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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Comments:

  1. 31
    Robyn

    It’s very simple – “You play, you pay”.
    Both men & women need to be prepared to bear the consequences of their actions &/or decisions.
    If a man doesn’t ever, ever, ever want to have children, he should get a vasectomy.
    In the absence of a vasectomy, if he doesn’t want to be on the hook for fathering a child as a result of a one-night stand, then maybe he should be (a) more diligent in his use of condoms and (b) more selective in his choice of partners – so that if an accidental pregnancy should result, it’s not a fiscal or emotional disaster.
    Similarly, women need to be more selective in their choice of partners. If you don’t get into bed with schmucks, then you won’t be stuck with dealing with them forever because they’re the father of your accidentally-conceived child. And even if you are taking the Pill, always use a condom – have your own available so that you know they’re good ones, and haven’t expired.
    Many years ago my Mom told me “If getting pregnant with a man would be an absolute disaster, then you shouldn’t be getting into bed with him”.
    Yes, it’s old-fashioned, but given that my family breeds like rabbits, it made a lot of sense!
     

  2. 32
    Kristen

    I completely disagree with this premise on moral and ethical grounds. It is also not legally supportable. If a man has sex with a woman of child bearing age, unless she has no ovaries or no uterus, he takes the risk that he will father a child. Women take this exact same risk. No birth control is fail-safe. 

    Now the question arises regarding who should bear financial responsibility for a child. Should the mother bear 100% responsibility? What if she didn’t intend to become pregnant in the first place either? Are we going to require the courts to make a factual detemination regarding which of the parents wanted the child less and that parent is then off the hook for financial support? Or is this premise only applicable to fathers? If the father presents evidence that he didn’t intend to impregnate the mother, he is granted a waiver of paying support? What is the level of proof required? More probable than not? Clearm, cogent and convinving evidence? Beyond a reasonable doubt? What is admissible as evidence? Circumstantial evidence? Testimony only by the putative father? Should a jury be allowed to make this determination? What if the father initially wanted the child but later changed his mind? What about the child, should his or her interests be taken into account at all?
    The unworkability of such a system should be self-evident. This is why the legal standard for such determination is “the best interests of the child” not the “best interests of the parent.” It’s about what is FAIR TO THE CHILD! If a man has sex, he takes the risk that he will father a child. You volunteer to have sex, you are also volunteering to cause a woman to be impregnated. Period. That premise does hold up logically. The consequences of birthing a child are that BOTH parents are equally legally responsbile for the child.
     

  3. 33
    Kristen

    One other point of interest. Elizabeth Brake, who was referred to in Shrage’s article, commented on the online article on the NYT site as follows:
    My article, which Prof. Shrage cites, doesn’t argue against legal child support but against one reason often given for it. The political point is that “a just law of child support … must be responsive to the economic situation of individual fathers.” When I wrote the paper, up to 25% of non-resident fathers in the U.S. were themselves below the poverty line. Paying child support obviously differs from forced pregnancy: rights to one’s body – or a child’s right to a decent standard of living – outweigh a right to income. The compelling cases are men who are incarcerated due to failure to pay child support – which sometimes makes the children worse off too – or low-income men working at dangerous or debilitating jobs. The deeper underlying concern echoes Martha Fineman’s concerns about “privatizing dependency” – fixating punitively on the responsibility of individual fathers turns our attention from society’s responsibility to ensure children don’t go hungry, when their parents don’t or can’t provide. “

  4. 34
    marymary

    Yes because it’s in the best interests of the child. Usually.

  5. 35
    Tom T

    This argument always seems to imply that the guy pays for everything and the mother pays nothing and gets a free ride. Most child support does not cover the cost of raising a child even by half. Also, for many people abortion is tantamount to murder, so I would not characterize that as an “out”.
     
    But I would say that the guys who are doing everything they can to get a woman into bed and who see sex as an entitlement or a sport are the same guys who are worried about being “trapped” into fatherhood through an unplanned pregancy with a “crazy b****”. Some of us think more carefully and responsibly about our relationships with other people.

  6. 36
    Sparkling Emerald

    Rose 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.
    Rose, while agree it’s highly unethical for a man to use alcohol to seduce a woman, I wouldn’t call it rape, unless he slips a drug in her drink (alcoholic or not) without her knowledge.  If you don’t want to have drunken sex, don’t get drunk to begin with, and don’t be alone with a man.  (If you are going to a party, take along a trusted girlfriend to be your designated driver/chaperone)  And if BOTH parties are drunk and have sex, couldn’t the man cry rape also ?  Can they counter charge each other with rape ?  What if the woman initiated or  pursued the sex with the man when the were both drunk ?  Who “raped” whom in this situation ?
    I think real rape or real  date rape is horrible, but I do think there are times when women will go out  and drink and engage in sport sex (all under the guise of being “modern” or “equal”) and then, having regrets the next day will call it rape.  They may or may not report it to the authorities, they may just choose to cry to all their friends about how they were “raped” when in reality, the just exercised very poor judgement,  (started making out with a beautiful stranger, willingly downed 4 drinks, continued the drunken reverie with their new found drunk “boyfriend” , went over to his place, etc. etc.  )  The next morning when he gave her the cold shoulder with the “oh yeah, I’ll call you sometime, see ya later”  routine, they felt devastated and used, and called their regret over their poor judgement “rape”. 
    I think they should consider it a learning experience, make different choices in the future and move on. (and hopefully, no baby or STD resulted)
    It’s much like men who get drunk, have unprotected sex, assume their booty call has taken care of BC (even tho’ there was no discussion about it) and then cry “But I didnt’ want to be a daddy !”.   It was poor judgement on their part.
     
     

  7. 37
    starthrower68

    Our actions will always have consequences, legal, moral, or otherwise.  We will always reap what we sew and that is one consequence we will never escape no matter how hard we try.

  8. 38
    Karl T

    Rose,
    Go back and read all my comments.  WTF are you talking about trying to have sex with a drunk woman??  I never mentioned anything of the sort.  I did make an argument about someone who mentioned comparing it to drunk driving and I said it’s incomparable because drunk driving is illegal and having sex is not.  I never talked about having drunk sex or anything of the sort.  Good Lord, talk about misreading someone’s statement. 

  9. 39
    Tom T

    Sparkling Emerald: The law is very clear that a drunk woman cannot give consent, no matter what your thoughts or beliefs on the matter are. If someone sexually assaults a male when he is drunk that is also rape. If someone is drunk and assaults someone else, whether the assault is sexaul or otherwise, that assault is a criminal act, regardless of the drunk person’s intent.
     
    And that article about the stealing sperm from a condom was a spoof by a British columnist. Condoms contain spermicide, so trying to inseminate oneself from a used condom would not work, in any case.

  10. 40
    Rose

    The law calls in rape Sparkling Emerald even if you don’t.
    Like I said drunk women are not in a fit state to give consent in the eyes of the law so any man having sex with a drunk woman is having sex without her consent. And the man saying he was drunk is no get out clause. Or if other sexual acts are performed is sexual abuse.
     

  11. 41
    Rose

    Apologies if I missinterpreted and missunderstood what you wrote and meant Karl.
    I intepreted the way I did as Evan had mentioned having sex when drunk as being ana excuse for not being held resposible for ones actions in getting someone accindentally pregnant and when you made your comment to simplysaki I was looking the posts as a whole of all the three post. It came across to me that you didn’t think having sex with a drunk women was illegal. Or having sex whilst drunk got a man out of being acountable for his actions.
     
     
     
     

  12. 43
    Sparkling Emerald

    Rose 40 The law calls in rape Sparkling Emerald even if you don’t.
    That’s an interesting law, if TWO people consent to drink together, and they both give drunken consent to each other, the man is guilty of raping the woman, and the man saying he was drunk doesn’t excuse his behavior ?  Sounds like the law is infantalizing women here. Interesting that you didn’t answer my questions, especially this one . . .
    “What if the woman initiated or pursued the sex with the man when they were both drunk ? “
    Could the man charge the woman with rape if she offered the alcohol and initiated the sex ?  Do you know what the LEGAL answer to that is ?  I don’t.  What is your PERSONAL opinion ?  Do you think a woman has done something unethical if she invites a man to her place for dinner, serves him alcohol, and then initiates sex with him ?
    ___________
    Under those laws I could legally charge my soon to be ex-husband with rape.  Marital rape is a crime in my state.  I sometimes enjoy a glass or two of wine before sex.  Of course, I have made the decision before I had the wine, but I enjoyed making romantic candle light dinners, complete with wine, then having “desert” with my (then) husband in the bedroom (or on the couch). Did I rape him, did he rape me, did we rape each other, or were we just two capable adults making our own decisions about alcohol and sex ?  Would your answer be different if we were an unmarried couple ?  Would your answer be different if were dating, but still in limbo about the relationship ?
    _____________
    Also, there are a lot of laws I disagree with Rose.  The law used to say blacks were 3/5ths of a person.  The law used to say simple possession of marijuana deserved 20 years in jail.  The law used to say women could not vote or own property.  Google blue laws, there’s no shortage of stupid laws on the books. 
    ______________
    As far as the SUI or SWI laws (Sexing while intoxicated or sexing under the influence laws) I would have to take it on a case by case basis as to what I consider the morality of such laws.  If the girl was a young teen, and a college frat boy plied her with alcohol,  I’d say charge him, serving alcohol to a minor and seducing a minor – – very bad.  A smart, successful woman in her 30’s, willingly going to man’s apartment for dinner, willingly imbibing, and eagerly having sex with him, then I wouldn’t call it rape, no matter what the law says.  If it was me, I wouldn’t charge the man, even if he pulled the disappearing act and I felt upset by it.  I would hope that the state wouldn’t be allowed to hold charges if they found out (let’s just hypothesise that I told a girl friend about it, she decided I was “raped” and reported it to the authorities)  I’d be insulted by the notion that I had been “raped” when I willingly drank (the law says I’m over 21 and can consent to that) and willingly had sex. 
    _________________
    However, a man serving a woman a mixed cocktail, that has an alcohol level much higher than a reasonable person would expect, woman becomes semi-unconsicous unable to move, black out the next day, well then yeah, I would say that’s rape, even if she was to intoxicated to say “no” or push him away.
    __________________
    Please don’t consider my questions to be an attack Rose.  I just find this topic pretty interesting.  We have gone from a society that NEVER believed a woman who claimed she was raped, to seeing practically every instance of sex between a man and a woman rape.  I don’t believe the philosophy that all women are sluts just asking for it and get what they deserve, but nor do I buy into “rape culture” mind set that makes all men rapists.

  13. 44
    Tom T

    Sparkling Emerald: The law is that a drunk person, male or female, is too impaired to consent to any agreement. So anything that requires legal consent (signing a contract, getting married, having sex, etc.) cannot happen legally if one of the parties is drunk.
    If an impaired person commits a crime it is still a crime. You can’t drive drunk, kill someone with your car and use impairment as an excuse. Similarly, you can’t rape or sexually assault someone while drunk and use impairment as an excuse.
    The state has an interest in keeping people from victimizing other people. If you get drunk and don’t harm anyone, the state doesn’t care. But if you get drunk and harm someone, the state cares and you will be punished for it.
     
     Also, being a victim is not a crime.

  14. 45
    Sparkling Emerald

    Tom T 39  And that article about the stealing sperm from a condom was a spoof by a British columnist. Condoms contain spermicide, so trying to inseminate oneself from a used condom would not work, in any case.
     
    Thanks for your response Tom.  I didn’t know that article was a spoof, it wasn’t the Onion, and there really was nothing to indicate it was a spoof, how did you find out it was a spoof. Are you talking about the Liz Jones article in the Daily Mail ?  I googled it to see if there was anything to find out if it was a parody or not and found this instead.
    http://jezebel.com/5899056/punching-sperm+stealing-women-totally-okay-with-mens-rights-activists
    There’s so much nonsense and false info on the internet.  I suspect that some of the hyper women hating sites are joke sites, or a crude attempt at parodying extreme femnism, or possibly two sexually frustrated teen boys with too much computer savvy and time on their hands. . . .
    Also, not ALL condoms have spermicide, there’s a big selection and some come with the spermicide and some without.   In a non spermicide condom it wouldn’t be too difficult to self inseminate.  Highly unethical, but not too difficult.  I doubt that too many women resort to such tactics.  Although I do think many women “forget” to use their forms of bc carefully and consistently in attempt to have a baby.  
    As for the letter to the MRA group above, such an obvious troll, I wouldn’t believe that for second.
     

  15. 46
    David T

    Nearly everyone who has posted believes the man knows pregnancy is possible therefore he is on the hook to pay for half the cost of raising the child regardless of his wishes to have a child.  Lets flip it around in a thought experiment.
     
    Accidental pregnancy.  The woman does not want children ever and the man believes in preserving the sanctity of life.  The woman respects his sensitivity and consents to undergo a procedure to have the embryo removed and implanted in a surrogate to carry to term (risky, but not an impossible scenario). The baby is born and the father raises the child.
     
    Is the biological mother responsible for child support until the child is 18? She knew pregnancy was a possible outcome, and although she doesn’t want a child, the fact is, there it is.  Should she “woman up” and help pay to raise it?
     

  16. 47
    Henriette

    Evan, I appreciate that you’re trying to get us women to see various issues from the male perspective.  We could all learn to be more compassionate by trying to see the world from others’ eyes, once in a while! 
     
    I do think it unfortunate that men have no say over whether a woman aborts a fetus he helped create, and are forced to pay for the resulting child even if they weren’t interested in becoming fathers.  HOWEVER, I don’t think any other solution is better.  I wish that only those who wanted/could afford kids went throught with their unplanned pregnancies but how often is this the case?  I’d rather see the careless parents – both of them – pay than force the state (= the taxpayers) to shoulder the financial burden.

  17. 48
    betrees

    I honestly cannot fathom anyone could advocate that men not take responsibility for children conceived out of consensual sex.
    Men should choose their partners wisely and/or wear a condom. Women have the right to choose to keep their children or have an abortion, and men have the right to choose to keep their penises to themselves. 
     
     

  18. 49
    David T

    Children need to know they are accepted and protected and safe. Knowing they are accepted and not feeling rejected by their bio parents is huge and that is demonstrated by spending time with child caring for them and mentoring them.  This is in our core which is why for many happily adopted kids, reaching out to their bio parents is important as adults. Another demonstration of acceptance, albeit rather cold, is financial support.

    Regardless of how I feel about this, I still believe it is unfair to force financial support on a bio parent who never wanted a child and made it clear immediately after pregnancy they they do not want to part of raising the child. Forcing this on a father is analogous to forcing a young mother with an unexpected pregnancy who gives her child up for adoption to pay support to the adoptive parents.

  19. 50
    Taylor

    I almost laughed at the line in which the author says her students are angry that policies are aiming to control their sexual behaviour. Women have had policies, perspectives and judgements controlling their sexual behaviour for centuries — and still have them controlling them. From being called a slut because you slept with someone on a first date to lack of access to abortion and birth control, women have always faced these things.
    If men want to have casual hookups, assume the women you are hooking up with aren’t truthful about their birth control and wear a condom. Wear two. Or don’t hook up. Start thinking with the head on your neck. Really, you don’t know these women. Why would you believe them about being on the pill? 

  20. 51
    Lia

    Tom T #35 
    Thank you!
    David T #46
    Yes.

  21. 52
    Karl T

    #48
    What an incredibly ignorant comment “men have the right to choose to keep their penises to themselves.”  So basically you’re saying that woman can have all the sex they want and can have the right to make their own decision about an abortion.  So, basically they have 100% control.  And you’re saying that men have the right not to have sex and that’s generally about it.  So men get fucked and women can have it all?? BS.  2 people are responsible for making a baby…they both should have the right to choose.  It might be the woman’s body, but it’s partially the man’s potential baby, too.  This is not equal rights.  Plus an abortion is not a major procedure- like open heart surgery.  So, it’s not like the woman is choosing not to have an operation that might have a 50% chance of survival.  If that was the case, then I could see that it being her right to say no to that.

  22. 53
    Lia

    Anyone who chooses to have sex with a partner who is capable of making a baby with them is taking a risk of creating a baby.  It is not that complicated.  Birth control is a wise choice but not 100% reliable.  We play the odds.  I was always conscious of that and acted accordingly and I was careful, very careful.  
     
    The ONLY time I was ever pregnant was by agreement that we would be starting a family.  I trusted the wrong guy.  Oh well.  I lived with the consequences of that decision and it has been a long road.  I love my daughter and she has helped to mold me into the person that I am today so I do not regret having her but I wish that I had not had to do it alone.  
     
    Now I could decide that I was a victim of a liar and selfish man but what good would that do?  I made a choice, I am not a victim.  
     
    I have know women who didn’t get the help they needed to raise their children and I have known men who have been used for support and treated as if they have no rights or purpose beyond paying support.  I have also seen both parent work together to give their child/ children what they need.  
     
    Your body is your responsibility.  Your choices as well.  Crying victim when your choices don’t get the results you want or get you a result you don’t want is futile and lacks maturity.  
     
    Are there selfish, dishonest, sociopaths out there willing to do anything to get what they want?  Absolutely.  Welcome to planet earth.  But the going on about how those kind of people operate and the things they do (whether they are men or women) is not productive.  Being aware and doing the best you can to make good decisions is the best you can do.
     
    Karl T I rarely disagree with you because most of the time I can see sense in what you write.  But I can not wrap my head around your argument.  I have read many posts on this site that have vilified men and I find that abhorrent.  I find it just as disgusting to have women vilified.  We are more than our genders.  
     
    Your choices begin and end with what you do.  You don’t get to control others.  PERIOD!!  If you want to make absolutely sure you don’t make a baby or get an STD… don’t have sex.  The no sex choice is NOT a choice I am willing to live with so I try, and will continue to try, to make the best choices I can about who I have sex with and how I protect myself.  

  23. 54
    Chance

    SJZ #10 said:

    “The idea that men should have more rights when a child is conceived is ludicrous!

    Who is proposing such an idea, and how?  My understanding of the idea is that men and women should have equal rights and assume equal responsibilities when it comes to deciding whether to have and support a child.

    “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.”

    The government won’t pay for my condoms, so we’re still on equal footing there.  Also, as Cory already mentioned, it is covered by many insurance plans.  As far as abortion not being a given in any situation:  a.)  Could you elaborate, and b.)  what in life is a given in any situation?

    Paula #11 said:

    “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.”

    How do you know?  Where did you get such keen insight?

    “Our society demands that people be responsible for the babies they make. This applies to men and women.

    Actually, it only applies to men.  Women can have an abortion.

    Karl T #14 said:

    “Why is it ludicrous for the man to have more rights?

    Why should men have more rights than women?

    Franchesca #14 said:

    “… 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.”

    It doesn’t sound like you want a joint partner at all.  Rather, it sounds like you want someone to assume joint responsibility if you choose to have the child, and you want someone to support you if you decide to have an abortion.  By reading your comment, it appears that your “partner’s” desire to have the child isn’t really of any concern.  Your idea of a partnership is one where you have the rights and he has the responsibilities.

    betrees #48 said:

    “Women have the right to choose to keep their children or have an abortion, and men have the right to choose to keep their penises to themselves.”

    You’re comparing apples to oranges (i.e., before conception and after conception).  Before conception, the woman has the right to keep her vagina to herself just as a man has the right to keep his penis to himself.  After conception, you seem to believe that only women should have rights.

  24. 55
    Karl T

    Lia #53,
    I rarely disagree with you either.  You are unlike most of the women who post here.  You are very logical to both sides of the equation and are rarely if ever biased.  I am not saying that men should not be accountable to pay child support if a baby is born.  The burden should be split equally.  I would hope both parents would care more than to just support the child with money- to actually give the child much of their time too!
    I am just saying that I think both parties should have equal say on whether a woman has an abortion or not.  Men should have at least more say- maybe if they disagree with the woman they can file some sort of protest that goes before a judge. 
     
    Chance #54,
    I’m all about equal rights.  I’m not sure where I implied that men should have more rights than women???  As it currently stands, I think women have more rights than men when it comes to choosing abortion. 

  25. 56
    Betrees

    Yes, Chance, since women cannot be strapped to the bed and forced to have an a abortion, she has the rights after conception. The consequences of sex is the possibility of a child. If men are that concerned about the consequences off that action, they can wear a condom or get a vasectomy or not have sex. What’s so hard to grasp about that concept? Those are the options until other forms of male birth control are approved. How easy would it be for all men to claim they never wanted a child once that child has been conceived? How easy is it for men to avoid financial responsibility for children even with current laws in place? If men don’t want children they are perfectly capable of avoiding such an a outcome. 

  26. 57
    Rose

    There appears to be lack of understanding about body autonomy and fetal viability here. And why any individual man or womans personal thoughts and opionions on a ‘potential life’ that doesn’t actually exist yet are less important and at the end of the day and just just plain don’t matter compared to that of the real live woman that actually does exist.

  27. 58
    Lia

    Karl T # 58
     
    I get that you are not advocating that a man should not be paying any support for a child that he fathered.  I appreciate that, but I would like to address the comment that a man should have a say in whether or not a woman has an abortion.  Whether or not you think abortion is wrong, whether or not you think that an abortion is a little in-and-out procedure with little or no consequences, the fact remains that until the egg is swimming up your johnson and taking root in your scrotum, you will not get the final vote in terminating a pregnancy because it is not in your body.  In this country we, as women, are given rights to our bodies – so men do not have “equal say”.
     
    As far as going before a judge and petitioning – Kristen # 32 laid it out pretty succinctly.  It is unworkable. 
     
    So if at the end of the day a man does everything he can to avoid fathering a child (short of abstaining from sex completely) and he still fathers a child with a woman who then refuses to get an abortion, he will be a father.  Does that seem fair?  No.  But Karl life is not fair.  I know that seems like a glib, heartless remark, but it does not come from a place of not caring, it comes from someone who knows that just because it isn’t fair doesn’t mean it isn’t a reality.
     
    When I was carrying my daughter I was obsessively careful about what went into my body, I wouldn’t even take aspirin or tylenol because I did not want to do anything that might adversely affect her.  Was I a bit over the top?  Yes.  But at the end of the day it was all out of my hands.  Because, somewhere in her genetic code she was missing what her body needed to develop normally.  It didn’t matter that I was a good person.  It didn’t matter that I always tried to act with integrity.  It didn’t matter that I ate good food and tried to get good sleep.  I wanted my little girl to be born healthy, but she wasn’t.  It isn’t fair but it is a reality.
     
    My stepfather took care of his body.  He never had to take any medications and he was active, working out at the gym and playing racquetball three times a week.  He was the picture of health right up to the day he was diagnosed with cancer.  He died 8 months later.  That seemed brutally unfair to me.  
     
    Are there some women who try to trap men with pregnancy? Yes.
     
    Are there men who take every precaution they can (short of abstaining from sex completely) and still end up fathering a child that they never meant to?  Yes.
     
    Are there women who take every precaution they can (short of abstaining from sex completely) and still end up pregnant and choose not to have an abortion because their beliefs and personal integrity stop them from exercising that option?  Yes.
     
     
    Are there men and women who are vigilant about safe sex and still end up with an STD?  Yes.
     
    Is that fair?  No, no it isn’t, not in any way.  But it is a reality.
     
    So however a child was conceived – planned or not, wanted or not – there is a child and that child needs to be taken care of.  I am going to steal a quote from Kristen # 32…
     
    “This is why the legal standard for such determination is ‘the best interests of the child’ not the ‘best interest of the parent’.”
     

  28. 59
    Scott

    A big problem with having a rule that the man is only responsible if he took reasonable precautions and the child was an “accident” is the cost of investigating and wieghing and judging the evidence.  Can you imagine the intrusive questioning of the both parents’ sexual history to determine whether it probably was an accident?  Or whether the guy had a history of using condoms?  Or whether the woman likely tried to trick him?  An ugly and expensive nightmare to enforce.  And as others have said, not at all “in the best interest of the child”, or of taxpayers who will have to foot at least part of the bill both for the decision-making process and for the care of the child.
    The current rule has the virtue of being simple to understand and easy to administer.  We do the paternity test.  If it comes up positive, the guy pays.  If he doesn’t want to take that risk, there are types of sex that don’t involve risk of pregnancy, or he can always use 2 or 3 condoms “just to be sure”.  OK, maybe he prefers unprotected intercourse.  Fine.  But with that preference comes a risk.  His choice whether to take the risk.  Not his place to complain if he took the risk and got an unwanted outcome.

  29. 60
    Chance

    @Karl T. – I must have misinterpreted.  I understand now.
     
    @betrees
    “The consequences of sex is the possibility of a child. If men are that concerned about the consequences off that action, they can wear a condom or get a vasectomy or not have sex.  What’s so hard to grasp about that concept?”
    You’re right.. and women can insist that a man use a condom, use birth control, or not have sex as well.  It goes both ways.  However, that isn’t good enough for you – you want a mulligan (by being able to have an abortion or by putting the child up for adoption) in case you screw up.  Men have no such options, and it appears that you want it to stay that way.  In your world, once a child is conceived, you should have the rights without the responsibilities and he should have the responsibilities without the rights.  Can you understand that concept?  Cheers to you because the law is on your side.
     
    “How easy would it be for all men to claim they never wanted a child once that child has been conceived?”
    It would be easier, no doubt….. probably almost as easy as it is for women to do that exact thing right now.
     
    Look, this isn’t about finding a way for men to free themselves of responsibility for a child they do not want.  If I got a woman pregnant, I would want to have the child and raise him/her.  My opinion is that it is irresponsible to choose any alternative.  However, I don’t have a say.  If the woman wants to have an abortion, even though I want to have the child, she can kill it and there is nothing I can do.  According to the law, I’m only there to foot the bill in case she so chooses to have the child.
    Bottom line, women that share your belief regarding this matter will always be at a disadvantage (in relation to women who actually get it) when trying to attract a confident, self-respecting man.  Good luck.

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