General Question

JLeslie's avatar

Do you think men should be able to opt out of being responsible for their unborn baby?

Asked by JLeslie (55247points) July 14th, 2009

I recently saw a show that featured a lawyer who is fighting for men to have the right to opt out of supporting their unborn children. His basic premise is that women have the right to abort when there is an accidental pregnancy, but men have no option. The idea is the men will have a specific time, from the time they are told about the pregnancy (it was suggested two weeks, and it has to be done in the very early stages of pregnancy) to inform the woman that they do not want the baby and they will not be a father to the baby or support it in any way. This gives the woman a chance to abort if she is under a false impression of what the man might be willing to do. It also gets legal documents before the baby is born to hook the father onto agreeing to support if the baby is born and he is saying he wants the child. What do you think?

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194 Answers

marinelife's avatar

No, because it would have been very easy for the man to avoid the problem in the first place by being responsible for contraception on his own.

sap82's avatar

Any man who opts out is a fucking coward. That is there life’s responsibility. This recent cultural conception of not having to do anything you don’t want is shit. Men are fathers if they have sex with a girl and get her knocked up. Last thing we need is another bastard child without a father.

cwilbur's avatar

Suppose a couple finds out that they’re expecting an unplanned baby.

The woman gets to decide what to do about the baby: whether to have an abortion, whether to give the baby up for adoption, or whether to keep the baby.

The man has no choice but to abide by what the woman decides. If she decides to keep the baby, he’s on the hook for child support for the next 18 years.

I don’t think this disparity is fair. I think that men should have comparable ways of opting out after conception—in other words, he should be able to terminate his parental rights and responsibilities, just as the woman can terminate hers by having an abortion or giving the baby up for adoption.

It’s very easy to say “the man should have been responsible for contraception,” as @Marina does, but it takes two to tango. And conception happens even when both parties use birth control.

jbfletcherfan's avatar

NO WAY! They were there for the physical pleasure of it. Let them be responsible for their actions afterwards, too.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I agree with the lawyer. The father of the child should have a choice in the matter. If he doesn’t want to support his child, he shouldn’t have to. Doesn’t mean that makes him a great person but if this is an accidental pregnancy, if he doesn’t want to be a parent, he doesn’t have to become a parent just because the mother decided to keep the child.

Zaku's avatar

It might be a little fairer to the woman if he could opt about if he makes a legal declaration to the system and the woman it before conception, no?

JLeslie's avatar

The case that is being brought forth, the lawyer is representing a teenage boy. Both the teenage mother and father have stated they did not want a baby and that they were taking measures to prevent pregnancy, but I don’t know if this was a contraception failure (that is so rare) or just that they did not use it consistently. The girl/mother agrees that when she told her boyfriend she was pregnant, he wanted her to get an abortion. He is also fine with giving the baby up for adoption, but he obviously cannot do that if the mother won’t.

We hear about men just walking out on their kids or a woman who is pregnant after having told her all sorts of fantasy promises; leading the pregnant girlfriend along. This law, they argue would force men to THINK about things realisitically before the it’s too late.

Bri_L's avatar

No way in hell. I can’t even imagine a real man wanting to. Even if he was tricked. Their is a little life at steak. You need to fight for it.

OpryLeigh's avatar

Actually I agree with this. I wouldn’t have much respect for a man that did this (although it would depend on his reasons) but I do believe he should have the right to choose in the way I believe a woman should have the right to choose whether she wants to go ahead with the pregnancy or not. I say this because I have known quite a lot of women who have told partners that they were on the pill, only to purposely fall pregnant to trap the man. That is LOW. I’m sure women like that are in the minority but it does happen. If he has a set amount of time from when he finds out about the pregnancy to decide whether he wants anything to do with it and after that time period there is no turning back whatever he decides then I believe that is pretty fair (as fair as you can get in a situation lke this anyway). However, I believe that if he decides to turn his back on the unborn child and the mother and she decides to keep the baby then the “father” should have no rights at all. This means that if he changes his mind and decides that he wants visiting rights then it should be COMPLETELY up to the woman (or child if he/she is old enough)whether she lets him back into there lives or not.

gottamakeart's avatar

given the number of “deadbeat dads” & abusive fathers in the world, I would say its bad enough a woman chose to have sex with a lousy choice of a partner, why should her child have to live with that bad decision.

Cut the REAL bastard loose, no visitation or legal rights. He’s likely already had more than he deserves.

Jayne's avatar

@sap82 & @jbfletcherfan; you say that the man is there for the pleasure and that he is responsible for knocking up the woman. I was under the impression that women also have sex for pleasure, and are equally responsible for that choice. Women aren’t just hanging out waiting to be used as sex objects by men; they have the choice to abstain, and the choice to seek out sex, just as a man does, and they are responsible for those choices, also like a man. Yet somehow they get the right to decide how to meet that responsibility, while men are forced to go along for the ride? This only applies, of course, if abortion is a viable option, so with the social stigmas of the moment not all cases are as clear cut as this. But ideally, in a situation where a woman is readily able to terminate her pregnancy if she so chooses, then men should not be forced to assume responsibility for her choice. Whether a man should or would refuse to do so is an entirely different matter.

aprilsimnel's avatar

The only thing that concerns me is if the woman decides to proceed with the pregnancy and raises the child herself, what happens when the child asks about his/her father? How is that child going to feel learning at some point that their father didn’t want them?

marinelife's avatar

@Leanne1986 no man who takes responsibility for his own contraception can be trapped into anything. What usually happens is men put all the responsibility for contraception on women.

JLeslie's avatar

@Leanne1986 that is how it would be, the father gives up ALL rights if he says he does not want the child. Theoretically I guess later he could ask for rights back, but then he would be on the hook financially etc. and that could all wind up back in court.

JLeslie's avatar

@aprilsimnel How is it different than giving up your baby for adoption?

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

Only when the child and it’s mother get to opt out of a life of poverty and hardship as a result of the father’s irresponsibility.

aprilsimnel's avatar

@JLeslie – Maybe it isn’t. I don’t know.

I know I felt bad when I learned as a teen that my BM didn’t want me and my BF has no idea that he has a daughter, so perhaps I’m taking this too personally. It hurts to know when you’re not wanted. At least an adopted child knows that his adoptive parents wanted him/her.

JLeslie's avatar

@aprilsimnel I’m sorry for your pain. I think your opinion matters a lot on this because you DO have personaly experience to pull on. I am pretty sure that almost everyone on here more than anything is concerned about the new baby and how it will affect them. I am not sure I understood your situation fully, I understand if you don’t want to elaborate. I guess BM is bio-mom? But she raised you right?

I have not really stated my opinion yet, because I think it is complicated, I was waiting to see some of the thoughts on the subject.

KatawaGrey's avatar

I don’t think the option should be the man’s alone. I think it should be there but only if both parties agree to it. In the case of legal minors, I believe the parents of the minors should have some but not all say in the matter. If the man does not want to be a part of the child’s life, then I believe he should still be legally obligated to pay child support, even if the child never meets him. It is much easier for a man to walk away from an unwanted pregnancy than it is for a woman to do so which is why I believe that both parties should agree to something.

casheroo's avatar

No.
Also, this reminds me of Nas and Kelis (rappers) and how Kelis is saying Nas hasn’t given her a dime, and she’s pregnant. First, they aren’t even divorced yet just separated, and when did we start giving child support before the kid was even born? That blows my mind.

CMaz's avatar

That is a tough one.
The problem is the women (yes I know it goes both ways) that when finding she is pregnant does not know who the father is.
There are women that do not feel they are all women unless they are pregnant. And do not see the consequences of their actions.
Once the deed is done, now the man is “trapped”. < in quotes.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

No. People need to take responsibilty for their actions. If you are going to fuck, you need to realize that you might end up a parent. If you don’t want kids, settle for a BJ or use your hand.

There are too many ‘opt-out of responsibilities’ rules in the world now. We don’t need to be baby-sat; we need to be adults. Life has consequences, deal with it.

Jayne's avatar

@evelyns_pet_zebra; life has consequences, sure, but as it is now, women get to choose how they deal with those consequences, and men don’t. How is that equitable?

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

@Jayne, if you are having sex, you already know you might end up a Daddy. What’s so darn hard to understand about that? If men got pregnant, I’m sure getting an abortion would be as easy as buying a six pack at the corner convenient mart.

Sex is more than simply a good feeling, it is how babies are made. Too many men give a shot of baby batter and then boogie off, leaving the women to fend for herself, how is that fair? He gets ten minutes of pleasure, and she gets 18 years of raising his little monster? Abortion should be three things. It should be legal, it should be safe, and most importantly, it should be RARE.

Don’t want to be a Dad? Keep the damn thing in your pants, or at least out of her vagina.

Jayne's avatar

@evelyns_pet_zebra; and if women have sex, they know they might end up being a Mommy. The only difference is, they get to choose not to be by having an abortion or putting the child up for adoption, while men have no such choice. It’s not like women don’t have a choice about having sex; this isn’t the middle ages, and of course the situation is different if the woman is raped.

nikipedia's avatar

I don’t think it’s realistic or fair to say that you don’t get to have sex until you’re ready to have kids, especially if you’re talking about policy-making. Beyond being completely impractical, sex is way too important a part of intimate relationships to deprive people of that until they’re ready to be parents.

That said, people shouldn’t be absolved from responsibility for taking reasonable precautions against pregnancy. There are damn good ones out there, and if that weren’t the case my answer would be very different.

In terms of the original question: I don’t think there is an equitable solution to this problem because the burden of childbirth and childcare is inherently unequal. (This probably drives a great deal of human behavior—but that’s a whole different thread.)

The equitable situation would be that if a woman didn’t want to birth and raise a child, she could hand it off to the man and he could grow it, and if he didn’t want to, he could leave it up to the woman. Until that’s an option, we have to find a way to balance the inequity that giving birth to and raising a child has a massive physical and emotional cost to a woman.

I don’t think it’s appropriate for a man to be able to say “you have an abortion or you take care of the child on your own” because abortions are so deeply fraught with moral, spiritual, and potentially physical complications. It is painful on a number of levels. Men given the opportunity to make that ultimatum are effectively inflicting pain on someone—that’s not justice, to me.

So unfortunately, I think the current system is better. Rather than punishing or absolving either parent, we should err on the side of what’s best for the child, which means forcing the unwilling father to be a financial participant in this kid’s life.

casheroo's avatar

I think people always forget that sex is for procreating, plain and simple. You cannot deny that children are produced from sex. Why is this concept so hard for people? It doesn’t matter if you use birth control perfectly, it can fail and then someone has to deal with those consequences.
I think a man shirking his duties from the start is not the right away to fix the problem. Just because the woman carries the baby doesn’t mean the man isn’t a part of it. Yes, she can decide to have an abortion…because the abortion will be happening to HER body, not the guys. The fact that men think that they have it so hard because they have to financially support a child that THEY helped make, is ridiculous. A woman carries the baby for 9 months, or has to have a procedure done to her body. Both pretty rough on the body. Men are lucky that they can get away with not caring for the kid, but just paying up some money.

I do understand the adoption thing though. A woman can choose to give the child up easier than the man. I don’t think men can just terminate their rights, huh? But a woman can and just give the child to the man or away for adoption, correct? It does seem unfair, but if the child is brought into the world then he has to take care of it.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

Somehow, this all smells of one more way for lawyers to make even more money off other’s pain and suffering. People need to go into a sexual relationship with things ironed out before hand. There is no excuse for fucking without thinking about the consequences. This isn’t a shot of semen in a kleenex, this is a life that will have to face its future with or without a father in a few years.

I suppose we could sterilize all the unfit people that shouldn’t be allowed to be parents, but that stinks of living under a dictatorship. There probably aren’t any simple answers to this question, but I still stand by my opinion that if you are unwilling to take responsibilty for your actions, then you should suffer the consequences. There is no excuse for stupidity, or irresponsibility.

SuperMouse's avatar

Absolutely not. When the man makes the decision to put sperm inside the woman he has chosen to be responsible – no matter what the outcome. I think it is ludicrous for a man to think that somehow he is not responsible.

Jayne's avatar

I suppose the man should bear some responsibility, because of the difficulty and pain of abortion or childbirth. But he should not be bound to financial responsibility for eighteen years of his life based on a decision to keep the baby made entirely by the mother, who is after all equally responsible for the act of conception.

marinelife's avatar

@Jayne Do you feel the same way about “the woman can have an abortion” that you would about the man can have a vasectomy? The latter is reversible. The man could bank sperm for procreation later instead of problems. Why not?

In our society, the burden of child rearing is still not equal. Women carry more of it. The financial consequences are significant. Women make less than men to begin with about 70 some cents on the dollar to what men make for equal work. Single mothers and divorced women live well below the income level for single men and divorced men. That’s with child support. Women with children comprise much of those living in poverty.

Abortion is a last resort for almost anyone. It is not a desirable thing. Certainly not a form of birth control. It has long-term emotional consequences.

Today, men already place the burden of birth control on women. Many complain if asked to use a condom.

I am not inclined to give them an opt-out option that is in no way equal to what is required in the case of abortion.

CMaz's avatar

“I think it is ludicrous for a man to think that somehow he is not responsible.”

The vivaciousness of the vagina.

Tried to keep it clean.

JLeslie's avatar

When I first heard about this, I understood the young man’s position. He is not from a subculture that thinks it is cool to have babies, or that it is normal to be pregnant in HS. Both teens did not want a baby. If it was my son who now had a pregnant girlfriend I would be frustrated by the inability to have any say.

@casheroo I think now the laws might be that the man has to sign papers also if the girl wants to give the baby up for adoption??? Not sure.

Thought I would also point out that this law would not in any way give a man any power to force a mother to abort or give up a child.

In the end I think we cannot give this right to men. It is too messy, too hard to put into practical use.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@The_Compassionate_Heretic you assume it’s the father’s irresponsibility…we weren’t told how they conceived

tinyfaery's avatar

Sex is NOT just for procreating.

I think a man should be able to opt out if the pregnancy occured due to fraud or coersion. If a woman says she is on the pill, lies, and then gets pregnant, I think the man has a case.

cwilbur's avatar

So here are some hypothetical situation, especially for those of you who don’t think men should be able to opt out.

Suppose the woman is on the pill (and actually is) and the man uses a condom, and yet the woman still gets pregnant. In that scenario, where both parties took responsibility for contraception and yet it didn’t work, is your answer the same?

Or suppose the man used a condom, and there was no other contraception involved. In that scenario, where the man took responsibility for contraception, is your answer the same?

JLeslie's avatar

@tinyfaery but to @Marina point maybe men should take on the responsibility of the birth control if you really don’t want a kid, especially if you are not a married couple. This law would only apply to unmarried people.

Facade's avatar

@cwilbur Contraception is not 100% reliable. There is still a chance the woman may become pregnant.

JLeslie's avatar

@cwilbur that is how I first thought of it, like if there is a condom failure. But, pregnancy is VERY rare if you are USING some sort of prevention. I don’t know anyone who has become pregnant while using birth control. They all admit to missing a few pills, or not having used a condom every time.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir It’s true that I was thinking of consensual recreational sex. In cases of fraud, I think the man should have the option of not being taken advantage of.

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

to be honest I agree with this. as mentioned before, currently the male has no choice. And I know people are saying if they’re there for the fun part they have to go along with the pregnancy. But it’s not always that simple and it’s not like the woman is any less at fault for not using protection, yet countless women get abortions every year. I personally don’t think I would exercise my rights in this if it were passed and I got a woman pregnant, unless I found out I was being mislead, that is, but I think it is a right men should have at the early stages of pregnancy.

nikipedia's avatar

@cwilbur: Yes, my answer is still the same. The woman can’t opt out of the situation so the man shouldn’t be able to either. (Abortion is not equivalent to opting out.)

JLeslie's avatar

@nikipedia the woman can opt out, she can give the baby up for adoption.

CMaz's avatar

Or maybe the dingo will eat the baby.

nikipedia's avatar

@JLeslie: The woman can opt out of raising the child (abortion or adoption) but she can’t opt out of the situation as a whole. Either abortion or adoption has emotional and physical costs that are inescapable by the woman.

SuperMouse's avatar

@Jayne, the man made his choice when he inserted his penis into the woman’s vagina and sperm came out. That is when they both made the choice. If he doesn’t want to be held financially or emotionally responsible for a potential child, he should not do things that are designed to result in children.

@cwilbur, I think no matter the circumstances, the man should NOT be allowed to opt out. He made the decision to opt in when he chose to have intercourse – protected or not. One of the first things we learn in sex education is that the only birth control method that is 100% effective is abstinence, use any other method and there is a chance for pregnancy. @JLeslie, I don’t see either abortion or adoption as opting out. The mom may be able to give her child up for others to raise that child, but she will never, ever be able to opt out of being a birth mom. Abortion isn’t opting out either, it has serious, far reaching impact on just about any woman who has ever decided to do it.

JLeslie's avatar

@nikipedia I guess some men will feel nothing, but I bet most do care that they fathered a child, so they are not without an emotional cost. The woman is the one who has to go through the physical part though, that is true.

The “law” we are discussing is about a man’s right to say he doesn’t want to be a father, that women have the option and men don’t. We can’t do anything about the reality that females are the ones who get pregnant and not men.

I’m just stating the other way of looking at it. Like I said, I don’t think this type of law would actually work.

marinelife's avatar

@cwilbur Yes, my answer is the same. I do not buy the premise that abortion is a way to opt out. After all, if an abortion occurs the man is opted out automatically as well. If the child is to be raised, the man should not have any option to opt out of taking financial responsibility.

In the case of contraception failures, both parties still have responsibility for the ensuing pregnancy. If there is a contraceptive failure why is it OK for the man to opt out when the woman can’t?

@Those who keep talking about men “trapped” by women. Give me an effing break. Even though the men are thinking with their little heads, they still know pregnancy can occur from sex. If they rely fully on the woman to execute contraception, they are being stupid. Opting out should not be an option. Men who do not want to impregnate a woman for sure shuld take their own steps to make sure they don’t on their own bodies.

@The issue of a high school boy. Too bad. If you are old enough to impregnate someone, you are old enough to bear the consequences. Your parents should have made sure you were educated about sex.

JLeslie's avatar

@SuperMouse Please. I know plenty of women who have had abortions and they are fine with it. I’m not saying it was like taking an aspirin, but not everyone is traumatized for life because they had an abortion.

If the woman wants an abortion and the man doesn’t, is against it, he gets no say. It should be like that…men should never be able to force a woman to stay pregnant.

@Marina is right about the fact that there should be very good sex education, better to avoid the whole mess to begin with. And, the man needs to understand that at any time if a woman changes her mind he gets no say. If you both have discussed that she will get an abortion if she gets pregnant, but then when she is pregnant she decides not to go through with it, he will be stuck.

tinyfaery's avatar

Scenario (true story): A family member married his wife with the stated and agreed upon decision that they did want to have children. Said wife goes behind husbands back and stops taking birth control and becomes pregnant. Husband does not want kids. Why should he have to care for a child he never wanted in the first place. Yes. he had sex, but shouldn’t he be able to trust his wife, who said she did not want to have children?

And women DO trap men. When I was a teen/young adult I knew about 5 women who specifically said they were going to try this and that to get pregnant without the guy knowing; lies, betrayal and scheming are not acceptable ways to have a baby.

casheroo's avatar

@tinyfaery Then he should have had a vasectomy, because taking the pill can fail. It’s a terrible situation though, and I do believe children should be wanted by both parties involved…I know sometimes it takes the length of the pregnancy to get used to the idea, but once a child is here the child should be cared for.
Also, I’m sure some women do trap men, I do find it a shitty thing to do but what can be done? Other than the man taking the most precaution he can (using a condom) then there’s nothing legally they can do.

cwilbur's avatar

@Marina: but the disparity is that the woman has choices about what to do after the fact—she can give up the child for adoption, or she can have an abortion, or she can choose to raise the child. I’m not saying that none of these are without cost or consequence, but the point is, she has options, she gets to choose which set of costs and consequences she wants to live with, while he has no option but to abide by what she decides.

It’s very facile to say “Well, the man should have accepted that if the sex led to pregnancy he would be on the hook for child support.” Why is it not similarly appropriate to say that the woman should accept that if the sex leads to pregnancy and the man isn’t interested in taking responsibility, she’ll be on her own? You’re full of admonitions and blame for the man, but frankly, it takes two to tango.

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

@Marina ”@Those who keep talking about men “trapped” by women. Give me an effing break. Even though the men are thinking with their little heads, they still know pregnancy can occur from sex. If they rely fully on the woman to execute contraception, they are being stupid. Opting out should not be an option. Men who do not want to impregnate a woman for sure shuld take their own steps to make sure they don’t on their own bodies.”
and the woman isn’t stupid for not using contraception either? it’s a two way street. that’s what the gist of the law in proposal is. regardless of how the woman is impregnated, she essentially is the only one who can choose to have the baby or not and the man, by law has to support her choice. If within the first two weeks of pregnancy a father is given an equal choice in whether her wants to have a child as the mother is, I see no problem with that to be honest.

marinelife's avatar

@cwilbur Where we disagree is in what constitutes “choices after the fact.” To me, waling away in no way equates to raise the baby, abort the fetus, or give up a child for adoption. There is no choice for the woman to walk away.

It does take two to tango. Women should be responsible about contraception. I am not supportive of moving the burden entirely onto men. I am saying that in our culture the burden is almost entirely on women. Women are bearing (pardon the pun) the consequences of both people’s actions.

Where we differ is that I do not accept that there is a level playing field now much less that men are at a disadvantage.

@ABoyNamedBoobs03 Please see the comment to cwilbur above.

@tinyfaery Yes, a man who has not taken steps to ensure he does not have children should be responsible for a child within a marriage or whether the woman trapped him or not. The fact of the matter is that a women cannot trap a man if he takes responsibility for his own contraception. A man who absolutely does not want to father children can get a vasectomy. A man who is unsure about later can have it reversed and/or bank sperm for later. A man can insist on condoms.

cak's avatar

Contraception is in the hands of both parities. There are too many options out there for both men and women to burden one or the other. Both can purchase condoms, both can purchase foams. A woman can be on the pill, or other forms of birth control. It should never be one or the other, both should be responsible enough to do this, if they are going to have sex. It kills me when I hear that someone is too embarrassed to discuss birth control, yet they will jump into bed with someone and have sex. It’s ridiculous that in 2009, we are talking about which sex should be responsible for birth control. Both parties should.

Do I feel that this man should be able to opt out? No. The girl could not opt out. Abortion and adoption are not opting out. Keeping the baby is not an easy option, either. Do I see a problem with him having to support the baby for 18 years. No. Here’s the thing, that payment is hardly the same as having a child with you day in and day out. Does that check get up with a sick child at 3am and clean up vomit off the floor? Nope. Does that check miss work when you child is sick? Nope. Does that check hold your child when they fall and scrape their knee? Nope. That check doesn’t meet “half” the responsibilities of parenting. Just part of the financial responsibilities. I think it should be a reminder to men and women – yes, sometimes the man actually winds up with the baby, that there is a very real chance at pregnancy, when it comes to having sex. NO birth control is 100%,

For those that think adoption is opting out – it’s not. If it’s a guy thinking a girl has that chance to opt out of raising a child – guess what, pregnancy isn’t a forgettable time. I almost died, more than once, during pregnancy. My babies, both of them, almost died, during pregnancy. I fought hard to keep them alive, I went through a lot of pain. I was on bed rest of a huge portion of both of my viable pregnancies. Adoption comes with huge emotional baggage. You give birth to a baby and give it away. It takes a very strong person to do that, I’m not that person.

Abortion? Wow. Not something that is opting out. One of my friends suffered horrible complications from her abortion, she can no longer have children. That’s a high price for the mother, don’t you think? Hey, but the guy? He’s fine, right? No, not all abortions end that way, another friend was fine and has two healthy children, now.

Sorry, guess I’m old fashioned on this one. I think if you make the choice to have sex, you have to accept the very real possibility that you might create a baby. It’s a risk you take.

CMaz's avatar

If they both wore a bio-hazard suits we would not be having this discussion.

Then the discussion would be who is responsible for cleaning the inside of the suits.

rooeytoo's avatar

There was recently a question that asked about readiness to have sex and my answer was when you are ready to be a parent, because no matter what sort of birth control you use, it can fail. If you just want to play, then mutual masturbation is the safe way to go.

Before any couple has sex, this should be discussed. People who are opposed to abortion should make that clear before the fact and if there is no agreement on the subject, then DON’T HAVE SEX. And if a man feels he doesn’t want to be responsible if the woman becomes pregnant, then DON’T HAVE SEX.

I have read of cases where fathers take prospective mothers to court to prevent them from having an abortion. So I guess bottom line for me would be the same, the father should have the option to negate his parenthood (?), same as the mother does, but the woman has the right to legal recourse same as a father does.

Evelyn is right, another money maker for the lawyers. And yes ChazMaz, wearing bio-hazard suits would be a good idea, as was holding as asprin between your knees was when I was young.

tinyfaery's avatar

Fraud is fraud. Legally, anything gained or lost can be recouperated or given back.

As a feminist and someone with an MA in women’s studies, women know they get pregnant, women know they have to carry a child. If lies and deceit are involved in becoming pregnant she alone should deal with the consequences. Asking someone to have surgery to insure that the person they married doesn’t deceive them is wrong. If a woman gets pregnant this way, it’s her problem. She made the conscious choice to lie, she should have to deal with the consequences.

marinelife's avatar

@tinyfaery Compared to careless sex in which the man walks away, this trapping scenario is much less common. Besides, it is a side issue. Third, men can just use condoms. Fourth, why is asking men to have surgery any worse than expecting a woman to have a surgical abortion?

@cak Wonderful answer with a new angle on the whole issue. i totally agree with you.

YARNLADY's avatar

No. the best way to handle this type of problem is to fully educate them of the options ahead of time.

Make a choice before you make a baby.

tinyfaery's avatar

No one expects a woman to have an abortion; I don’t. If a woman alone wants to have a kid by tricking a man into it, then let her do what she will. It’s her problem. And I don’t care how often it happens. If it happens even once, it’s too much.

cak's avatar

@tinyfaery Did I miss something? Why do you keep going back to the “tricked into” theory? Are you inferring that all “accidental” pregnancies are women trying to trap men into parenthood?

SuperMouse's avatar

@JLeslie, I do not know a single woman who has had an abortion and is fine with it. In my experience is a life changing decision that women wrestle with mightily.

tinyfaery's avatar

No. I’m saying that there is no way that men absolutely should be responsible for unwanted children, and I offered an example. I do not believe in absolutes. I’ll say that in cases of carelessness a man is responsible for what happens to his sperm.

cak's avatar

@tinyfaery Oh, okay. I started to think I missed part of something, before I answered. It’s been a long day. Thanks for the clarification.

tiffyandthewall's avatar

my first thought: hit and run’s aren’t fair.
but after reading through the details, that’s true. women can ‘opt out’ so to speak, via abortion. but the guys don’t have any choice like that. so i really don’t know. interesting question though.

Facade's avatar

Having an abortion isn’t ‘opting out.’ She still has a child inside of her. She still has to go through surgery. She still has to recover from it mentally and physically.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@SuperMouse but the woman made the choice you speak of as well when she opened her legs, therefore if she can opt out, so can he

cak's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir – it’s hardly the same, though. He can sign some papers and opt out…her opting out is a surgical procedure. Apples and oranges, in my book.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@cak yes these are two different things but I still think the guy should have a choice in the matter

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

Hmm, all of this makes me think we should give up using sex for procreation and go back to asexual self-replication, like certain plants and primitive life forms do. You know, the female creates a couple of buds of herself, they fall off, and viola, two new beings, no sex needed.

And the lawyers all starve to death. It’s a win-win situation. =)

cak's avatar

@evelyns_pet_zebra You are onto something!

tinyfaery's avatar

I’m already on board.

JLeslie's avatar

What if the woman gets pregnant, doesn’t believe in abortion, so she has the baby, and then wants to give the baby up, but the father doesn’t want to give up the baby so he gets full custody of the baby. Then SHE has to pay him child support. Is everyone ok with that scenerio?

OpryLeigh's avatar

@Marina but if you go by that theory then the woman shouldn’t have a choice either. I believe that both parties should take responsibility for contaception but by saying that a man should have no rights because he didn’t take responsibility is the same as saying that a woman should have no choice if she didn’t take responsibility. If this were the case then by law the woman would have to carry the feotus to full term and then have to keep the child (ie: not give it up for adoption). I hope that makes sense.

Also, even the most responsible of couples can have accidents.

OpryLeigh's avatar

@JLeslie I think that scenario is fair. I don’t believe in double standards.

JLeslie's avatar

@Leanne1986 so true, anyone can have an accident. Probably if they are responsible people this type of question does not come up, meaning probably it is rare someone in that couple is trying to “opt” out. Or, maybe I am wrong.

marinelife's avatar

@JLeslie i absolutely have no problem with that.

marinelife's avatar

@Leanne1986 I’m sorry, I am not clear on what your point is.

CMaz's avatar

If the government would pay and provide vasectomys and tubal ligations for anyone at/from the age of 13. With consent.
Then give them till say 32 to have the reversal operation done, on uncle Sam.
Plenty of this discussion would not be an issue.
Thousands of dollars would be saved in the process.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

@ChazMaz now you are putting the onus on the government. I for one do not need the government to babysit me. I am an adult, I am responsible for my actions, sure sometimes I fuck up and do something stupid, and I pay the consequences, but then, I am a free man, and freedom isn’t free. Freedom comes with costs, and responsible people are willing to pay those costs to remain free. I am sick of the government trying to invade my life in order to ‘protect me’. If they want to protect me, then let them keep the felons in prison and off the streets. Let them give me the right to protect myself by whatever means necessary, since I pay my taxes, I behave and act responsibly, and I maintain a standard of living I can afford. I understand what is legal and what is not, and do all I can to do the right thing.

And I for one do NOT want the government to regulate my sexual behavior because someone thinks I am too iresponsible to control where I stick my penis. Keep the government out of my bedroom. They already have their nose in too many places as it is. Recently, my BIL’s dog passed away. He wanted the dog buried in his back yard for sentimental reasons. Unfortunately, it is illegal to bury one’s pet on your own property. You have to have it cremated first. That’s $100. My BIL is in the hospital due to a recent health problem. I was given the duty to take care of his beloved Babe, a dog that has been his faithful companion for 15 years.

I have buried animals on my property, and have buried them deep enough to prevent any form of health problem. Now I can’t even do that because someone figured out how to make $$$ off my family’s grief. Just because someone else cannot see the need to bury a pet a minimum of 48 inches below ground for health reasons, properly wrapped in a barrier to maintain a controlled environment until bacteria does its job, why does that mean I have to pay for a service I really cannot afford? And you want to give the government even more power over my personal life? in the words of my favorite wise uncle, FUCK THAT!

CMaz's avatar

“now you are putting the onus on the government.”
Nope, I said with consent. You do not have to do it.

“I am a free man, and freedom isn’t free.”
Good luck with that one. Those days are way over.

But, I do see where you are coming from.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

@ChazMaz Well, if the government is paying for it, it doesn’t matter if there is consent or not. The fact that the costs are borne by the government makes it a taxable, social issue. The government runs on tax dollars, those bastards don’t work for their money like the rest of us.

And why would you assume that we are no longer free?

CMaz's avatar

If you look at it as taxable. Just think of the tax dollars that would be save not having to pay into social services. If it was implemented, how many children would have not been born. Less crowded schools and the cost to run them. That is the short list.

Why are we no longer free?
I am free to own my house. Nope, bank owns it. And still after paying it off. If I don’t pay my taxes they will take it. Even if I have a good reason for not being able to pay.
Just come off as a trouble maker (freedom of speech and all) they can take it. Only to hold you up in court for years. When finally they see their fault. You will get an oops sorry, and you are broke.

The World Bank, the financial institution. Has us under some form of debt or another. With the governments blessing.
For now, we can go fishing or the beach when we want to . In some places. Soon we will be so tied down to having to stay afloat. And this is the direction we are going in.
We will have to ask permission in order to go to the bathroom.

There was a time a man could go into the woods, build a home. Get a wife have a family.
He was free to live as he wished. Grew some crops, bartered with the guy that had a cow. That was freedom. Yes, freedom is not free. It’s hard work.

We sold out. As did the rest of the world. You do your best, you do what is right.
But at the end of the day, they will be pealing the gun away from your cold hands.

Because you wanted to be free. Don’t worry, I will be right next to you.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

I am free to perform the occupation I am qualified to do, based on my ability to represent myself to my employer as someone he needs on his team. Sure, I pay taxes, sure I have to follow rules, sure it isn’t a perfect system, but as an American, I am freer than those people whose government is ruled by the church, like in Iran, where a peaceful demonstration will get you killed or imprisoned. I am free to choose my own life partner, instead of being forced into a marriage to someone I don’t love, or sometimes, even know.

Sure some of our freedoms are gone, but then, until America becomes a militant state ruled by juntas and dictators, as long as we have a republic, we are in some sense, free.

I celebrate my freedom by doing the one thing that actually matters, in the scheme of things. I thank every US veteran I meet, letting them know that I appreciate their sacrifice to keeping my country one of the freest in the world.

Not to tootle my own horn, but I thanked a Viet Nam vet last month, and it nearly brought tears to his eyes; he actually got all choked up, because I was the first person to ‘step up’ and show him that his sacrifices meant something to someone, after all these years. We are now friends, and that makes me feel good. So while we might not be as free as men were 200 years ago, we still have the option to make our own choices, and to gain from them. And showing appreciation to the people that help maintain our freedom is one small thing we can do for each other. I wish more people would do it, to show our proud men and women in the service to their country that what they do is truly appreciated.

But yeah, I understand your point. I am not disagreeing with you completely. We’ve been sold out by the big money in the world.

cwilbur's avatar

@Marina: But what you’re doing is, in fact, placing all the responsibility for the woman’s choice onto the man.

If she wants to have an abortion, there’s very little he can do to prevent it. If she wants to give the baby up for adoption, he can in theory object but he has to get the support of the court. And if she wants to raise the child, he’s on the hook for child support for the next 18 years. She gets to call the shots, and he has to pay for it.

And you keep on coming back to taking responsibility for contraception, and saying that if he doesn’t want to have a baby, he should wear a condom. But your answer doesn’t change if he does take responsibility for contraception, by wearing a condom, so I call that a red herring.

What you want, in essence, is for the woman to have all the power, while the man has none, and for the man to bear the responsibility not only for his part of the act that created the baby but also for the woman’s part of the act and for any decision she makes thereafter. I don’t think that’s the slightest bit reasonable. You keep on coming back to the idea that the man should have known that sex can lead to pregnancy; I think that the woman ought to also know that sex can lead to pregnancy, and that if it happens, she will bear the greater part of the burden, and choose accordingly. It takes two to tango, after all, and this is consensual sex we’re talking about. She opted in. Why is it okay to say that the man knows what the consequences of sex are, while giving the woman a free pass?

I have no problem with the man being held responsible for the consequences of his freely chosen actions. I do have a problem with the man being held responsible for the decisions the woman makes, that he has no input into and no control over.

JLeslie's avatar

Just a comment about the government paying for tubal ligation and vasectomy. I am all for it; I think it will SAVE money in the long run, but I have no real data on it. I work at a psych hospital and we get in moms with 3, 4 – 9 kids that they cannot afford and not care for. Recently we had a patient who came to us because she was arrested for selling her baby for drugs. All sorts of crime come out of these neighborhoods, it’s awful. The only question I really have about is if these people who think it is fine to have bunches af babies and start at the age of 14, maybe they would not even want to stop having all of these babies? Then it wouldn;t work anyway. I really have no idea how they would think.

casheroo's avatar

I’m very much against sterilization for the young, or for anyone. Vasectomy’s and tubal ligations are not always easily reversible. You can’t just make someone sterile and that fixes the problem. I would hate to live in a country like that, a country that had limits on how many children I could have, forcing abortions, forcing sterilization, getting permission to even have a child. Sounds pretty disturbing, doesn’t it?

JLeslie's avatar

@casheroo yes, I wrote without fully completing my thought, thank you for writing that. I would be against it for the young also, I would never risk assuming you can just reverse it, and for women it is a fairly invasive surgery, I am always in favor of avoiding surgery if possible. I would be in favor of giving out free birth controll for the young people though.

casheroo's avatar

@JLeslie This is already the case where I live. I received free birth control until I was 18, at Planned Parenthood. I had insurance but went there because of the free condoms and pills! My thing is though, why do we stop it at 18? That doesn’t make sense. I think it should go until at least 25.

JLeslie's avatar

@casheroo I still kind of wonder from a sociological point of view if it really curbs many unwanted pregnancies. It sounds to me like you could have afforded brith control if you did not have that option. The people who are really using no protection at all, and actually think it is fine to be pregnant and 16, maybe they aren’t walking into Planned Parenthood anyway. Don;t get me wrong, I think Planned Parenthood is wonderful for many reasons. For many young girls it is where they go feeling it will be confidential from their parents, very important.

marinelife's avatar

@cwilbur I am not saying that at all. I am saying that both parties have a responsibility if their sex act produces a pregnancy and thus a child. The man’s only legal responsibility right now is to provide part of the child support (half the financial support or whatever is determined to be proportionately fair by the courts). Morally and ethically, I think that men who father children have a much greater responsibility to those children, but that is a different discussion.

What you are saying is that the man should be able to walk away from providing even that financial support. How on Earth is that fair?

galileogirl's avatar

If you mean emotionally, quite a lot do and there is nothing anybody can do about it. It is just a matter of poor moral character to drop children everywhere witout sticing around to raise them and pretty much leaving their own flesh and blood to fail in life. 80% of boys and almost 50% of girls who grew up without a father come in contact with the criminal justice system at least once in their lives. Women who think they can be both a mother and a father should remember that.

However if you mean can they walk out on their economic responsbility-HELL NO! You have to pay to play. If a guy walks away from his financial responsibility he should have his wages and tax returns attached. He should lose his driver’s license and any professional license. He should be banned from state services like public colleges until he is current. If all else fails give him 90 days in jail and 90 days out until he gets the idea. “We don’t want to pay for your kids”

cwilbur's avatar

@Marina: except that a woman who finds herself pregnant while single has options. She can have an abortion, she can give the child up for adoption, or she can raise it herself. None of these are cost- or consequence free, but she gets to decide which one she wants to live with. If she decides to raise the child—a decision the man is likely to have no input into whatsoever—he gets sent the bills. He has to abide by her decision, even if it costs him tens of thousands of dollars. How on Earth is that fair?

What I’m saying is that, before things have progressed so as to take any of those three options off the table, he should make his intention clear. If he intends to walk away, the woman then gets to choose between the abortion, the adoption, or raising the child entirely with her own resources.

galileogirl's avatar

@cwilbur HE gets to decide whether to keep it zipped. The facts of life include every time you do it you could be making an 18 year, 6 figure commitment. Once you shoot the bullet, you are responsible for the damage it causes.

JLeslie's avatar

I only had one response to a piggy back question in the middle of this thread, and not that I am feeling ignored :), but thought it might have been missed so I’ll ask again, what if the mother wants to give up the baby, so the father takes custody, are you all ok with her having to pay child support to him?

YARNLADY's avatar

@JLeslie I believe all child support cases should hinge only on the financial capability of the parents, not on their gender.

marinelife's avatar

@JLeslie I said yes I am.

@cwilbur I think we will have to agree to disagree. As I have said before, I do not think the “options” of abortion or adoption are equivalent to walking away.

A father can claim a baby the mother wants to put up for adoption so does have a choice there.

I think we would both agree if it is not your own body involved you should not be able to force another person to have an abortion.

in any case, if the woman goes with either of those two options, the man is “off the hook” too.

So, we are left with the case in which a man fathered a child that is born and needs to be raised. In that case, what is any possible justification for him getting off scott free from having to provide half the financial support for that child?

OpryLeigh's avatar

@Marina Sorry I couldn’t find away to put what I was thinking into words that would make my point clear! @cwilbur basically said what I meant but in far better English!

bea2345's avatar

It takes two to tango. Both parties are responsible for the outcome.

cwilbur's avatar

@Marina: the justification is that the woman had the option of giving the child up for adoption, and chose to keep it. She exercised that option, and he had no say in it.

Now, if you want him to pay for part of the abortion (if that’s what she chooses), or part of the prenatal care and any legal fees for the adoption, or even for part of the prenatal care until she delivers the baby, I have no problem with that.

What I object to is that she can decide to give the baby up for adoption, pretty much unilaterally, but he cannot do anything comparable. I think that he should have the option of terminating his parental rights and thus not paying for the child after birth, and that the woman should take that into account when making her decision.

Women who object to these terms could simply not have sex—since, after all, that’s what you expect men who object to the current terms to do!

cwilbur's avatar

@galileogirl: SHE also opted not to keep it zipped, or do you keep forgetting that?

SHE has options for resolving the situation that do not keep her financially on the hook for 18+ years. HER choice of options should not be financially binding on HIM.

bea2345's avatar

@cwilburshould have the option of terminating his parental rights – the fact remains that all the risk and most of the burden (financial, emotional, physical) of childbearing rests with the woman. Without a stable union, what “parental rights” can the absent parent claim? Legality is one thing, but if you are not on the spot to be the child’s other parent, caregiver, and support, no amount of court orders will make up for your physical absence. That is why it is so hard to enforce support orders – for a lot of people, out of sight means out of mind.

marinelife's avatar

@cwilbur Your last response did help clarify your position for me. I still don’t agree with it, but I understand it better.

To see this as I think it truly is, you have to only consider the case in which the baby comes into the world. If the baby comes into the world, both parents are responsible for the child’s existence and care. I don’t think either party should be able to walk away from the child they created.

JLeslie's avatar

Thanks everyone, I really appreciate the discussion. It did broaden my thoughts on the topic, and it helped me form an opinion. Much lurve, fluther is awesome :)

cwilbur's avatar

@bea2345: Women know that the risk and the burden of childbearing rest with them. If it’s reasonable to expect men who don’t want the financial burden of raising a child to keep it zipped, why isn’t it reasonable to expect that a woman who doesn’t want the risk and the burden of childbearing to keep it zipped? If “he should have kept it zipped” is a reasonable response, why isn’t “she should have kept it zipped”? It takes two to tango.

@Marina: and yet the woman can walk away from the child they created, by offering it up for adoption. And if she decides to do that, the man can still choose to take responsibility by adopting it, without any financial support from the biological mother. Why can’t the man do the same thing?

JLeslie's avatar

@cwilbur No, I think the mother might be obligated to pay child support to the bio-dad if he takes custody, I think that is the law.

cwilbur's avatar

@JLeslie: I think it depends on the legalities, actually. If the woman actually gives up the child for adoption, she can terminate her parental rights and responsibilities, even if it’s the biological father that adopts it.

bea2345's avatar

@cwilburwhy isn’t “she should have kept it zipped”? at the risk of being called sexist, it is different for the woman. If all you had to do to terminate a pregnancy was to swallow a pill, there would be no discussion. But things are never so simple. One takes precautions; but two weeks later one’s period is late. By then a girl cannot take a morning-after pill. People do not behave rationally. That is a fact. After sex, she must take a morning-after pill, “just in case”? And if it comes to an abortion, all of the risk is with the woman. Furthermore, and yet the woman can walk away from the child they created: do you live in the real world? Pregnancy is an experience lasting nearly a year; childbirth is not a walk in the park. Months of preparation for the baby, culminating in hours (even days) of labour; and you really think that at the end of it all, she will feel the same about adoption as she did at the beginning? If I sound a little incoherent, it is because it is an incoherent subject.

Jayne's avatar

@cwilbur; thanks for saying what I meant to say but with much more clarity. I would like to add to my position by saying that, since all options for the woman involve pain both physical and emotional, the father should still be obligated to provide financial coverage for the woman’s medical procedures and perhaps an additional amount in rough compensation for her emotional strife (that may be offensive, but it is also logical, although hard to work out in practice). This way, pregnancy will always result in some financial burden for the father matched by some physical and emotional burden for the mother. The responsibility for the act of copulation, in which both mother and father took equal part, is thus equally shared by both people. The responsibility for the decision of what happens after copulation, which only the mother can make, is given in turn to her.

cwilbur's avatar

@bea2345: Okay. So what you’re telling me is that if the man becomes an accidental father and is on the hook for 18 years of child support, that’s okay, because he should have kept it zipped, but if the woman becomes an accidental mother and is on the hook for a year of pregnancy and recovery, it’s still the man’s fault, and she shouldn’t have to worry about keeping it zipped?

It is different for the woman. She has a lot more at stake if something goes wrong, and by the time the sex happens, she should realize that. So why doesn’t she have at least as much responsibility as the man does for keeping it zipped?

What I see here is a lot of excuses being made that explain why this is all the man’s fault and why he should be responsible for paying for whatever decision the woman makes. The woman chose to have sex. Unless she’s an imbecile, she knew what the consequences might be. Where do you get off casually dismissing the man’s dislike of the possible consequences with “he should have kept it zipped,” while becoming outraged at the suggestion that a woman who dislikes the consequences should do likewise?

And yes, I do live in the real world. Women give up babies for adoption every day. A single woman who finds herself pregnant has three options, none of them easy. And if you think that court ordered child support makes the option of keeping the child significantly easier, especially if it has to be extracted under duress from an unwilling man, you are the one who is not living in the real world.

@Jayne: Exactly. I don’t think the accidental father should have no responsibility, but that the amount of burden he bears should not be contingent on what the accidental mother chooses to do.

JLeslie's avatar

I wonder if it varies by state whether the woman has to pay child support? I’m just thinking about my girlfriend who got divorced because her husband was a loser, so part of the reason he divorced him was that he barely worked, so they agreed that he would be mr. mom, but then he barely did the domestic chores or cared for their son, so finally after years of hope, stress, and dissapoinment she divorced him. They have 50/50 custody and she has to pay him child support, because he’s a deadbeat. I would assume they would extend this to all children, but assumptions are wrong every day :).

To go back to education. If a condom broke and I was in my fertile three days I would either use a spermacide or take the day after pill. I would risk not taking the day after pill if I was far from the time in my cycle, but probably still a good idea to have some spermicide handy, if the girl has no clue about her cycle, she won’t do anything. I avoided sex for two years in my marrige during fertile days and never got pregnant, and then got pregnant the first month I tried. I KNEW when I ovulated. But, of course, this is not perfect.

I think you can take methotrexate (a drug) or RU 486 upto 8 weeks after a missed period. So you might feel crappy and have a really bad period, but it typically will not end in a “procedure”. I took methotrexate for my ectopic and the drug has few side effects in such a small dose, but miscarrying is no fun, but very early it is like a very bad period. So if young women are armed with this info, maybe they will be motivated to figure out if they are pregnant, instead of waiting until it is more physically and mentally traumatic. That is if they are willing to get an abortion.

I agree the man should pay for at least half of the medication or abortion if that is what is decided.

bea2345's avatar

@cwilbur – in the real world, the relations between the sexes are unequal. It is mostly in TV dramas that we see the interactions of truly equal sex relations. @JLeslieI would either use a spermacide or take the day after pill : that is of course assuming that the woman was prepared for the eventuality AND knew how AND intended, to do something about it. Allow me to express it more strongly: if the man is asshole enough to have sex with a woman who has not made up her mind that she does not want a child, he might be better off going with prostitutes. At least with them he can (pretend to) have no responsibility.

Jayne's avatar

If a man is an asshole for having sex with a woman who doesn’t want a child, isn’t a woman an asshole for having sex with a man who doesn’t want one, if he is legally bound to support it?

tinyfaery's avatar

@Jayne Only if you are using logic.

JLeslie's avatar

@bea2345 Sure, she might not be prepared when the event happens, but like I said if she is FREAKED a day later she can take the morning after pill I think? I don’t know much about that pill, like I said, anyone can make a mistake, or have a regret, ANYONE. If she is not going to be willing to have an abortion and she doesn’t want a baby, I would think she would be extra extra careful, but I know it doesn’t work that way. I agree the man should be extra careful and concerned too, partcipate in the birth control. BUT, lets face it, lets deal with reality, a lot of men suck when it comes to this, and the woman is the one who will have to deal with the pregnancy, and who wants to make that choice? No one. I don’t care how pro-choice, pro-abortion you are, you don’t want to have an abortion.

Here’s is the problem, a lot of teenage mothers, where the men are going to not be there to support the kid in any way, they just disconnect totally, or think it is “cool” to have children, and some of these young girls also gain status in some of the subcultures in the US, they are fine with being teenage moms, both of these kids think it is all fine.

So, the real problem is not the opt out, it is how the hell do you change the culture?

cwilbur's avatar

@JLeslie: in your anecdote, neither parent gave the child up for adoption. That’s a pretty significant decision.

@bea2345: once again, you’re blaming the man. TWO people have sex, a man and a woman. Neither one of them wants a child. The woman gets pregnant against her wishes. And the man who does not want to take responsibility is the asshole?

As long as you put energy into keeping a double standard like that alive, there won’t be equality between the sexes. Remember, the woman chose to have sex too, knowing the consequences.

bea2345's avatar

@cwilbur – who’s blaming anybody? The point is, and the only point is, that if at some stage a baby appears, neither party can walk away. From the minute the woman decides, through stupidity, fear, ignorance or whatever reason, to have the baby, all bets are off. Abandonment of the child is simply not an option. If the woman has the will and the commitment, she can arrange adoption. But if she is incapable – and a lot of women are incapable, their education almost guarantees it – what happens to the child?

cwilbur's avatar

@bea2345: Except that from the moment the egg is fertilized, the woman has multiple options, a few of which have the outcome that she doesn’t have the responsibility of the baby for the next 18 years.

She has ways out of that responsibility. He should have comparable options. And short of allowing him to require her to have an abortion or require her to give the baby up for adoption, I think it’s reasonable for him to say that he wants no parental rights and responsibilities, and for her to be required to make her decision with that in mind.

And you know, if she’s not willing to accept that, she can just keep it zipped.

bea2345's avatar

@cwilbur – read my post again. Life is never so simple. Sexual relations are often untidy. Even if one is careful about prevention, accidents happen. We shall not go into details about what the woman can do to terminate an unwanted pregnancy, because sometimes it does not work. If there is a baby, both parties have the responsibility. It goes with being an adult.

tinyfaery's avatar

According to this thread, no one should ever have sex, or there might be consequences. Damn am I glad I’m gay.

rooeytoo's avatar

@tinyfaery – I never thought of that particular benefit, but it’s a good one for sure!!!

casheroo's avatar

@tinyfaery ha, yeah you’re lucky you don’t have to worry about pregnancy! but yes, there ae always consequences to sex whether it’s stds or pregnancy

cwilbur's avatar

@bea2345: Yes, and once the woman is pregnant, she has ways to deal with the responsibility that do not commit her to financial support for the next 18 years.

You casually dismiss this with “We shall not go into details…,” but those details are precisely what this question is about.

bea2345's avatar

@cwilburthat do not commit her to financial support: excuse me, what do you mean? If the woman is prepared to prevent/abort the pregnancy, that is one thing. But if she changes her mind, or is unsuccessful or unlucky or plain stupid, I do not see how the father can reasonably expect not to share the task of caring for this new being. “Caring”, by the way, can include any activity dedicated to the welfare of the child – adoption, child support, etc. Let me see if I can make myself very clear: notwithstanding previous undertakings, sexual activity – that is to say, heterosexual activity – can end in a pregnancy. Then what?

bea2345's avatar

@JLeslieare you all ok with her having to pay child support to him? Oh yes. the rule should apply to both parties.

JLeslie's avatar

@bea2345 Yes, I am ok with with her paying child support to him if he takes custody, but it is hard for me to identify with the situation.

If it were me, if I didn’t want to have a baby and there was an accident I would most likely abort. On the off chance I might go through with the pregnancy, I am keeping the baby, I cannot imagine giving up a baby, except in extreme circumstance like the child is in danger. I think adoption is a wonderful thing, but for me I would never sleep again wondering about my baby.

bea2345's avatar

@JLeslie – You are a free agent (more power to you. Keep it so). So many women and girls are not. The accidental child is certainly not a free agent.

cwilbur's avatar

@bea2345: she can abort the pregnancy, or she can give the child up for adoption. Neither of these requires 18 years of ongoing financial and emotional support.

The thing I object to here is that the mother can decide which of these three she wants, while the father has no option but to be bound by the mother’s decision. She decides to get an abortion? He’s off the hook! (Even if he wants to raise the child himself.) She wants to give the baby up for adoption? He’s off the hook! She wants to keep it? He’s going to be paying for it for the next 18 years! She gets to make the decision about what to do, and he is bound by her decision.

And I think I’ve made my answer to ”Then what?” abundantly clear. The father indicates his intention—whether to keep the child, to pay for the child support and be involved as a father, or to walk away—and the mother gets to make her decision based on that. It’s reasonable to expect him to pay for some of the abortion, for some prenatal care, and for some of the legal fees incurred through adoption, but it’s not reasonable to expect him to pay for the consequences of her decision to raise the baby as a single mother instead of giving it up for adoption or having an abortion.

And you know what? If the woman doesn’t like this scenario, that’s motivation to think twice before having sex.

JLeslie's avatar

@bea2345 Not sure what you mean by a free agent? I think I should say thank you :) but I’m not sure why other women aren’t free agents, except in those crazy states that are making it impossible for women to get abortions.

bea2345's avatar

Other things being equal, he should not be bound by her decision, @cwilbur . But other things are not equal. Female education, especially at the primary and secondary levels, is not tailored to produce women who can, and will, say No to unsuitable and unwanted unions. And if sexual freedom for women is to be real, and not just a feminist fantasy, much has to change in the society, not just the school curriculum. Why is it that in nearly all countries, the streets are unsafe for the single woman, especially at night? Explain the absence of family friendly arrangements in businesses of every kind. Absent family and neighbourhood supports (which at one time included a profound sexual ethic), on what, or whom, can the single mother depend for assistance during pregnancy, childbirth and infancy?

JLeslie's avatar

@bea2345 what are you talking about? Streets are not safe? If the girl is raped I would guess she wants NOTHING to do with this man, money or otherwise. If she is in a relationship, she had sex too, @cwilbur is right about that.

I have known since I was 12 probably that if I came home pregnant I was going straight onto the abortion line; sounded better not to get pregnant in the first place. If you are talking about girls getting pregnant because it gives them status in their subculture, well, that is ridiculous if you can not take care of the baby, that is not an accident that is a girl getting pregnant. If the girl gets pregnant because she thinks birth control is a sin, so sex and birth control is a double sin (I know Catholic girls like this) it is irrational and ridiculous, and if the boy is just as ridiculous in his thinking as these examples illustrate I don’t even know what to say. If the couple just has an accident or gets carried away, but they are genrally responsible people it is probably a non-issue, the guy is gonna want to see his kid.

STILL I would guess that every women who is sexually active has thought about—what am I going to do if I get pregnant? Maybe men don’t, but I think all women do.

Jayne's avatar

To account for the legitimate problem that @bea2345 and others bring up, that our society is unfortunately not equal yet, and some women do not have proper access to abortions and birth control or are under unbalanced pressure to have sex, etc., let us say that the man must make explicit and legitimately document his choice regarding childcare before having sex in order to have the right to opt out of responsibility.

rooeytoo's avatar

Before any couple has sex, this should be discussed. People who are opposed to abortion should make that clear before the fact and if there is no agreement on the subject, then DON’T HAVE SEX. And if a man feels he doesn’t want to be responsible if the woman becomes pregnant, then DON’T HAVE SEX.

I wrote that way up at the beginning of this question. @Jayne says the man must make it clear, I think the woman and the man should should make their feelings clear and agree before the act. Then there will be no problems afterward.

That’s why when the 15 year olds or 35 year olds want to know when it is right to have sex, this is what they should consider. It can become a bit more problematic than a few minutes gasping and groping in someone’s car or a passionate tryst after an evening of drinking.

bea2345's avatar

@Jayne – Thank you.
@JLeslie – You have missed the point – in many if not all societies, the US not excepted, the woman’s social power is less than a man’s. That is a fact.

tinyfaery's avatar

That’s it. Everyone should have to apply for a license to have sex.

JLeslie's avatar

@bea2345 ok, I agree, how does this relate to what we are talking about? Are you saying that because women get jipped all of the time by society she is not responsible for herself? It’s like telling a 16 year old, “if you want to be treated like an adult you have to act like one.” When it comes to the pregnancy thing she has control over her body, unless she is being assaulted or in a dysfunctional relationship. If it is dysfunctional and the guy is abusive, not respecting her, maybe it is better he gets lost and has nothing to do with the kid. I am not judging, I stayed with a guy who cheated and lied to me when I was younger, I get it, but women should not be in those relationships. Society did not make me stay, he was not controlling or possessive or threatening, just a dog when it came to women. It is not because of social inequity that I stayed with him. I was on the pill.

bea2345's avatar

@JLeslie – The original question was, Do you think men should be able to opt out of being responsible for their unborn baby? the short answer to that is no, except in very limited circumstances. This is, of course, in an ideal world. In the one where we have to live, too many women are simply not equipped to make life altering decisions to the best advantage. My contention is that the society leaves childbearing to the woman, the nurture and upbringing is almost entirely a feminine role. At the same time, jobs, careers, the simple matter of earning an income – all of that too often compromised by the needs of young children.

That being said, in reality many women and girls raise their children alone. They work, for the most part, in entry level jobs, and until and unless they get the support of family and friends, further and higher education is not possible. Why do so many women get caught in that trap? I don’t know. The subject is endlessly discussed in social science departments which have gender affairs units.

It is because of the scale of the problem that “opting out” must be discouraged. If abortion and adoption are the only choices for the accidental mother, then it obvious she should not become pregnant. Why the available services fail, why so many women became pregnant before they are ready – these questions that must be addressed. They are related to other social problems such as crime, especially juvenile crime.

Because a professional woman, in full employment, can raise her child alone, providing everything needed by herself, does not help the woman who cleans office buildings at night. I am aware that this thread is largely about middle class women, most with family, income and education supports. But that was not in the question, was it?

JLeslie's avatar

@bea2345 I am thinking of your final paragraph…and in the example I gave towards the top I said that it was about middle class teenagers, or at least implied it, I would have to go back. But, I think it is worth talking about all class levels. I always get reemed for stereotyping, but here I go, many subcultures among the lower class find status in having babies. So, lets say some lower income teenager or woman gets pregnant and she informs the father, lets say he feeds her some line about how it will be great, I love you, I’m gonna be a dad, blah blah, and then she gets to her 5th month and he bails. There is an argument that if he has to sign a document saying he will support the baby, maybe he starts thinking about the consequences of the baby early in the pregnancy, and he won’t be able to lead a woman along with false promises. This way the woman can stop and think…he will NOT be there, do I want to have a baby alone? I think some girls/women feel all in love and dream about their boyfriends and the little baby, and this would be harder if he refuses to sign the paper. What do you think?

I am not saying I agree with it, just setting forth the argument. I really am so up in the air. If a gun is to my head I say they can’t opt out, but I really do see the argument that the boy has no choice and the woman does.

JLeslie's avatar

One more thing. Today I found out that in the state of MS if a women has a baby and needs to prove paternity to get child support the man has to pay for the test, and if he is not a match the state pays. The state will pay over and over again, until the father is found. The girl never has to pay. This kind of drove home to me that there will never be an opt out law, because it is not in the interest of the state financially to do it.

cwilbur's avatar

@bea2345: we’re not talking about a situation where the woman was coerced into sex. We’re talking about a situation where both parties gave informed consent.

If the streets of your city are unsafe for women at night, that’s a different problem. If businesses do not offer sufficiently “family-friendly” accommodations, that’s a different problem. Neither one of these is solved by allowing a woman with an unwanted pregnancy to decide unilaterally what she will do about the situation, with her decision being legally binding on the man. And if a single woman doesn’t have the resources to handle raising a child on her own, she should think twice before having sex.

It’s entirely reasonable for the father of an unwanted child to be held financially responsible for part of the costs of an abortion or for part of the costs of prenatal care, and also for part of any legal fees incurred by the adoption process. But if the mother decides to keep the child, knowing that the father has no interest in contributing financially or emotionally, her resources, and likely her lack thereof, become solely her problem.

And for @#$% sake, if you don’t think a woman is capable of making major life decisions sensibly—“too many women are simply not equipped to make life altering decisions to the best advantage”—where the heck do you get off allowing her to make major life decisions that affect a man, that he has little to no input into, simply because they chose to have sex?

A single woman who is having casual sex really does need to accept that abortion and adoption are the only workable options that will not lead to 18 years of struggling. And you know what? If she doesn’t like that, she can simply not have sex. I agree entirely with what you say here—“If abortion and adoption are the only choices for the accidental mother, then it obvious she should not become pregnant.” Precisely!

JLeslie's avatar

I’m wondering if the people who have no empathy (bad wording, I don’t know what word to use instead of empathy) for the man in the situation are against abortion, or might be pro-choice, but would never use that option themselves? For those women there is not the option of no baby, there is going to be a baby. Since, I am someone who would find it almost impossible to give up my baby, I can see how the lack of the abortion option might influence your thinking.

bea2345's avatar

@cwilbur – almost one would say that your slip is showing. Why is it so important for the man to “opt out” of the consequences of sexual pleasure? If the streets of your city are unsafe for women at night That is not really the problem. I am sure that that comment resonates with most of the female flutherites.

This is the problem. Women are peculiarly disadvantaged when it comes to having a whole life, one including career, family and personal achievement. If she is single and pregnant, all the difficulties are hers. Female education, that prepares a girl to be a citizen, a producer and a creator, as well as to be a parent, is lacking. This lack is particularly glaring in lower class enclaves around the world. Boys’ education is almost as bad: I see that the UK is creating an underclass of unemployed and unemployable male youth, as are the US and good ol’ T&T.

Child care is regarded as an exclusively feminine problem. It is a recent phenomenon, seeing men caring for the children while their wives work. Rare are the business places that allow time for the nursing mother to breastfeed or even express and store her milk. Even rarer are those that provide assistance with child supervision while mothers are at work.

With these, and other difficulties, people still have sex and women become pregnant. Again we must consider why birth control fails so often. And when it fails, somebody has to deal with the consequences.

cwilbur's avatar

@bea2345: One could say the same thing about the woman. If it’s not important to have the right and the ability to opt out of the consequences of sexual pleasure, why have we spent the past 40 years fighting so hard to secure the right for women to have abortions? And why is it reasonable to secure for women the right to opt out of their pregnancies—to the point where if the mother wants an abortion, but the father doesn’t, the mother’s decision trumps his—but not reasonable to secure for men the right to opt out of their responsibilities after birth?

You keep on bringing in irrelevancies. You don’t like the safety of the streets; you don’t like the quality of education; you don’t like that businesses have insufficiently “family-friendly” accommodations. All of those are irrelevant to the question, unless you’re claiming that it’s some kind of a tit for tat arrangement: women are disadvantaged in all these places, so it’s only fair that men are disadvantaged in this place. But that doesn’t work; if you want to eliminate the women’s disadvantages, you need to work on them directly, and not on finding comparable disadvantages to inflict on men.

The woman freely chose to have sex with the man, remember. Birth control sometimes fails. Yes, being a single mother is a miserable, difficult experience. But the woman has options that let her choose several ways of resolving the issue. None of them are perfect, but they do give her ways out that do not involve committing herself to a hardscrabble life for the next 18 years. Why is it the slightest bit reasonable that she should be able to make a decision that the man has no input into that will commit him to child support payments for the next 18 years?

I’m not saying that the man should be completely free from consequences—at the very least, he’s responsible for assisting with the abortion or the prenatal care, and the adoption legal work if that’s the route the woman chooses. I just think that he should have the legal right to sign away his parental rights and responsibilities, and that if the woman decides to keep the baby knowing he does not intend to contribute, that the consequences of that decision, which she and she alone can make, should be hers and hers alone.

bea2345's avatar

@cwilbur Why is it the slightest bit reasonable that she should be able to make a decision that the man has no input into that will commit him to child support payments for the next 18 years? because nature is wholly unequal when it comes to the human species. When a tigress is pregnant, she runs the father out of the home and raises the cub(s) alone. Women cannot readily do that. As long as women do not get equal pay as men for the same work; seldom have provision made so that their children can get care while Mom is at work; cannot walk the streets as freely as a man because of social and physical limitations: then the equality of the sexes is a sick joke. It is only when the University of the West Indies began turning out female engineers that the Petroleum Regulations were amended (to allow women aboard a drilling rig). Even when I was a student in the UK, going to the cinema alone at night was problematic. There are restraints on the activities of women that men will never understand.

cwilbur's avatar

@bea2345: So because things are unequal, you’re going to insist that things remain unequal, and then cap it all off with “that’s a woman thing, you just won’t understand?”

Pardon my French, but that’s just fucking moronic.

bea2345's avatar

@cwilbur – No it isn’t. These are limitations that women live with and they have implications for child rearing. The accidental mother will have major problems of time/money/resources management if she has no family to support her or the income to pay for help. What the child will become if the worst befall, is as much the father’s responsibility as the mother’s.

JLeslie's avatar

@bea2345 how about this. Even if the law is on her side, we see all of the time that fathers do not fulfill their obligation financially in many of these cases, so that is her reality, she has to think about this before she gets pregnant. I agree that men should not be able to feel they have no obligation, I agree with that, but mostly for societal and selfish reasons. I think cwilbur makes very good points. But woman have to behave like they will get no help, take control of their bodies.

OpryLeigh's avatar

Sorry @bea2345 but I have to agree with @cwilbur. It seems to me that you are making excuses for women and not giving us the credit we deserve. WE CAN TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR OUR OWN ACTIONS. I am female and everytime I have sex I do it knowing every possibility. I am very aware that I could end up with a hell of a lot more than I bargained for and be (literally) “left holding the baby”. With this in mind I can weigh up all my options (and, unlike men, I have more than one.) None will be easy admittedly but at least I have options. In my opinion, until the man who is willing to take full responsibilty of his child can stop the woman having an abortion, the man who wants to walk away (knowing there will be no turning back once he’s made that decision) should be able to.

The female population may still have to live with certain limitations as you say but at least in this instance the majority of us women have less limitations than the men.

cwilbur's avatar

@bea2345: Yes, there are limitations for women, and single mothers have an especially difficult time. Nobody is arguing about that. The accidental mother will have major problems of time, money, and resources. Nobody’s arguing about that.

Now, the solution to that, I think, is for the woman to not have sex if she’s not prepared for the result, and to make an informed decision if she should find herself pregnant. And part of the information I want her to have is whether or not the father intends to contribute to the support of the child.

And frankly, any woman who decides to keep a child she cannot support on her own, on the theory that she’ll get child support funds out of an unwilling father, is making a stupid decision. She is volunteering for difficulties and setbacks. All the father has to do is move to a different state, and it will be nigh impossible for her to collect.

My point is that because the father legally has no say in what the mother decides to do about the child—he cannot compel her to have an abortion, he cannot prevent her from having an abortion, he cannot compel her to give the child up for adoption, and he cannot prevent her from giving the child up for adoption—he should be able to opt out of paying any support after the child is born.

What you’re trying to do here is give the woman the power of choice—she can get an abortion, or give the child up for adoption, or keep the child—while taking away the man’s power of choice and sticking him with a hefty bill. Whatever she chooses, he’s bound by. That is not fair, and you simply do not make up for unfairness in one area by preserving unfairness in another area.

bea2345's avatar

@cwilbur , @Leanne1986 , @JLeslie – I could not agree with you more. A woman should not have children until she is ready and able. But it happens. The consequences for maternal and child health, for the education and rearing of children, for the future of the society as a whole – the consequences are too dire for us to ignore the reality of unplanned pregnancies. Birth control fails too often, and the reason for that may simply be that the purpose of sex is procreation, and so “accidents” happen. I don’t know. Of course women have choices and many exercise them. But sometimes methods fail, something happens and – heavens to murgatroyd, a month has passed, what do I do now?

Once the baby is coming, for whatever reason, don’t tell me that the father can go his way, blandly saying, “I told her I didn’t want it, get an abortion, use the pill, it has nothing to do with me.” Ring the other one, daddy. You can walk away. She cannot.

OpryLeigh's avatar

@bea2345 but she CAN walk away. Whatever stage she is at, if she wants it badly enough she can walk away. It won’t be easy but she has still has the option to.

You are still making excuses. Yes, accidents happen but personally, when I have sex, even though I use protection I am well aware that it may not be effective and that in the end, whether I like it or not, I may have to make some decisions with or without the mans help. If I know this and I still choose to have sex with someone who may or may not run at the first sign of trouble then, more so than if I was with someone who I was sure would stick around, I MUST take responsibility for myself and be willing to face some difficult decisions should they present themselves.

JLeslie's avatar

@bea2345 It seems you are are not considering the option of abortion.

OpryLeigh's avatar

@bea2345 or adoption if it is too late to terminate the pregnancy.

cwilbur's avatar

@bea2345: but she can walk away. It’s not as easy for her as it is for him, but she can have an abortion and she can give the baby up for adoption. Her choice to keep the baby despite knowing he won’t support it is a choice, and he gets no say in that choice but is bound by her decision.

This is why I suggest that the man should be financially responsible for part of the abortion costs, or for part of the prenatal care and for the legal fees associated with the adoption. The woman must choose whether to abort the pregnancy or to carry it to term, and whether to keep the child or give it up for adoption, and choosing not to choose is itself a form of choice. But the key word here is choice. Because the man was involved in the conception, and because the woman must choose one of the three options, it’s reasonable for him to pay part of the costs that are incurred no matter what she chooses, until for whatever reason she is no longer pregnant. But if she chooses to keep the child, the ramifications of that choice should be binding on her and her alone.

And, frankly, if we’re talking about the consequences for children, I would rather see a child raised by a pair of adoptive parents who have the resources and desire than see that same child raised by a single mother who doesn’t have the emotional and financial resources to do what she needs to do. I’m not sure why you see fit to bring up the reality of unplanned pregnancies, as if that were not precisely what we were discussing, while ignoring the reality that abortions are rather safe and entirely legal, and adoptions are even safer and entirely legal.

bea2345's avatar

@cwilbur – we are obviously in agreement about one or two things, but about the most important, we are not even on the same page. Because of the inequalities between the sexes, “opting out” is the same as not doing anything about a bad deal. Yes, the reality is that abortions are perfectly safe (and legal in many jurisdictions); however, the reality is that for many people the procedure is objectionable. It has nothing to do with morality or religion. I am all for freedom of choice. But it works both ways. If the woman decides, after the fact, that she does not want an abortion, you are going to force her?

cwilbur's avatar

I think I’m repeating myself here, and I don’t get the sense that you’re reading very carefully.

You need to reread this quip and this quip and see if you can find anywhere that I suggest a woman should be forced to have an abortion against her will.

Because, frankly, if you’re not reading what I write carefully enough to respond to what I actually write, there’s no point in me writing it again.

bea2345's avatar

@cwilbur , we would not be having this discussion if the US had state mandated benefits for pregnant women, as is common in most countries: paid maternity leave; free ante and post natal care; and well baby clinics. I seem to recall that the main objection to the idea is that it is unequal (only women need maternity leave, for example). The idiocy of this belief has been long apparent to the people who track child health. There are some underdeveloped countries that have better child care indicators than the US. We will have to disagree profoundly on this question.

JLeslie's avatar

@bea2345 Although I completely agree that health care should be available (I want socialized medicine for everyone for that matter) and actually many states do have medical insurance for children under 18 through the state, even if the mother is not insured. Some of the countries that give the longest paid maternity leave are desperate for population growth to help support the social systems in the long term. The state itself is not necessarily pro-family, but simply realistically looking at numbers. Italy comes to mind. In Italy a company is not being forced to pay, it is the government that is paying for the maternity/paternity leave http://rome.angloinfo.com/countries/italy/work9.asp I think leave in the US is protected under FMLA, but you are not paid for that, just guaranteed your job. I agree it is very difficult for the single mother to deal with the lack of support, but I go back to she must deal with her realty and not be thinking about how it should be or how she wants it to be.

If I was (were?) a business owner I would not want to be forced to give maternity benefits. I think this could actually work against women, because employers, especially ones who have smaller companies, might be less likely to hire women. I do like the idea that the woman has some protection to come back to the company. And, I think companies should be much more open to letting people work from home and have day cares at the company site if it is a large company.

cwilbur's avatar

@bea2345: Um, I suspect we would be having this discussion, because it’s not about maternity leave and prenatal care, but about child support payments.

Or are you claiming that if the US had free prenatal care, legally required paid maternity leave, and baby clinics, you wouldn’t have an issue with an accidental father just walking away? Based on what you’ve said so far, I highly doubt that, but you don’t seem to be making a coherent point, so I can’t tell.

bea2345's avatar

@cwilbur – that is a good point. I am not very coherent, but childbearing, child rearing and all that are incoherent. My point is that the equality of the sexes when it comes to sex, is a myth. Pregnancy is entirely a feminine experience and has been since Mother Eve. I have an issue with accidental parenting because accidental children are not going to disappear. The options to abort, or to give up for adoption, especially the former, are not for every body. No father should walk away from his child. The rearing of children is too important.

And yes, the idea of child support really stings. But many single mothers want something a little different. If she is on night duty at the hospital, would the father help with the baby sitting? When the car is hors de combat, she should be able to ask him to get the child to school – that kind of thing. A great many West Indian women have that kind of relationship with the “chile fader”. There is little, or no, support, but there is practical help when needed.

cwilbur's avatar

@bea2345: And unmarried mothers are likely to get even less “practical help” than they are to get money. You seem to be laboring under the bizarre notion that requiring men to pay child support, when they have no input at all into the decision that obligates them to 18 years of child support payments, will make them make payments on time and cheerfully assist the mothers. If a man does not want to be a father, he will make child support payments grudgingly at best, and practical support will be completely nonexistent. You can say “No father should walk away from his child,” as many times as you like, until you turn blue and faint from lack of oxygen, and that will not change the fact that men do walk away from their children, and that idiotically optimistic women remain certain that that will not happen in their cases.

A single woman who is not prepared to have an abortion, to give a child up for adoption, or to raise a child completely alone and unsupported should not be having sex. Earlier in this thread, it was argued that a man who does not want to pay child support should keep it zipped. Well, I’ll add to that: a woman who does not want to raise a child alone and unsupported, and who cannot bear either having an abortion or giving the child up for adoption, should keep it zipped too.

bea2345's avatar

@cwilburA single woman who is not prepared to have an abortion, to give a child up for adoption, or to raise a child completely alone and unsupported should not be having sex. I agree with you one hundred per cent. But accidents happen. People can be extraordinarily stupid, careless and/or selfish. If the worst should occur, and last month’s date should be naming you as the child’s father, what do you do? Sex is not a game. It is a serious business.

cwilbur's avatar

@bea2345: if last month’s date names me as a child’s father, it would mean I had one hell of a lost weekend. Either that, or there’s about to be a new Biblical testament, and God chose something more dramatic than a virgin birth this time.

But that aside, if last month’s casual date names me as the father, I get the best lawyer I can, and I advise her, as I have indicated above, that I have no interest in being a father, that I will assist with any medical bills relating to an abortion or for prenatal and postpartum care, and with any legal fees associated with adoption, and that I intend to completely abdicate my paternal rights and responsibilities—and that, before I pay one red cent for anything, she has to establish that I am the father. If she chooses to keep the child rather than having an abortion or giving the child up for adoption, it’s her decision and thus her responsibility.

This is the same thing I have been saying throughout this thread. Do you really think that if you personalize the issue by putting me in the role of the father (as preposterous as it is), that I’ll have a Disney movie magic moment and see the error of my ways?

Accidents happen. But the decision to keep the child rather than having an abortion or giving the child up for adoption is a choice, not an accident.

bea2345's avatar

@cwilbur – what can I say?, except, te absolvo – on the grounds of invincible ignorance. Peace.

cwilbur's avatar

@bea2345: it’s not your place to forgive or absolve me, especially as I haven’t done anything wrong except, apparently, disagreeing with you.

bea2345's avatar

@cwilbur – the bottom line is this: unless you are a tiger, don’t have sex, unprotected or not. If you are not prepared to concede that the accidental father has a responsibility to the unborn child, why take chances? BTW, a previous agreement with the mother (not to be liable for child support) may not be enforceable in most countries.

cwilbur's avatar

@bea2345: I concede that the accidental father has a responsibility to the mother that lasts until the child is born and until any pregnancy-related health concerns are resolved.

If the mother isn’t prepared to deal with that, why is she having sex?

tinyfaery's avatar

Why do only men have to keep it in their pants. If a woman isn’t prepared to care for a child on her own then she should keep it zipped as well

Why don’t we just create babies in test tubes and only given them to those that have proved they can and will take care for it?

eden2eve's avatar

Daddy plays, daddy pays. The important person in this situation is the child.

The two baby makers have chosen to behave irresponsibly, and adding another layer of irresponsibility to this situation does not fix the problem.

The child has a right to be wanted and to be given financial security. The validity of the feelings or needs of the father ended when he chose to take such a risk, allowing a helpless child to come into such a situation.

@cwilbur , a child is not an “accident”. But a child is certainly the result of such casual and irresponsible use of your obviously immature sexuality.

You believe that you should abdicate your parental responsibilities… I say you should be responsible enough not to engage in behaviors that could cause such “accidents” unless you are willing to take responsibility for such behaviors.

If we drive a car, we must legally take responsibility for any damages associated with use of the vehicle. If we lose money in a card game, we must take responsibility for the debt incurred. If we fail to live up to our obligations in the workplace, we are certainly not allowed to “opt out” of responsibility for that and continue undisturbed by repercussions for failure to perform.

What makes this example any different? You, and legions of men like you, are someone I would be ashamed to know. Maybe your mother and father should have chosen to abdicate responsibility for you and left you to fend for yourself. Or maybe you should make yourself incapable of fathering any child, who deserves to have a real man for a father.

Blueroses's avatar

It’s an interesting question without easy answers. If this were to set precedence, legally, it would open the doors to other sticky issues. Namely, if a man can opt out of responsibility then a woman should be able to disenfranchise his parental rights in the same time frame if she should decide to bear the child but wants nothing to do with the father.

JLeslie's avatar

@Blueroses Do the courts, hospital or government try to find the father? Can’t the woman never tell the father in the first place? Plus, most states don’t give unwed fathers many legal rights automatically, they usually have to fight in court if they want some sort of visitation. At least that is how it is in my state, and I know Michigan is the same.

Blueroses's avatar

@JLeslie Oh, I agree. That is how it works in practice. Unless a woman applies for public aid, she never has to reveal the baby’s dad’s name. If she goes into the system, then the system wants to look for someone to pay. And they will pry and demand all of her past sexual history until they find the likely father to pursue, whether or not she wants him to be involved. Our system is screwed up. I was basing my response on a friend’s experience. She was raped by an ex boyfriend, got pregnant and decided to keep the baby. When she needed some help, only with subsidized child-care so she could go to work, she had to answer a 4 page questionnaire about her history. The man was horrible and she didn’t want him in her life but she loved the baby.
Based on the original question, wouldn’t she have the same right to deny parental rights?

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Fact from fiction, truth from diction. (Let me put on my fire retardant cloak first) I have always thought that the most fair solution to abortion (though I favor no abortions at all except under very extreme prejudice). I think giving men legal abortions equals out that playing field which most women don’t want to give quarter.

So much I read above alludes to the man being a coward, sleaze ball, and worse because he don’t care to be a parent, yet say nothing about the 100s of millions of women that do just that? Are most of the reason women get abortions are just as weak; not wanting to have a kid as to not miss making partner, getting promoted to senior VP, putting off college or that degree chase for 3 years or so, down to the flippant wanting not to be fat for ”bikini season” or being afraid he won’t get interested in them because the child is not his.

You can use any excuse you want about it is the woman’s body, so she gets to decide solely if she want to have some “invader” occupying it for 9 months. The reality we don’t get carte blanche on what we do with our own bodies. If I knew someone who needed a kidney to stay alive and I was a match but on hard financial times if I had complete autonomy over my body I can say I don’t need the extra kidney but I do need the $30,000 he is offering me for it and affect a fair trade; I can’t do that. So, the ”My own body” argument is toothless.

The ”it takes two to tangle” so he ought to pay because half the DNA is his, if you are true to fairness if half the DNA is his then if he can’t raise his half because she don’t want a life they both created cramping her style for 9 months then she should compensate him for his half of his DNA he don’t get to raise and father.

The accident argument, it was an accident and if she keeps it he was part of it so he should pay or it was an accident so if she don’t want to have it because she is being a selfish coward all is OK.

All emotions aside if it is to be fair and equal (as the feminist want) it is done fairly for both; If she wants to keep it but he don’t he can get a legal abortion absolving himself any connection or involvement same as if she killed it at Planned Parenthood, if she don’t want it but he does and she don’t want to carry it to term then hand it over to him she pays him for baring him from the ability to raise his half of the child. Even if he was made to compensate her for giving up bikini season to carry the child to term first women will not want to do it.

That is the only fair way (if you are to have abortions anyhow) any other way is just talking out the side of the neck fraud and hypocrisy.

<Let the flaming arrow fly >

bea2345's avatar

Dear @Hypocrisy_Central, Your point is well taken but it overlooks one important point – in fact the only point: that the child is not a package to be sent to a convenient address. Somebody has to care for the offspring and why should it not be the parents? If neither abortion nor adoption are options for the mother (try living in a country where abortion is expensive, hard to get and usually illegal) what is to happen to the child? The argument that it is her body to do with as she likes is a crock and everybody knows it.

JLeslie's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central Your kidney analogy I don’t find analogous. If say a women had the right to birth the baby and sell it, maybe then that is the same as selling their kidney, althoighnstill not quite the the same, because it is considered selling a human being. But, even this is sketchy since women can be paid in most states to be surrogates, but they are not selling the baby, they are selling the surrogate housing the fetus. In both the kidney and the baby there is fear of exploitation and black market. You do have a choice whether to give your kidney or not. The government cannot make you. Not even if you say you will, and chicken out in the eleventh hour, you can say no or stop at any point, and there is not a law to stop you, your body. Making abortion illegal means the woman can not say no or stop.

I don’t like that you make it sound like women who have abortions are selfish and not focused on what should matter? But, as you can see from my many answers above, I am sympathetic to the man in this situation. I don’t think he can order an abortion, not even close, but thereis an argument for him not wanting to be a father.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@JLeslie
I am looking at your question in pure logic tossing emotion aside. Not many seem to can do that. Basically there is one un-denying fact; two people did the nasty causing a live sperm to contact a fertile egg. If everything went as nature would have had it some point in the future a new life would be born.

The question here is that since both agreed to the act that made the baby possible shouldn’t both have a say about it? Logically it would, same as if it were a partnership; no woman would accept that just because the man could normally out bench press her that he make all the choices and cut all the deals.

Logically since he can’t take custody of the embryo or fetus she has to. But half the DNA is his, so if she don’t want to carry it until it is ready to present to him she need to pay him for the goods (lack of a better term for the baby) same as she would owe if she promised to deliver a load of widgets and failed to produce compensation is in order, she don’t have to be stuck with ”his little monster” even though half of it is hers. Oh, I get it, she claims her part when she wants to decide what to do with it and decides his part too. If she decides to keep it and he don’t want to step up then he should be allowed to abandon his half (as douche bag as that is) the same way he can tell her “I am out, all the boat and its expense is yours”, and have the option of a legal abortion; to sign off forever and have no more involvement. She made the choice to have it so she takes on all of it, same as if she didn’t want any of it she would leave him with anything he wanted. Right now the only one who gets to say “yea” or “nay” is her and he not only don’t get compensation for not being the dad he wanted to be he can have to pay for being a father he don’t care to be.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

I only had one response to a piggy back question in the middle of this thread, and not that I am feeling ignored :), but thought it might have been missed so I’ll ask again, what if the mother wants to give up the baby, so the father takes custody, are you all ok with her having to pay child support to him? Forgot to address this one. I feel since she is willhave to be put out for a while or at least the 3rd trimester she should be given some consideration, instead of having to supply support for the child that the father would then have until the child is 18, she will only have to supply support until the child is 9yr, then she gets something back for going though labor having to give up smoking and drinking, etc. until the child is born.

JLeslie's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central The premise of the original question is early in the pregnancy he would have to say he doesn’t want the baby, does not intend to be a father to the baby and would prefer to abort or give up the baby. He would resign his parental rights. He has to decide, just like the girl has a time limit on being able to get an abortion. Then the girl has time to decide what she is going to do now that she can’t count on him. I can’t change that she gets pregnant and he doesn’t. Men have to accept that women are the ones wo get pregnant and she gets to have control over her body. If you were the one preggers you would not want someone else telling you what you must do.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@JLeslie The premise of the original question is early in the pregnancy he would have to say he doesn’t want the baby, does not intend to be a father to the baby and would prefer to abort or give up the baby. He would resign his parental rights. Before whatever deadline he signs away all ties to the child forever and a day, he don’t go on the birth certificate, and will never officially appear as the child’s father. To do so since she is “stuck” with the kid even by her own choice it should be similar to a lease termination; he pays her a 0ne time opt out fee just as if they both leased a condo and he decided he didn’t want to stay she is not stuck holding the bag on a place they both signed on to. Should she keep the baby and things improve between her and the father before he can be recognized as the father (notwithstanding he is the real father) he has to adopt the child (his child) but the official record will list him as the adoptive father. Simple…..

JLeslie's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central Ok. But, I still don’t think it would ever work, or really become law. I am not even sure if the law was up to me how I would vote. The scary part is if men think they can get out of the obligation they might even be less responsible in preventing pregnancies.

I saw on tv recently a famous boxer, can’t remember his name right now at 4:30 in the morning, who was being interviewed. Anyway, he was asked what he first thought when he found out as a teen that his girlfriend was pregnant, and he replied, “I’m a man!” I figure that stupid cultural attitude likely goes along with men being just fine with just knowing they made a baby, and seeing the baby with the mother, and that piece of paper he might be forced o sign saying he never has to take care of the kid, is awesome fo him. Of course there are exceptions where some young men might feel they want to be responsible, but I don’t feel very optimistic with that atitude.

JLeslie's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central What’s all this he don’t in you last few posts? Not typical language for fluther.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@JLeslie What’s all this he don’t in you last few posts? Not typical language for fluther. It is early morning here too right now…..sleep should have happened an hour ago.

The scary part is if men think they can get out of the obligation they might even be less responsible in preventing pregnancies.
Women don’t? They got a “get out of pregnancy” free card with Row v Wade. They can spend all semester drying to hook up with the hottie point guard but if she ends up pregnant because both were too drunk at the frat party to think about it she don’t have to take a year off college she can trot on down to Planed Parenthood and suck the problem out. Go home shower, put on some make up and not even have to worry she will have to give her micro minis away. Even if he wanted to be responsible he can’t, he has no say. If he didn’t want it and she was going to have it he don’t have a say but they will surely come around to rake the dough from his pocket, heck she might have another b/f by then and he will get to enjoy the kid, the sex, and gifts the real father is paying for.

Ok. But, I still don’t think it would ever work, or really become law. It could work and be a good law but not the way people plaster their emotions about before logic. Most gals don’t want to give up the sole control and a lot of men won’t stand up because they are led about by the little head and so long as they think they will jeopardize being able to “dip their wick” in the magic cave between a female’s legs they will dummy up and not make waves.

Anyway, he was asked what he first thought when he found out as a teen that his girlfriend was pregnant, and he replied, “I’m a man!” I figure that stupid cultural attitude likely goes along with men being just fine with just knowing they made a baby, If he didn’t want to pay for the support of it he can feel he is a man and made a son or daughter but it will officially never be his so he can brag all he wants it would have as much umph if he says he was a hall of famer because he will have nothing to validate it so it would be as if it never happened.

JLeslie's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central Women don’t quite get out out of jail free, since they have to go through the suckiness of getting the abortion.

About the dad validating his baby was actually born, I honestly have no idea how that type of guy would think I guess. I proposed above he would still know and think he was the man. But, if you say needs a legal document to say it; well, maybe you are right? Somehow that doesn’t make sense to me, but I don’t really understand or relate to that young teen guy who is excited he made his teen girlfriend pregnant. I come from the never come home pregnant in high school upbringing, and being embarrassed and terrified if I did. The polar opposite of being proud.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@JLeslie but I don’t really understand or relate to that young teen guy who is excited he made his teen girlfriend pregnant. I come from the never come home pregnant in high school upbringing, and being embarrassed and terrified if I did. The polar opposite of being proud. His excitement might have come from the fact he actually got named as the dad on the birth certificate so it would be a part of public record or in a record somewhere that he can point to “I made that” and have it officially validated. The kid might even have his last name, another validation. He got the title but he can still either be a deadbeat dad an not pay anything or try to get out of it or a paper dad that only shows in the summer for Disneyland or other fun stuff while leaving the heavy lifting to the mother.

Back in the day when I was in high school you knew right off you were going to have to put in 4 months of hard courting before you got to feel her up and you have to put in at least 6 months before you were going to get her jeans off or under her skirt. Any girl you got to quicker than that was just a “bicycle girl” everyone gets a ride, but you never took her serious. And no girl wanted to be a “bicycle girl” no matter how much they loved the boy they were not just going to give it up between the 3rd and 5th date as they do nowadays.

JLeslie's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central What does that have to do with getting the girl pregnant? Or, if a guy feels good about making a baby out of wedlock, worse in high school? 3rd date 75th date, still pregnant at 17 isn’t a good scenario.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@JLeslie The only reason I can see a guy wanting to knock a girl up (or several girls) would be because he gets named on some record as the father. Then he can brag how many kids he has out there as if the more he has the more of a man he is (regardless if he ever really did anything for them)

The longer a girl is willing to wait before she let someone between her and her Victoria Secrets would hopefully be because she played more attention to sexual safety and avoiding pregnancy. In nature a 17yr old is a child-baring adult. In time past she would be seen as an adult and all the elder women of the tribe would be teaching her how to become the woman she is mostly already is. It is out westernized nanny society that want to artificially push back childhood in spite of nature.

JLeslie's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central Our society is very different than a more primitive society or nature. Most people sustain themselves by working, and need time to acquire skills for said job, best done before having to financially care for a baby.

Girls don’t wait because of sex class I don’t think. Maybe a few do, but most are either not ready, they just don’t feel ready, or they have some ideal about waiting, or they want to be in a relationship first and don’t have a boyfriend. The girls who screw around a lot, they have all sorts of reasons why they do, and I don’t think sex ed stops them from having sex with a bunch of boys.

It surprises me that the men care about the legal document, but I am willing to accept you know better than I do on the matter.

bea2345's avatar

Have I missed something? isn’t anybody interested in the rights of the child? My feeling is simple: if there is no baby, fine. But once there is a viable fetus all bets are off.

JLeslie's avatar

@bea2345 We are talking before viability. The opt out I mean. The father has to opt out in the beginning of the pregnancy in the scenerio proposed.

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