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. 91
    Karl T

    I don’t know Rose, I’m not a lobbyist.  I’m merely a contributor to this blog.  Maybe I’ll wave my magic wand and dehumanize you into a seahorse…..

  2. 92
    Selena

    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.”
     
    I cannot believe someone actually wrote that.  Wow.
     
    Actions have consequences. Adults know the possible consequence of sex is pregnancy. All birth control, including tubal ligations and vasectomies have a percentage of failure rate.  If one consents to sex involving sperm and a uterus, one IS consenting to yield to all the accidental outcomes that might flow from that activity.  Pregnancy being one, potential diseases another.  Punitive?  Guess that’s something to be taken up with nature, or God if one is so inclined.
     
    Parenthood is a potential outcome of sex. So is child support. Do we need to promote sexual education? Yes, it would be in the best interest of our children to do so. And in the best interest of our children and some of our adults apparently to promote taking responsibility for our own actions.

  3. 93
    Kimby

    Tom T, thank you for your real world and logical stance on this subject.
    To everyone else, no one is saying that birth control should be solely the man’s responsibility. The title of the article is “Should men be forced to pay for children they didn’t want?” so we are answering that question.
    1) Yes (some) women currently have the option of abortion if she so chooses, but equating that to paternal abandonment once the child is born is nonsense, a non sequitor. It’s just a biological truth that women become pregnant, current laws allow her to make decisions about what she does with her own body. Everyone has the right to do with their own body as they see fit. I cannot make you remove a tumor from your body if you do not want to and you cannot make me remove a fetus from my body if I decide against it. Everybody has the same rights to their own bodies. Once a child is born, the father has rights to custody if the mother is contemplating adoption. Child abandonment is illegal for either parent. Safe haven laws are gender bias and do negate the parental rights of the father in favor of the welfare of the infant, but I can’t help but feel that if men cared at all about safe have biases they would have had the laws changed some time ago.  
    2) It’s also a truth that men naturally will only care for children that are a part of their immediate household, regardless of race, culture or socioeconomic background. Divorced father’s quickly become ghost dads to their biological children but will dutifully provide for new step children that live in the same household with them, unwed father’s quickly become “unsure” if they want to be with their pregnant girlfriends and/or disappear completely to casually have unprotected recreational sex with the next hot girl. Where is the line drawn for “I didn’t want these children”?
    In the past, society had strict rules to prevent the unintended consequences of sex, recreational or otherwise, — marriage. Men that wanted to have fun and run might be subjected to a shotgun marriage and be forced to take responsibility for his actions. 
    3) It’s a broken system, by all means no one is saying the system is completely just. Many men pay child support to children that they are not even allowed to see. Many men are locked into paying 18 years of child support to children that are not biologically theirs even if the woman has admitted to lying. However, the state does not care if the children never see their father, the state does not even care if the man making payments is the father, the state only cares that someone (or some fool) other than the state is footing the bill for the care and upbringing of the child that was created. As evidenced by the fact that for a single mother to be allowed to apply for any state assistance she must provide the name of the father of her children. The state will seek out child support whether or not the woman wishes to.
    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Child support has nothing to do with punishing a man for having recreational sex. Child support is the government intervening on behalf of the best interest of the child that was created (wanted or not) and the best interest of Joe Q. Taxpayer. 

  4. 94
    Selena

    @Tom T.
    You’ve made some great points on this thread. I especially enjoyed THIS:
     
    “No legislature in the land is going to change parenting laws because your understanding of sex is that it is merely a pleasant activity until you get married.”
     
    This is the kind of sex education we need to give our children. And apparently a number of our adults as well.

  5. 95
    Karl T

    Kimby #94,
    You make many good points.  I agree with you that the system is broken.  It should be completely overhauled. 
     
    Selena,
    For everythign that you have said, you still have skated around the question.  Does the man get a say when it comes to abortion?  The say would be whether he agrees or disagrees with the woman’s choice of whether to have an abortion.  It still is left ultimately to the woman to decide what to do with her body, but the man gets a say and if there is disagreement then there may be stipulations put on the woman- reduced childcare, no childcare, or even full childcare in some cases if she decides to continue with teh pregnancy.  It would all be circumstantial and depending on how long the man and woman knew each other, how much money each one has, etc.  i.e. if it was a one night stand and it was proven that the man and woman just met and knew each other for one night then the man might be responsible for either partial or no childcare (depending on the wealth of both the man and the woman and still many other factors).  If you think that is unfair, i argue that if that becomes teh law then the woman knows full well taht if she engages in casual sex and she gets pregnant then she might have to face that, unless she is ok upfront with just having an abortion if something like that occurred.  Other stipulations would be whether the guy used a condom and whether the woman was on birth control.  If the guy didn’t use a condom and was having casual sex then taht would be a strike against him.  If the woman was not birth control and having casual sex then that would be a strike against her.
    There would be all kinds of stipulations involved, but at least it would give more of an equal say to 18 years of someone’s life resulting from one single night of casual sex!!! 
    I know that some of my stipulations may be hard to prove out, but this is a blog and I can speak in theory.  The main idea is do the posters on here agree with this idea- at least in theory?? 
     

  6. 96
    Lizzy

    I’m in agreement with several of the previous commenters about the issue of who will pay for the children if the biological father isn’t required to. That’s the real problem with this argument: if a man decides he doesn’t want to pay for his offspring, who does it? The government? Taxpayers? Evan Marc Katz? (Kidding, kidding!)
    The woman who gave birth to the child has to support him or her for 18 years– why not the man who fathered the child? Is it any more “fair” for her? Legally, she might not be forced to have an abortion (I stated my point badly before), but she could be financially crippled for life if she didn’t have one and wasn’t supported by taxpayer dollars. (Tax hikes ahead!) Even if she gave birth to the child and put him/her up for adoption, there can be tens of thousands of dollars (or more) of medical costs involved with the birth, not to mention pain, lost time on the job, and potential permanent medical issues on the part of the mother. Do we really want to saddle women, who already make less money than men for doing the same job, with even more financial difficulties?
    Don’t get me wrong, I’d fully support limits on how much child support can be court ordered. No child needs $10,000/mo no matter how much the father makes– that’s just crazy! But the American public shouldn’t have to pay for a man’s night of fun gone wrong.
    Also, what does this post have to do with dating coaching? Let’s get back to the awesome and levelheaded advice we’re all used to!

  7. 97
    Selena

    @ Karl T. #96
     
    I didn’t skate the question Karl, it wasn’t asked of me until your post to me. To answer you, a man can say to his pregnant partner he wishes she would terminate the pregnancy as he doesn’t want to be a father, that he doesn’t want to pay child support. But the decision is hers because it is her body, and also her psyche, that will bear the consequences of the decision forever after.
     
    I’m not interested in all the excuses you presented in your run-on paragraph.  If someone really doesn’t want to create a new human being, they know how to avoid it. If they choose to take the risk of creating one, then they are also choosing the financial aspect that goes along with it.  Do YOU want to pay for the result of someone else’s orgasm Karl? Most people don’t. Which is why every state in the US has passed laws requiring people who create new human beings to support them. Doesn’t matter if they didn’t want to create that new human being, they did it – it is their responsibility. How anyone can even debate this I find ludicrous.
     
    There would be all kinds of stipulations involved, but at least it would give more of an equal say to 18 years of someone’s life resulting from one single night of casual sex!!! 
    I know that some of my stipulations may be hard to prove out, but this is a blog and I can speak in theory.  The main idea is do the posters on here agree with this idea- at least in theory?? 
    I don’t agree with this idea. It’s not theoretical to me either. In my family we have an 11 yr. old boy who is the result of a one night hookup my nephew had when he was 20 years old. He didn’t even know the woman was pregnant until he was summoned for a paternity test when the baby was 3 mos. old.  My nephew chose to be a part of his child’s life despite the lack of feelings between himself and the mother. And although he would never call his son a mistake, he has no hesitation calling the circumstances of his conception as such.  And he has never denied nor minimized his responsibility for the circumstance either.
     

  8. 98
    Rose

    Lizzy, to me this debate has felt enlightening and reinforced even more as why not to have casual sex and get to know if the man and woman are both on the same page on inner core issues. Be smart, take your time and chose wisely. What do you reckon?

  9. 99
    Joe

    @ Lizzy #97: 
    The woman who gave birth to the child has to support him or her for 18 years
     
    Not exactly…there are adoption options.

  10. 100
    Selena

    @David T. #46
     
    It was my understanding that people cannot waive their parental rights unless they give up the child for adoption. Giving a child to the other natural parent to raise is not adoption. Therefore under the scenario you presented in #46 I would think the woman would be obligated to pay child support if the father sought it regardless of a surrogate involved.
     
    Then I thought about the children of Michael Jackson- Debbie Rowe.  Ms. Rowe has said she birthed those children as a favor to Jackson. He married her to ensure his parental rights to them. They divorced after 3 years of marriage and it’s my impression she had nothing to do with children until after his death. Presumably there was a legal contract between them where she would not seek custody and he would not seek support? In fact, after his death legal custody of the children was awarded to his mother, not her as the biological mother and former wife.
     
    So it would seem…in California at least…contracts between natural parents can be upheld over the state’s position to hold both parents responsible for providing for their offspring until they are 18. If this is true, then in your hypothetical scenario of a pregnant woman giving her fetus to a surrogate to gestate and birth and the natural father to raise, if the two parents signed a contract absolving the woman of any obligation to the child financially or otherwise be upheld should the father change his mind later? What happens if he dies while the child is a minor? In the Jackson case there was plenty of money and persons willing to take custody of the children. What if that weren’t the case for your hypothetical parents? Would such contracts be deemed invalid? Sticky business.
     
     
     
     

  11. 101
    Marissa

    Haven’t had time to read all of the above comments, so I don’t know if this has been addressed, but how can you compare an abortion decision to child support? For many women abortion is simply not an option. It would be spiritually and emotionally impossible. How then, can you say that both parents are not equally responsible for the child? It is their joint mistake that brought the child into this world. The woman should not be left solely responsible, just because she’s the one whip biologically brings the child into the world.

  12. 102
    CJ

    No they should not.  If an unplanned pregnancy occurs that a man is not interested in participating in, get rid of it.  I did.   Simple, easy solution.  I had an abortion at ten weeks and have never, ever regretted it.  Why would I want to have a baby with some broke pathetic excuse for a man-child (I was 19 and stupid enough to think I was in love with this A-Hole), especially if he DOESN’T WANT TO BE A FATHER.  Unfair to all parties involved.  I don’t know how many other women are in the business of forcing parenthood onto men, but I’m certainly no one of them, and I think it’s disgusting.  My abortion was seven years ago and remains to this day the best decision I have ever made.
     
    And spare me all this crap that you “can’t” get an abortion.  You can.  I did and millions of other women do every day, so why “can’t” you?  Where were all these morals when you were having irresponsible sex with an unfit partner?  All of a sudden you’re religious the moment you concieve, you poor innocent virginal thing you.  Please.

  13. 103
    Lizzy

    @ Rose #99
     
    My thoughts exactly! Even though I had relationships, I didn’t have sex until quite late because I felt like I should have the resources to support a child before taking on that responsibility. I’ve never counted on anyone helping me through circumstances brought on by my own poor choices, and I don’t think anyone else should either.
     
    This whole exchange has also made me realize how far women still have to go when it comes to equality. If an educated and rational man in this day and age truly believes that he shouldn’t be held responsible for creating a child, I was overestimating the level of enlightenment in the world!

  14. 104
    Evan Marc Katz

    @Lizzy #104 – If an educated and rational woman truly can’t understand a man’s perspective that he should not have to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of his lifetime for a mistake over which he has no control, I was overestimating the level of enlightenment in the world.

    You’re saying that he should be prepared for this because he chose to have sex and if he didn’t want to get pregnant, he shouldn’t have had sex. Ridiculous.

    Virtually NOBODY has sex for procreation outside marriage. People have sex for recreation. The difference is that SHE has control of what happens; he has none. You seem to think that’s fair. I don’t. He didn’t cause the condom to break, she didn’t use the pill or an IUD, he and she weren’t married, neither of them wanted to get pregnant, and he has no right over what she does with her body. And yet you still think it’s perfectly fair for her to choose to have the child against his wishes and force him to support the child in all circumstances.
    I understand where you’re coming from. You got pregnant; you want him to pay for it. It’s dimestore selfishness without regard for fairness, but I get it. Your inability to understand that there is a very valid opposing point of view is really the appalling sidenote of this thread.

  15. 105
    Rose

    An individual women doesn’t force any man to pay child support or do anything. MEN AND BOYS DO WHAT THEY WANT.
    Society does.
    Society as a whole has decided it doesn’t want to pay for other peoples  mistakes  and accidents for their recreational choices or otherwise. It wants  people to grow up and and take adult responsibility. With adult freedoom of choice on how you chose to have sex comes adult responsilbilty not child responsibility It doesn’t want to let the boys who want to be treated like they are men off the hook and treat them like chldren by paying for their mistakes it wants them become adult men and take responsibilty for their life choices.
    Any man or women who isn’t happy with what society has decided has the choice to get off their bums and DO an ACTiON to towards getting laws changed.
    Any one who is really that bothered will do that. Any one who isn’t will just talk the talk and actually not do anything.
    People show us who they really  what they raelly want and what is really important to then by their actions
    Actions speak louder than words. Words are meaningless with the actions to match.
    I don’t take anyone seriously who just talks without an action that matches.

  16. 106
    Evan Marc Katz

    You’re tiring, Rose. Society isn’t always right. Slavery wasn’t right. Denying women the vote wasn’t right. Restricting access to abortion in certain US States isn’t right. The Stand Your Ground law isn’t right. Just because some yahoo passes a law doesn’t make it a fair or just law. I’m married with two kids and never got a woman pregnant when I was single. I was smart for using protection, but I was also lucky. And all it takes for me to realize how unfair the law is, is to think how my life could have been hijacked forever due to one passionate fling, one unfortunate accident, and one woman who decides to carry my unwanted child to term against my wishes. If a man doesn’t have any desire to be with that woman or be a father, and the woman decides to keep the baby, that is HER call. He doesn’t GET a call. That’s the definition of unfair. And you can say over and over and over that having sex is making the call to be a dad, but it’s not true. When people have sex for recreation, they’re not trying to procreate. This is a one-sided law that needs to be reconsidered. Am I going to be the person writing to my congressman about it? No. But if I were in year 12 of child support for my one-night stand when I was 29, you bet I would be.

    In the meantime, please don’t reply. You’ve had your say. We agree to disagree. Leave it alone.

  17. 107
    Chance

    @Lizzy
    The absolute refusal and/or unadulterated inability for women on this board to see the wholly inequitable state of reproductive rights in the U.S., despite the overwhelming evidence, should make you realize how far men have to go to achieve equality as well.

  18. 108
    Cat

    I have to agree 100% with EMK (107)…my brother went on 2 dates with a woman 18 years ago, they had sex on the 2nd date (she said she was on the pill)…she “accidentally” got pregnant & then claimed it was against her religion to abort (although evidently having premarital sex was ok?). He wanted her to have an abortion. She chose to keep the baby against his wishes & then took him to court for child support. He has been paying child support for 17 yrs now for a son he’s never met & probably never will. I agree she had the choice to keep the baby, however, I do not believe my brother should have been forced to pay child support if he was against keeping the baby. If women get pregnant on accident & the man does not want to keep the baby, the woman can certainly keep the baby & support it herself, that’s her choice, but the man should not be forced to support the child financially. 

  19. 109
    David T

    Many women on this board are saying a man has to be prepared to pay a great deal of money if he wants to have non-procreative sex…there is a word for a lower risk version that….

    I attended a workshop last weekend on teaching sexuality and relationship navigation to teens.  During the workshop I learned that the pregnancy rate for  using birth control for a year is a whopping 15%! Today I went looking for data, and sure enough that is the typical usage failure rate for condoms alone.  At that rate, over a four year period a couple using condoms has about even odds.

    A condom is not enough.  The woman has to do her part too, and the man needs to trust her to do so. The point is, unless the woman takes steps too, a man just “making sure he is using a condom” is not sufficient.
     
    Another thing that blew my mind was the effectiveness of “Symptoms-based fertility awareness” (think rhythm method with real data instead of just counting days)…it is even more effective than the pill! You can hit 0.5% by using that to decide when NOT to have sex.

    A bit off topic, that  also means using that data to decide to HAVE sex will greatly improve odds of success when trying for a baby (think about it.)  In my case, my then 42 yo ex-wife got pregnant in the second month (and we were not even sure we were  measuring properly the first month)  even though our sex frequency was depressingly low.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_birth_control_methods#Comparison_table

  20. 110
    Selena

    @David T.
    Thanks for pointing out the failure rate of condoms. I was amazed at the number of commenters on this thread who seemed to think condoms were foolproof in preventing pregnancy. Condoms minimize the risk, they don’t eliminate it.

  21. 111
    Sparkling Emerald

    David T @ 110
    Per your link and several others, the failure rate of 15% is for “typical use” of condoms.  For “perfect use”  the failure rate is .02%.  So yeah, condoms aren’t very effective at preventing pregnancy when they are left in the nightstand drawer.  I don’t have much sympathy for men who refuse to use condoms consistently and then whine about having to take responsibility for the resulting pregnancy.  Just as I don’t have much sympathy for women who “forget” to take a pill or two or ten, and then put on their “surprised face” when they “accidently” get pregnant.  I bet it’s the men who complain that using a condom is like trying to wash their feet while wearing socks are the ones who are whining that men shouldn’t have to be responsible for the babies that are a result of their carelessness.  That 15% failure is not condom failure, that’s HUMAN failure.  And the one who pays the MOST for that carelessness is the one who is totally innocent.  (the baby)  Also, if a man NEVER wants to have children ever, ever, he could get a vasectemy.  I do have sympathy for men who are duped in to fatherhood by scheming women who “forget” their pills, lie about their fertility or even in rare cases fish out condoms from the garbage and inseminate themselves, but I don’t have a whole lot of sympathy for players who want to fool around, not take responsibility for pregnancy prevention and then scream “But it’s not fair !!!!”

  22. 112
    Sparkling Emerald

    I forgot to mention that the .02 failure rate with “perfect use” is from another link.
    2% of couples will experience condom failure, but it is calculated as .02 percent failure counting the approx number of sex acts, not the number of pregnancies per “couple”.
    From a different link  . .

    In one year, only two of every 100 couples who use condoms consistently and correctly will experience an unintended pregnancy—two pregnancies arising from an estimated 8,300 acts of sexual intercourse, for a 0.02 percent per-condom pregnancy rate.[3]
    In one year with perfect use (meaning couples use condoms consistently and correctly at every act of sex), 98 percent of women relying on male condoms will remain pregnancy free. With typical use, 85 percent relying on male condoms will remain pregnancy free.[3]

  23. 113
    David T

    I would not even say condoms minimize the risk; they decrease it.

  24. 114
    Scott

    As I said before, the problem with a more lenient rule is about proof / evidence.  I don’t think anyone is proposing a standard where the guy is off the hook no matter what.  Some are proposing he be off the hook when it was an “accident” and the woman refuses to get an abortion.  Suppose we make the rule that the guy is not on the hook for child support as long as the woman promised to get an abortion.  How are we going to implement that rule?  Have trials over whether or not she promised?  Have women sign forms releasing the guy from responsibility?  Wow, isn’t that a romantic picture!  “Here babe, while I am slipping on the condom, you can sign the waiver and release of financial responsibility.”  Any rule other than “fathers always have to pay” or “fathers never have to pay” (which I see as a terrible rule, bad for society and bad for kids) would be impossible to implement / enforce.  So if we are stuck with all or nothing, I am in favor of the current rule, which discourages irresponsible behavior.

  25. 115
    Sparkling Emerald

    David T @114 – With perfect use having a .02 failure rate, I would say that is minimal.  That 15% failure rate is HUMAN failure, not condom failure because that is the “failure” rate for “typical use” not perfect use.   To borrow a NRA phrase,  “condoms don’t make babies, PEOPLE make babies . . .”

  26. 116
    Sparkling Emerald

    Just a general comment for those who think a woman should be subjected to pressure from the legal system to have an abortion.(Due to a father not wanting to pay support)   Would you be OK with allowing a man to not pay child support if he were to undergo a vasectemy ?  And giving state aid to the woman’s child if she were to undergo a tubal ligation ?

  27. 117
    Selena

    @#117
     
    Or the state could just offer free vasectomies. If a guy who wanted casual, recreational sex opted not to have one then he gets no right to scream how “unfair” it is for him to pay child support. Women ofcourse, get no “say” in whether a man chooses to get a vasectomy or not. Fair is fair.  ;)

  28. 118
    David T

    My point is sex should only be had between two people who trust one another fully. Then they can talk about what they will do ahead of time, whatever happens, and be able to live with whatever those scenarios look like.  If two people trust one another and talk things over and actually follow through on what they agree to, this whole thread is irrelevant! Boy that discussion  will be a one night stand killer, and maybe that is a good thing.  Yep, pie in the sky but worth shooting for.

    Irony is I am guilty of not having this discussion even with girlfriends.  I wish I had; the conversation would have brought us closer (or let us know we DON’T want to be doing what we are thinking about doing). 
     
    —————–
    Now for my factual rebuttal.
    Sparkling117 The 15% is also per year.  As long as you are going to make that comparison, use the 2%, not the 0.02% per act:  compare apples to apples. 2% is still 350% less effective than Symptoms Based Fertility Awareness ( ‘perfect’ condom usage on its own is about 3.5 times more likely to result in pregnancy than that method). To have truly low odds, even using a condom, the man has to have his partner’s cooperation.  The woman has tremendous power over whether she becomes pregnant. A little subtle application of petroleum jelly in the bathroom by her and the man has no say in the device failing. If you don’t trust your partner and definitely don’t want to be a parent, abstinence is the only way to go.
     
    I also want to know how “perfect” use is defined. Does loss of the condom or a tear that develops unnoticed during the act count as user error?  I have had both of those happen. I just ordered the 19th edition (2008) of the source the wiki article and Sparkling cited for $8.  I suspect it will point me to academic papers or manufacturer studies and further reading… We will see in a couple of weeks.
     
    It is still unfair that once pregnancy occurs it is wholly up to the woman if the man has to pay child support. I would not shirk that responsibility, and once offered to $$ support and time with the child though in the end she opted for an abortion anyway. Regardless of what I would have done, I still believe it is unfair to be forced to pay. Look at it this way , you shouldn’t have sex with someone who has the kind of character or whom you didn’t see eye to eye enough such that they would have to be forced to pay if you had a child.
    ———-

    [You made the comment about spermicide on a condom killing anything in it.  That thin layer of spermicide is meant to kill anything that squeezes between flesh and latex and won't be sufficient to do what you think.  Nonoxynol is being dropped more and more from condoms because it makes women more vulnerable to HIV infection. I don't know about other STIs. http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2012/02/06/146343080/what-spermicide-users-should-know-but-often-dont ]

  29. 119
    SimplySaki

    Karl T13

    “SimplySaki,
    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.”
    Actually, I stand by my original statement.  Note that the consumption of alcohol is not illegal.  However, one has to be accountable for how/when/where they choose to consume alcohol and for their actions after doing so.  However, the example I gave was way more extreme yes, but both situations can have  permanent consequences.  Failing to support a child that you are deemed to be the parent to IS illegal here in the US – and once you prove it, varying consequences can result such as imprisonment, wage garnishment, etc. as the US gov’t attempts to recoup the money that it has invested on behalf of the absentee parent (depending on the state). 
    I think that women by default (since, due to nature, we are the ones who have deal with the immediate physical repercussions of an unplanned pregnancy, whether it be the choice to have an abortion, to keep the child, or to give the child up for adoption) will always feel this a bit more keenly than men.  
    As a sexually active adult woman, I am fully aware of this.  Therefore I’ve tended towards being vigilant regarding sexual activity, as it’s my responsibility to do so.  This thought should cross your mind before you hook up with any potential partner “If a life was to be created due to this union – am I okay with this?  Am I really ready to deal with the potential full consequences of this?”  Seriously considering this everytime (or close to it) will definitely cause a person to rethink one’s potential sexual partners.   Being permanently connected to another person for life is not to be taken lightly.  And if that answer is an “ehh, not so much” then perhaps you should rethink the partner.  If we choose to say “I’ll just use protection / this has never happened to me before / she’s on birth control” and proceed with the sex – you’ve decided by your actions that you have accepted the potential consequence of becoming a future parent and want to take the risk anyway.  End of discussion.  Many, many people make this choice on a daily basis, but it all boils down to this:  being sexually active is a responsibility and the parties involved have to be accountable for their actions, whether they like it or not.  

    1. 119.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      @SimplySaki “You’ve decided by your actions that you have accepted the potential consequence of becoming a future parent and want to take the risk anyway. End of discussion.”

      No, it’s not the end of the discussion. That’s what the original post is about. It’s the beginning of a discussion about an unfair law. You don’t close discussion just because you say “end of discussion”. You choose to keep the pregnancy, you can choose to pay for it. Since he has no say in whether you keep the child, this is, on the surface, unbalanced and unfair. Repeating yourself that he should not have sex unless he is willing to have a kid does not make it true.

      NO ONE has sex with someone early in a relationship where he/she thinks “Being permanently connected to another person for life is not to be taken lightly.” That’s why it’s an ACCIDENT. We’re talking about the AFTERMATH of the accident, in which she gets to carry a child to term and make him support the child, while he has no say whatsoever in either.

  30. 120
    Sparkling Emerald

    David @ 119 -Now for my factual rebuttal. Sparkling117 The 15% is also per year.
    Sorry, I don’t know what the rate would be counting every act of intercourse, signifigantly higher of course.  However it is disingenous to cite a 15% failure rate of CONDOMS when the actual failure rate is of PEOPLE not using them properly.  Weather or not you want to use the 2% or the .02% failure rate as opposed to the 15% or perhaps higher rater, there’s a BIG difference.  BC is only as reliable as the people using it.  If a man is careless in his use (not wearing one every time because it inhibits the sensation) then I have no sympathy for him for not wanting to support the child he made due to his inconsistent use of condoms.  If a woman tampers with the condom in order to accidently become pregnant, then I think she is scheming conniving witch who probably would be a terrible mother. 
    The only thing I said about spermicide in condoms was that condoms are available with and without spermicide.  That was in response to someone stating that stealing sperm from a condom won’t work be because of the spermicide.
    I agree that we wouldn’t be having these discussions if the only people having sex were in a committed caring relationship and have talked about their desires for children (or not) and both took care and responsibility for what ever happens.  Unfortunately, sex has become so divorced from it’s main purpose (pro-creation) and it’s secondary purpose (to bond the couple so they will nurture the child they created) and it has now become a form of recreation. And in some cases a way for men to vent their hostility towards women (humping, dumping, then bragging online about it)   Unwanted children and the social consequences of caring for them are the un-intended but highly predicitable result. 
    And BTW, I am not religious, I am a heathen, but I would like to see sex become much more connected to love and perhaps pro-creation, but I would also like to be a millionaire.  Unfortunately, I doubt that either one will happen in my life time.

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