Should Men Be Forced to Pay For Children They Didn’t Want?

Should Men Be Forced to Pay For Children They Didn’t Want?Held By Father

I’m a man who helps women understand men. Not all men. Not in every situation. But, in general, if you want to hear how honest, loyal, sensitive, successful, confident, self-aware (and self-aggrandizing) men think, this blog is a pretty good place to start.

Which is why I’m excerpting what is sure to be a controversial post that recently ran in the New York Times. It was written by Laurie Shrage, a women’s studies professor in Florida and it’s like she took the words right out of my brain. In short, while no one in the world will defend deadbeat dads who don’t support their kids after a divorce, that’s a completely different scenario than men who are forced to support a child that they never wanted to have. In her opinion – and in mine – the law should reflect this obvious difference.

“If a man accidentally conceives a child with a woman, and does not want to raise the child with her, what are his choices? Surprisingly, he has few options in the United States. He can urge her to seek an abortion, but ultimately that decision is hers to make. Should she decide to continue the pregnancy and raise the child, and should she or our government attempt to establish him as the legal father, he can be stuck with years of child support payments.”

I’ve been around long enough to know that many women have the reflexive answer that if she accidentally got pregnant, he should be on the hook for it. But that doesn’t quite hold up logically. He can’t have a say over the birth of the fetus (because it’s her body), but she can have a say about whether he supports the accidentally conceived child for the next 18 years?

“The political philosopher Elizabeth Brake has argued that our policies should give men who accidentally impregnate a woman more options, and that feminists should oppose policies that make fatherhood compulsory. In a 2005 article in the Journal of Applied Philosophy she wrote, “if women’s partial responsibility for pregnancy does not obligate them to support a fetus, then men’s partial responsibility for pregnancy does not obligate them to support a resulting child.” At most, according to Brake, men should be responsible for helping with the medical expenses and other costs of a pregnancy for which they are partly responsible.”

Continues the author, “Feminists have long held that women should not be penalized for being sexually active by taking away their options when an accidental pregnancy occurs. Do our policies now aim to punish and shame men for their sexual promiscuity? Many of my male students (in Miami where I teach), who come from low-income immigrant communities, believe that our punitive paternity policies are aimed at controlling their sexual behavior. Moreover, the asymmetrical options that men and women now have when dealing with an unplanned pregnancy set up power imbalances in their sexual relationships that my male students find hugely unfair to them. Rather than punish men (or women) for their apparent reproductive irresponsibility by coercing legal paternity (or maternity), the government has other options, such as mandatory sex education, family planning counseling, or community service.”

Is any of this ideal? Of course not. But it’s reality. No matter what we legislate, men and women are going to get drunk, hook up, forget to wear a condom, and have to deal with the consequences of unplanned pregnancies. The question is: what’s fair? Shrage seems to suggest that the current laws are anything but.

“However, just as court-ordered child support does not make sense when a woman goes to a sperm bank and obtains sperm from a donor who has not agreed to father the resulting child, it does not make sense when a woman is impregnated (accidentally or possibly by her choice) from sex with a partner who has not agreed to father a child with her. In consenting to sex, neither a man nor a woman gives consent to become a parent, just as in consenting to any activity, one does not consent to yield to all the accidental outcomes that might flow from that activity.”

As the author proves, one can be a feminist, demand equal rights, and still believe that a system that penalizes men so harshly for an innocent mistake is unjust. While you are entitled to disagree with me, please understand that my whole business is about learning to put yourself in men’s shoes and find a measure of sympathy and understanding for them. By insisting that a man pay hundreds of thousands of dollars over a lifetime for a one-night stand and a broken condom, you are not indicating that you’re considering his plight at all.

Concludes Shrage, “Policies that punish men for accidental pregnancies also punish those children who must manage a lifelong relationship with an absent but legal father. These “fathers” are not “dead-beat dads” failing to live up to responsibilities they once took on — they are men who never voluntarily took on the responsibilities of fatherhood with respect to a particular child.”

Your thoughts below are greatly appreciated.


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  1. 1

    It’s actually more onerous than is presented.  Not only is the father obligated to pay child support, the amount of child support is determined by the wealth of the father.  
    I have a couple of friends who are paying child support to the tune of $10,000+ per month.  It is very hard to believe that these women “accidentally” got pregnant.
    There are well documented cases of men paying even more astronomical child support payment, see Kerkorian, Kirk (
    I can believe a girl in High School accidentally get’s pregnant, but if you’re over 18 and/or graduated from High School and frequently college, it is never an accident.  And if the guy has enough money to make child support payments, it is more premeditated than first degree murder.
    I will also say, that any man of means, who does not know this is a fool, who get’s exactly what he deserves.
    The great tragedy in all this, it’s the kid who really pays the price.

    1. 1.1

      You can’t believe a woman over 18 can accidentally get pregnant? I can’t believe a man over 18 can “accidentally” get a woman pregnant. 

      1. 1.1.1

        That’s not an apples to apples comparison.  What’s lob-sided is, in those situations the man has something to lose, the woman has something to gain.  That’s the nature of the system we currently have.  In other words, men are deathly afraid it’s going to happen which makes them take lots of precautions, women on the other hand have incentive for it to happen.  In my ex-wife’s family, I have seen two former neices purposefully get pregnant because they didn’t know how to take care of themselves and then put the responsibility on their parents to raise their children.  I also have a cousin who got pregnant 3 times by three different men.  I don’t think that’s accidental.  If you do, you’re smoking something.

        1. stella living good

          Such a sad yet socially accepted reality.. Men are victims and are often used by women who Are financially,productively , emotionally, intellectually in secure and frankly have no interest in career goals or being able to be financially independent. It is a lot easier to get pregnant than heaven forbid get job or have some ct
          Career goals.. Man, sometimes I think society hasn’t progressed in the last 40 yes. Women (some) see It more advantageous to be A sugar daddy or just get pregnant and forever depend on men to support them.

          Also, just how fair and honorable is that to the guy they”accidentally” got pregnant by???

        2. J. Tavarez

          Pregnancy is one thing, abortion another, and a child after and supporting it birth yet another one.
          That only women gets to decide about abortion only means that biology is difference, it’s nothing to do with double standards.

          “He can’t have a say over the birth of the fetus (because it’s her body), but she can have a say about whether he supports the accidentally conceived child for the next 18 years?”
          Yes, just like HE can get a say about wether she supports the accidentaly child for the next 18 years. If she had the baby (women don’t abort for many reason, inclusing religious, health problems, noticing the pregnancy too, hormonal/emotional response when you feel like killing someone for aborting, late and so on) and doens’t want it but HE ends up wanting it, she will also have to pay child support.
          In the end, the one who keeps the child is the one with most to “lose” (if we will use such terms to describe our relatioship with our sons and daughters) – he/she will waste not only most/all of their money on their child, and not only a parcel like the parent in child support, but also all of their time, patience, dedication, etc.

          But I guess many men, even more when it comes to the uncivilized American ones, will just try to skip their responsibilities in any way possible, as always, and keep complaining and whinning about it.

    2. 1.2
      Yours truly

      Yea n the sickest part the mother usually isn’t concerned about the kids its jus focus on wut dad isn’t doing as if he’s to wake up n b a changed man news flash he didn’t want the baby

    3. 1.3

      I get where you coming from, I really do. I think that men should have the option of opting out if the woman chooses to keep a baby he didnt want. I do take issue with your ‘accidental’ pregnancy point.I was on hormonal contraception for YEARS. I got depression and it was decided by my doctors that hormonal contraception was making me worse, so I came off it (all types). I was contemplating my next option, when I met a guy we dated for 6 weeks, then we had sex. We used a condom and he wanted to use lubricant. I was ok with that, until he found out his lubricant ad run out, he quickly grabbed ‘baby oil’. Which, as it turns out, destroys the latex on a condom and BAM I became pregnant.We had sex twice that month. He dumped me not long afterwards, then I found out. So, YES it can accidently happen. In general, though unplanned pregnancies are the result of bad managment of contraception, which is what happened in my case, but there are also women out there who plan pregnancies without the guys knowledge or just ‘forget’ to use contraception on purpose. I’ve met a few of them and they suck ass, not nice people. That abortion experience was shitty and I DO understand why when a woman becomes pregnant accidently she would want to keep it, it feels wrong, because it is wrong, but that short burst of pain is nothing compared to bringing children into the world with resistant fathers! THAT is worse than termination.

  2. 2
    Sparkling Emerald

    I will probably earn the wrath of most (maybe even all) of the women on this blog, but I think there are very few pregnancies that are really and truly “accidents”.  I did read an article (maybe it was through this blog, or perhaps another) where women admitted to stealing sperm.  Poking holes in condoms, or fishing them out of the bathroom garbage can and inseminating themselves.  UGH !  Not trying to “blame the victim” here (victim being the man who had his sperm stolen) but men should treat their condoms like parachutes and pack their own.  NEVER take a condom offered by the woman.  And never let the woman handle the disposal.  Dispose them by FLUSHING them.  Never take a woman’s word that she is on BC.  Unless you watch her take that pill every morning or x-ray her uterus for an IUD, you have no control over her BC habits.  Just smile and say you want to keep both of you safe and use a condom as BC backup and protection against STDs. If she balks, you should walk.
    I have listened (biting my tongue) to women explain how they “accidently” got pregnant.  One woman (with whom I had a business relationship) told me how she “forgot” to take one of her pills.  She thought “oops, I’ll just take 2 tomorrow.”  Then the next day she “forgot” again, so she CALLED HER MOM for advice.  (I would have called my Dr, but I think she picked a grandma-wanna-be in order to here what she wanted to hear) What did grandma-wanna-be advise her to do ?  Oh, just stop taking her pills until her next cycle and start over.  Her next cycle was ten days away.  So this woman proceeds to tell me that she stopped taking her pills, thinking “she wouldn’t get pregnant” and just waited for her period to come and go, and start over.  I did ask her if she used back up birth control  (which is what a DR would recommend, until she got back on track with her pills) and she said no, because she “didn’t think she’d become pregnant”.  I did press her on this and asked her why she thought that, and she said because she’d “only” be off her pills for ten days.  To make a long story even longer :)  her  next period didn’t come for over a year, instead along came a beautiful baby boy.  Baby boy’s father did marry  her, and they went on to have another (I think they planned that one)and they actually did seem fairly happy together, so at least her “accidently on purpose” baby had a happy ending.  Not all shot guns babies are so lucky.
    This is just one of many “accidental baby” stories I have heard, they all seem to have an element of “I didn’t think I could get pregnant” in them.  (Why the hell not, you have ovaries, he has sperm, you mix them together, what do you think you’ll get ?????)
    One of my close girlfriend kept asking me when I was going to have a baby with my 2nd ex husband and when I told her I was waiting until we were married and we BOTH decided to start a family.  She just said Pfffft and told me “You know how to say WHOOPS !”.  I told her I would NEVER deliberately make a “Whoopsy Baby” and she laughed and just said, “Oh, why do insist on waiting until everything is just perfect ?”
    I think in some cases men go along with the “accident” too, there might even be cases of men tampering with condoms to trap a woman with his child, and of course cases where BC was carefully and consistently used and a baby resulted.
    As for the solution, I have NO IDEA.  Punishing men for being tricked into unwilling fatherhood, rewarding women for setting traps, or what to do when two people really and truly have an accident . . .  I don’t have a solution.  All I know is that the person who is 100% innocent in this scenario is the one who has the most potential for suffering.

    1. 2.1

      I have also observed this.  It’s liberal crap.  Most of the girls/women I’ve seen do this are poor and they have no skills to support themselves and somehow they think someone else should support their broke selves.  Whereas most of the rest of us have to work hard, get educated and bust our butts to make a living and support our families.

      You are absolutely correct, never trust a woman especially one you haven’t known for long.  Bring your own birth control.  Flush it.  Don’t trust that she’s on the pill, iud, nuva ring or whatever.  If you’re willing and not interested in having children ever, get the snip.  It’s a quick out-patient.

      It is truly sad that we have sociopaths that will go to this level to game the system.  All they’re doing is bringing human beings into the world that are going to have crappy lives and create problems for other people and it’s all out of complete selfishness.  Digusting. 

      1. 2.1.1

        The only problem with gettin the snip, is depending where you live. Here in Canada they won’t do it if your under 30 or if you don’t have children, cause they think you’ll change your mind. I’ve never wanted kids although now I have 3 ( don’t get me wrong I love them, but I never wanted them) it’s about time for society to stop being apathetic to women all the time, they aren’t always the victims

        1. stella living good

          More often than not guys are the victims to these manipulate girls

      2. 2.1.2
        stella living good

        Good old fashioned in secure female manipulation (and it has no consideration for the surprised, ambushed of the father to be …
        Bingo!!! Male financial dependence guaranteed just by the wonderful skill of being able to “get” pregnant.

    2. 2.2
      J. Tavarez

      Sure, some men admit to doing those things as well, even lying about vasectomy only to have sex without condoms. Still most men and women obviously don’t do that, and unwanted pregnancies unfortunately happen often.
      In fact, I also believe women should just tell men that intercourse is out of the game. Intercourse isn’t something that brings orgasm to the vast marjority of women anyways, so that’s pretty much dispensable. Without intercourse, much, but much less unwanted pregnancies will occur.

  3. 3

    While I certainly don’t advocate ‘punishing’ anybody for choices they make within the law (I agree that current legislation discriminates unfairly against men), there is an assumption in this article that a person choosing to engage in sexual intercourse is somehow a victim of circumstance; ie. Some people just get drunk and forget and it’s not their fault etc…. I don’t deny that this type of scenario occurs, but I challenge the ideologies of societies which do nothing to question the mindless use of our bodies – a phenomenon prevalent in the US and my country (UK) – and the misplaced sense of entitlement on both sides (men and women) which frequently accompanies the consequences which follow.  

  4. 4

    Abstinence doesn’t require that we have to discuss promiscuity. 
    But often times we are all required to “pay” for our mistakes, fair or not! Pull up your adult undies and accept the consequences for your actions. You weren’t complaining while getting laid!

    1. 4.1

      A moment of sexual gratification and accepting to be responsible for a human being for a lifetime are two completely different things. How would you like to be forced into a situation that you wouldn’t want, but have to because some selfish asshole dragged you into a situation. Unfortunately, no such thing exists for you women so you’re gonna continue to justify your selfishness with illogical statements such as “Pull up your adult undies and accept the consequences for your actions”

      1. 4.1.1

        Actually both men and women are responsible for a child once it is born. A woman can have an abortion because the government can’t interfere when a woman decides to have a medical procedure due to doctor-patient confidentiality. Since a fetus is inside of a woman and abortion is considered a medical procedure the government can’t interfere.

        Saying a man shouldn’t be responsible for a child b/c a woman has the choice to have an abortion is borderline idiotic. 1. They are two completely separate issues, 2. It’s easier to walk away from a child knowing that child is alive compared to making the decision to end a life, 3. Forcing women to solely care for a child will either severely punish women or pressure them to undergo a medical procedure they don’t want.

        In conclusion:

        1. Men and women are equally responsible for a living child.
        2. Abortion and child support 2 completely different issues.

        Also, a man is considered to be a good father if he simply cuts a check every month for a few hundred dollars (if that). I cut several checks every month to pay my bills. It takes all of 5 minutes. That’s hardly taking responsibility for a human being for a lifetime.

      2. 4.1.2
        J. Tavarez

        You are the only illogical mess here.
        Abortion is on thing, a child/supporting it after birth is another.
        That only women gets to decide about abortion only means that biology is difference, it’s nothing to do with double standards. Only women get to decide abortions because of biology; after a child is born both are equally responsible. That a woman decided to have a baby even though the man or even herself didn’t want it in the first place isn’t selfishness. Even if it were, it doesn’t erase that both are responsible anyways, and both made it happen, together.

    2. 4.2
      stella living good

      So true!

  5. 5

    Interesting article and I have to say I agree with what the author is saying, in the case of unmarried/noncohabitating couples.  
    However in the case of a married couple, contrary to what has been posted here, yes accidental pregnancies do occur, more often then a lot of women would and men would like.  Let us not forget that birth control is not 100%.  If your married, take responsibility for your actions which might include children.   And let me say for all women kind, that the vast majority of us do not want an accidentaly pregnancy anymore then men do ( and I’ve heard my fair share of stories of men wanting to get their girlfriends pregnant to keep them around, it works both ways folks).  

  6. 6

    If you can’t pay the prize for the possible outcome of your intercourse, whether you are a man or a woman, you shouldn’t be having intercourse.

    1. 6.1

      I agree with this sentiment. While men may be driven by sex; women are not. It is both parties responsibility to take precautions. but that’s just what they are- precautions. No non-married partners should be having sex unprotected. That’s a no-brainer. The simplest method: Condoms.  When/if a pregnancy occurs…has anyone paid any mind to the heated topic of abortion? It’s not as easy as 1-2-3. Don’t sleep with someone you didn’t respect enough to contemplate a potential life with. Is that easy? No. Neither are any of the other options.

      1. 6.1.1

        I’m not sure what you mean be men are driven by sex and women are not. That sounds like a sexist fallacy you’re applying to an entire gender based on your own feelings/perceptions. 

        Don’t assume every woman is exactly the same. Don’t assume every man is exactly the same.

      2. 6.1.2

        What BS! Both genders are the same mentally. It is stupid to think anything else. Both like seed exactly the same, just because society and media try to deny women want it as much, does not make such nonsense truth! Also it is an absolute LIE that all female humans love babies and children and have an in born needed to nurture them. HELL no. I am a39 year old woman who has hated children my entire life. Even as a child couldn’t stand others my she. I knew by agree 12 I never want a child ever. Never changed my mind and only grew more true in time. I had my tubes tied by age 26, so it is done younger than 30 in the USA. I haven’t regretted it for one second. I hate hearing babies stupid noise and crying. I think all people under the age of mine are ugly but babies look repulsive, I have no desire not needed to care. When they cry I feel no nurturing instinct, I feel complete rage like shut that thing UP . Before my sterilization I was rapped once and had a baby as a result and have him up for adoption because I didn’t want him. That’s the solution right there ADOPTION. There’s a third choice other than abort or keep. Why does everyone forget that fact? I think all unwanted babies ought to be adopted our to someone who actually wanted them. And of course I think the guy who never wanted the thing should never need to support it at all. Why? Because the mother has to easy to leave or escape, she cannot avoid caring for the baby? Ummm, ADOPT it out. There’s your answer for both parents. Why should people even be legally allowed to keep unwanted babies, or allowed to ever have more than two in the first place? I cannot comprehend why anyone has even one child, all it is is hassles, financial ruin, loss of all freedoms and relationship. No thanks! I totally get why some guys hate kids or just never want them, because I am female and Ferrell exactly the same way. I do not get how more people of both genders don’t think that way. What does it even get you? Unconditional love is a lie and a myth, there are always conditions. Get a pet people.I know someone going to go of any my post here and start in on me, but of well I don’t care and most likely will never return here to even read what you had to say. I just had to speak my mind because I’m so sick of generalizations abt the genders. All women want children and so badly that there willing to lie SBT BC, or try to ” trap” guys? no NO NO. If you’re like that you needed to be forced sterilized by law. Women exist that despise children because I am one of them. And I know many others too. We talk amongst ourselves. A lot of people just breed to fit in, or because they think that’s what y you’re supposed to do and had to be your life’s plan. no.just no. I’m now 39, never had and kept a child, never married bit live in a long term relationship with a guy who also wants no child. I can do as I please, come and go any hour, Kerri all money for myself and him or only share if I decide to, never forced to. Having no child is wonderful. I thank whoever rules the universe every night, that I have not Bern burdened with offspring. I cannot comprehend why more humans do not also live that way. Children serve no purpose. Population and human continuation? We have took many humans already on Earth. Limited to one child each we’d still go on as a species just fine and stop all the population issues also. Some new laws that make sense ought to be made. Laws now make NO sense. Drugs are illegal but having ten children you hate and treat badly just to left from the system is legal

        1. starthrower68

          So I should kill my kids? Damn, that will put a damper on my son’s wedding this summer.

  7. 7

    WOW!  I have to say this one pushes some buttons.  I have seen the view from both sides.  I have seen good guys that I care about pay and pay and pay and have little or no say in the raising of their child/ children.  I have seen the “accidental” pregnancies and the consequences.  It is pretty ugly!
    Then I have seen the view from the other side up close and personal.  My daughter was no accident.  She was planned and agreed upon… I guess he changed his mind.  After running up debt in my name he left me to raise her alone.  I have never seen a single penny from him.  I am no longer angry but I will tell you that even if she hadn’t been born disabled and didn’t have all the issues that she has it still would have been hard to raise her alone. 
    The most difficult thing about that was that no one had my back.  I was in it alone and I knew it.  That fear that was always there just below the surface that I wouldn’t be able to pay the bills and put food on the table.  When she was sick or had too many seizures and couldn’t go to school, I would have to stay home with her instead of working.  Somehow I always found a way to make the money stretch or found away to make up the lost wages, but that fear never went away. 
    I do not think that the laws are fair and they do not take every circumstance into consideration but how would that even be possible?  How do you know in each case what is fair?   

  8. 8

    Well on the new “hit” TV show “Pregnant And Dating” on WETV not 1 but I think 4 of the 5 got pregnant “accidentally”. These aren’t uneducated 21 yr. old women either. They spend half of every episode pissing and moaning about their baby daddies who obviously have NO SAY in the matter and the other half trying to find hot rich guys who’ll date and marry them. Ahhhh yes Reality TV at it’s best! …..LOL What’s next “The Accidentally Pregnant Bachelorette”??

  9. 9

    Well thought out, but no.  Being sexually active is a responsibility held by both the man and the woman involved.  Most people are so busy focusing on the pleasure that they forget this fact.  If a child is conceived, then both parties who created the child should be held responsible – be it accidental or intentional.  The federal governement (by way of the funds of taxpayers – who had NOTHING to do with said life creation) should not have to do the job of one of the parties involved because they claimed “it was an accident.” 
    The actions we take have consequences.  Either make better choices or remain on the sidelines, period.  Shall we start pardoning the drunk driver who causes a fatal accident as well on the basis of “it was not intentional?”  If you drink too much alcohol, then you are likely to have an impairment of your senses.  If you are sexually active – regardless of the many stop gaps there are – there is a possibility that life may be conceived.  Period.  So if one chooses to be sexually active – you can be responsible.  You can try to “do all the right things.”  But there always is that chance that what nature intended may occur.   Being sexually active, as does live, requires personal accountability and a knowledge that not every factor of anything will be in one’s control. 

    1. 9.1

      So you are in support of abolishing abortion for women’s rights then correct? Because both parents should be held responsible. Guess all the women who get abortion should have just stayed on the sidelines right?

      1. 9.1.1

        The abortion issue deals with a woman’s right to a medical procedure and doctor-patient confidentiality. It has nothing to do with taking responsibility for a child. A fetus isn’t considered a child.

        Personally, I don’t agree with having an abortion unless it’s a medical necessity. However, I’ve accepted that it’s not going to change and recognize the difference between a woman’s ‘right’ to an abortion and being responsible for a child.

        I don’t know why people who don’t think men should take responsibility for a child turn to the ‘women can have an abortion’ argument. Okay, let’s say we take that argument and use it to ban abortions. What now? Suddenly, a lot more men are paying child support. 

        1. EmeraldDust

          I’m not sure what the men in the “women can have abortions” camp really want.  The right to force a woman to have an abortion ?  The right to force a woman to put her baby up for adoption ?  The right to opt out of financial support only works if the woman can financially support herself and a child, and many women can, so if they get pregnant by an unwilling baby-daddy, and he adamantly wants nothing to do with the child, then I really do think she should back off and not force child support from him.  But if she’s only financially able to take care of herself, but not herself and a child, then the only way to excuse the father from child support is, forced abortion, forced adoption, let the mother and child languish in poverty, or shift the financial burden off the individual man and onto the collective tax payers.
          I wonder how men would feel about forced vasectemies ?  (I’m not in favor of the BTW)
          With all the BC available * these days, these situations should be a lot more rare than they are.  I can’t believe that a high percentage of these “unwanted pregnancies” are accidents.  
          *Yes, I know that there are some groups, organizations, etc. trying to curtail some or all forms of BC, or avoid having to cover it through health insurance etc.  But there is still plenty of BC available OTC.  Condoms & foams are pretty cheap and easily available, and if your insurance won’t cover the exact form of BC that you want, covering the BC out of your own pocket is still a lot cheaper than raising a child. 
          Men & women should both be responsible for children they create, or not create them to begin with. But the very sad bottom line in all of this, one or both have failed in the responsibility. And the ONLY person who is truly innocent in these situations is the one who suffers the most. 

  10. 10

    The idea that men should have more rights when a child is conceived is ludicrous! Women are still fighting for the right to have birth control that is paid for by the medical establishment and abortion is by no means a given in any situation. When two consenting adults have sex they both know what the consequences might be. This whole conversation can be shut down by the man using a condom. End of story.

    1. 10.1
      Daniel L

      Men should have equal rights to women. I know you think it is ludicrous, but equality goes both ways. Like you said, women are still fighting for the right to have their birth control paid for by other people, while men do not even have the right to be financially free from a pregnancy they did not consent to. Condoms fail on average 1 of every 100, which is in the millions as there are 300 million people in America. Currently we have an asymmetrical system that is biased against men. The law needs to be changed so that men and women are treated equally.

  11. 11

    Men should always pay for their children, whether it is unwanted or not. Period. A child needs as much support as possible and it’s not right for women to bear this burden alone. If men were the child bearers, you bet your bottom dollar the laws would be different. Men would be demanding women pay and they would have 10 years paternity leave. Our society demands that people be responsible for the babies they make. This applies to men and women. Men who complain about this are finally getting a taste of the burden women have faced since the dawn of humanity. No sympathy here for men!

    1. 11.1

      What about when the woman lies about being on BC or sabotages condoms? The former happened to a friend of mine. The same way a rape victim should be allowed to choose abortion, surely a man tricked into a child should not be forced to pay for it. I don’t think everything is as black and white as “Men should always pay”. Although ultimately in this situation the child is the loser. It doesn’t really matter anyway though. There would be no way for the man to prove he was tricked anyway. In the same way the so many poor women are unable to prove that they were sexually assaulted when they go home with some guy after a few too many drinks.

    2. 11.2
      Daniel L

      Men should never have to pay for anything they did not explicitly consent to. You claim that if men were the child bearers, the laws would be different. Of course, they would be different. If the situation were reversed, with women being forced to pay for children they did not consent to, then feminists would have already campaigned against it and changed the law to make it more equal. The problem is that men seem to be much more accepting of these unfair laws that women would be, were the situation reversed. Right now, every man who pays child support is supporting not his children, but the system that forces men to pay for decisions that were not made by them. The only right thing to do is to refuse to pay, and to move abroad.

  12. 12

    This post make a grave error in assuming that the state sticks men with the bill for unwanted children simply as some form of punishment. The state sticks men with the responsibility of assisting with the financial support of their offspring because the STATE does not want to end up footing the bill for their little mistakes. 
    Read: welfare

    1. 12.1
      J. Tavarez

      The state also sticks women with the responsibility of assisting with the financial support of their offspring. Even when they keep the child – MOST of their money and free time goes for the child. And if the woman wants to give the baby but the man wants to keep it she also has to pay child support. Equal responsibilities there.

  13. 13
    Karl T

    Not comparable at all.  Drunk driving is illegal.  Having sex is not.  We’re not excusing the man or the woman if she gets pregnant.  We’re just saying the man should have more of a say.  This is not equality.
    The woman can also use a female condom.  She’s no less repsonsible than the man.  Why is it ludicrous for the man to have more rights?  If he is going to be held responsible for child support then he damn well better have an equal say.  You obviously are biased towards women and not about equality.

    1. 13.1

      In regards to your comment to SJZ: both men and women are responsible for a child they created thus they are both held responsible for preventing pregnancies. Saying that a man shouldn’t be responsible for an accidental pregnancy (as this article does) is placing all the responsibility/blame onto the woman.

      Men should have an equal say once the child is born. Too many times men are pushed to the side or put at a disadvantage when it comes to custody, how a child is raised, etc.

      However, a man can’t have an equal say in regards to terminating a pregnancy because he can’t force a woman to have a medical procedure.

      Once that’s legislated as being okay then what’s next? Can a woman force a man to have a vasectomy? Can a man force a woman to have one of her kidneys removed? Can a total stranger force you to get a nose job b/c he doesn’t like your nose? Where’s the line?

  14. 14

    If you can’t trust the person you are with to use contraception. You should be using  your own. Girls will rarely if ever, complain about using a condom. I have heard tales of guys refusing to use condoms and instead pressuring the girl to go on the pill of whatever. I am sure its the minority, but unless that trust is there then the guy should always be using a condom. Always. 
    I’m on the pill and sometimes forget to take it. If I am in any way unsure about it I tell my boyfriend to wear condoms for a week. Sure he is not a fan, but we are joint partners in this. I wouldn’t be able to date someone who wasn’t willing to take joint responsibility for a possible pregnancy. Likewise if I wanted an abortion, he better be there. Particularly as I feel I’m heading into the area where I am not sure whether it would be the right thing for me to have an abortion. 
    I also really dislike this lack of responsibility to actions done while under the influence of alcohol. If you are not in control of your actions you should not be drinking. To assume otherwise excuses all the drunk guys who start fights, crash cars, beat up their wives. Being drunk is not an excuse, you are responsible for your own actions – always. 
    Also, and this is anecdotal, and dependent on where I live. In my of my friends cases where a condom has broken the couple have addressed this straight away with the morning after pill. The morning after pill is not an abortion, it just creates womb environments which are very unfriendly to incoming fertilised eggs. In that situation both parties are on the same page re: taking responsibility for not getting pregnant. 
    Yeah I do feel sorry for these guys, but I really think their stories should be used to encourage condom usage and make it the responsibility of the man – not the woman. If you can’t trust her/don’t know her/wouldn’t support her – use a condom. 

  15. 15

    He was there…He took the risk….It happened…and HE IS RESPONSIBLE…IT IS HIS CHILD whether he anticipated conception or not.

  16. 16
    Anonymous Editor

    Coincidentally, the Dear Prudence column recently published a story about a letter writer who deceived her boyfriend into fathering their daughter. I think it’s very relevant to what Evan just talked about:
    I do sympathize with other men who were forced into parenthood due to unplanned pregnancies, but at the same time I believe both partners should be more willing to exercise willpower or use birth control. Though in the event that both methods fail, then they should properly sit down and discuss their next course of action. And if one parent agrees to raise the child by his/herself, the other should get a written and signed statement, preferably in the presence of a lawyer so that they won’t renege on their promise.  
    Lesson of the day – be responsible for your own birth control. For me and my wife, we just waited until we were married before we had sexual intercourse (we were both virgins). Before that, we did a lot of heavy petting, foreplay, and oral sex. We could have used condoms, but we didn’t want to due to our religious beliefs and fear of having a child too soon.

  17. 17

    I know this may come as a shock to lots of people… for every action there is a consequence.  There are always going to be accidental pregnancies.  Whether you are the man or the woman involved – your act created this consequence.  If you are having sex just for the fun of it, maybe use a condom?

  18. 18

    ” In consenting to sex, neither a man nor a woman gives consent to become a parent.”
    Well, let’s see: in consenting to sex, neither a man nor a woman gives consent to get an STD! “Please government I only consented to f**k, not to an STD, take it off from me!! really?

  19. 19

    SJZ what in the world are you talking about, “women are still fighting for the right to have birth control paid for by the medical establishment”? First of all, birth control for women is as widely available in the United States as toothpaste, and covered by many insurance plans. But even so, why should someone else have to pay for birth control for any woman, except maybe helping the poorest among us? This article is about personal responsibility, women should take some when it comes to birth control and provide for themselves. And not that it matters, but according to my local Planned Parenthood web page, the average cost of the pill is about the cost of a pizza per month. The more responsible you are for yourself, the more free you are. Not you personally, but all of us.

  20. 20
    Heather K

    I agree with @9 and @10. The whole thing of men thinking the ‘punitive paternity policies are aimed at controlling their sexual behavior’ – give me a break. And the whole thing about people will get drunk and hookup without condoms no matter what – seriously – that should not let people off then hook. That kind of attitude is maybe going to ‘absolve’ men and just stick women with very difficult choices about abortion and other options and stick women with many financial and emotional burdens. 
    Men should always remember to use a condom if they want to avoid blunders. I know a lot of men who never remember or think they need to use condoms and are seriously deluding themselves.
    As far as what’s fair – guess what: life isn’t fair.  It’s not ‘fair’ that men have little choice after the moment that they forget to use a condom. It’s not ‘fair’ that women would have to make a medical and moral choice and have their bodies altered or operated on as a consequence of a forgotten condom. It’s not fair – it’s just nature. Much as we got used to it in these modern times, we can’t control everything.

  21. 21

    I am really confused how this topic is even open for debate! All people on this planet know having sex means a baby could be conceived. So why do they have casual sex in the first place if in the end they can not deal with the consequences???
    I am female and the possibility of a pregnancy is one of the reasons I choose NOT to engage in casual sex. And when I have sex with somebody I make 100 per cent sure nothing could happen. Guys have the same options, either not engage in casual sex or choose their partners very carefully. How can this be complicated? And if something happens… well, as I said, we are all grown ups now and know what consequences sex can have,
    This world would be so different if we all acted like adults and not like over-sized children ;).

  22. 22

    He could be seeking marriage so he could have sex all the time and weave a stronger society. And the kid comes first.

  23. 23

    I agree Miranda. And having sex with a drunk woman is having sex without her consent as a woman cannot give consent when drunk.
    What sort of a ‘man’ would not want to support his own child accident or not once that child was here?
    OMG, feel sickened at what I am reading. What a world we live in having this debate I’m out of this one now. Just feelks too abhorant fo any more words.

    1. 23.1

      you just said that if a man who has sex with a woman who’s drunk, IS RAPING HER???
      :massive rolleyes:

      1. 23.1.1

        Evan, if a person makes a child that person should be responsible for raising, paying for and caring for that child. When we shirk our duties the burden falls to someone else. Often it falls to tax payers when men run out on the children they created. And child support is paid by both men and women. As men we do not share an unfair burden. The custodial parent invests more time and energy than you could ever imagine. You are looking at the world through an outdated lens. The laws are not set up to prosper men or women. The noncustodial parent pays child support to the custodial parent. The custodial parent can be either male or female. I am raising my daughter by myself. I am a disabled veteran, I have more time for my daughter than my ex does. She pays me child support. And she does not whine about it.

        What kind of human being would make a child and then not want that child,…a shitty one. A child will give you more joy and add more meaning to your life than you could ever imagine. No amount of money is too much to take care of your own flesh and blood, and if you can’t see that, there is something wrong with you. Most men are selfish man-boys anymore.

        If you don’t want a child keep your dick in your pants. Otherwise, you need to take responsibility for your actions.

  24. 24

    Some things I forgot and wanted to add they are not men if they do not step up.
    Risk if you have sex you risk making a baby.
    Consequence you will have to pay maintance and support that child if that happens. STEP UP AND BECOME A MAN in this area.
    If you don’t want to take that risk then don’t have penetrative full sex.
    The reson a man gets no say on if she has an abortion is to do with body autonomy.
    Child maintance has NOTHING to do with body autonomy, two completely separate issues.

  25. 25

    First, let me say I refer everyone I talk to on the topic of dating and marriage to your website, Evan, which tells you I am a huge, appreciative, fan.  Now, on to who pays…   I have the utmost sympathy for men coerced or tricked into impregnating a woman, however, conercion and trickery don’t seem to apply to the scenarios you write about.  Two people ‘forget’ to protect themselves from carelessly engendering a life.  The woman who ‘forgot’ conceives, but, the man who ‘forgot’ beyond medical bills, bears no further financial responsibility, leaving the woman who ‘forgot’ holding double the ‘hundreds of thousands of dollars’ bill, in addition to all child care….many women, and men, would not consider abortion a serious option. Thinking aloud…if that is the case, I suppose it should be incumbant upon the person opposed to a resulting pregnancy to take greater precautions to prevent one.  And, if a condom breaks and abortion is not a serious option….  At the risk of sounding archaic, perhaps we’ve stumbled upon why it is God prohibits sex before marriage…. And, again, at the risk of being lambasted, I have to ask…is my rational flawed? 

    1. 25.1

      I believe the flaw in your logic is assuming there is a God who made up some rule about prohibiting sex – or simply assuming that everyone believes that as you do. I’m an atheist so any argument based on what God says is flawed for me.

      However, I tend to believe that if anyone is having sex who doesn’t want kids – yet doesn’t do anything to prevent it – they’re essentially saying, “Hey, I’m down for having a kid” by their actions and should have to deal with the consequences.

      It is frustrating how so many people take no personal responsibility for themselves or delude themselves into thinking there are no consequences for their actions.

      I do agree with you that the person who is most against having a child should taken extra precautions against a pregnancy – or flat out refuse to have sex with a person who is willing to play Russian roulette with conception.

      I’m 100% against having kids and being pregnant – ever. I wouldn’t be in a serious relationship with someone who wasn’t on the same page on not having kids or who wasn’t on the same page about abortion. (I’d have one because I refuse to be pregnant.) Now, if I was in something not so serious and despite all precautions (except abstinence) I got pregnant and turns out the guy was not in favor of an abortion – I would have to accept that the full financial responsibility of having an abortion. I know it’s not the same thing – but if a man didn’t want a child and despite all precautions the woman ended up pregnant and decided to have the child – that’s where I feel it gets real fuzzy because he is now on the line for a child that was communicated clearly he did not want.

      Yeah, it would have been better for those two people to not have sex if they were not on the same page of what to do in the event of an unwanted/unplanned pregnancy. But man alive, too many people are in relationships with people who aren’t suited to them. And yes, too many people make poor choices in who they have sex with – but most people aren’t going to just stop having sex.

      There are way too many variables to the argument…and thus there’s likely never to be a lot of agreement.

  26. 26

    In my experience, many men have been all too happy to let the responsibility for birth control fall solely upon me. They often didn’t even ask about birth control, and assumed I would take care of it. Only one man has ever volunteered a condom; others have had to be asked. Since when is taking responsibility for one’s actions tantamount to “punishing and shaming men for their sexual promiscuity?” Babies do not ask to be born.
    As far as the statement, “Rather than punish men (or women) for their apparent reproductive irresponsibility by coercing legal paternity (or maternity), the government has other options, such as mandatory sex education, family planning counseling, or community service” goes, tell that to the conservative politicians who believe in “abstinence only”!

  27. 27

    Karl T having sex with a drunk woman is called date rape. doing other sexual things with a drunk woman is also illegal even if you are drunk yourself.
    She may or may not bring charges, why take that risk?
    A woman is not able to give consent when drunk or drugged.

    1. 27.1

      Rose, what if a 32 year old woman gets a 23 year old guy, just from college, drunk and intentionally gets pregnant by him. Then keeps the baby against his will, sues him for child support, moves to another state and he has no way of seeing his child, but has to support him for 18 years. He was drunk, she misled him intentionally. Believe me, a 32 year old divorced woman, who is much more experienced in sex and relationships can fool a 23 year old guy. She wanted a kid, could not afford a kid on her own, fooled him!!! Is that fair? Didn’t she rape him? He was drunk, did not know what he was doing. He has no way to protect himself now. I want to add she is a controlling, manipulative person. She had a plan! People should be punished for that. And now she is using this child as a convenient tool to further manipulate our whole family! 

  28. 28
    Arizona Guy

    I agree with Kimby; the state does not force fathers to pay child support to punish them or control their sexual behavior; it forces fathers to pay child support so that the child are not on welfare.  Men and women have different roles reproductively (obviously) so if women have more control over becoming a parent than men do then so be it.  Feminism cannot erase basic biological differences. 
    I will say that if a man is the victim of paternity fraud the situation is completely different and the man should be able to disestablish paternity with a court-supervised paternity test. 

  29. 29

    Sorry ya’ll, being grown up means taking responsibility for the outcomes of our choices.  One of the reasons promiscuity is a bad idea is that unwanted pregnancies can result.  Duh.  The reasoning in this article is equivalent to saying “just because I smoke doesn’t mean I’m consenting to have cancer” or “just because I eat junk food doesn’t mean I’m OK with getting fat” or “just because I worked really hard doesn’t mean I’m entitled to succeed.”  Simple cause and effect, simple placement of responsibility.  This argument is an example of how warped our society has become.  The bar gets lower and lower.      

  30. 30

    Evan, I agree with you on most of your advice and find that your opinion on this issue is logical. However, I don’t completely share your view on this.
    I’m a lawyer, and I remember when we learned about gestational surrogacy in my law school family law class. With two biological parents and a woman who carries the child for them, he logical, and legal conclusion is that the two people who are responsible for bringing the child into the world (not the one who carries the child, as she is only making it possible for the couple to achieve their goal, but the ones who chose to become parents in the first place) should be responsible for supporting that child. That’s how the law generally sees this. Who brought the kid into the world?
    I have a lot of sympathy for the plight of fathers who were tricked into a pregnancy, and I’m even sympathetic to the ones who were just reckless and wished for their partner to end the pregnancy but the woman insisted on keeping the child against the man’s wishes. In this scenario, I’ll be the first one to call the woman irresponsible. I’m not a feminist and I’m capable of seeing a man’s point of view. However, I don’t believe that a comparison between child support and abortion is right. With abortion, we’re talking about a person’s bodily integrity. With child support, we’re talking about money. Nobody can legally force you to do something with your body that you don’t want to do. The same applies to men’s bodies too, by the way, but the abortion debate won’t extend to them because they can’t get pregnant. However, if I’m skiing too fast one day and I run someone injuring them badly, that person can sue me, a jury can find me liable because of my negligence, and I can be held liable for the victim’s medical bills, which can be astronomical. That’s why people get PI coverage. Hell, people are held liable even when they’re not negligent (like in the case with house guests). In this example, my negligence can end up costing me everything, just like a reckless sex encounter can cost a man A LOT. Am I going to be left off the hook if I say “But I didn’t WANT for the accident to happen!”. The answer is… no. A premise of our society is that we ARE responsible for our actions and their direct consequences, even if unintended.

    Also, going back to my law school classes, someone can be held civilly and criminally liable for knowingly transmitting a disease during sex, but not pregnancy. Why? Because pregnancy is considered a natural consequence of having sex, but not disease. People consent to the possibility of pregnancy when having unprotected sex, but I wouldn’t go as far as saying that they consent to getting a disease, and I’m sure you wouldn’t either. So, to go back to your child support argument, you could see how pregnancy being a natural outcome of sex, men will be considered responsible (along with the mother) for this outcome and will be on the hook for child support.

    Hey, and if a man disagrees with all of the above… just wear a condom. Seriously, it’s cheap, easy and it rarely, rarely breaks. It’s not like they have no power or control on whether they become fathers. For men, as unfair as it may seem, the choice is made when they’re having sex, whereas women as an “exit strategy” with abortion, although only for the first few months. And if that still seems unfair, think of what a woman is losing when she decides on raising a child on her own. I would say, that in a case like this, both parties are hurting themselves by having a child that is unwanted by either one of them.

    In the end, I think the article brings a point of view that is seldom discussed in the media, so it’s not bad in and of itself. It’s just that logically… I can’t agree with its conclusion, and I can’t say I’d want a legal system where not only fathers can’t be forced to raise a child they conceived recklessly, but they will no longer be forced to support that child either. What do they say again… two wrongs don’t make a right?

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