Monday, March 27, 2006

Male reproductive rights, continued

My post on "Roe v. Wade for men," i.e., a law that would give men the ability to terminate their parental rights and responsibilities to an unwanted child within a brief period of learning of the pregnancy, sparked a lively debate both on this blog and on others. One response that I'd like to reply to comes from Jane Galt:

Myself, I just can't get worked up about those poor, powerless men. As I've said before, reproduction is never going to be fair, and the current law strikes me as a reasonable compromise between the needs of the women and the needs of the child. Men get the short end of the stick there . . . but they don't have to breast feed, or lose their figure, or have to rush to get married because their biological clock is ticking, and I've never heard them clamouring for a legal remedy to any of that. Although I might change my mind if men who want to terminate their parental rights were willing to undergo painful surgery with a non-zero chance of killing or sterilizing them in order to secure their "choice".

It's interesting that the woman and the child are the only two parties Jane seems to consider. As for the argument that other biological disparities in reproduction favor men, it is something that I have considered myself. But here's a point to ponder: our society has, in fact, been steadily evolving toward remedying -- technologically, legally, and socially -- the reproductive inequalities that disadvantage women. Women can escape the burden of unwanted pregnancy by having an abortion and using birth control (there is still no "male pill"). Women who don't want to rush into marriage because their biological clock is ticking can now have a baby on their own without being stigmatized; see, for instance, this New York Times Magazine article, published the other day, about women pursuing artificial insemination. (As I noted in my other the concern about children being born with no right to paternal support seems missing in those cases.)

But the reproductive inequalities that disadvantage men remain, and they include a few others -- besides having no option to avoid the burden of unwanted parenthood once conception has occurred -- that Jane overlooks. For instance, a man who wants to be a father can have his child's existence concealed from him, for years or even forever. (See more below on that subject.) And a man who has trouble finding a mate will find it a lot more difficult than a single woman to reproduce on his own: he's need to find a surrogate mother, not a sperm donor. The biological clock is, of course, a female disadvantage -- one which I am now facing myself, as a single 43-year-old woman. But I wonder how many men who are single and childless at 43 actually go on to father children; for most, I suspect, male biology provides only about 10 more years in which they can fool themselves with the thought that it's not too late.

This isn't really a plea for "those poor men." I don't believe that men in America are an oppressed class. But I do believe that, as we grapple with unprecedented changes in gender roles, we need to address the issue of equality in reproductive rights and responsibilites more seriously.

Which brings me to my column in today's Boston Globe: "Equal Rights for Unwed Fathers."

WHILE THE ''Roe v. Wade for men" lawsuit filed in Michigan earlier this month seeks the right for men to terminate their financial obligations to a child in case of unwanted pregnancy, another dispute over male reproductive rights has been making news as well. Last week, a front-page New York Times story explored the plight of unwed fathers who fight for children placed for adoption by the mothers.

One of the men profiled in the article, 23-year-old Arizona resident Adam Clayton Jones, learned that his former fiancée -- who had ended their relationship -- was pregnant and seeking to put up the baby for adoption in Florida, where they had met while attending college. An adoption agency called Jones to ask for his consent to the adoption. He refused, fully intending to raise the baby himself. But Jones did not know that in order to exercise his parental rights, he had to register with the state registry for unmarried fathers. Because he missed the deadline, he lost all his rights and has never seen his child, now 18 months old.

Sadly, this case is all too typical. While divorced fathers complain that they are often treated as second-class parents, never-married fathers are much lower on the totem pole. True, their situation has improved since the 1970s, when an unwed father's children could be given up for adoption without his consent even if he had raised them.

Today, partly as a result of several legal controversies in which unmarried fathers successfully contested adoptions, the majority of states have ''putative father registries" by means of which a man can assert his paternity. But the purpose of these registries often seems to be less to protect the rights of the father than to protect the rights of everyone else: the mother who wants to give up the baby, the adoption agency, and the adoptive parents. Some would say that they also protect the rights of the child. But that depends on whether you believe that a child is better off being adopted than being raised by the biological father.

In most states, the unwed father has to file with the registry either within a certain period of the child's birth -- from five to 30 days -- or, as in Massachusetts, at any time before the adoption petition is filed. But neither the mother nor the adoption agency has any obligation to notify the man of the adoption, or of the fact that he is a father or father-to-be. Even when the father is notified, he may not be told about the putative father registry -- which is what happened to Jones, whose attorney, Allison Perry, refers to the Florida registry as a ''well-kept secret." That is the situation in most states. Not only are most men unaware of the registries' existence, even some lawyers don't know about them.

Amazingly, many specialists believe that it's too much of a burden on the woman or the adoption agency to require that a man be notified of his paternity. Instead, they argue that it should be his responsibility to file with the putative father registry every time he enters a sexual relationship with a woman, on the off-chance that a pregnancy may result -- a requirement that, if nothing else, smacks of a humiliating invasion of privacy. Surely, it is far more efficient and less invasive to limit the notification requirement to cases in which a pregnancy actually happens, and to place the burden on those who are aware of the pregnancy.

You would think that, unlike men who seek to avoid their paternal responsibilities, fathers who want to be responsible for raising their own children would at least encounter societal sympathy and support. Sadly, that has not generally been the case. Unwed fathers who contest adoptions are often faulted for not taking affirmative steps to find out about the child's existence, and in some cases are blamed even if they were actively deceived by the mother. Often, they're suspected of being abusers whose real hidden motive is to control the mother.

The issues of men burdened with responsibility for unwanted pregnancies, and of men who are not allowed to be fathers to wanted children, are linked by a common thread. Biology has made men and women unequal with regard to reproduction. In recent decades, thanks to both technology and social change, we have made strides to alleviate the inequality for women, helping them avoid unwanted childbearing. But we have lagged far behind in equalizing the situation for men. We cannot ask men to be equal parents while giving virtually all the power in reproductive decisions to women.

More: The question of what constitutes reproductive "advantage" and "disadvantage" is, of course, a complicated one, and depends very much on a person's own values and priorities. To me, for instance, being able to reproduce without going through the physical ordeal of pregnancy and childbirth seems like an unquestionably good thing, and if technology made it possible for fetuses to be safely incubated in an artificial womb, I'd think, myself, that women should be cheering. Yet I've heard quite a few women say that pregnancy and childbearing give them a sense of connection to the child -- and of their life-giving power -- that they would not give up for mere physical convenience.

I'd also like to add something here about a proposal one of my commenters, mythago, made in the
Roe v. Wade for men thread: instead of allowing men to "opt out" of unwanted paternity, to have an "opt-in" system in which an unmarried father would be presumed to have no paternal rights or responsibilities unless he declared his paternity by a certain deadline (or unless he could show that he had been misled about the birth of the child). I have serious reservations about this because, basically, I don't think that "no paternal involvement" should be the default position, for cultural/social reasons at least as much as economic ones. In fact, I think that in the unlikely event that the law changes to allow a paternal "opt-out," also known in some circles as a "male abortion" (the legal termination, within a certain window of time, of all paternal rights and responsbilities), the procedure should (1) impose non-negligible financial costs, and (2) include the requirement of serious pre-termination counseling. That would include discussing the experiences of men who have committed themselves to fatherhood despite the child being initially unwanted, and making sure that the man fully understands the possibility that some day he may want to reconnect with his growing or already grown child but will most likely have no chance to do so.

I don't think that "walking away" should be encouraged.


Rainsborough said...

If one seeks for a biological disadvantage that accrues only to men, one doesn't have to go far. It's called "paternity uncertainty," and it can result either in a male lavishing care on offspring not his own, or in his never knowing he has offspring. But in the age of DNA testing, this biological disadvantage has been ameliorated.

Jim said...

Strange comment form someone normallly as sensible as Jane Galt.

"As I've said before, reproduction is never going to be fair, "

The whole purpose of civilization is the round off and even out the hard edges of nature. Lots pf thongs in Jane's life are not fair - her samller physical size compared tothat of some men for instance, but does she mean that she shuould have to cower and beg for mercy or live in fear around anyone capable of doing her harm? Here she sounds like that wooly-minded kind of libertarian that is unaware of how the natural world operates.

Rainsborough is right aboiu the inherent about paternity uncrertainty being just one form of unfairness. Abandonement of a mother in farrow is another.Why does one formn of uncertainty require a remedy and not the other?

Jane really goes off the deep end with her wierd comment about breast-feeding and losing one's figure. She sounds like a Barbie there. If being a mammal and breast-feeding is so onerous, if feeding your own child is so onerous, she is obviously emotionally unsuited to reproducing. No fault on her, but she should not generalize that to normal people.

Jim said...

"But in the age of DNA testing, this biological disadvantage has been ameliorated."

In theory but not always in practice. There are many instances of men being forced to support other men's bastards their wives have born even after their non-paternity has been proven. There was a case a couple of years ago in Texas - surprise, surprise.

Jannia said...

While I disagree with you on the notion that men should be allowed to opt out of support because women have an opt-out-of-pregnancy card, this situation is pretty obviously screwy.

Once a child is born, men should have all the same rights women do, and that includes the ability to veto adoptions and take the role of primary/custodial parent without having to jump through any hoops other than proving that he is the genetic parent. And women who lie about the identity of the father so as to try to circumvent transfering custody to the father instead of strangers should be guilty of felony kidnapping.

As to the opting out of financial support, abortion isn't an option (for practical or moral reasons) for all women, so the fact that a woman could in theory have an abortion is insufficient grounds for cutting off support. But in states like California where there are mechanisms for mothers abandoning a child with no repercussions (drop it off at a designated safe-point), then the father should have the exact same ability.

rational human said...

Just because I, like some 3,000,000,000 other individuals on this planet, have a Y chromosome, doesn't mean I want to champion all their (imagined) Y-chromosome-possessor problems.

I share far more genetic material with my mother, my brother, and my daughters.

It's much easier to be selective about who I go into bat for.

Revenant said...

As to the opting out of financial support, abortion isn't an option (for practical or moral reasons) for all women

Why should having "moral reasons" matter? Let the mother pay the bill for her own morality.

jw said...

In these adoption cases the father's rights must be brought to the front. The current system in the US is more than unfair, it is reprehensible, it is disgusting.

The mother should have no right to hide the baby, to use another state to get around registries, to do anything to in any way interfere with the father's right to raise his child.

Some of you may know that I've been slowing working towards a Canadian law which removes the right to custody from a female who breaks the law with intent to interfere with a male's right to procreate or not procreate: The law would make her a defined non-custodial parent unless the breach of law was a sexual assault in which case she would lose all rights.

I think this is the only reasonable option given the state of law and the facts of biology.

So far, the feminists are willing to have no opinion and the MRA's are willing to listen. Not at all a bad start. We'll see how the Canadian political parties think.

mythago said...

Let the mother pay the bill for her own morality.

It's not 'morality support,' last I checked.

Society hasn't yet rounded off the problem that only women can physically be pregnant. When it does, men will be able to veto becoming fathers--as was done in at least one of the 'frozen embryo' cases, where a man was allowed to veto his ex-wife implanting their (voluntarily created) frozen embryo to become pregnant.

Revenant said...

It's not 'morality support,' last I checked.

Which is exactly why the man shouldn't have to support a child that was only born because of the mother's moral qualms. She CAN abort. If she doesn't WANT to abort, that is HER problem, not the man's. She can pay for all of the child support expenses herself, if her morality means that much to her.

Jim said...

"Society hasn't yet rounded off the problem that only women can physically be pregnant."

How this figures in a discussion of reproductive rights which in this species requires two parents is what hasn't been rounded off. Where this does figure is in a discussion of bodily integrity, and a woman's right to bodily integrity in pregancy will have some substance the day that a man can opt out of combat duty on grounds of "bodily integrity". Don't hold your breath, but that is another inequity to be addressed elsewhere.

NEP Admin said...

One of the more interesting and ironic aspects to this ongoing "Men's Roe v Wade" controversy is the 800lb gorilla of systemic anti-father bias by the family court and state's divorce/custody/abuse industries. Perhaps if all the air being expended debating the nuances of reproductive rights currently centered on "choice" was instead expended on the far broader nightmare of anti-shared parenting legislation and practice, we'd actually get somewhere.

Why does this myopia persist? Two reasons: Ignorance and vested interest. Either you don't know the facts or you're biased against fathers as a statistical group.


-In the US, primary custody awards run 85/15 in favor of women;
-Women own billions more in personal property;
-Domestic violence is fairly even per gender, with the feds reporting roughly 60/40 and the private sector reporting 50/50;
-Abuse of childen is committed by women 60% of the time;
-The feds pay the states a 66% kickback for collected child support;
-No fault walk-aways allow the legalized theft of children, property, and monthly income until the child reaches 18;
-Family court routinely violates presumption of innocence, due process, equal protection, freedom, and other basic rights.

All of this occurs in and by a system populated by NOW reps, trial attorney's associations, and the bar. Your state legislature at this moment has massive special interest lobbying against fairness in family court and it's chronic lopsided rulings.

Government has intruded into the family and the result is an egregous abuse of many of the most important rights any one of us would defend with our last breath.

So why isn't our perspective more balanced than it is? Either we're ignorant of these facts or we have something to gain by denying the complete picture. Let's hope that in the near future the blogosphere adopts a true gender-neutral stance and walks it's equal-rights / constitutional rights talk.

Jim said...

Nep admin,

Check out Independent Women's Forum for thier take on these ssues. I don't agree with half thier positions, but in these areas they insist on real equality between the sexes - you know, expecting the courts to hold men and women to the same standard in DV cases, insisting on Constitutional gauarantees in rape accusations, joint custody as the default setting - that kind of thing.

mythago said...

I don't think that "walking away" should be encouraged.

Indeed you do; you just think 'opt-in' encourages it a little too much. 'Opt-out' gives at least the window dressing that we think fatherhood is important, even if we really don't.

Calling all this a paper abortion, or Roe for men, profoundly misstates both Roe and abortion. Roe v. Wade was about a woman's privacy interest concerning her body, not about her right to be or not be a parent. Opt-in and opt-out create a right for the father, but not the mother, to walk away from parental obligations to a born child as an attempt to counterbalance the biological unfairness of pregnancy.

To be really fair, we need "Roe for men" for women, too. An unmarried mother should be able to hand the baby over to the willing father and say "I wash my hands of thee", leaving him with sole custody and sole support obligations. Opt-out doesn't permit that, funnily.

Really, though, abortion isn't about child support, but about terminating a pregnancy. Women have that extra right if, and when, they have the extra burden of being the one in whose body the fetus resides. Outside of that, women's and men's obligations and rights are the same. Why do you want them to be otherwise?

Pablo said...

mythago said:

It's not 'morality support,' last I checked.

It's not "child" support, either. It's Mother support, enforced with the hope that the child will receive the benefit of the funds.

There is no accountability for the use of the funds, and there is no requirement that the funds be distributed in a way that benefits the child.

I say this as a person who has repeatedly had to buy my kid the clothes she so clearly needs, despite the support I pay her mother. Mom's need for new gold jewelry is always sated, while our daughter's need for clothes she's not bursting out of is serially neglected.

It's Dad's cash mandated for Mom, period. She can do whatever she pleases with it, and there's virtually nothing a paying, noncustodial parent can do about it.

Cathy Young said...

jim -- coming in a little late here, but the comments about Jane Galt are a bit too personal for my taste. However, I do think that her post has a rather disturbing touch of resentment.

nep admin: I'd like to see a little more background on some of those "facts," actually. For instance, the 85/15 split in custody does not mean that when custody is disputed the court rules with the mother 85% of the time. Often fathers do not seek custody for a variety of reasons.


To be really fair, we need "Roe for men" for women, too. An unmarried mother should be able to hand the baby over to the willing father and say "I wash my hands of thee", leaving him with sole custody and sole support obligations. Opt-out doesn't permit that, funnily.

I agree. I think that if the mother is willing to relinquish all parental rights and responsibilities she ought to have that option.

I think that as a practical matter, right now a woman who wants to do that will usually be able to put the baby up for adoption without the father having a chance to contest it. (See my last column and the Times story on which it was based.) Actually more women might be willing to allow the biological father to raise the baby if they knew that they couldn't be hit up for child support. There is no reason a woman should have a financial incentive to place the baby with strangers instead of the biological father.

Jim said...

"Roe v. Wade was about a woman's privacy interest concerning her body, not about her right to be or not be a parent."

Then Roe v. Wade is not the whole sum of the abortion argument, is it? The argument is genrally advanced on the basis of reproductive rights. If the argument is about bodily privacy, that is another discussion, and in that discussion you will have to explian why women should have a right to bodily privacy or integrity that men do not have.

Cathy, the personal tone was in response to Jane's personal tone. Children are a very personal subject.

"Often fathers do not seek custody for a variety of reasons."

This is quite true. Often the reasons have to do with cultural conditioning, and often the same conditioning factors work on mothers to lead to fight for custody when perhaps they really would rather not "be stuck with it".

NEP Admin said...

Jim's partly answered the question as to why men don't ask for/receive primary or joint custody, and it absolutely includes futility, but I doubt the federal 85/15 stat comes with such detail.

The point is that there are myriad strategies for gaming the system -- from Washington's Orwellian Title IV-D, its Bradley Amendment, the UCCC, the $15B DHHS, welfare, and far-reaching NOW-enabled legislation to your local DA's office to the ex's attorney's well-worn tactics.

85/15 is hardly gender equal. 85/15 simply reflects a vast bias against men's rights. 85/15 reflects ingrained legal strategy. How many walk-away fathers do so out of fear, irresponsibility, disenfranchisement, or what have you remains to be researched. But the tone and the strategies and the rules are such that no dad in his right mind would oppose an acrimonious ex-wife/ex-partner in the current legal environment in family court as enabled by special interest-bound legislatures in all 50 states.

The question, Cathy, shouldn't be merely why we think 85/15 occurs, it should encompass the means for it to do so for decades at a time -- those means are vast and vastly lopsided. Gender feminism asks and it receives. It's thrown its net over one of the most impressive special interest environments you'll ever see in your own statehouse...

Jim said...

"But the tone and the strategies and the rules are such that no dad in his right mind would oppose an acrimonious ex-wife/ex-partner in the current legal environment in family court as enabled by special interest-bound legislatures in all 50 states."

Not if 1) he bothers to get a female attorney, who can often ridicule and shoot holes in these biases and sometimes win if 2) they are fortunate enough to draw a female judge. The daddy's little girl thing prety much requires that you get some avuncular old sexist on your case.

There seems to be a general consensus that female attorney and judges have thought more and more clearly about gender equality issues, and it would make sense. That doesn't mean a father will get his way. It means he is likelier to see justice in his case.

mythago said...

and in that discussion you will have to explian why women should have a right to bodily privacy or integrity that men do not have.

They don't. They are, however, subject to a condition called 'pregnancy' that men are not, and so the right of privacy extends to control of a pregnancy. When men can get pregnant, they, too, will have that right.

I can think of another reason fathers don't seek primary custody--they don't want to be single-parent caregivers for a child.

pablo, there is no excuse for your wife's behavior, and there should be some accountability--if a child is not properly fed or clothed, something's obviously wrong. But for every situation like yours, I know of one where the idea of 'wife support' is laughable--the mother is paying far more than half of the child's expenses, because the father can't or won't.

Jim said...

"They don't. They are, however, subject to a condition called 'pregnancy' that men are not, "

False. They do. It's called the draft, and combat is far more dangerous than pregnancy and continues for longer. It's a permanent a condition of life as pregnancy, since war will go away only after the last human born has died. Women are exempt from the legal requirement of citizenship, and yet somehow just expect all the same rights of citizenship. (THank God - at least we got it half right.) It is not uncommon though that it doesn't occur to you in the first place.

This unaware sense of entitlement is a big obstacle in this discussion. One sign of the culture is patriarchal is that motherhood ids put on such a pedestal. That's a thoroughly male bias.

Darleen said...

Jane is right in the sense that one aspect of reproduction will never be fair because one is dealing with two classes of people...those with a uterus and those without. To deny this biological inequality is akin to decrying the "unfairness" of not giving blind people a drivers license.

What is happening is a conflating of three separate events and calling them "reproductive rights". Certainly no one can credibly argue that men and women are unequal when it comes to consensual sex. Each partner has the rights, responsibilities and obligations to consent and birth control (whether they ignore such is another story). During gestation only one partner can carry the child. The question becomes then, in cases of conflict of whether the child should be brought to term, WHO should have the final say? When dealing with a born child, family law differs from state to state which makes the claims of MRA's to a "Vast Marxist Feminist Conspiracy" that deprives men of the "rights" much less credible upon examination.

Let me propose something fairly radical. Obviuosly the family court system is horrendously overburdened and will never be praised because in each conflict one of the two parties will cry "foul". Much of this overburdening is dealing with the endless he said/she said in dealing with unmarried partners. Did they live together or was this a one night stand? Was there a history of violence? Was there manipulation? Yadda yadda yadda.

Let's cut the Gordian knot. MRA's want the "right" to opt out of fatherhood (translation: child support) because a woman in the 2nd event has the final word on termination. They want "fatherhood" as an option on their own terms.

Let's make marriage the clear demarcation point of post consensual sex "reproductive rights". Let only couples who have married have standing in family court. A court then knows at sometime in the couple's relationship that at least a minimal effort was made towards a committed relationship with the expectation of children.

Unmarried couples? The bio-father legally doesn't exist. The mother has no standing to sue for child support and the biodad has no standing to claim visitation or adoption.

That's it. You want to protect your child? Get married. Otherwise, you are on your own.

Dave said...

You know I think most men wouldn't consider opting out if they were treated fairly yet the law isn't close to fair. Men are considered guilty unless proven innocent in most court cases where it's him vs her.

There are thousands of cases of men being forced to pay for children that DNA has proven aren't theirs. I personally know 2 men doing it now. Men think that when it's proven they should be able to cut off support. Guess again.

Enforce custodial and visitation orders for men. The way it works in most places now you can complain about her violating the orders till you are blue in the face. Nothing will be done.

Make her responsible to the court to show what she spends the money on. Your kids run around in rags or you have to buy them clothes yourself. Women aren't responsible to the court or anyone else as to what the money is spent on. She can support her non working live in boyfriend on your money and ignore your childrens needs and not one damn thing will be done about it.

Make'em prove allegations of abuse or domestic violence. This is the get out of jail free card for women who want a man out of their lives for whatever reason. It doesn't have to be proven, all she has to do is make the charge and any chance you thought you might have had for getting your kids or be treated fairly in a divorce. I sat in a bar one night listening to 6 or 8 women at the table behind me that were making too much noise to be ignored. Two or 3 of them bragged about using such devices to get things to go their way in court. The others were high fiving them and screaming "you go girl!".

Somebody do some damn research and develop a pill for men. Why hasn't this been done?

Women need to quit lying about who these things. A few years after my divorce a woman I had dated casually told me one night a few weeks after we stopped seeing each other that she was pregnant and she had only been with me for months. I told her she was lying and that my Urologist would back me up because I had a vasectomy 8 years before. I found out later that the real father was someone I knew that was basically worthless and seldom had a job. She would have been perfectly happy to let me spend the next 18 years paying for this guys kid. That was 20 years ago and I still want to run her over if I pass her on the street.

In short: Stop using us for sperm banks and cash machines and chances are we'll be a little easier to get along with.

mythago said...

False. They do. It's called the draft

jim, I'm sorry, but if you think registration for Selective Service is as much an unchangeable biological fact as pregnancy is, you are not operating from a reality-based platform.

Jim said...

"jim, I'm sorry, but if you think registration for Selective Service is as much an unchangeable biological fact as pregnancy is, you are not operating from a reality-based platform."

Mythago, I'm sorry, but if think this discussion is about biology rahter than law and social policy addressing issues of biology, you are not engaging seriously and honestly in the discussion. My point was that women have pregnancy and so men are avavlibale to be expended in war, and that is how socieites thorughout hisotry have divided the labor, and it is basically equal. I don't know if you are guilty of pampered-princess greivance mongering, but if you don't acknowledge these age-old cultural accomocations to biological challenges, then it skews the discusssion.

Darleen's proposal has too things going for it - it is fair and it is tested.

colagirl said...

I'm rather dubious about the idea that men are primarily used in combat because they are deemed's one of those things that sounds plausible on the face of it, but my understanding is that societies that heavily stress combat as a male duty are also likely to practice primarily or exclusively female infanticide, suggesting that if anything, females are seen as more expendable and males are more valued. For example, IIRC, the Yanomamo, a highly militaristic culture, have such high rates of female infanticide that they are essentially forced to capture women from surrounding tribes to ensure their societal reproduction because they kill off so many of their own women.

In fact, in cultures where infanticide is sex-specific, AFAIK, it's always female infanticide that is practiced--I don't know of any culture that practices exclusively male infanticide. (If anyone knows of one, I'd like a reference :) ). Again, suggesting to me that if anything, cross culturally females tend to be seen as less valuable / more expendable than males. Actually, heck, in cultures without reliable birth control, systematic elimination of females from the population may be the only way really available to control population growth.

Jack Roy said...

I'm absolutely mystified by this argument. If the mother and father agree on whether to abort, there's no question about enforcing the rights of either, and this dispute only comes up when the mother and father disagree on the question. Because the two options are mutually exclusive, only one of the two will be satisfied in the event of disagreement, and currently we give the ultimate decision-making power to the mother. (It would be pretty horrid if the mother didn't retain that power.)

But once the decision to have the child has been made, the question of child support stems from an entirely different discussion. It's not personal responsibility and paying for your choices; the first, second and last thing you learn in family law is "the best interests of the child." Does the kid need new shoes? Then the parents are going to pay for new shoes. That's it; there's no question of moral desert or which parent cheated first or worst.

This whole debate is a giant non sequitur, frankly.

Anonymous said...

Provocative discussion here. I do find it interesting how people are talking about women being "subjected" to pregnancy. Even as a young girl, I felt sorry for boys because they would never be able to have babies. I now have four children. My pregnancies were no picnic and I now understand what some women mean when they talk about being "chained to the toilet." But I still felt incredibly blessed and in awe that a tiny little human was growing within me. I often felt so sad that my husband could not feel what I was physically feeling within me. I wanted to be able to pull him into my heart and soul so he could also feel how that physical connection was for me.
In the discussion over reproductive choices, I am mindful that I have the most amazing blessing of all - the ability to carry and give birth to a new life. What I object to is the notion that fathers somehow have no feelings, that they are able to just walk away from the children that they father with nary a look back. Of course there are some men who do that. Some women are this way, too. But there are millions of men out there who care for their children. There are millions of men who lay their heads on a pregnant belly and thrill to the feel of their child within.
Matt Dubay will lose. He is challenging a child support statute that applies to both mothers and fathers. He says that he hopes to provoke discussion. Actually, I think that the Dubay lawsuit has provoked more discussion and heightened attention in an area that is more important: recognition of fathers as non-dispensable.

Anonymous said...

I am a father,I was an unwed father and a wed father after conception.With the same woman,I know Ime an idiot.But ("TRYING TO DO THE RIGHT THING')As fare as scocietie was concernd was a big son was 4 before i even knrw he existed.Or rather I was told he wasnt mine.Untill after the mother had sbused him and the state gave him to his Paturnal grandmother.Cant blame NY?.Well I do because they didnt force anyone to tell who the father was untill the child was in grandmas custady,and the state was tired of paying welfare.Well I lived in AR.and was ordered to give dna test child was mine.and I was ordered to pay 4.5 years back support.and 54.00 a week and no the child didnt have my name.Thats whats rong they said we didnt know who or were you were.untill they wanted money.well theres the problem,its fleecing.the state gets 50.gets interest for a couple of days and sends mom 40.theres money in it for the states.and as far as taxpayers paying the bill.thats bull.last I cheched I Pay Taxes to.some times depending i pay 300.00 a week in taxes.and 110 support and nither child has my name and i married this girl to try and be a part of my daughters lif,to weeks later i was in jail with a reclace indangorment charge.and to top it off she didnt give my daughter my name eather.I did get a couple hours a week visitation.but it was at here house because.she was affraid I would leave with here.thats how bias this system is she abused an 18 month old child sexually and physically beat on him and the still gave here custady.and untill she lied I was clean not even a speeding after all that yes I told the state untill my children have my name and I get reasonable visitation summer and a couple hollidays a yaer.they decided who would take care of them they payed the money without giving me the opertunity to rais my children and they payed for her laywars and denied me the same so to hell with them.I will not pay any more I refuse to be misstreated and extorted by a bullshit bias system and pay for the fact If something isnt done im about to take up arms against this shit and start writtig viruses for there computer systems.

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Blogger said...

Wow, this is where the discussion of "reproductive rights" has taken us? It really is unbelievable and un-human.

Blogger said...

The Kenyan women's Lysistrata strategy poses an interesting point. If sex/pregnancy is so powerful, how can it be considered an inequality?

The discipline of Reproductive Rights is so alienated from reality. By the time "male abortion" came along, didn't anyone stop and say "this is crazy"?

Considering a child a financial inequality is grotesque. Promoting this within society is akin to the crimes we are seeing in the financial world.

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