009

    I rather like Nils’ ascertion: “You ejaculate, that’s you giving up your genetic material; what she ends up doing with that genetic material isn’t under your control.”
    Many men would like the completion of the sexual act to be the end of their responsibility. On the other hand, it is an act of sending a part of you out into the world, carrying with it your liability (whether it lands in a condom or not).
    Give up your credit card to the wrong woman and you will find yourself with another kind of liability

    Regarding the fairness of the man paying for the woman’s choice. Perhaps it would be fair for men to opt out if an abortion were an easy choice to make. Perhaps we, as a culture, need to make progress in this area before allowing men to decide their financial liability. Progress in this area, however, is slow.

  69. #69 AgnosticNews
    June 25, 2009

    Charlotte@66: Do you really think that’s in the best interest of the child? Most people I know who had absent parents were desperate to see them as kids, everyone I know who’s been adopted wanted to at least meet their biological family

    I was answering that question in response to Dan’s situation in particular. If we’re to retain a concept of legal guardianship, then it is the decision of the legal guardian (in this case, solely the mother) on what she allows her child to do within the law and reasonable constraints. If the child is desperate to meet his/her biological parents, then the mother would surely allow the child to at least meet them. In the case that she adamantly refuses, that option has been surrendered to her by the biological father as a result of his “opting out”. Just as I argued that she bears the responsibility of care, so he bears the responsibility of not caring for the child.

    Also, @58, I don’t see the use of contraception as an agreement not to have a child, but as an agreement to attempt to avoid conception whilst knowing that it’s not possible to eliminate that possibility entirely. Once conception has occurred then that agreement is irrelevant.

    So whenever the guy puts on a rubber in a “casual” relationship, we are to assume that he has agreed to engage in anything more than a sexual action? Certainly he should be aware of the possibility of the pregnancy and should make explicit his desire to avoid having a child, but in no way does that confine him to a contract to which he has not consented. After conception, his say in the matter has not become null and void. From there, the woman can make a choice to obligate him to a contract without his consent or not, and that is what is my concern at the moment. For the same reason that she can bar him from visitation if he has opted out, then he has accepted her capacity to do that upon making that choice. However, he has been rendered powerless beyond conception, and the woman holds total power (which certainly should be the case), but that power has been extended beyond her own body to the welfare of the man, and I disagree with that process.

    So no, conception means the fate of the child is now in the sole realm of the woman’s choice, but financial obligation on the part of the father (having no final role in the previous decision) should lie with the father, given that he has never agreed to having or paying for a child he did not plan on having (under the conditions I gave at #58-59).

  70. #70 AgnosticNews
    June 25, 2009

    Basically, the sum of my argument is that if the father, as far as the status is the child is concerned, played no role beyond that of being a sperm donor, then he should be treated as nothing more than a source of genetic material, since that is the only part he played. He should have a right to opt-in or opt-out, and if he does choose to opt-out, then he has surrendered all legal rights to the child beyond the capacity of being any other civilian.

  71. #71 Mu
    June 25, 2009

    That’s where we disagree, and you were right, I complete think the father has a built-in financial responsibility. No guy was ever forced to have sex, and if you can’t control yourself, or are too stupid to follow elementary precautions, you pay the consequences. As for accidents, that risk is on both sides, and you knew about that beforehand too. It’s not a case of opt-out afterwards, you opted in when you had sex.

  72. #72 Charlotte
    June 25, 2009

    Mu beat me to it :)
    Yeah, I would absolutely argue that even if a man’s having casual, protected sex, there’s the possibility of conception and he should know that there’s a financial responsibility attatched to that. I don’t think it’s fair to regard him as ‘sperm donor’ unless the woman explicitly intended to conceive deceitfully – in consensual sex with agreed contraception both parties bear responsibility. So we’re basically back to what Andrew said @10. And roundabout we go…

  73. #73 AgnosticNews
    June 25, 2009

    Mu@70: That’s where we disagree, and you were right, I complete think the father has a built-in financial responsibility. No guy was ever forced to have sex, and if you can’t control yourself, or are too stupid to follow elementary precautions, you pay the consequences. As for accidents, that risk is on both sides, and you knew about that beforehand too. It’s not a case of opt-out afterwards, you opted in when you had sex.

    That could be argued, except for the fact that the subsequent decision over the consequences of an unplanned pregnancy and the final outcome rest entirely with the mother. So, I think the man has assumed that risk and should bear financial responsibility in the case of an abortion or any potential costs associated with adoption, but after conception the woman can force obligation on the man.

    At this point, no, it is no longer a consensual or accidental process, and as we have given the woman the complete right to choose where her body is concerned, I do not feel we can give the woman the right to choose what the father should be forced to do.

    Yes, he took a risk, but so did she and she gets to choose the result. I contend that the father is in no way obligated to the will of the mother on the basis of his genetic contribution alone, not at all. As far as fallout from the accident beyond the woman’s control, then the father takes part in the consequences of the risks of sex.

    But, after the abortion/adoption/keep decision is made against the will of the father, the woman has become responsible for her decision.

    If you want to give equal weight of rights or obligations at conception, then you have to undermine the woman’s right to choose concerning her own body or otherwise place the future of the man under her control. They share in the accident, but he shares nothing in a decision beyond his control and outside of his desires.

  74. #74 AgnosticNews
    June 25, 2009

    In other words, Mu and Charlotte, in the event of an unplanned pregnancy, an accident has occurred. However, since the woman makes the ultimate decision, the result is no longer accidental.

    In which case, as the man and woman have only taken the risks of an accident in having sex, the responsibility over a potential outcome ends where the outcome comes under the direction of the parties involved.

    Your position is like arguing that a person involved in an automobile accident is always responsible, since that person chose to drive aware of the possibility of getting into a car crash, regardless of whether or not that person had ran a light or had been hit by somebody else running the light.

    Actually, this is closer to saying the person is responsible for being hit intentionally by a different driver, since the person drove knowing that this too is a possible outcome of getting into the car. I hold that the responsibility for this accident lies with the intentional participant, not the person who drove knowing that it was possible for some insurance-milking fraud to ram him/her.

    So, similarly, I hold that the responsibility for the child lies with the person(s) making the decision to keep it. You do not “take the risk” of being forced to pay child support for the same reason you do not “take the rest” of being indicted for reckless driving after being a target for insurance fraud.

  75. #75 Phenicks
    June 25, 2009

    I always shake my head at the twits who think men who walk away aren’t responsible, they are about as irresponsible as any woman who aborts solely because she doesn’t want to parent.

    I think men who contest paternity suits should not have to see the child at court, that should be banned. Guilt-tripped paternity is far worse than unplanned but welcomed paternity and he’d have EVERY right to feel a much stronger connection to his wanted children because they were *gasp* wanted. Just as women dont get pregnant and go ooohhh I’m having a baby yay! Men dont hear “I’m pregnant” and think “I’m going to be a daddy yay!” they just don’t unless they WANT to be a parent.

    EVERYTIME a woman has sex she can get pregnant. The chances of reproducing in a single sex act are the same for men as it is for women.

    If men could ejaculate and then somehow make all their sperm swim right back out, deactivate or not exist without having to have bodily functions altered they WOULD. Fatherlessness is so high because most fathers become fathers without their express consent, the woman chooses, as she should whether his biological child lives or dies in utero.

    Forcing a mother to give birth or forcing a father to financially support a mother’s decision to give birth is horrible! The best interest of the children is to either have two parents who love and WANT him/her or one parent who does. Not one who regrets their very existence every time they pay child support or one FORCED to see them in court.

    It would be best if only the father could put his name on the birth certificate unless rape, incest, or death prevented him from doing so and it would be proven. Otherwise the child exists knowing only one parent. If the guy so chooses he could extend financial support and do so anonymously and pay as much as he is willing if the woman will accept it the payments.

  76. #76 Ismone
    June 25, 2009

    People seem to be making this into a woman bears child/man supports child model.

    As people upthread have stated, this is about the children, not the parents. It isn’t about whether a woman can earn as much as a man, it is about the fact that all children are entitled to the support of BOTH biological parents under our system of law. That’s right, both. Not just the mom, not just the dad, two parents. Even if the mom earns as much as the dad, the kid who is only supported by her has *fewer* financial resources than it would have if it were supported by both. That’s pretty basic math.

    If you require the woman alone to support the child, you have cut that child’s support dramatically.

    RE: the 50% thing, that’s marriage in most states (each party walks away with half of the property earned during the marriage in community property states) not child support. The custodial parent almost NEVER (I worked on child support appeals at a court, and I never saw that much awarded) gets half of the non-custodial parent’s income, and the custodial parent almost ALWAYS pays for more than half of the child’s expenses.

    And people who are making the damn fool argument that men who have sex are not consenting to procreation–wtf? In the case of birth control failure, do you think the woman is consenting to procreation either? So if neither one of them “consented” to accidental procreation, why on earth does that mean that the pregnant party is on the hook? She already has to deal with 9 months of pregnancy, and probably will be the custodial parent unless the couple decides to stay together, which is an immense personal, professional, emotional, psychological–insert your icals here, people–burden AND she has to take on the entire financial burden of raising their shared child even if it wasn’t her fault? Hell, even if it was HIS fault? Being pro-choice, like I am, doesn’t mean I or other women are all “yay, abortion.” Having had a D&C after a miscarriage, let me tell you, it really hurts, and I had an early one with fentanyl, which is a pretty strong opiate.

    Hey, when our birth control failed, and my husband and I thought we were going to have a child a year earlier than we had initially planned, guess who was more worried? How much time and effort during her life do you think the average woman spends worrying about an unwanted pregnancy compared to the average man?

    The lack of comprehension of the realities of this situation that many on this thread have expressed is simply staggering.

  77. #77 Ismone
    June 25, 2009

    ‘Dan@62″so do you think that a woman who falls pregnant by man A should be able to refuse him access to the child and have man B be its father?”

    Only in the event that he has indeed chosen to opt out of the process. If he has provided support and not chosen to surrender his rights to the child, then he certainly has the right to access, as he has taken responsibility.’

    This is an asymmetrical standard. You are placing all of the responsibility, but no autonomy, on the woman if she chooses to continue the pregnancy.

    His choices if the pregnancy continues: be a father, don’t be a father.

    Her choices if the pregnancy continues: accept his choice to be a father, accept his choice not to be a father.

    See who has the real choice here?

    This does not logically fit with your accident model. Your accident model is, the original pregnancy was an accident (oops!) that becomes not an accident if the woman chooses to continue the pregnancy, thus she is responsible for the consequences (a child) all by herself. If she is responsible for the pregnancy all by herself, such that none of the burden falls on him, she also gets to decide who has access to this child, who is her sole responsibility.

    You cannot have it both ways.

  78. #78 Cherish
    June 25, 2009

    I think if the guy wore a condom when they were having sex because he chose to (not because she nagged/asked/begged/coerced), then he should have the right to walk away should she want to keep the child. Frankly, it seldom seems to happen like that, though, and I imagine it would be interesting to try to prove it legally. Otherwise, he has no right to tell a woman how she is going to risk her health (via abortion or pregnancy).

  79. #79 Kate
    June 25, 2009

    So, this right to abandon children after birth cross-applies to women as well, right? If I give birth and decide I don’t want the kid, I can dump it on the father’s doorstep and hope he pays all the bills, and that’s fine with everyone… right?

    I didn’t think so. Please, don’t frame this as a gender issue. The reason women get to choose whether to have abortions is because they’re the ones who carry the fetuses in their stomachs – it’s basic bodily autonomy and if men carried babies, they’d be the ones with the right to choose. But you know what? Men and women *both* feed and shelter their children, and they’re *both* huge assholes if they skip out on that responsibility.

  80. #80 AgnosticNews
    June 25, 2009

    ismone@75: And people who are making the damn fool argument that men who have sex are not consenting to procreation–wtf? In the case of birth control failure, do you think the woman is consenting to procreation either? So if neither one of them “consented” to accidental procreation, why on earth does that mean that the pregnant party is on the hook?

    Damn fool argument? I suppose you found a version of this argument without reading my posts, since I made it very clear why the man has not consented to procreation. The woman is consenting to procreation when she makes the decision to keep the child and she makes that decision freely with or without the consent of the man. Procreation is not accidental because the woman has made the decision after the accident. No, the woman has the sole power over what involves her body (as should be the case), but she should NOT have the right to force the man into a financial obligation.

    Again, it is NO LONGER AN ACCIDENT when the woman decides to keep the child. And she MUST ACCEPT that with her sole power to make the decision she bears responsibility for her decisions.

    In an unplanned pregnancy where the man has not consented to providing for the child and the woman has chosen against his consent, she has the responsibility to bear the burden of her choice. And again, I repeat that the father must be straightforward about his intentions so that she understands what she can expect from him. This is important (I know girls who have had abortions without even telling the father, predicating their decision on a “do you really love me” phone call).

    I know women who have had abortions, and I know enough to understand that this is not an easy decision, but the difficulty or ease of a decision has nothing to do with being able to obligate the father to financial support. When she chooses, it is not a damn accident anymore, and that’s that. There’s no consent for the man past this point, and that’s that. He consented to sex and the potential for an accident to occur, whatever precautions taken, and so he should be obligated to bear the burden requisite to that accident alone, but not additional burden caused by her decision. Accidents happen and parties involved need to take responsibility, but the responsibility for keeping the child has come into arbitration and NOT accident if the woman keeps the child against his will.

    I have seen the realities of this situation, but the realities include women, as a result of their choice in this matter (easy or not, and usually not), ruining the life of the father. That should not lie within her scope, and rather, I must contend that saying that a woman forcing a man into financial obligation on the basis of biology is morally contemptible in and of itself.

    It is your position that is damn foolery. Everywhere in this thread is a running assumption, not of male-female equality, but of female superiority in ANY matter related to a child BEYOND her own body. This is absurd. The woman has been granted the entire capacity of the chief decision in this matter that can determine the course of the rest of his and her lives. And yes, she should be able to do so to the extent that it involves her body, but it is not her place to control the father’s life.

    How much time and effort during her life do you think the average woman spends worrying about an unwanted pregnancy compared to the average man?

    Not sure, as in my own experience, I am terribly worried (though I’ve been fortunate to not have cause to be), and so I take every precaution to avoid pregnancy. However, at the same time, I once dated a girl who I found out had been talking to her friends about sabotaging my condoms, because she secretly wanted a child and knew that I did not. Stupid girl was 18 and had no damn clue what she was doing, and I dropped her quick after I found out. But, under the process as it is, I could easily have been stuck paying for a child (and I would certainly have not been able to pursue my college education if things had gone badly).

    But think, I am in the same situation in the event of sabotage as I would be in the event of an unplanned pregnancy. I would have no say in the matter, and I could be ruined for it. Personally, if I had no reason to suspect sabotage, I would take responsibility for the child, but I do not feel that I can force this decision on other men. No, men are also quite terrified of pregnancy and worry about it, but unfortunately, they also face the terror of having no say in the matter should it occur. Granted, the woman’s choice doesn’t make her life easy in any way, but she has total control over the situation.

    AND she has to take on the entire financial burden of raising their shared child even if it wasn’t her fault?

    If she made the damn decision, then there’s no damn accident beyond that point. It is “her fault” and her responsibility. The father should not be forced against his will into providing support for an unplanned child. The unplanned child is in no way “accidental” after the decision has been made. I’ll have none of that nonsense about it being beyond her control whenever she has every option available to her and sole power over which option to choose.

  81. #81 Ismone
    June 25, 2009

    Cherish, that still isn’t equitable. If he chooses to be responsible, and she does as well, and pregnancy results, why should she have to deal both with the inevitable physical strain (of either childbirth or abortion, neither are a walk in the park, although abortion is certainly safer) plus the financial strain?

    Why does she take on all of the risk of a contraceptive failure even if she was every bit as responsible as he was?

  82. #82 Ismone
    June 25, 2009

    AgnosticNews, let me draw your attention back to the part of my post that you conveniently ignore:

    “This does not logically fit with your accident model. Your accident model is, the original pregnancy was an accident (oops!) that becomes not an accident if the woman chooses to continue the pregnancy, thus she is responsible for the consequences (a child) all by herself. If she is responsible for the pregnancy all by herself, such that none of the burden falls on him, she also gets to decide who has access to this child, who is her sole responsibility.”

    Full responsibility = full rights.

    And, you also skip the part that if she gives birth, she is financially responsible, usually more so, than he is. So she “ruins her own life” too.

  83. #83 Ismone
    June 25, 2009

    BTW, men sabotage birth control, too.

  84. #84 AgnosticNews
    June 25, 2009

    Full responsibility = full rights.

    And, you also skip the part that if she gives birth, she is financially responsible, usually more so, than he is. So she “ruins her own life” too.

    I did not conveniently ignore that part of your post, as I thought I had addressed why that was the case. I agree that full responsibility = full rights, but the full responsibility lies entirely with the mother upon making her decision. Again, I contend that the man is only responsible for an accidental pregnancy for the consequences requisite to the accident, but not the additional consequences of the woman’s decision. That’s the point. If she makes the decision to keep her child, willing to sacrifice her career, then she has that option. However, she should not have the option to willing sacrifice the father’s career based on her decision.

    And yes, if the man sabotages the birth control, then he should be held to account criminally (same for the woman), since he has forced the risks of pregnancy (whatever the subsequent decision) on the woman and should bear full costs and responsibilities. However, the woman can still choose to avoid the consequences beyond what would have been a non-sabotaged accident, whereas if the woman sabotages, the man has to bear responsibilities beyond the consequences of an accident. The woman, if she really does not want the child, can elect abortion or put it up for adoption independently of the man’s control.

    So, again, I have not ignored any inconvenient points you made, since none of those points counter the center of my objection to your position, that is, that there is in fact a non-accidental process involved in any circumstance, accident or not, over which the woman has sole arbitration, and while I feel that she can (and should) choose what she wants to do, she should not be able to hold the father accountable for consequences beyond those necessarily requisite of an accidental situation.

    She can choose to ruin her life, if the decision entails that, but she should not be able to choose to ruin the father’s life. That’s all.

  85. #85 AgnosticNews
    June 25, 2009

    Further, Ismone, I should add that it’s more than “accept his decision” vs. “not accept his decision”, as the current form of the case is that he has to accept her decision regardless, and in the event of the accident (and his expressed dissent), his decision was already made to not have the child. From here, the woman has the power to obligate, and here is where my objection lies.

    She can choose to keep or surrender the choice regardless of the father’s willingness to contribute. She doesn’t have to predicate her choice on his wishes. However, he shouldn’t have to predicate his time or finances on hers when the decision has been made against his consent in the case of an accident.

    Under my model, she can do what she likes and so can the father (again, beyond mutually bearing the requisite weight of an accident). Under your model, she can do what she likes but the father can not. That’s the difference. Your model is asymmetric, not mine.

  86. #86 AgnosticNews
    June 25, 2009

    I should add that I addressed the subject in detail in #57 and #58, so perhaps it would help you to understand where I’m coming from and under what conditions I predicate the rights of the father on.

  87. #87 MadScientist
    June 25, 2009

    Wow … what a busy thread. To think it all started with a bang … (Sorry, couldn’t resist the temptation.)

  88. #88 Cherish
    June 25, 2009

    Ismone, you’re absolutely right. I guess I was trying to be snarky. Having been on the other side of this argument, I actually gave the guy the choice to leave forever or be a dad to a child he didn’t want. I wish he’d chosen to leave because I have been tied for the past 13 years to someone who is both simultaneously completely irresponsible and totally resentful despite the fact that he had the option to go the other way. I actually think that if more women knew what a pain dealing with non-custodial parents can be, they’d give them the option to leave rather than deal with the reality that the man will not keep his word and try to be responsible for the child. It’s less heartbreak for the woman, and certainly less for the kids. No matter what the guy chooses, the woman is stuck with the reality of having unpleasant medical things done to her body…and the man complains that he has to give up part of his paycheck for 18 years. Life’s rough.

    Maybe a more fair option would be to say that if she has to get an abortion, he has to get a vasectomy. If she keeps the baby, they both have to be responsible for raising it. How many men do you think will opt for the vasectomy?

  89. #89 Zuska
    June 25, 2009

    Reading through this thread, a reasonable woman would be tempted to conclude that there are only a few rational choices open to her if she does not want to be stuck with the emotional, physical, and financial costs of raising the children of men who can’t be bothered to take responsibility for shooting sperm out of their dicks.

    (1) Only have sex with women.
    (2) Have sex with men, but abort any pregnancies that may result.

    Given the uncertain access to abortion that obtains in the U.S. thanks to the patriarchy’s unwillingness to cede control to women over their own bodies, I’d suggest option (1) as the safest. For those of us who are heterosexually inclined, there’s an amazing variety of dildos out there (regular and battery operated) that can satisfy all your needs, and they are guaranteed to stay hard longer than five minutes.

  90. #90 AgnosticNews
    June 25, 2009

    I agree with Zuska. If you elect (1), be sure to film it and then men won’t bother trying either.

    Seems like we’ve found the optimum solution.

  91. #91 Phenicks
    June 25, 2009

    Ismone:
    The pregnant party is on the hook for a baby she births and raises because she has the option to abort it. When she UNILATERALLY decided to give birth she UNILATERALLY decides to be a parent. Who the hell are you or any other woman to think your vagina entitles you to forcing parenthood on other people, it allows you to put parenthood on yourself.

    Kate: Yes you can its called adoption and you cna do it without the father’s consent, savvy?

    The woman’s choice starts and ends with regnancy, after she gives birth her control over whether this man will be a parent is over. He could tell teh child in court, I wish you were aborted and there be would nothing she could do about it because its true, she knew it and still felt self righteous and selfish enough toe xpose her child to it. Just because SHE wants to pop a baby out doesn’t mean HE wants to be a Dad. There are men who fight to try to give up their parental rights because they want NOTHING to do with the woman or the child she bears but will later on down the line love and cherish and be perfect dads to their wanted kids. Thats life. You can force a man to pay child support and at the same time force your child to know their fther hates them and loves their other children. Happens a LOT and I don’t blame the men for it, if they could have they would have aborted those kids in uero or terminated their rights and never came around but they can’t.

  92. #92 zuzu
    June 26, 2009

    > However, adults should be having this conversation BEFORE
    > they have sex. I insist on it in every relationship.

    A very good idea, but not a reasonable one when it comes to casual sex. In the heat of the moment I’d have agreed to nearly anything, the rational mind is not really at play here.

    Ah, the “heat of the moment” excuse.

    You know, that doesn’t work well when you tell the cop who pulled you over for drunk driving that you didn’t really *plan* to have that eighth drink and get in the car, it just seemed like a really good idea at the time, in the heat of the moment.

    Also, casual sex doesn’t preclude this kind of conversation. Not if you’re an adult about it.

    AgnosticNews, you seem to misapprehend accidents. Shit happens, but that doesn’t mean that nobody’s responsible for picking up the pieces. In fact, in the accident context, there’s a doctrine in tort law called the “last clear chance” rule — there is a point where you have a last clear chance to avoid an accident, and past that, you have to deal with the consequences.

    If we view conception as the “accident” here, then the last clear chance for the man to avoid conception is prior to penetration — he can choose to a) have a vasectomy; b) use a condom (which, really, he should be doing anyway, especially with casual partners); c) opt for non-penetrative or at least non-vaginal sex; d) decide he doesn’t really feel good about the risks, especially with this particular partner, and opt out entirely, which is the safest option, along with sterilization. If he forges ahead — even with a condom — he assumes the risk that a pregnancy might result, at which point things are out of his hands.

    The woman’s last clear chance to avoid conception involves all the things the man can do, but she has the additional option of hormonal/barrier-method birth control of her own (personally, before I had my tubes tied, I was a belt-and-suspenders kind of gal, insisting on condoms as well as my own method. Still insist on the condoms).

    But accidents do happen, even if one takes all precautions and no one can be said to be “at fault” (just ask anyone who’s ever hit a patch of black ice). But just as the person who’s been injured in a car accident has to deal with the consequences of the accident — physical, financial and legal — whether or not there’s any fault to be apportioned to the driver, the man who’s gotten a woman pregnant has to deal with the consequences of depositing his sperm in her body. Regardless of any precautions he took to avoid getting it in there, or how he feels about fatherhood, or what have you.

    Here’s where the cries of “unfair!” start coming into the picture, though. Having failed to avoid a pregnancy, the man now, because biology is the way it is, no longer has any control over what happens to the sperm he’s parked in the woman he’s had sex with. Because it’s now in her body, she’s the sole determinant of what happens to it. And if she gets pregnant, she’s the one who decides whether to get an abortion or continue with the pregnancy.

    And the man’s responsibility doesn’t change at all, because his last clear chance to avoid a birth and all that comes with it passed long ago.

    But at least he doesn’t have to face the choice of being pregnant or going through an often difficult-to-obtain surgical procedure which he’d have to push through screaming, potentially violent mobs to get.

    As for the money aspect, y’all *do* realize that your child support contributions don’t actually cover the entire cost of raising a child, right? That if you don’t pay, someone has to, and that someone is going to be the mother?

  93. #93 Ismone
    June 26, 2009

    Agnostic, you’re STILL missing my point.

    If the child is solely her responsibility (because she un-accidented the accident by choosing to remain pregnant instead of getting an invasive procedure), then HE does not get to choose whether or not to be a parent. SHE gets to choose whether to offer him the option, and HE gets to choose whether to take it.

    Your model is asymmetrical because it allows her to only choose whether or not to have the child, and him to choose whether or not to be part of her and the child’s life afterwards. If she doesn’t get to demand his support because she is “responsible” for the child, he doesn’t get to demand involvement simply for providing support because she is “responsible” for the child.

    I have read all of your posts, and now you are changing your position. Now you are saying that responsibility means the child belongs to the woman:

    “The woman, if she really does not want the child, can elect abortion or put it up for adoption independently of the man’s control.”

    vs. earlier, you said:

    “He should have a right to opt-in or opt-out, and if he does choose to opt-out, then he has surrendered all legal rights to the child beyond the capacity of being any other civilian.”

    If he has a right to opt-in or opt-out, that is different from saying if she chooses to have the baby, she can give it up for adoption. That’s my problem with your argument.

    Plus, and perhaps more importantly than the asymmetry, the child, when it is born, did not choose whether to be born to only a mother, or a mother and a father. This is child support. If children are expensive, and they are the genetic result of two people, both people should be on the hook. The advent of abortion does not change this at all. Just because women can choose not to continue a pregnancy doesn’t mean that the status of born children with regard to their biological parents should be lessened.

    Think about that. It bears repeating. The fact that a parent can now prevent a child from being born, where in the past it was harder (there was abortion, but it was less effective and higher-risk), does not mean that children born today should have fewer rights against their parents than they did before abortion was legal/safe/good at expelling embryoes and fetuses from the womb.

    Phoenicks:

    Same thing. If you want to propose that children belong to women, and women are solely financially responsible for children, fine. Then children BELONG to women, and the man who is the genetic father has no responsibilities OR RIGHTS unless she offers them to him and he agrees to take them.

    You cool with that? Do you think that all children should belong to women alone, so that if bio. dad wants to be involved, and she says, nuh-uh, that’s the end of it?

    And if so, where is the child in all of this? If the child will be much worse off financially because one parent opts out (or the other parent opts them out), who pays? The state? If you knock some lady up (all accidental-like, of course) are you suggesting that my taxes should have to pay for your by-blows? Do you consider that more or less fair than you paying for a child you caused (granted, the lady in question could’ve had surgery that maybe she doesn’t believe in or doesn’t want–see my post re: how D&C’s are fucking painful–in my case, we were talking about a 2cm embryo and it still was painful)?

    Are you totally cool paying for other people’s kids who they don’t want to acknowledge? Do you think it is good for a kid, psychologically, to not be acknowledged by a parent whether the parent makes that decision during pregnancy or after looking at the kid’s face that first time? (And if you want to go all libertarian on my ass, guess what, people get poor enough, the middle class collapses, and this whole house of cards collapses two. It costs you, even if you don’t believe in social programs.)

    Cherish,

    My irony-meter is usually broken. Perhaps your case militates in favor of the “children belong to women” arguments. But gee, doesn’t that sound a tad matriarchal? Are MRA’s arguing for a matriarchy or at least a matrilineal society? Interesting. I’ve no interest in going there, but it is funny the positions the other side will take when seeking to avoid responsibility and amass bennies.

    That’s an interesting point re: vasectomies.

    Have you considered asking him whether he’d be up for terminating his parental rights? A friend of mine, who had her two sons while married, had the same problem with her ex-husband’s inconstancy causing her sons to act up. (He would promise to show up for their events, and then not show, they were 4 and 6, so their reaction was to become disruptive and develop emotional problems. She terminated his rights–with his blessing, I believe–and she and her new husband, himself the single father of two boys, have quite the happy household without the irresponsible exes.

  94. #94 the backpacker
    June 26, 2009

    This is why we should repoduce in test tubes.

  95. #95 TeeDub
    June 26, 2009

    MRA dudes: It’s biology pure and simple. The woman is the one biologically fated to gestate. Women don’t get to just walk away from dealing with this situation. They have to do SOMETHING, take some sort of action and make decisions. If a woman feels abortion is murder, she’s going to gestate. And no amount of tantrums of “it’s not fair” will change that. No, it’s not f’in fair that women have all the responsibility for pregnancy, when in fact it takes two to tango.

    If you don’t want to be financially responsible for a child, don’t have sex. If you want the potential of financial responsibility for a child, bang your brains out. It’s really very simple. Women have been told this for a long time: sex has consequences and you need to take responsibility for your actions.

  96. #96 Phenicks
    June 26, 2009

    This already happens where the woman decides if the man can be active and fact is MOST men want nothing to do with her or the child they are no different than the woman pining for an abortion after discovery she’s pregnant or looking desperately for adoptive parents because she doesnt want to be a mom post natal.

    If a man makes it clear in utero he wishes to be part of the child’s life and the woman says no she chose to not allow the father in the child’s life. His part is over. If he doesnt want to be a father and use an opt out then he’s done and she can’t force him. But either way you can’t force someone to love their child or expect seeing a baby will warm his/her heart no more than you expect every woman to be overwhelmed with glee after hearing of a pregnancy she tried to avoid

    And the he should keep his legs closed argument sounds JUST like the crap misogynist would say about the “loose women” in abortion clinics and giving their children up for adoption. You cant say one is ok while condemning the other. The man’s opt out is no different than giving a child up for adoption, except the parent for the child is the mother who obviously wants the child.

    The financial repsonsibility of bearing a child goes on the parent willing to bear it (ie the one who will not terminate their rights), the gvernment or the one who doesnt want to be a parent shouldnt bear that burden. It sucks for those kids but the mom chose that life for him or her and thats how it is. I’m a woman, my husand and I have a son unplanned pregnancy. We could afford t take care of him on our own and if we couldn’t we’d have to work harder even spend less time together to ensure we could. Life isnt fair but no one is entitled to financial security or even having ends meet. If you truly feel that way where is the money for the families who recently lost their homes? Why are they behind women who voluntarily took on a financial burden they could not and will not work to handle on their own.

  97. #97 Falyne, FCD
    June 26, 2009

    Try looking at it this way:

    Once a child is born, both parents are on the hook to provide for it, unless they can work out some form of adoption/legal termination of parental status.

    Women currently just have one extra chance to prevent that birth from occurring. That’s all. And they’re often coerced (from culture, from religion, from legal or logistical difficulty in obtaining it) into not taking that chance. After birth, a woman can’t walk away any more than a man can. Both parents have an equal responsibility to the existing child.

  98. #98 Phenicks
    June 26, 2009

    Women can give the babies up for adoption and walk away, men can’t do that. RIght now he can’t terminate his rights without the permission of the custodial parent who forfeits a right to collect child support.

  99. #99 TeeDub
    June 26, 2009

    @97: Again, it’s biology. You just have to deal with it and take precautions. Men don’t gestate, they don’t have to or get to deal with the actual pregnancy and it’s consequences. You are correct they get to make no final decision on the pregnancy and gestation. It’s biology and no amount of “it’s not fair” will change that!!! Besides, I resent the implication that men can just legally dump their financial responsibilities on me as a taxpayer when they are perfectly capable of paying child support. An from an emotional and biological perspective, very few women can gestate and then give their baby up away. So, that leaves a child that needs support and a man that is half responsible for the existence of this child. Yes, men should have to pay child support.

  100. #100 Phenicks
    June 26, 2009

    No child is entitled to money from anyone other than the person who WANTED to have them otherwise there is a big bill awaiting women who gave children up for adoption that are still waiting to be adopted or stuck in foster care sucking up the taxpayers dimes.

    So either ALL children deserve the oney or they dont. There is no inbetween. Not every woman will be able to have a child whose father cares about their children. Thats just life, it isnt fair but its crazy and controlling to try to force parenthood on people because they dared have sex. Just repeal Roe V Wade while you’re at it and all safe haven laws as well as end adoption. Otherwise give men an opt out.

  101. #101 nails
    June 26, 2009

    “And the he should keep his legs closed argument sounds JUST like the crap misogynist would say about the “loose women” in abortion clinics and giving their children up for adoption. You cant say one is ok while condemning the other.”

    it is extremely different, and the difference allows for people to approve of the statement aimed at one group and not the other. The result of the behavior happens inside her. The issue of her autonomy is what complicates this so much and makes the responsibility statement apply to the men regardless of its application to pregnant women.

  102. #102 AgnosticNews
    June 26, 2009

    Ismone:

    If the child is solely her responsibility (because she un-accidented the accident by choosing to remain pregnant instead of getting an invasive procedure), then HE does not get to choose whether or not to be a parent. SHE gets to choose whether to offer him the option, and HE gets to choose whether to take it.

    Your model is asymmetrical because it allows her to only choose whether or not to have the child, and him to choose whether or not to be part of her and the child’s life afterwards. If she doesn’t get to demand his support because she is “responsible” for the child, he doesn’t get to demand involvement simply for providing support because she is “responsible” for the child.

    The circumstances which I’ve been discussing already hold that his decision to not be a parent or provide support has already been made, so her presenting him with a “choice” beyond that is a null point. The symmetry of my argument is based on the concept of individual liberty, which is something that you have excluded for the father. And no, under my conditions, he doesn’t “choose afterwards”, as he has never consented to having the child. That’s the point. If he had, at some point, consented to that option, then this would be an entirely different discussion, particularly since the mother would be taking that situation into account. Under the conditions I presented again and again for you, his options come under the sole jurisdiction of the mother. In particular,

    If she doesn’t get to demand his support because she is “responsible” for the child, he doesn’t get to demand involvement simply for providing support because she is “responsible” for the child.

    This is where you fail to hold to fairness. Do you notice the “if” part of that statement? You are saying, in essence, that if she isn’t capable of demanding that the father pay for her decisions against his intentions and his wishes in circumstances under her control, then he doesn’t have a right to involvement because she is “responsible”

    Have you ignored the circumstances entirely to babble about that? The entire point of my objections concerns responsibility for decisions. If he has provided support and she has accepted it, and he has taken responsibility, then he is a guardian of that child and has never revoked that capacity. I haven’t shifted the responsibility away from the father to the mother IF he has chosen to contribute, not at all, my objections lie that horrible “if” statement you proposed, because you seem to be under the impression that her “right” to force him into obligation for decisions under HER control is somehow symmetrical to her rejecting his willing involvement to support the decision under HER control… If they agreed on keeping the child, then in no way has he exempted himself.

    I have read all of your posts, and now you are changing your position. Now you are saying that responsibility means the child belongs to the woman:

    “The woman, if she really does not want the child, can elect abortion or put it up for adoption independently of the man’s control.”

    vs. earlier, you said:

    “He should have a right to opt-in or opt-out, and if he does choose to opt-out, then he has surrendered all legal rights to the child beyond the capacity of being any other civilian.”

    I’ve not changed my position. In response to you, I’ve been particularly specific about the circumstances under which I am giving the father the right to his own finances (beyond costs requisite to the accident), under the specific circumstances given in posts #58-59, which I have referred you to, and further, that his responsibility ends with the choice of the mother against his wishes. You’ll also notice the distinction between “can” and “should”, as being the difference between a situation vs. what I feel would be a better normative standard.

    If he has a right to opt-in or opt-out, that is different from saying if she chooses to have the baby, she can give it up for adoption. That’s my problem with your argument.

    Did I say that they were the same thing? And what’s the source of your objection here, exactly?

    Plus, and perhaps more importantly than the asymmetry, the child, when it is born, did not choose whether to be born to only a mother, or a mother and a father. This is child support. If children are expensive, and they are the genetic result of two people, both people should be on the hook. The advent of abortion does not change this at all. Just because women can choose not to continue a pregnancy doesn’t mean that the status of born children with regard to their biological parents should be lessened.

    As for: “they are the genetic result of two people, both people should be on the hook.”

    Like a sperm donor? So you’re predicating involvement on genetic contribution alone? That makes sense of your position, and why it doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense at all. If not at the level sperm donor, then was it predicated on the fact that the father had the privilege of using her to produce an orgasm? Your entrance rites for a lifetime commitment (and again, the asymmetry lies with your position, as the lifetime commitment has nothing to do with the say of the father in your mind) are absurd. I understand your position, as it is clearly one which assumes supremacy of the woman in all such decisions axiomatically, and further, that he’s equally on the hook whether he be a long-time but hesitant boyfriend, a willing husband, or a sailor on shore leave who found her at a trashy bar.

    And further (and again, the point I must repeat), they are not both “on the hook” after the genetic contribution. That’s the point. They are “on the hook” after SHE AND SHE ALONE decides to put HIM on the hook against his wishes. As I’ve said before, he should be responsible for taking the risk of having sex, and that responsibility extends to the accidental costs requisite to the action he consented to, whether it be helping to pay for the abortion (if she chooses) or help place the child in an adoptive home (if she chooses), and I’ve even said that the immediate costs from the birth and immediate needs could be obligated to him (again, see 58, so you don’t jump the gun on my “changing positions”), but she should NOT have the power to obligate him to a long term commitment that was her choice to make and never his. That’s all, and there is nothing asymmetrical about that.

    Think about that. It bears repeating. The fact that a parent can now prevent a child from being born, where in the past it was harder (there was abortion, but it was less effective and higher-risk), does not mean that children born today should have fewer rights against their parents than they did before abortion was legal/safe/good at expelling embryoes and fetuses from the womb.

    The child isn’t gaining rights against its parents, the mother is gaining rights against the father for HER decisions. The fact that abortion is available now does not change the needs of the child (and again, look at #59 on my explanation of covering the needs of the child) and it’s not like there is NO help available from social agencies. And yes, if she chooses to have a child in a set of circumstances that are so destitute that she just can’t do it without constant forced support from the dissenting father, then her decision to bring the child into this world and not place it into an adoptive home that could care for it was a bad one, and particularly for the child. Again, you’re exempting the woman from the consequences of her decision. Of course she will bear most of the burden regardless of child support, but if she can not accommodate, she shouldn’t be popping out kids.

    In any case, the normative lines we draw are distinct. Yours is predicated on genetic material alone, and mine is based on (yes, symmetrical) responsibility for the weight of the decisions made in both parties, and even then, only under specific circumstances does the father have such an option.

    They both bear the burden of the accident. They share the burden of their mutual decisions. If they split on keeping the child, then they both bear the burden of the choice they make, from finances to guardianship. In your model, it follows these lines:

    “You’re fucked, dude, stand by for orders.”

  103. #103 nails
    June 26, 2009

    “No child is entitled to money from anyone other than the person who WANTED to have them otherwise there is a big bill awaiting women who gave children up for adoption that are still waiting to be adopted or stuck in foster care sucking up the taxpayers dimes. ”

    woah that is kind of an argument for letting unwanted kids starve to death, isn’t it?

    “So either ALL children deserve the oney or they dont. There is no inbetween.”

    This is the definition of a false dichotomy. You have not provided any reason why either all children or none deserve money and resources. One inbetween option would be the people who donated dna to the creation of the child paying.

    The position you stated says that children deserve money from the people who want them, which is actually a position between children either always or never deserving money and resources. I find it extremely silly for the rights of children to be based on what the parents feel at any given time. Children aren’t things that people own, children exist and need help to keep living no matter how the parents feel about it. What actually happened is a lot more concrete and consequential than parental intentions.

  104. #104 nails
    June 26, 2009

    “The child isn’t gaining rights against its parents, the mother is gaining rights against the father for HER decisions. ”

    I bet you would like to explain this to the kids:

    “Im sorry you are in poverty timmy, but you mom decided to give birth to you. Thats why you go to bed hungry each night in a crime ridden neighborhood. See, your existance is really more about her than you. What? your dad? He has even less to do with you than you do. ”

    ok yeah that is very dramatic, but there isn’t a reason for your argument to not apply to a situation like that where it is the difference between a kid being able to eat or not. And the whole argument is very very silly.

  105. #105 AgnosticNews
    June 26, 2009

    First of all, it wouldn’t be fair for me to miss an opportunity to tell phenicks that his black-and-white view of the situation is utter nonsense.

    Secondly, to you, nails:

    I bet you would like to explain this to the kids:

    “Im sorry you are in poverty timmy, but you mom decided to give birth to you. Thats why you go to bed hungry each night in a crime ridden neighborhood. See, your existance is really more about her than you. What? your dad? He has even less to do with you than you do. ”

    I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to ask you to read my previous postings, particularly at #58-#59, as you seem to be neglecting entirely the conditions which I have been basing my argument on. If you plan on calling my argument “very very silly”, you could try actually addressing my argument instead of acting like you just ran headlong into a wall.

    And yes, the mother does in fact bear a great deal of responsibility, not just for the care of her child, but for keeping a child in shitty economic conditions where she cannot provide for it instead of putting it up for adoption. How about this one:

    “I’m sorry Timmy, but you’ll have to stitch up your old shoes and scrounge for spare change at the skating rink if you want dinner, because mommy couldn’t separate her capacity for reasoning in your interests from her hormones and put you into a home where you could have three full meals a day, new clothes, and a home outside of the ghetto. Sorry Timmy! Gee, that was a close one! But you and all of your friends will probably end up in a gang, in prison, or in foster care later on when the stress from hooking catches up to me and I give in to methamphetamine. Oh, did I say that out loud? I meant `blame your (also poor) dad for not sending me a check’…”

    And you’re to ask me to hold the father in not equal, but greater contempt for those circumstances? No, this is simplistic airheadedness. Also, if you want to be taken seriously, you have to understand and address the fine distinctions. If you want to be taken as coherent and mentally sound, you have to understand and address the major distinctions and the weight of argumentation, not just pull an emotional scenario out of your ass and dismiss the details out of hand. No, I won’t take your argument from analogy, since we could play “invent the scenario” game for quite some time and accomplish a tremendous deal of nothing in the process.

    The question isn’t one of immediate survival for the children (under usual circumstances), but of quality of life and care. If you want to blame the father for not surrendering his paycheck to support a decision he had no say in, then you can at least take it upon yourself to blame the mother for willingly submitting her child to the rigors of ghetto life and a likely future of foster homes when she had the full scope of decision making within her sole power to put that child up for adoption. No, it is a selfishness on her part, an emotional selfishness, but a selfishness to the foreseeable detriment of the child nonetheless, that has placed the child in those circumstances.

  106. #106 nothingmuch
    June 26, 2009

    God, this debate gets so tiresome. You’re wrong to think that no one discusses this topic, Ethan. It’s been done to death online.

    It’s funny, because you seem to understand that there’s nothing unfair about the right to abortion. A woman has a right to abortion because it is her body that is pregnant. That’s not the law’s fault; it’s biology. If a man were to somehow wind up with a fetus inside his body, he would have the same right to abortion women have. Similarly, if a man wants a tumor removed, or a vasectomy, or whatever surgical procedure, no law stands in his way. It’s his body. Abortion doesn’t give women a special right that men don’t have; it gives women the SAME right men have to control the contents of their own bodies.

    So why in the world should the right to abortion have anything to do with child support? Why should the fact that abortion is legal mean that men deserve an extra special new men-only Get Out Of Child Support Free right that women don’t have?

    You know, if a woman gets pregnant, decides she doesn’t want it, then goes through her entire pregnancy completely ignoring it, acting as if she is not pregnant at all, then plops the baby out in a public toilet, wipes and walks away, nobody stands up to defend her “right” to not be burdened by a child she didn’t want. But that is exactly the right you wish to give men: the right to cause a pregnancy and then do nothing to stop it, let the child be born, and escape any responsibility, because he didn’t want it.

    If a woman doesn’t want responsibility for a child, she has to ACTUALLY, PHYSICALLY avoid creating a child, either by not having sex, by using birth control, or by going out and paying for and then undergoing an abortion. If she fails to prevent the birth, or if her birth prevention fails (and yes, sometimes even abortions fail), she winds up with a child and rights and responsibilities to that child, whether she wanted it or not. What she WANTS doesn’t matter; what matters is whether or not she STOPS it.

    It is exactly the same for men. If a man does not ACTUALLY, PHYSICALLY PREVENT a birth, either by avoiding vaginal sex with fertile women or by using birth control on his own body, he winds up with a child and rights and responsibilities to that child, whether he wanted it or not.

    If no child is born, no one is responsible.

    But once the child is here, it has rights to both parents. The only way those rights can be terminated is if BOTH parents agree to have the child adopted by a third party. The woman can’t just take the child and give it away against the man’s wishes, and the man can’t take the child and give it away against the woman’s wishes. BOTH have to agree. And if they can’t agree, then a family court judge sorts it out as fairly as possible.

    The law, as it stands, is NOT unfair. It protects the rights of the child, the rights of mothers and the rights of fathers. The only unfairness is the fact that women get pregnant and men don’t, but the law did not create that unfairness and can not fix it.

    Allowing men to unilaterally opt out of their responsibilities without doing anything to physically prevent children from being born would open a whole can of worms that would ultimately not be good for men. It would create a standard that fathers’ rights and responsibilities to their children are inherently less than mothers’ rights and responsibilities, and more easily disposable.

    Pretty soon, mothers would start demanding the right to cut the fathers of their children out of their child’s lives without their consent, and why shouldn’t they have that right? Once you set the standard that fathers’ responsibilities are less than mothers’, what’s to stop us from winding up with a matrilineal society where fathers’ rights are completely dependent on the mother’s wishes?

    Child support is a small price to pay for equal rights to your children.

  107. #107 Zuska
    June 26, 2009

    Nothingmuch, that’s the most sensible thing anybody on this thread has said. Every heterosexual woman in the world ought to print that out, laminate it, then make every potential sex partner read it and sign a form stating he agrees before she agrees to have sex with him. Men who can’t cope with or comprehend that wisdom just shouldn’t be allowed to have sex with women.

  108. #108 Andrew
    June 27, 2009

    This is why we should repoduce in test tubes.

    But my bed is so comfy!

    Plus, I don’t think they even make test tubes large enough for one person to get it on in, let alone two.

  109. #109 Tsu Dho Nimh
    June 27, 2009

    Ethan – Right now, the courts always place the welfare of the child first. Is this the right thing to do in this day and age? What do you think?

    The child in this has no options.

    If a guy doesn’t want to risk 18 years of child support, he should keep his pants on and/or use his own methods of birth control. Maybe even a vasectomy (ask the doc to make it easy to reverse). Certainly a condom backed up with contraceptive foam or gel isn’t to much to ask of a guy who is concerned about his future.

  110. #110 EmJ
    June 27, 2009

    I have a couple things that I just want to throw out here:

    1) Parenting a child is not only a financial burden. It is also a huge commitment of time and emotion. To me, paying child support is like paying a nominal fee to get out of changing diapers at 2 AM, cleaning puke and spit-up out of your carpet and clothing, cooking for your child morning noon and night, being home every evening or having to hire a babysitter every time you want a night to yourself, getting calls in the middle of the day to leave your job and deal with behavior problems or illnesses, plus the many other “joys” of parenthood. You get to pay money to get out of all of that horrible inconvenience. And the amount of money courts deem reasonable is nowhere near half of the actual financial cost. So guys, I think you’re getting a heck of a deal.

    2) Lots of women never demand child support, and even if they do they never, ever see it.

    3) Abortion is not an easy out. It’s certainly not as easy as conveniently vanishing from your child’s life. It’s a painful and costly medical procedure that has its own risks and ramifications. A woman who has an abortion is not “escaping the consequences.” An abortion IS a consequence, and a painful one.

    4) I do not want to get pregnant. I use BIRTH CONTROL and I demand that all of my partners wear condoms on top of that. Redundancy is good! Birth control is fallible! Everyone engaging in sexual activity should know this and protect themselves. Wear a condom, even if she’s on the pill/patch/ring/injection/etc. Also, if she’s going to lie to you about being on the pill, what’s to stop her from lying to you about having gonorrhea/herpes/HIV or any other STI? Some people are jerks and lie about important things. That’s why you are responsible for protecting yourself. If I had unprotected sex and got an STI because I didn’t ask or he lied to me, the guy was a jerk for not telling me, but its still my fault for being stupid and I still have to go get treated and pay for my own medical care. The same is true for pregnancy.

    5) Yes, I just compared pregnancy to sexually transmitted infections.

    That was longer than I intended.

  111. #111 DJ
    June 28, 2009

    @Nothingmuch #105:
    I just thought I would throw an anecdote out there. My friend fathered a child with a woman he was engaged to marry, shortly after the birth she took off with their child. He has been paying child support ever since (because he desired to do so and forced the state into accepting it), but he has had no parental rights. All he knows is that he pays support to a state office and they make sure she receives it.
    I don’t know if this is common, but it is exactly what you describe in your last paragraph “…mothers would start demanding the right to cut the fathers of their children out of their child’s lives without their consent, and why shouldn’t they have that right?”

    It appears, at least in this one anecdotal case, that equal parental rights didn’t matter. The court upheld the rights of one over the other.

  112. #112 Ben
    July 1, 2009

    I have a problem with this poll, there is no answer I can reasonably answer with though the first is closest: Should be responsible for paying half of whatever the woman chooses.

    Half no matter what? What if he can’t afford half? Especially in this example she chooses. Parenting isn’t all about the woman, I mean she’s important obviously but the man shouldn’t be excluded just because she carries the child. It should be what’s best for the child, based on what both can contribute whether both want the child or not.

  113. #113 AlekNovy
    July 4, 2009

    ===Zuska said====
    Men’s control over women’s bodies has been the NORM for millennia and it is only recently that women have been able to assert some control over their own reproduction and to use the law to force men to take responsibility for their role in reproduction.
    =================

    That’s a feminist conspiracy theory, not a fact. I’ve studied anthropology, sociology and now social psychology, as well as many of the sub-disciplines for a decade now.

    That whole “women opressed and second citizens” BS is only true of modern western society and only in a few ways for a limited period of modern history. And its a matter of interpretation and which markers you account for.

    Even IF it were true zuska, **two wrongs don’t make a right**… Like all the time I see this on TV, where someone will point out how men are injusticed by society, a feminist will come on and say “yeah well women had it bad for millenia”

    Like what kind of an excuse is that? Do we now institute white-slavery to make up for black slavery? What kind of a logic is that?

    The truth is that men have NO sexual or reproductive rights. A woman has the right to change her mind, a man doesn’t.

    A woman has the right to be irresponsible, a man doesn’t. She can get pregnant and then give up responsibility. A man is forced to take responsibility.

    That’s not equality. And no inequality can be justified by another inequality in the past (even IF if it were true).

    Women say they want equality and earn as much etc… But they still want men to take all the risks and carry all the responsibilities if something goes wrong, and take all the blame.

  114. #114 beebeeo
    July 8, 2009

    I just wanted to state here that I agree that these things should be agreed on first. The best thing would be on paper. Even though I ‘ve never done it myself I ‘ve offered previous partners to use a condom (on top of contraceptive pill they were already using). They said they didn’t want it even though it would even further reduce the chance of a pregnancy. I told them that in case of a pregnancy they shouldn’t count on me being there. I even stated clearly that if they are not ok with that then we should stop having sex. I always knew that that was not legally binding (as it wasn’t a contract, just a verbal agreement) but at least morally I think that walking away and doing nothing (other than paying half of an abortion) would have been ok. Does anyone disagree?
    I think there should be some kind of official form that one could easily download, print out and ask a partner to sign before starting having sex. It would state clearly that a pregnancy is not wanted and in case it does happen, what the responsibilities of both parties are. If one of the partners refuses to sign it then they shouldn’t have sex. Maybe they should add them inside the packages of condoms and contraceptive pills. It would initially certainly kill some of the joy but then if you haven’t thought and talked about it you probably shouldn’t be having sex. I guess the point of opting out is before the sex. If there isn’t already an agreement when the pregnancy is established, its too late.

  115. #115 anna lynn
    September 10, 2009

    there are so many scenarios that could play out in a situation such as this here they are if a man gets a woman pregnant and its unplanned on both parts if they both decide to keep the baby then i wish them the best of luck the relationship between the two of them may not work but at least they were able to mutually agree to bring a child into this world if the man doesnt want the child but the woman does then its her choice if the man really has no intentions of wanting to ever see the child and also doesnt want to pay child support for 18 years he can sign his rights to the child over to the mother then he would not be obligated to fianiacally care for the child but he would have to be ok with thefact that he would never be allowed legally to see the child if the father wants the child and the mother does not unless shes willing to have the child then hand it over to the father to raise then the father is just gonna have to deal with the fact that she doesnt want the child and shes not obligated to have it its her body therefore her choice if neither the man or the woman want the child then abortion or adoption would be the choice personally i think adoption is a far better choice but if abortion was the option the couple chose then i think the man should definatly be responsible for paying half of the abortion cost it takes two people to create a child and if neither want the child and agree on abortion then they should each pay half given its a mutual agreement in either case this wouldnt be an issue if more people took sex more seriously than as lightly as they do i know sex is fun and passionate but sex is also a way to contract diseases and unplanned pregnancies even if your being resonsible and using birth control methods they are still not 100 percent effective in preventing pregnancy so do 1 of 3 things when you have sex if you dont want to go through this kind of situation 1. have your tubes tied or a vasectomy 2. abstain from sex 3. only have sex with a partner that you know if an unplanned pregnancy occured you both have discussed it and want the same outcome whether it be raising a child together or each paying half for an abortion even if you go with rule 3 be very very responsible and careful use birth control methods properly

  116. #116 Hazy
    February 23, 2010

    Men SHOULD have to help fund a woman’s pregnancy and possibly their child if they’re the father. I’m sorry but you just cannot argue against this.

    If you have sex, and do not take the right precautions, you should expect a baby. It is what happens, and it happens sometimes when you use protection too. Sex = babies. If you’re having sex with someone, you should expect that at some point there may well be a pregnancy or a pregnancy scare.

    It makes complete sense that a man cannot make a woman have an abortion as well. This is true of all medical interventions – as long as the patient is conscious and not insane, they can choose what ‘treatment’ they have.

    You are also ignoring the fact that a heavily pregnant woman or a woman with a small baby cannot work. When heavily pregnant, she is pretty much disabled all the time, and many jobs will not take her even lightly pregnant as they predict she will quit very very soon and they dont want to pay maternity leave. When with a small baby, she will probably breastfeed, and even if she doesnt, she will most likely not have enough money to afford daycare/nanny for the baby, so cannot work.

    You are ignoring the practicalities – it is simply not possible to take care of a baby single-handedly, for many many people. Even benefits give only just enough to survive. And since THE MAN also had sex he is also responsible for the production of the baby.

    Your entire premise is wrong. It is not not having an abortion that makes babies; sex makes babies.

    If you dont want to have babies with someone, dont have sex with them, or at the very least use more than one type of birth control (and if you have a fear of being tricked into being a father or something, use birth control you can control i.e. condoms, or when it is available, the male pill)

  117. #117 Hazy
    February 23, 2010

    And I second everyone who has said abortion is not an easy way out – maybe for the man it is, but the woman has to have invasive medical treatment that can be very painful, esp if it involves partial-birth, or any amount of ‘labour’ (labour is bad enough when youre giving birth to a live, healthy child you want… let alone giving birth to a dead child or partial child… horrible.)

    NOT every woman who uses birth control should or would have an abortion. How thick are you that you really cannot understand that PREVENTING a child forming, and KILLING a child are completely different, and have very different ramifications, esp for a woman whose hormones and body want her to have the baby, and who will therefore be in emotional and physical distress afterwards if she has an abortion.

    The morning after pill, I agree with. (In fact I technically am pro-choice completely, but I dont think the man should get that choice – it really is not his body, and so isnt his choice, when it comes to performing a medical procedure on someone else.) I think the man can pressure the woman to take the morning after pill as it tends to be painless, and have no ill emotional or physical effects. But after that, it is always more her choice than his.

    Keep it in your pants if you dont want a baby. Simple. Or maybe have sex with someone you wouldnt actually mind having a kid with. Just a thought.

  118. #118 Titus
    February 23, 2011

    This brilliantly illustrates the necessity for men to keep it in their pants. The law will not help them deal with the consequences of indiscretion.

  119. #119 Hmmm
    February 27, 2012

    @TeeDub … Biology is such a stupid argument. Should domestic disputes be solved on the basis of physical strength in your opinion ? Because thats also biology. Please make rational arguments.

  120. #120 donny2moms
    az
    September 26, 2012

    Ok almost NONE of you idiots even had a reply pertinent to this article. The author was talking about when a female intentionally traps the man without his knowlege. I think abortion should be forced along with a hysterectomy . That is INTENT! intended pregnancy on one end. The other end was LIED to. Intentionally. Intent is what criminal courts go on…

  121. #121 Ndii
    Kenya
    January 7, 2013

    In cases were a married man impregnates a woman ,before the man is pinned down,we ought to bear in to account that it was after all a case of a willing buyer willing seller&the man should have a say in the whole matter.Therefore as the man is made to support the child for 18years,the woman should compansate the man’s wife for the stolen kisses,hugs&sex.women have been known to trap married men inorder to benefit financially.Therefore i propose that this support should be in material form(eg 2kgs of rice) and not cash.if you are a victim of such women,dont lose hope,GOD will pay her dearly.Thanks

  122. #122 sean cameron
    July 4, 2013

    friend should have worn a condom. im glad im gay.

  123. #123 Wow
    July 5, 2013

    Child support should be about the right of the child to survive if brought into the world.

    Most cases would be solved by that precept being applied.

    In cases where the woman wants “a job” of being the mother, rather than wanting to be a mother, this would be solved by money being offered only for spending on the Child, for costs that do not otherwise occur.

    Heating the home has to be done whether you have a child or not.

    Nappies not so much.

    Schooling is paid for, so only if the mother chooses a private education are costs accrued. Clothing is available as well.

    Therefore a list of costs that are absolutely minimally necessary are available and should be the statutory amount the father is subject to.

    It also accords to the social mores that led to the statutory status: the man was working, earning the money, the woman stayed at home and brought up the kids.

    Renumeration for more than that would require judicial order with evidence and reasoning (and the proof that the mother needs or should expect more, and that the father can afford more).

    As the man, wear a condom. It’s only 99% effective, so still you will occasionally, through no fault of your own, father a child, but if you’re having sex with someone that you really don’t care enough about to father an unexpected child with often enough to make that a certainty, you need to rethink your life.

  124. #124 Nancy
    August 26, 2014

    Abortion = murder regardless of how you want too see it – whether the fetus is viable or not – death of a living thing occurs. Eventually this fact will haunt the mother so … this is much larger than “financial”. if you don’t want the consequences of an unwanted child and all the drama and financial issues it brings the choice is to keep it in your pants or deal with your needs with your hands. Women have been dealing with this burden since the beginning of time. Not much fun is it? But guess what, that is what you get when you are having sex for the fun of sex(without a partner you don’t want to spend the rest of your life with) – sometimes it results in a lot of headaches – Rather sucks – ask any women who, despite all the “perks” you cite still has mental anguish with this topic. Just remember it is murder – does any of your “logic” address that emotional trauma? Do you have any clue what it is like to murder an innocent thing let alone a child? You might want to somehow or another weave this topic into your logic, I am sure you can reason it away.

  125. #125 Nancy
    August 26, 2014

    Uhhhh and you know, yes, the women has some leverage in this situation now. A child gets created all three lives are affected for the rest of your life -nobody gets to just walk away washing their hands of it. BTW – glad the laws are what they are cause I don’t want to pay (tax wise) for your unwanted child – given the choice I will support laws to ensure that the people responsible for the child pay for the child.

    Guess what – opt out, don’t have sex. Or only have sex with someone you want to have a child with. Versus just any ole one that will let you put your pecker in them. It is called making good decisions in life versus run with an emotion or desire.

    Maybe sex actually means something. Good golly it can create a child. Hmmmm, seems to take people a long time to figure this out – this recreational activity could cost me lots of money and affect the rest of my life – maybe I should put some thought into it. Do you think we are the first generations of people to have to struggle with this.

    Amazing concept isn’t it? You create a child you have to pay for that child. Weird to think the current generations don’t understand this and are trying to weazel their way out of it.

    Maybe the next dynamic that this current generation needs to understand is murder. Killing a fetus is murder, at some point in time it will haunt you. But hey, take a pill, get an abortion, forget about it for now — there is going to be a lot of screwed up people who put this thought to the back of their mind, and one day it will come forward and haunt you. And, then we will get to have these discussions in a new context. Maybe by then they will have the pill, abortion, and a mind wiping app.

    The child wants to do what the child wants to do regardless of the consequences. We are just dealing with a lot of grown up children that think they can escape the consequences.

    Novel idea – only have sex with someone you can see yourself spending your life with and raising a child with. Goes against the grain of what socieity has taught you doensn’t it? Abortions, divorces, depression, suicide, these stupid whiney blogs — hmmm really not outrunning it are we.

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