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

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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.”

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Comments:

  1. 21
    Miranda

    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 ;).

    1. 21.1
      Gerry

      No marriage, no agreement for what she did with the semen she obtained from him, no responsibility. If she’s old empugh to get pregnant, she’d better take responsibility for her choices.  Only 13? If her parent(s) won’t teach her and control her, they’d better be ready to be granma and grampa.  

      1. 21.1.1
        Gerry

        The virtual keys on my phone’s screen are much smaller than my typing thumbs!

  2. 22
    West

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

    1. 22.1
      Gerry

      I can guarantee you, “West,” that being married doesn’t mean that a man can “have sex all the time.” If the wife really doesn’t wanna, he ain’t gonna.

  3. 23
    Rose

    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
      Me

      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
        John

        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.

        1. Gerry

          What if he’s drunk, too? Why is he responsible for his conduct when HE’S drunk, but when SHE’S drunk, she’s not responsible for hers? What happened to EQUALITY?

        2. Princess

          John, I wish the father of my son was thinking same way as you do. He, who is a navy officer, simply run away.

      2. 23.1.2
        Gerry

        Drunken persons can make decisions for which they can be held responsible, either civilly or criminally, or both. Only unconscious persons are not, except in rare circumstances, responsible for their decisions.

        1. Gerry

          Because unconscious persons don’t make decisions.

      3. 23.1.3
        Gerry

        To “Me”: Yep, even if he is passed out unconscious drunk and she climbs on top of him and rapes herself with his dong Lot-style.
        If she is drunk, it’s his fault. If she says she was drunk, it’s his fault.

    2. 23.2
      Really?

      What about the mans consent? Or are men held to a higher standard when drunk than women? This place is filled with full fledged sexist misandrists.

      1. 23.2.1
        Gerry

        The current, misandrist, position is that the male is the aggressor, the instigator of all sexual activity under all conditions. A bedridden comatose quadriplegic who is masturbated to erection by a female who then impales her vagina on his penis is a rapist. It’s similar reasoning to “the finger doesn’t pull the trigger; the trigger pulls the finger.” Penises emit not only semen and piss; they emit tractor beams that pull helpless vaginas to them.

        If she manages to get knocked up, he or his estate owe prenatal, natal and postnatal expenses and then child support until the brat is 18.

        All the ills of humanity are white men’s fault. Brown and Black men, and women, are victims: victims of evil plotting white men. When a Black man rapes a woman, white, Black or Brown, it’s entirely due to his being a victim of slavery by white men. Even if he is descended from Black slave catchers and traders, it’s because those Black men were corrupted by Arab slave traders who in turn were corrupted by white slave buyers.

        If it wasn’t for white men, all human societies would live in peace and tranquility. Harmony and brotherly love would reign supreme.

        Jesus wasn’t white. He was tawny like Arabs, Aramaics and other eastern Mediterranean and north African people. Light Brown, perhaps honorary Black. It wasn’t His fault that His mother, Maryam, was raped by some guy claiming to be an angel from heaven. Gabby, if I recall.

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          So…the answer to the current misandrist position is…a misogynist, racist position. Thanks for clearing that up. On behalf of folks in the middle, two wrongs don’t make a right, Gerry.

        2. G.

          Evan, you’re defending  white men?  I parrot the current political correctness, that all the ills of the world are laid at the feet of white males, directly or indirectly, and I’m  still wrong?  

          Sheesh. And I’m a white man. Lawyers can deprecate lawyers. Women can ridicule women. Blacks can call one another “n—-r.” Italians can make jokes at the expense of Italians. But a white man can’t poke at white men?

        3. P

          Hey very comical Garry…esp. the tractor beam joke…
          Lol!
          And of course I do agree that women need to take responsibility for their body,the pregnancy and I have seen multiple women initiating sex…

    3. 23.3
      Gerry

      That a person is not held responsible for their conduct when drunk is a special indulgence granted by legislatures to women, and women only, and only as regards sexual activity. If she is drunk, staggers or crawls to her car and drives away, no indulgence is granted, which is as it should be.

      As things stand, a man who is drunk, even to unconsciousness, is held absolutely responsible for a woman “raping” him and contracting a STD or getting herself pregnant with his sperm. In extremely rare instances the woman has been convicted of statutory rape and given a piddly sentence.

      The man is made a laughingstock and the butt of ridicule. Getting her sent to jail for a few months, if successful, is his only consolation for 18 years of child support, either for her or her parent(s) suing him for CS, or if she files for welfare, paying the CS to the state. In many states he has no rights to custody or visitation no matter how much he wants it, if he should so desire. The child is deprived of her/his father even if he is willing, unless his abuser chooses. He just gets to pay.

  4. 24
    Rose

    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.
      
      

    1. 24.1
      Gerry

      Moral obligation and legal responsibility imposed by force are different matters.  If I see my neighbor’s house on fire, I have a moral obligation to help him – call 911, help get his family out
        But I can just watch the show and do nothing. I have committed neither crime nor tort.   

  5. 25
    Anne

    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
      Stacy

      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.

      1. 25.1.1
        Laszha

        A good, practical response Stacy. I wish we lived in a world that was more accepting of termination of pregnancy. Why should an unplanned and probably unwanted child have to possibly suffer emotional and financial deprivation? In a few months my son will become a father for the first time as a result of an accidental pregnancy. He is standing by the girl who did not want an abortion. It was a casual relationship and they are going to do the best they can for each other and the baby. I hope it works out but I’m apprehensive about the relationship breaking down and child support issues and a child perhaps not having equal access to both parents. Yes, this happens in marriages and relationships where children are planned but my preference is still for children to be born to people that planned for their arrival. I believe there is a better chance of that relationship surviving and children growing up in a happy, 2 parent environment – at least for some years. I know it doesn’t always   work, I’m the child of a marriage that broke up after 25 years and my own relationship ended after 15 years. Children go through huge emotional upheaval during the   breakdown of their parents’ relationship. We could avoid some of this pain by being vigilant with birth control and/or being more open to termination of pregnancy. In my long, drawn out way, I am saying let’s have as few children suffer as possible.

        No, I don’t advocate abortion as a method of birth control but don’t discount it as an option for unplanned and/or unwanted pregnancies.

        Adoption can help many people desperate to have children but I have seen firsthand how this does not always work out best for the child.

        We don’t live in Utopia but we can all try to be good, caring   human beings which surely assists in achieving good outcomes.

    2. 25.2
      Gerry

      No woman has to keep a child. There are many organizations that will arrange to find adoptive parents who will pay your expenses, PLUS give you money. Both open adoption, in which you can keep in contact with your child and the parents, and closed adoption, in which you cannot find the child unless the child seeks you, are available. It doesn’t matter to the organizations or to adoptive parents whether you had sex voluntarily or were raped; they will take the child.
      If you have given life to a child, whether you did what made the child voluntarily or not, don’t take it away.

      1. 25.2.1
        Gerry

        God, a god, or gods have nothing to do with the question or with the discussion.

    3. 25.3
      P

      I agree with your POV Anne that such bad consequences  may be the reason why premarital sex is looked down upon in many religions.
      Unless a woman has a man ideally a husband who is devoted to her and both of them want to start a family;she should not be bearing his children.

      If she is bearing kids without the explicit consent of the dad concerend,she should be willing to pay fully for the child’s health & education.

  6. 26
    Ruby

    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”!

    1. 26.1
      Gerry

      Biology places the burden on the woman. That’s why we have an institution called “marriage.” Human females not being well equipped to fend for themselves,, especiallly when heavy with child and recovering from giving birth, and caring for children, females are advised to refrain from exposure of their genitals to semen until they have a husband, and then only to his.
      Marriage is a relationship in law arising from the conduct of the parties. This is an implied contract, the foundational terms of which are presumed understood by the parties according tp the common law (tradition – the way we do it). Statutory marriage is licensed. The parties must obtain permission from a superior to marry, and agree to comply with terms and conditions imposed by their master.
      If a woman who is considered competent chooses to permit a male not her husband donate semen to her, should he retain ownership of the semen, or is it now hers to do with as she or her physiological processes choose to do with it?

      1. 26.1.1
        P

        Human females not being well equipped to fend for themselves,, especiallly when heavy with child and recovering from giving birth, and caring for children, females are advised to refrain from exposure of their genitals to semen until they have a husband, and then only to his.—excellent POV…
        Thank you.

  7. 27
    Rose

    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
      nina

      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!  

      1. 27.1.1
        Gerry

        As KE said, he shudda kept his dickiepoo in his pants and out of her. She was being nice by not accusing him of rape. She had enough sense to remember that if he was in the joint that he couldn’t pay.

        1. Karmic Equation

          Sorry, Nina.

          Men who are old enough to father children shouldn’t get so drunk that they don’t know what they’re doing.

          He should bring up charges of rape, if he  really feels that’s what happened.

          She was no angel. But neither was your son.

          It’s unfortunate he has to pay such a high price for stupid drunken behavior. You should thank God that he didn’t kill someone driving drunk.

          Make sure there’s a paternity test before your son pays a dime.

      2. 27.1.2
        P

        This is very sad Nina.
        Your son needs to file a case against her and fight it out in the court…

        What peace is she going to get by extracting money from people who hate her?What joy is the kid getting?

        I wish the laws could change and new laws will recognize the greed & misery of such women.

        I also agree with your point that if a man can rape a drunk woman;a woman also should be held guilty for rape if she is sleeping with a drunk man.

    2. 27.2
      Gerry

      Depends on how drunk she is. Drunkenness is not precisely divided from sobriety. There’s starting to get a buzz, feeling good, a little tipsy, happy, silly, a little drunker, snockered, finally unconscious.
      Most guys who are able to walk understand that an unconscious woman is “off limits.” But what if she is feelin’ good and is sexually aggressive?   She wants to fuck, make love, or somewhere in between. Can she consent? She got tipsy to loosen up, lower her inhibitions so she could fuck. Or does she just want to play around? Will she change her mind when she wakes up in the morning? Decides you weren’t the guy she wanted?

    3. 27.3
      Gerry

      Perhaps as a legal fiction but in real life a drunk or drugged person can make decisions and can be held responsible for the outcomes of those decisions. Even if unconscious, if the person voluntarily self-inflicted the unconscious state on herself, she (this is mostly about drunk and drugged women) should be held responsible.

      But if all she does is go upstairs in the frat house and pass out, if a guy or guys follow her and have intercourse with her, she is not an active participant and is not responsible. They, being active actors (redundancy!), are responsible for the results of their decision. Only if a man is passed out and a woman mounts him should he not be held responsible.

    4. 27.4
      Russell

      So much for a woman being a man’s equal.   Yeah, amazing isn’t it?   A girl could hit on me for months, then catch me when I am drunk, and vulnerable because of problems with a girlfriend, and she can he less drunk than me, and she can offer herself to me, and then months later, when I haven’t called her back, she can take revenge by accusing me of rape.   When asked why she didn’t report me when it happened, she can play the victim to deflect questions.

       

      If you see nothing wrong with that, something is seriously wrong with you.   Even it is just a case of two drunk people agreeing to have sex, and you think one should be held criminally accountable for that decision, and one should not he held accountable.for that decision, then there is something seriously wrong with your perception of right and wrong.

      1. 27.4.1
        Gerry

        Woman has sex while drunk: rape victim.

        Man has sex while drunk: rapist.

        The Truth Behind Legal Dominance: Feminism’s  “Two Percent False  Rape Claim” Figure, by  Edward Greer. A .pdf

        1. P

          Thank you   for the doc Gerry…Indeed false rape claims are much more than 2%

      2. 27.4.2
        P

        Good point Russell.

  8. 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.  

    1. 28.1
      Gerry

      So the establishment of a socialist wealth transfer without due process justifies denigration and degradation of marriage, the institution established to protect women and their children, just so women can play with sexual activity for mere entertainment?

  9. 29
    Bevcash

    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.           

    1. 29.1
      Kapcom

      So what about 15 year olds that have sex and get pregnant? You can’t tell me those dip shits are grown up. And before you say they shouldn’t be having sex, WELL they are.

       

      1. 29.1.1
        Gerry

        So what about them? What does that have to do with the question or the article? If a 15 yo gets knocked up by a 12 yo boy, a 15 yo boy, an 18 yo man/boy, should he be forced to contribute to the expenses of pregnancy and birth, and support for 18 years?

        I stopped at 18 because some states allow for statutory rape-free fucking as long as the older partner is no more than 4 years older than the younger, who is under 18.

      2. 29.1.2
        Gerry

        15 year olds who are not grown up are immature mainly because the society around them pushes extended childhood.

        1. Johnny

          15 year olds are still children and should be treated as such. Stop forcing adulthood on children.

    2. 29.2
      Russell

      Except when you are a woman, in which case you can exercise several “get out of parenting responsibilities,” options, if she chooses to.

       

      Oh, and she’s not even held responsible for HER actions once the child has been born, and several years later, she can still opt out of her responsibilities by simply turning the child over to one of many authorities.

       

      However, she can have a man out in jail for not taking care of his responsibilities.

       

  10. 30
    Alexandra

    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?

    1. 30.1
      Gerry

      Abortion is legalized by the US Supreme Court throughout pregnancy. The only thing is that very few abortionists will perform late term abortions. A handful will do “partial-birth” abortions, delivering the baby feet first, killing it, and then extracting the corpse.

    2. 30.2
      helena davies

      I completely agree with your analysis of this subject. The analogy of the skiing accident, or any accident is proof of this. Perhaps an accidental pregnancy policy should be acquired before having sex if the biological father feels he has no responsibility for the outcome of pregnancy and subsequent financial support. That of course is not available as far as I know. Because the resulting physical state (a child or an injury) was not intended, I don’t think it’s logical the contributing party should be relinquished from financial responsibility.   Veering away from the legal, into the biological realm and psychology of the situation of accidental pregnancy, it’s common knowledge that it will be harder for the woman to obtain an abortion than the man. For obvious reasons but I will state them anyway as men seem to conveniently deny such matters. The woman becomes emotionally attached to a fetus due to hormonal changes. The woman must often finance and go through the physical and emotional pain of such a choice alone. The woman will live with the choice for the rest of her life. The man will move on and sow his seed wherever he may be. I am pro choice by the way. And mostly because of this attitude of men that the woman is always out to get him using pregnancy as a tool to do so. I am a woman who did not desire pregnancy and was told by a Dr at a young age my chance of conceiving due to fallopian tube damage was almost zero. This turned out to be false information. I raised not only one but two children alone with no support whatsoever. The second was a requested continuation of pregnancy on the part of the father. He changed his mind a year later. But that I realize is not the point of the discussion. Whatever the circumstances, a man should help support his child, wanted or not. Choosing work over sleep was damaging to my own health, that of the children and affected the whole of the rest of our lives. As you say, an accident is never planned. You’d have to be mentally impaired to not realize an accident would be a potential result of skiing, just as a pregnancy would be from the act of sex. The original “men’s right’s” post, as usual presents biased subjective opinion implying   it’s always the woman’s fault.

      1. 30.2.1
        Evan Marc Katz

        1. It’s not the woman’s “fault” she got pregnant. It’s the woman’s CHOICE to carry that pregnancy to term against a man’s wishes. If a random man had a similar choice to make you indebted to him for 18 years based on a few dates, you’d object, too.

        2. I’m not a men’s rights activist, but I think we can agree that men have rights, too, do they not?

        1. S.V

          I find that absolutely misogynist. Two people create a pregnancy. Sex= the possibility of pregnancy. You play, you pay! It is your CHOICE to get a vasectomy or not, use condoms or not, have sex without penetration or with it (sex doesn’t have to expose the egg to sperm. That’s a choice), to not have sex, to only have sex with someone you know and care about (be discerning), to learn how to use condoms and thus get 98% effectiveness, to be responsible and check the condom if anything feels wrong and thus change it, increasing that effectiveness to 99.9%.

          Men have CHOICES. They just don’t want to exercise them because it’s inconvenient to take responsibility for themselves.

           

          Once a child is born, the two people who are responsible for that life existing are also responsible for that beings expenses and care. No excuses. No exceptions.

        2. Evan Marc Katz

          Disagreeing with a woman isn’t misogynist. It’s just disagreeing. You seem to think that most people have sex with the idea of making a baby. I think people do it for recreation. I think both people are responsible for the accident. I think only one person has the right to choose – and that’s the woman. I think that is obviously unfair to the person left without the choice. I don’t see what’s controversial about that. You say men have choices. In fact, when a woman decides to carry to term against a man’s will, he doesn’t have choices. To pay for a lifetime of child support for a child he doesn’t want seems to be an onerous burden for a man who doesn’t have a say in the matter. You don’t seem to acknowledge that, which says plenty about your ability to understand a different point of view.

        3. Russell

          I find it absolutely misandrist that you think only one party should have any legal rights, or self determination, after a sexual act has occurred.   This is 2016.   The Morning After pill exists, and you don’t even need a prescription for it.   You just drive to the pharmacy, pay for it, and bam, problem solved.   It is also proven to be extremely safe and effective.   Imagine that…it is as simple as taking one pill to prevent an unwanted pregnancy.

           

          Ah, but that is the thing, isn’t it.   Even though she CAN very easily prevent a pregnancy, she does not have to.   She can CHOOSE to carry the child to term.   The problem is, she gets to choose for both people involved.   Yes, if it is not convenient for her to have a child, such as being in the middle of pursuing a degree, she can take a pill, and problem solved.   On the other hand, he has no say, no self determination, after the sexual act.

           

          Your position is sexist.   Period.

        4. P

          obviously men have rights and it is no wonder that the American male is increasingly suspicious and cautious around women(think child support) and hesitates to marry her(think alimony)

  11. 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!
      

  12. 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.
      

    1. 32.1
      Gerry

      If he didn’t put his signature on the marriage license, he has declared that he is not interested in siring children with this woman. If she doesn’t understand that, her education is sorely deficient.

  13. 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. “

  14. 34
    marymary

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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.
      
      

  17. 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.

    1. 37.1
      Gerry

      While it isn’t fair, like much of life and certainly biology, the current “best interest of the child” system assures women that they can hhave sex with men with whom they are not married aanad if she hets pregnant, Uncle Sugar will make him pay. Or at worst ahe can get AFDC, Medicaid, etc.
      Formerly before the socialist welfare system was developed, a major inhibition on women having entertainment sex was the very real prospect of having to depend on parents – the child’s grandparents –   the church, the home for unwed mothers, and pretty much having poor or no marriage prospects. Abortion – killing the unfortunate child – was out of the question for most: expensive, dangerous, and terribly immoral.  

  18. 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.  

  19. 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.

    1. 39.1
      Gerry

      If a woman rapes (legally speaking) a man when he is asleep or drunk and gets pregnant, should he have to pay child support? That is the present state of the law. Should a 12 year old boy who is seduced by a 23 year old woman have to pay child support (his parents until he is 18, himself thereon? That is the present state of the law. Should a man in a coma who is raped by a healthcare worker or visitor be required to pay child support? That is the present state of the law. Should a man who is forcibly gangraped by women who get pregnant as a result of the rape have to pay child support? That is the present state of the law.  
      Such incidents are uncommon but serve to illustrate the point. Automatically imposing child support on men just because children resulted from their sperms is unjust.   

  20. 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.
      

    1. 40.1
      Gerry

      “I wuz drunk” isn’t a “get out” clause for him but it’s a “get him” clause for her?
      So much for feminist ideas of equality.

      1. 40.1.1
        gerry fan

        someone is butthurt jjj

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