November 14, 2007

Pro choice? How 'bout both ways?

I like the message of Amy Alkon's article. I've argued this for years:

A child a man agrees to have is one thing, but should a man have to pay child support when he makes it clear to a woman that he does not want one?

Jennifer Spenner for the Saginaw News and Kathy Barks Hoffman for the AP wrote about a Michigan man who recently challenged being forced to pay child support for his girlfriend’s baby — despite what he alleges were her assurances that she couldn’t get pregnant because of a medical condition, and her knowledge that he didn’t want a child.

He made the point to the court that if a woman can choose whether to abort, adopt out, or raise the child, a man should have the same right, and argued that Michigan’s paternity law violates the Constitution’s equal protection clause. Matt Dubay lost the case, which he previously acknowledged was a long shot — but should it have been?

OK all you feminists and pro-choicers out there -- tell me why this guy doesn't have a case! After all, if it's purely a women's right to make a decision about having a baby in the first place (that took two people to conceive, by the way), then why isn't it a man's right to decide whether he wants to care for it or not, should the woman choose to have the child? After all, the father could desire profusely that the mother have the child, but if the mother refuses, then she has every right to abort it. The father is screwed. So, why does he have to pony up if the situation is flipped?

Tell me this is just, especially you feminists and pro-choicers.

Posted by Hube at November 14, 2007 03:44 PM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

Okey-dokey, I'll bite.

I'm a woman, a liberal(ish), and pro-choice. I believe it takes two to tango. I can support that if the father is given opportunity and states before the 12th week of pregnancy (that magical 3-month line) in a legally binding document that he does not intend to support the child as he had no say in whether or not to keep it, then sure, he can get away with not paying child support. However, he then relinquishes any claim or rights to that child forever. No visitation, no tax exemption, no nothing. He's nothing more than a sperm donor.

If not, then well, I guess the answer to everyone is if you don't want to have children, don't have sex. Or, if you do choose to have sex, go into it with your eyes open, take precautions against pregnancy, and take whatever consequences come from it. Or, heaven forbid, get to know your partner before you do the nasty, and know what their views are going to be on the subject. Exercise the same caution with your reproductive rights that you would when, oh, say, buying a car.

From a woman's perspective, it would be all too easy for this precedent, once established, to be abused. Without legal documentation of paternal intent early in pregnancy (early enough for the woman to abort if she so chose), then I can see it being abused left and right.

Posted by: Bronwen at November 14, 2007 09:25 PM

I call shenanigans. The previous poster is entirely too logical to be either a liberal or a woman let alone both.

Posted by: Duffy at November 15, 2007 08:43 AM

I have to agree with Duffy:

"I guess the answer to everyone is if you don't want to have children, don't have sex."

...but every good liberal knows abstinence education just doesn't work; condoms and abortion on demand for all!

"Or, if you do choose to have sex, go into it with your eyes open, take precautions against pregnancy, and take whatever consequences come from it."

Personal responsibility? What an antiquated concept. This poster is clearly a white male religious fanatic in disguise.

Posted by: G Rex at November 15, 2007 10:21 AM

You guys are too funny! I think Hube will vouch for me - he knows me IRL.

Note, please, that I did stress that the contract be established before the "safe" time to get an abortion. And, I certainly wouldn't blame the woman if she did get an abortion under those circumstances. As a matter of fact, were I in those circumstances, I would want the choice to be available.

As the mother of a daughter, you can be sure that I'll be teaching my child the value of abstinence in addition to the necessities of birth control. In today's day and age (oh, I sound like my grandparents...), I don't think that abstinence education alone is enough.

Above all, I'll be sure to teach her the importance of personal responsibility (which neither political party can claim for their own), as I don't believe that the life of an child should ever be the price for irresponsibility. And before you jump on that for a pro-life statement, let me clarify: too many children have miserable, neglected, abused lives because they were brought into the world by people who believed that the woman "did the crime, and should do the time." In some cases, they are quite literally tortured to death. I'd rather see a child aborted than be doomed to suffer like that.

Liberal enough?

Posted by: Bronwen at November 15, 2007 08:49 PM

Yeah man -- be cool with Bro. She's one cool chick!

Posted by: Hube at November 18, 2007 07:45 PM