Terminology Explanation: “MRA”

Feminist blogs often throw out terms and acronyms that we’re used to seeing in our little pocket of the internet, but that newcomers might not be familiar with. Jeff has done us all the service of explaining one of those terms: MRA. And he does a bang-up job:

What is an MRA?

He’s a Men’s Rights Activist, part of the broader Men’s Rights Movement. He–

Wait, wait. “Men’s Rights Movement?”

Yes.

Is that like the “National Association for the Advancement of White People” or the folks who think the Christian Right is oppressed?

Yes, the Men’s Rights Movement is the same kind of animal. All of these groups share a common worldview, that the traditionally oppressed groups, be they women, minorities, or non-Christians, have somehow seized control of the country and are systematically denying the straight, white, Christian men their rights.

That’s insane!

Well, yes, but don’t ignore the reason for the pushback: men’s traditional privileges really are under attack. It’s just that these rights, like the right to beat and rape your wife with impunity, are anathema to a truly free and equitable society.

Do read it all. And now that the MRAs have showed up in the comments, go show your support.


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118 comments for “Terminology Explanation: “MRA”

  1. Robbespierre
    October 13, 2007 at 8:51 am

    With the novel idea that men and women should be able to map out their own destinies, free from being directed on what they’re “supposed to do.” It’s a political ideology called “feminism.” The MRAs with legitimate gripes would be well-served to embrace feminism.

    I’m wondering how many feminists really consider feminism to be a true gender rights theory, even if not a true gender rights movement, as opposed to a theory concerned with specific rights (based on a problematic epistemology) and the advancement of a specific group. I mean, isn’t it called feminism for a reason – and not just a historical one? Moreover, in my impression the majority of feminists doesn’t want to make feminism a gender justice movement concerned with injustices on either side of the fence (actually, I think much of feminist epistemology clearly prevents that).

    That said – I’m a little confused about the feminist reaction to MRAs, regardless of their specific point of views. Aren’t they the feminist dream come true? some men feel forced to leave the castle of alleged patriarchic normativity (men being the elleged default gender) and talk about their gendered selves in public? Isn’t that an important social realisation of “the personal is political”, which feminism has always argued for?

    If MRAs are using the concepts and definitions developed by feminism (say “oppression” and “entitlement”), even if they do it the other way around, wouldn’t feminists want to embrace that since it would mean that the discussion would now happen on their home ground?

    I’m not an MRA, so thanks for enlightening me in that respect, and I haven’t looked into your comment spam queue. So maybe I’m really not getting it. But to me it seems that MRAs as laid out in the linked to article are structural allies of feminists – not necessarily in advancing specific rights for women / having the same cause, but in establishing the social concepts put forth by feminism as the default concepts for interpreting social reality.

    Particularly if women are still as weak in society as many feminists seem to argue, I would imagine they would (if only silently) like that unexpected support. Wouldn’t they?

  2. Gayle
    October 13, 2007 at 9:02 am

    I like this part even better. It distills the entire “movement” into one neat little bit:

    So are MRAs concerned about anything other than raping and beating women?

    Oh, sure — they also don’t want to pay child support. There’s a huge segment of MRAdom that’s fed by divorced men angry that their ex got custody of the kids, and now they have to fork over money to support them.

  3. Gayle
    October 13, 2007 at 9:22 am

    I do have a slight quibble with this:

    but don’t ignore the reason for the pushback: men’s traditional privileges really are under attack.

    I don’t think MRAs came about over anything as complicated as that. They started out as a bunch of dudes who didn’t want to pay child support, period. They got together to come up with ways to avoid their responsibilities–they are, in essence, the Deadbeat Dad Society.

    The anti-feminist rantings are just bitter, divorced guy blather. It gives them something to squawk about in between their cries for shared custody.

    It’s really about the money.

  4. aaron
    October 13, 2007 at 10:24 am

    this song ought to replace ‘we shall overcome’

  5. h0tr0d
    October 13, 2007 at 10:49 am

    Why do you continue to spread this propaganda ? There are men that support equal rights for men that are not republican or christian. I was born and raised a democrat, and when I read this kind of grist, this clearly demonstrates why I can no longer call myself a feminist. Many clear thinking MRA’s (if that’s a generic term) are progressives. OMG !! The issues we want to talk about are well documented; education, health, family, allegations of domestic violence and restraining orders, suicide rates, custody, the list goes on, however these are issues where there is plenty of data and studies that support men’s rights position, but you feminists bury your head in the sand. Trying to write off all men because of the nut jobs on the right is no different than the way republicans write off democrats because of feminist thought. Your views are the primary reason the democratic party cannot attract moderates and therefor can NEVER maintain a majority. Your smear tactics and propaganda are right out of Karl Rove’s playbook. Just keep playing to your sycophants.

  6. h0tr0d
    October 13, 2007 at 10:54 am

    For you ignorant sycophants who think child support costs are a primary driver to the men’s movement, maybe that’s true. But it is documented that child support is really a single mother subsidy. Every study out there concludes the true cost to raise children is significantly less than what the child support tables show. I guess you just want to maintain your privilege.

    PS I’m happily married, so I dont need to be divorced and angry to see inequity in the system. You should try to step outside your bubbles.

  7. October 13, 2007 at 11:41 am

    MRA’s are also responsible for so-called Parental Alienation Syndrome, and they’ve managed to get it into the courtroom in custody/visitation cases.

  8. kali
    October 13, 2007 at 11:50 am

    I posted this over there, but I’m posting it here too, because it’s one of those subjects that brings out my obnoxious nerd side that makes me want to bang my head against the wall and cry because people can’t use logic and what is wrong with everybody? (see also: global warming. HOW can anyone think it isn’t real HOW? Which side has more motivation to lie? HAVE YOU EVEN GOT A BRAIN?)

    The discussion there was driving me crazy.

    You know, what bugs me about this whole “choice for men” argument is this.

    MEN REFUSE TO TAKE THE PILL. It’s impossible to market a contraceptive pill for men because men refuse to take one if there are any side effects whatseover.

    Given that the pill for women has a whole host of terrible side effects, we can conclude by simple logic that men do not fear unwanted pregnancy as much as women do.
    So the idea that men get a “raw deal” in this area has been proven to be bullshit by the workings of the free market. Deal with it!

  9. October 13, 2007 at 11:55 am

    MRA spam in 3…2…1….

  10. zuzu
    October 13, 2007 at 12:03 pm

    MRA spam in 3…2…1….

    There’s already a few in the mod queue, but it’s Jill’s post, so she’ll have to make the call on whether to let them out.

    I notice that the “Choice for Men” brigade has invade the comments to Jeff’s post. It’s so amusing to watch them try to argue that because a pregnancy happens exclusively within a woman’s body, that invalidates the idea that “biology is not destiny.”

  11. October 13, 2007 at 12:17 pm

    There’s already a few in the mod queue, but it’s Jill’s post, so she’ll have to make the call on whether to let them out.

    I let them out. Sorry.

  12. donna darko
    October 13, 2007 at 1:05 pm

    The fact the MRA movement could be about child support and not child custody puts them at a new low.

    If they used the words child support instead of child custody, we wouldn’t even be talking about them now.

  13. October 13, 2007 at 1:09 pm

    Oh oh! Hey Jill! Can we add h0tr0d to the Feministe’s Next Top Troll competition? I want to change my vote!

  14. October 13, 2007 at 1:16 pm

    Oh oh! Hey Jill! Can we add h0tr0d to the Feministe’s Next Top Troll competition? I want to change my vote!

    Sorry Cara, you’re just going to have to wait for Season 2…

  15. October 13, 2007 at 1:17 pm

    DAMMIT. Christ, h0tr0d, would a little punctuality kill you?

  16. October 13, 2007 at 1:43 pm

    Jeff does a good service. For a lengthier take, please read Michael Flood’s great piece on the MRAs from a few years back. He’s as opposed to the misogynistic MRA agenda as anyone, but writes:

    I THINK pro-feminist men (myself included) have been too quick to stereotype as committed woman-haters and sexist dinosaurs all men who raise typical “men’s rights” issues. We have been sometimes influenced by the dominant model of oppositional politics, in which all such men are “enemies”, to be approached (if at all) with disdain, hostility and self-righteous zeal. We have focused sometimes on the negative and we have attributed motives to men’s actions which are not necessarily accurate. Such approaches limit our political effectiveness, making it very difficult for us to reach anyone but the almost-converted.

  17. Kathy
    October 13, 2007 at 2:12 pm

    You forgot the guys who play child support, but think it entitles them to control every aspect of their ex’s existance. That’s the other wing of these particular nuts.

  18. Conflicted Feminist
    October 13, 2007 at 2:38 pm

    I admit that I’m conflicted over the argument that men should have a right to terminate their paternity as women have a right to terminate pregnancy – I’d appreciate hearing people’s thoughts about this so I can understand it better.

    While at first it seemed to me just a way of shirking responsibility, it has been making increasing sense to me. Why should a man be forced into being a father when a woman shouldn’t be forced into being a mother? (I believe, for example, that women should have the right to terminate their pregnancies without spousal notification.)

    I don’t buy into the argument that if men don’t want to be fathers they should just get vasectomies or not have sex, because I don’t believe in a similar argument for women: being willing to have sex doesn’t necessarily mean you must be willing to have a child. It seems to me that this kind of argument, that if you have sex you have to face up to having a kid, is the same kind of argument used by anti-choicers against women.

    Picture this scenario: a woman and man have sex while using a condom, the condom breaks, she gets pregnant. Or they’re using any kind of birth control, but it ultimately fails. How is that any more one party’s fault than the other? They were trying to be responsible but it didn’t work – why then should the woman be the only one who gets to make a decision about her personal life?

    Opinions appreciated – thanks!

  19. October 13, 2007 at 2:59 pm

    PS I’m happily married

    In other words, you’d better keep your wife away from all this feminist stuff, because if she were a smart cookie she’d divorce your ass, take all your income in child support, and make a profit. Well done, brother, well done!

  20. PG
    October 13, 2007 at 3:24 pm

    But it is documented that child support is really a single mother subsidy. Every study out there concludes the true cost to raise children is significantly less than what the child support tables show.

    That’s really interesting. Who does these studies? How do they decide the costs for raising a child? Where do the “child support tables” get their figures? Are either of these similar to the (economy-food-plan * 3) used for determining the federal government poverty threshold, which hasn’t been updated since the mid-20th century even though the portion of income that’s necessary for food has gone down dramatically compared to what’s now needed for rent, as food has become cheaper while housing has skyrocketed in cost?

    I’m guessing that the child support tables ensure that the child has stuff like health care, whereas if you’re doing what the government does and computing a bare-bones existence, of course it costs a lot less. (And anyway a child who’s under the federal poverty threshold gets Medicaid/SCHIP. A kid who needs child support may not qualify for those, and therefore needs to be covered either by parental employer or by private health insurance.)

  21. October 13, 2007 at 3:33 pm

    That choice for men website freaks me out. The logic is just NOT there. So pathetic. And, scary.

  22. Lisa Harney
    October 13, 2007 at 3:39 pm

    I had to deal with a couple of MRAs on a forum several months ago. One pointed to a book (I can’t recall the name – author was Warren Farrell) that “proves” men are underprivileged compared to women. The arguments I recall from that book were:

    * Women make more money than men (because women live longer, not because women are paid as much as men)

    * Women live longer because health care is biased toward taking care of women and against taking care of men.

    From my own study, the “men’s rights” movement is more about not paying child support, or damaging mothers’ claims for custody – I recall one guy who set out to get custody of his children. When he unexpectedly won, he handed them over to his parents to raise.

    I’ve read the literature, what MRAs suggest doing during divorce and custody cases, and it’s just pure awful. After reading those materials and dealing with actual MRAs, I have no respect for anyone who operates under that label.

    The most coherent argument leveled at me in the above argument was that a show like “Sex in the City” focused on men would never succeed because feminists would immediately shoot it down and keep it off the air. When I pointed out actual sex-hungry male characters that have been in movies and on television forever, they were dismissed as valid examples (“Oh, those guys are just caricatures,” etc.)

    Also, everything women have to deal with from men doesn’t count because “women already have equal rights” and “men can lose custody of their children and will have to pay child support.” And everything that could count as oppression women suffer is already countered in Warren Farrell’s writings (“The Myth of Male Power,” “Why Men Earn More: The Startling Truth Behind the Pay Gap — and What Women Can Do About It,” “Why Men Are The Way They Are,” etc). “Countered” is really a strong term, because these counters really boil down to “men don’t have it as good as possible, meaning they’re in horrible shape” and doesn’t really counter the fact that men are better off than women.

    Here’s a site with articles that explains, criticizes, and deconstructs the MRA/”Father’s Rights” movement. The material’s well worth reading. I can’t remember which story it is, but I particularly like one particular instance of an MRA psychiatrist driving a teenaged boy to suicide by forcing him to visit his father under the threat of jailing his mother…I mean, I like it as an example of some of the most egregiously wrong things about MRAs.

  23. james
    October 13, 2007 at 4:11 pm

    PG – I think h0tr0d is right that at the moment child support is an absolute scam – my favorite example is ‘housing costs’.

    The scam works like this. It’s perfectly right that non-custodial parents pay to see that their children are well housed. What often happens is that the custodial parent uses this money to pay off a mortgage. The child gets housed, and when the child reaches majority the mother ends up owning a good chunk of the money an asset in terms of equity in her house.

    I can see why the MRAs are pissed. The money’s paid in order to support their children. But when the children are adults a good chunk of that money is left unspent on them and in the mother’s pocket. It’s an absolute scandal.

  24. gaia
    October 13, 2007 at 4:17 pm

    Shorter James – bitches should either have to rent or pay me back for my equity building.

  25. Lisa Harney
    October 13, 2007 at 4:38 pm

    James,

    Don’t you think that paying for housing benefits the children while they grow up in said house, or would you prefer that single mothers be barred from owning property and instead pay rent for no equity at all while raising their children?

  26. Lisa Harney
    October 13, 2007 at 4:50 pm

    In addition: The structure of your argument implies that money isn’t being spent on children (clothes, food, medical care, etc) when it most certainly is. You also imply that the hypothetical mortgage does not itself in any way benefit the children.

    In other words, you’re presenting this scenario as if the mortgage, the need to take out a mortgage, and the mother’s property ownership exists in a vacuum separate from the children she raises and has no effect on those children.

    This is what’s wrong with MRAs. They pick and choose examples and scenarios that fail to illustrate a complete picture, but they treat it as if it truly is a complete picture.

  27. madeline
    October 13, 2007 at 4:55 pm

    Seriously James?

    That must be why my mother had to hand over my father a HUGE paycheck after the divorce for getting to keep the house (and she kept the three kids), then had to move into a smaller house to maintain her current standard of living (ie. being able to pay for our involvement in extracurricular activities and school clothes).

    But you’re right, she’s obviously just running a scam.

  28. gaia
    October 13, 2007 at 5:04 pm

    Here’s why buying is better than renting:

    1) In most markets it is cheaper to buy than rent a comparable living situation.

    2) When you own, there is more stability because the landlord can’t just arbitrarily decide to not renew your lease.

    3) When you own, the kids can decorate their rooms anyway they want (best interest of the kids)

    4) When you own, the kids can keep their pets (again, best interest of the kids)

    5) When you own, there is less chance of major price fluctations. If the market gets hot, your rent will increase drastically. If you own you’re only faced with property tax increases which are usually controlled as such that they can only raise a certain amount each year and that is rarely as much as the rents raise in the area.

    So what James really wants is for women to buy the house, but then give up a large portion of their equity to their exes. The fact that it would have cost more to rent isn’t considered. The fact that a lot of the money she received for “housing costs” went to interest, insurance and property tax payments isn’t considered. All that he considers is that she might have some advantage gained with his money.

  29. October 13, 2007 at 5:21 pm

    I don’t buy into the argument that if men don’t want to be fathers they should just get vasectomies or not have sex, because I don’t believe in a similar argument for women: being willing to have sex doesn’t necessarily mean you must be willing to have a child. It seems to me that this kind of argument, that if you have sex you have to face up to having a kid, is the same kind of argument used by anti-choicers against women.

    Picture this scenario: a woman and man have sex while using a condom, the condom breaks, she gets pregnant. Or they’re using any kind of birth control, but it ultimately fails. How is that any more one party’s fault than the other? They were trying to be responsible but it didn’t work – why then should the woman be the only one who gets to make a decision about her personal life?

    Conflicted Feminist-

    It’s because reproductive rights begin and end at your own body. The right to abortion isn’t about the right to refuse parenthood; it’s about the right to refuse to use your body to sustain something else against your will. Reproductive rights are about being able to control what you do with your own reproductive system. Biology dictates that women and men’s reproductive systems are different, which is why women have a right to abortion but men don’t have the right to force or coerce women into abortion, any more than women have the right to force or coerce men into vasectomies or appendectomies or kidney transplants.

    Child support, on the other hand, is about your obligation to a minor child. And while the argument against child support requirements can be made (although I don’t agree with it), conflating it with reproductive rights is really non-sensical. Reproductive rights are about bodily autonomy and integrity; child support is about parental obligations.

  30. sophonisba
    October 13, 2007 at 5:27 pm

    Why should a man be forced into being a father when a woman shouldn’t be forced into being a mother?

    Absent adoption or child abandonment, women don’t have the choice not to be the mothers of their children. Women DO NOT HAVE this “choice” that MRAs wish to invent for themselves. They have the choice not to be pregnant, in some places, at some income levels, for a brief period during their pregnancies. Men, also, have this choice to determine the inhabitants of their own wombs.

    A woman who who wishes to stop paying for her born child’s food and clothing will very soon find herself the recipient of a visit from a state agency. I imagine there are some women who don’t want to be forced to be mothers, just as MRAs don’t want to be forced to be fathers. Women who wait till their kids go off to school one morning, move out, and leave no forwarding address. These women are criminals.

    I admit that I’m conflicted over the argument that men should have a right to terminate their paternity as women have a right to terminate pregnancy – I’d appreciate hearing people’s thoughts about this so I can understand it better.

    Perhaps you could start by explaining in what way fatherhood is equivalent to pregnancy, rather than to, oh, let’s say motherhood. Hint: it isn’t.

  31. October 13, 2007 at 5:37 pm

    Conflicted Feminist, you’re buying into the myth that women have an absolute right to terminate their parental rights to a child, or that women only have legal obligations to a child if they wanted to give birth.

  32. donna darko
    October 13, 2007 at 5:39 pm

    James, you confuse child support with alimony. That’s why it’s called child support. After the child is 18, no more child support, at the latest, 19 or 21.

    From my own study, the “men’s rights” movement is more about not paying child support

    If this is true, let’s call it the Deadbeat Dads Movement.

  33. October 13, 2007 at 6:12 pm

    But it is documented that child support is really a single mother subsidy. Every study out there concludes the true cost to raise children is significantly less than what the child support tables show. I guess you just want to maintain your privilege.

    ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha (stops and takes a breath, reads it again…)ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha (wipes eyes, stands up, brushes self off)

    that’s all the further i got in the comments, #6…do they really believe this shit? seriously. have some of these people any idea of the actual amouts of child support paid…have any of them had to rais a child alone w/o the financial support of another responsible party. this guy hasn’t.
    i can tell you w/ confidence, and i will get attacked by the privileged, i always do, that the amount of child support paid by these so called oppressed men doesn’t even come close to what it costs to raise a child…unless you have done it, you don’t fucking know.

    these men want all the privileges of playing daddy w/o any of the responsibility. yes…a single mother subsidy.

    i gotta go now and blow my child support millions of a day at the spa, w/ all my other ignorant, syncophant single mother friends.

    fuck off.

  34. October 13, 2007 at 6:37 pm

    bradann- I here ya!

    70% of child support cases are in arrears. That mean that 70% of non-custodial parents are some sort of dead beat. So even the portion of child support they are supposed to be paying isn’t getting paid.

  35. Kristen
    October 13, 2007 at 6:39 pm

    As if we didn’t need enough reasons to throw things at the MRAs, there is also the fact that they take away from gender issues that legitimately impact men. I’ve noticed that when I’ve brought up issues like the stigma attached to SAHD or paternal leave or flex time for fathers, I often get lumped into the same category as MRAs. Makes my head want to explode.

  36. October 13, 2007 at 7:03 pm

    ok…now the less emotional response, and i have read all the comments…

    the biggest problem i have w/ these MRAs are the way they feel that child support entitles them to run the lives of the custodial parent. since they throw a little money our way they feel they can control every decision we make from where we live, to whom we date in the future b/c there is no way we would ever be careful and since they can’t approve of the person their children might or might not be spending time with, we shouldn’t have them around. now, we in turn, get no say in where they live or whom they date, even though when the child goes to stay w/ them, it is the same situation.

    then, they think that child support entitles them to claim for income taxes every other year. someone explain to me, if i am fronting everything other than the teeny tiny amount i get in support (which here where i am stationed barely covers groceries for a month, and doesn’t even come close to helping w/ rent/utilities/school/clothes/extra curriculars etc.) why should i let him receive credit for income taxes? it doesn’t make sense. if i am receiving no extra help for those things, and it is coming out of my income, which is one third of his, then why do i need to surrender that tax break? he didn’t have to move to a smaller home to afford a good school (public schools where i am stationed are horrible, and rent for apartments is outrageous). he doesn’t have to give up pool league to allow his daughter to go to dance classes, but we go out to dinner less. he doesn’t help w/ uniforms, field trips, travel costs for her to go see him. yeah, he is so oppressed. i only say this for example. i make the choices i do b/c it is best for my child, so i gladly make the sacrifices. i know countless mothers who do the same. (i know there are a few good fathers out there and a few single ones who are in my boat, but not many)

  37. Conflicted Feminist
    October 13, 2007 at 7:35 pm

    The right to abortion isn’t about the right to refuse parenthood; it’s about the right to refuse to use your body to sustain something else against your will. Reproductive rights are about being able to control what you do with your own reproductive system. Biology dictates that women and men’s reproductive systems are different, which is why women have a right to abortion but men don’t have the right to force or coerce women into abortion, any more than women have the right to force or coerce men into vasectomies or appendectomies or kidney transplants.

    I understand this (although I do think that, in a basic sense if not in terms of a Supreme Court definition, abortion IS partially about the right to refuse parenthood) and think it’s absolutely right that neither party should be able force or coerce the other. I suppose if we’re getting into the technical (and hypothetical) aspects of a man’s right to refuse parenthood, you would have to demarcate the bounds of it strictly. For example, refusing parental rights during pregnancy would be just that, whereas refusing to pay child support after a child is born would be criminal. A man would only be able to refuse parental rights during the time that a woman could have an abortion. (Although that does bring up issues around notification of pregnancy (e.g. “I’m not paying child support – she never told me she was pregnant!”), which would be problematic.)

    Perhaps you could start by explaining in what way fatherhood is equivalent to pregnancy, rather than to, oh, let’s say motherhood. Hint: it isn’t.

    Conflicted Feminist, you’re buying into the myth that women have an absolute right to terminate their parental rights to a child, or that women only have legal obligations to a child if they wanted to give birth.

    I know that I’m speaking theoretically, and that women don’t have an absolute right to terminate their pregnancies by any standard. The confusion I’m having is what we’re meant to do about this given the fact that men don’t get pregnant. It means that of course, pregnancy has no male counterpart, and that the equivalent to fatherhood is motherhood, NOT pregnancy. I’m saying that I don’t understand why men can’t have an equivalent to the right to abortion (NOT an equivalent to maternal abandonment or negligence).

  38. October 13, 2007 at 7:59 pm

    conflicted feminist~

    i want to put my opinion out here…and just remember that opinions can be like assholes…

    i think (just an opinion) that if a man doesn’t want to be involved in a child’s life, and the woman decides to continue w/ a pregnancy, that there could/should be some recourse for that. i can’t say how i think it should be decided, and i wish that women who couldn’t afford a child on their own would really think about that choice (not that they don’t, b/c i know that i thought long and hard, and i am sure that i am not the only one). if the man is completely willing to not be involved in any way shape or form, including years down the road after he has grown a conscience, then he should not be forced. but he should be legally bound to that decision.

    i do NOT agree that a man should have ANY SAY WHATSOEVER as to whether or not a woman should abort.

    the problem here is that the state government wants to step in and interfere. in michigan, where i gave birth, you are not allowed to have a child w/o naming a father. in order to receive any state aid whatsoever, including medicaid, you must name a man for the state to chase after. they hunt him down, enforce a paternity test, and if the child is his, they file a suit on the child’s behalf (b/c we all know that child support is the right of the child, not the mother, and not some “single mother subsidy as the real ignorant sycophants would say). if he’s not, they come back to the mother and say “not him, who’s next”. michigan is not the only state that does this, though i cannot say how many do.

    i also believe that if a woman wants to raise a child w/o the father then she should be allowed. if the state hadn’t stepped in, i would have done it. see…i was scared for our lives, and i didn’t want him involved at all, even if it meant that i had to bear the full financial and social burden. i was willing to do that. but, no, since i couldn’t afford insurance for the baby (the insurance i was on was my mom’s b/c i was in college), the state made me name him. honestly i don’t think that the whole societal norm of two parents has any weight. i don’t care what the studies say. my child met her father for the first time when she was four, b/c he decided it wasn’t the right time for him, and i was happy to oblige. if you ask me (another opinion to which i am biased) she has turned out AWESOME!!! when government/society gets involved, it isn’t always best.

    but, if they are going to step in, and it is decided that the father should be responsible, he had best check himself, do what is court ordered, and remember that it isn’t a free pass to interfere in the lives of the mother and child. sorry boys, you don’t get to control our lives just cuz you kick a few dollars our way…if you do at all.

    wow…i am far too long winded today…sorry everyone.

  39. October 13, 2007 at 7:59 pm

    While theoretically, abortion is about deciding what goes on in one’s own body, the most cited reason for seeking abortion is that the women “aren’t ready to be mothers”, so the idea that woman can’t/don’t seek abortion to opt out of motherhood is not tied to reality. Since we protect these women’s right to do so, there should be adequate capability for men to do the same.

    Given that, the strongest support for male choice comes from an outrage over our judicial system’s placement of burden. The most cited cases that I’ve seen is were a 12 year old boy was statutorally raped by his older female baby sitter, who criminal courts found guilty of rape, but civil courts assed child support on the boy for the child born of rape. While these cases are clearly rare, there exists in our legal system no way for courts to not assess child support because of legal definitions and standings on men’s rights and responsibilities. For equality minded men (read: not men seeking privilege), even 1% is 1% too much, much like any percentage of woman abuse is that percentage too much.

  40. October 13, 2007 at 8:02 pm

    “For example, refusing parental rights during pregnancy would be just that, whereas refusing to pay child support after a child is born would be criminal.”

    I’m not following your logic, here.

    Are you theorizing that pregnancy carries zero cost? What about medical care, food and supplements, lost wages? I’m about half way through a very difficult pregnancy, and I can tell you straight up that if my husband walked away and decided he didn’t want to be a parent, I would be homeless in less than two months.

  41. October 13, 2007 at 8:08 pm

    Akeeyu,

    Basically the logic is this:
    A woman, during pregnancy has the right to decide to abort for whatever reason she sees fit, and is not required (though often does) to consult with anyone about it. However, once she has the child, she must care for it less she face criminal indictment for child abuse/neglect.

    Therefore, men should have the same reasonable opportunity. During the time in which the mother has to decide on abortion, the man should have that same time to decide if he is ready to be a father and accept responsibility for the child. If he accepts his role, he is fully responsible for aiding in the upbringing of said child (either directly by being a parent or through child support). If he decides that he is not ready, then he has no responsibility towards the child, but no rights of a father either. He cannot, however, decide after the child is born. Just like the mother, once the child is in the world, he is responsible. The only exception may be when the woman hasn’t given him notification that the child is his prior to the birth, and upon so would then have a short timeframe to decide (so as to prevent entrapment).

  42. kate
    October 13, 2007 at 8:13 pm

    My father was a classic MRA, harrassed my mother for years in court, dogged her with investigators, motions and hearings for custody. He always paid his child support, but the court system was his way to continue to abuse my mother and punish her for leaving him.

    I was taken from my mother’s home when young and raised for years by my father. The emotional scars still exist even after years of therapy. I lost getting to know an entire half of my family, including my mother for most of my growing up and worse yet, was isolated in the hands of a vicious abuser who like all most all men, simply hired a nanny to care for us and then married a woman to do it for free. With his superior earnings and male privilege he still was able to wear the crown of “dad” even though he never so much as raised a finger to assist in our care. And this man had the patriarchal privilege to be able to label my mother as inadequate for not keeping the house sufficiently clean or being selfish for pursuing a doctorate degree.

    His career never missed a beat and he thought he won. Now that we are older, the secret is out, my sibling and I know our mother and he is not trusted nor respected. He will die a bitter old man who, despite his best efforts to bring everyone together as a family, shall die reaping the final reward of the division and hatred he fomented; he will be alone. My mother is no saint and made herself vulnerable to his attack in some ways, but she was not the agressor or the one to wish to remove her children from any member of her family. Her small infractions cannot compare to the whole of his sin.

    Such is the legacy left by the MRA.

  43. sophonisba
    October 13, 2007 at 8:14 pm

    i think (just an opinion) that if a man doesn’t want to be involved in a child’s life, and the woman decides to continue w/ a pregnancy, that there could/should be some recourse for that.

    There is. If you don’t love your child and don’t want to speak to them, acknowledge them, know them, or see them, the law can’t force you to, and won’t try. All it will do is try to make you pay for sustenance so the kid doesn’t die.

    Seriously, what ever made you imagine that a man could be forced to be involved in a child’s life? He can’t be. Child visitation or custody is not a punishment that will be forced on a man if he doesn’t want it. Children — not women — are entitled to material support from both parents, but they can’t demand love or attention or involvement from any man who is not interested in giving it.

  44. sophonisba
    October 13, 2007 at 8:23 pm

    If he decides that he is not ready, then he has no responsibility towards the child, but no rights of a father either.

    Just like the mother, once the child is in the world, he is responsible.

    Dude. What? Which is it?

    I know this is really hard and complicated, but the facts are as follows. If a woman has an abortion, there. is. no. baby. No baby to abandon, and no baby to support. A woman who has an abortion is not abandoning a child. A woman who has an abortion is not sticking a man with the full cost and time commitment of raising her child. A woman who has an abortion is not doing the same thing as your hypothetical man. In order to come close to what you are suggesting he should be able to do, she would have to give birth in his living room and walk away, never to be seen again. Women can’t do that. It is not legal, moral, wise, or sane, and nobody proposes that we should start doing that. Men do not get a special gender pass to be raving bugfuck nuts just because a cruel god denied them a uterus.

    The only exception may be when the woman hasn’t given him notification that the child is his prior to the birth, and upon so would then have a short timeframe to decide (so as to prevent entrapment).

    Yes, toddlers are notorious entrapment artists.

  45. alsojill
    October 13, 2007 at 8:30 pm

    i think (just an opinion) that if a man doesn’t want to be involved in a child’s life, and the woman decides to continue w/ a pregnancy, that there could/should be some recourse for that.

    Which is why I think men in that situation should be able to sign away all parental rights of any kind, and then be free from child support. It should be an option, for men and women. Basically, it would be like giving the child up for adoption, but without the actual adoption. But it would be legally binding, and any attempt made by that person (b/c I can imagine women doing this, though much less often, as how many women really dump their newborns on the fathers and run? I know of exactly *one* woman who did this) to see the child would result in an immediate reinstatement of child support payments or possibly in legal action.

    Seems fair to me.

  46. October 13, 2007 at 8:30 pm

    Bryan,

    You’re missing the point. If my husband walks away, the fetuses still EXIST. They still need financial support. I still need food and a roof over my head to continue to survive, and clearly, if I die, all hands on deck will go down with me. Kind of an extreme form of abortion, don’t you think?

    Since I could be taken to court and prosecuted in this country for smoking crack while pregnant (on the theory that this would endanger the pregnancy), I don’t see how my husband’s obligation to the health and wellbeing of the fetuses is somehow nonexistant.

    I cannot walk away from being pregnant at this point, even though it is very clearly endangering my health and may cost me my job. MRAs always cry about how they want things to be FAIR. Not all things in life are fair. However, some things are right and wrong, and allowing men to check out on their children en masse isn’t right.

    Whether or not men want children, children need food. If the biological fathers aren’t going to support their children, that just means that the state is going to have to. How is that more fair?

  47. Anne
    October 13, 2007 at 8:41 pm

    There was a pretty good article I read about men terminating their parental rights. Here’s a snippet:

    Another Stance: If the Father Opposes Birth, He Should Not Pay Child Support

    There is a less extreme version of this argument: Men and women may be differently situated with respect to pregnancy, so that women but not men have the right to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. But with rights come responsibilities, and a woman who gives birth without the biological father’s blessing should not be able to collect child support from him. By failing to terminate her pregnancy in accord with the father’s wishes, in other words, she should assume the risk of parenting the child alone.

    Some have referred to this approach as the right of men to a “financial abortion.” A man who does not want his child brought into the world should let his sexual partner know of his feelings, they contend, and if she nonetheless goes on to keep the child that she conceives with him, then he should have the right to “choose” not to affiliate with that child and not to provide support. He should be entitled to opt out of the role of parent in the only way he can, just a woman is able to opt out absolutely by having an abortion.

    This argument is less alarming than the one urging a male right to require abortions. But there is a difficulty here as well. The problem derives from the reality that abortion is not a simple choice for most women, nor do most people in this country believe that it ought to be. Once an unwanted pregnancy begins, there are therefore consequences, for both the man and the woman, however much they would each wish otherwise.

    The initiation of an unwanted pregnancy, moreover, is just as likely to be the result of a man’s oversight (or “fault”), as it is to be the result of a woman’s. Perhaps the couple decided together to risk unprotected sex because contraceptives were not readily accessible. Or perhaps the man’s condom broke during intercourse. Or maybe a medical professional had incorrectly informed either the man or the woman that he or she was unable to conceive.

    However conception might have occurred, a woman faced with an unwanted pregnancy will not necessarily feel comfortable obtaining an abortion. Her hesitation may result from religious or moral convictions or from the sense that perhaps this pregnancy was “meant to be.” In the Dubay case, for example, his ex-girlfriend reportedly believes that life begins at conception. Regardless of her motivation, she faces a real dilemma once she learns that she is pregnant – she must either have the child or have an abortion, neither of which is a trivial matter.

    No matter which choice a pregnant woman makes – a choice that is (currently) hers by virtue of its substantial physical implications for her body — the man who helped place her in the situation should not easily be able to wash his hands of the consequences. Barring extreme circumstances (such as those discussed in an earlier column), the availability of abortion should not relieve men of equal responsibility for the children they help create, once those children do make their way into the world.

    And a snippet of another good one:

    The Equal Protection Clause embodies a commitment to formal equality: It mandates that likes be treated alike. It thus only guarantees that men and women be treated the same to the extent they are “similarly situated.”

    This limitation has operated in many respects as an obstacle to women’s quest for equality. For example, the Equal Protection Clause does not protect against pregnancy discrimination. In Geduldig v. Aiello, the Supreme Court held that classification based on pregnancy is not a classification based on sex, even though only women get pregnant. And since “pregnant persons” are not similarly situated to “non-pregnant persons,” the Court reasoned, there is no constitutional guarantee that the groups be treated alike.

    Before conception, men and women are arguably “similarly situated” with respect to potential procreation. Both have the ability to abstain from sexual contact that might result in pregnancy. Both also have the right, under the Supreme Court’s privacy jurisprudence, to make use of available contraceptives to avoid pregnancy.

    But that is where the similarity ends.

    After a child is conceived, the mother and father are no longer similarly situated. The woman carries and gives birth to the child, while the man has no continuing role in procreation. The woman’s unique, physical role in this process is constitutionally significant, and she thus has control over whether to continue with or terminate the pregnancy, as long as she exercises her decision within valid limits set by state law. (If those limits impose an “undue burden” on her exercise of her rights, however, they will be invalidated.)

    Once the child is born, the similarities between mother and father re-emerge. Mothers and fathers are, in theory, equally liable to support the child, with the liability adjusted based on their means and the child’s needs. Married mothers and fathers have essentially identical parental rights, and those rights, which include the right to the care, control, and custody of the child, are fundamental and thus cannot be abrogated by the state without a compelling reason.

    Unwed fathers do not automatically have parental rights, but instead must follow statutory procedures to earn them. Although those procedures vary from state to state, most are derived from a line of Supreme Court cases in the 1970s and 1980s that outlined the constitutional minimum for the rights of unwed fathers. In most states, an unwed father can gain parental rights – and thus the ability to argue for custody and visitation or to veto an adoption – if he has admitted paternity, openly behaved as a father to a child, or lived with or subsequently married the child’s mother. He may also file with the state’s “putative father” registry in case the mother never informs him about her pregnancy or the child’s birth. A father will also have legal rights (and concomitant obligations) if his paternity has been adjudicated or if the mother has listed him on the birth certificate or otherwise identified him as the father. If any of these requirements have been satisfied, an unwed father has rights similar to those of unwed mothers.

    Let’s return to Dubay’s claim. Taken together, the constitutional guarantees and statutory rules mean that Dubay’s claim must fail. Before the child was conceived, Dubay and his girlfriend both had – but did not exercise – the same right to avoid procreative behavior. During the period he and the child’s mother were not similarly situated – while she was pregnant – they did not have the same rights and the constitution does not say that they must.

    Now, they are similarly situated – they are both the biological parents of a child in need of support – and accordingly, they have the same rights and obligations. The fact that he does not want to be a father is constitutionally irrelevant. (For all we know, his ex-girlfriend does not want to be a mother – but may have become one because she does not believe in abortion.)

    As the highest court in New York held in a similar case, Pamela P. v. Frank S., “[the father’s] constitutional entitlement to avoid procreation does not encompass a right to avoid a child support obligation simply because another person has not fully respected his desires in this regard. However unfairly [the father] may have been treated by [the mother’s] failure to allow him an equal voice in the decision to conceive a child, such a wrong does not rise to the level of a constitutional violation.”

  48. Conflicted Feminist
    October 13, 2007 at 9:07 pm

    “Basically the logic is this…”

    I think Bryan clarified this part of the issue well. As I can’t help but see it, the following basic equation exists currently:

    A woman is pregnant by a man. If the woman wants to continue the pregnancy and gives birth, both the man and woman are legally and/or financially responsible, regardless of the wishes of the man at the time of the woman’s pregnancy.

    If, however, the woman does not want to continue the pregnancy and has an abortion, then there is no fetus/child and of course, no legal/financial responsibility for either party, regardless of the wishes of the man.

    Again, under no circumstances do I think a man should be able to force a woman either to go through with a pregnancy or to terminate it. But in the equation above, the woman gets to make a significant decision about the man’s life, but the man is not allowed (and should not be allowed) to make one about the woman’s life. Why is that fair? Just because a woman must carry the fetus for 9 months? (Not to unduly minimize that burden – I know that some women experience very difficult pregnancies.)

    If my husband walks away, the fetuses still EXIST. They still need financial support. I still need food and a roof over my head to continue to survive, and clearly, if I die, all hands on deck will go down with me. Kind of an extreme form of abortion, don’t you think?

    If you want to get into the hypothetical nitty gritty of how this might work, a man (or both the man and woman) might have to sign a document during the woman’s pregnancy either accepting responsibility for the child as a minor (as would be expected of the mother) or refusing all parental rights and privileges (as a pregnant woman could do by aborting the fetus). After that, the man would legally bear his part of the legal/financial burden, even if he leaves a woman while she’s still pregnant.

    I know it’s not romantic, but considering the weight of what we’re talking about here, isn’t it fairer?

  49. gaia
    October 13, 2007 at 9:18 pm

    Conflicted feminist – isn’t it just easier to discuss all this with a sexual partner BEFORE you ever have sex?

    I know Mr. Gaia and I discussed it within the first 2 days of knowing each other. When we went on to have a sexual relationship, he went into it knowing that I didn’t think abortion would be a viable option for me. As I recall, lo those many years ago, he started the conversation.

    But then MRAs would have to give up getting laid occasionally and they have the right, the RIGHT dammit, to have sex when and where and with whom they want.

  50. October 13, 2007 at 9:18 pm

    And if the man bails, who pays his portion of the child support that just vanished? The state?

  51. Anne
    October 13, 2007 at 9:26 pm

    Conflicted feminist,
    You’re talking as though all women could and would get an abortion if they didn’t want to continue the pregnancy. This is not the case. I can’t remember the statistics, but a large percentage of women are “pro-life.” She may carry the pregnancy and keep the baby because she believes it’s a life and it’s the right thing to do despite her own wishes of not wanting a child. There are some pro-choice women who’d keep the pregnancy despite not wanting to be a mother because while they believe in choice, they won’t choose an abortion for themselves. And it’s not some easy, willy-nilly decision.

    The father doesn’t have to be part of the child’s life. It’s not like he’s paying for everything – the mother’s life and the child’s – and she’s contributing nothing except physical custody of the child. She’s paying a hell of a lot more than he’ll ever pay in money, time, and life. Throwing a few bucks to the child every month while having none of the actual responsibility of taking care of the child is hardly the horrible situation some men are making it out to be.

  52. October 13, 2007 at 9:39 pm

    But in the equation above, the woman gets to make a significant decision about the man’s life, but the man is not allowed (and should not be allowed) to make one about the woman’s life. Why is that fair?

    The woman gets to make a significant decision about her life, namely whether she will continue the pregnancy. She does not get to decide whether she will or will not have any parental obligations toward the child.

    And those obligations do not depend on whether she consented to the sex, used birth control, or was able to obtain an abortion. If she was raped, if her man promised her that he had a vasectomy, if she was kept locked up by her abusive ex until past the point when she could get an abortion, if she was driven away from the clinic by violent protesters–it doesn’t matter. If she’s a parent, she is responsible for that child.

    Yet you are perfectly OK with that. Your concern is that the father be able to cut and run. Why the one-sided worry? Why do you think men should be granted a right women do not have?

  53. rich
    October 13, 2007 at 9:55 pm

    he most coherent argument leveled at me in the above argument was that a show like “Sex in the City” focused on men

    I think you could make a fair argument that that’s what Resuce Me is. But it’s not Sex in the City, because the default point of view is male. So Rescue Me is just another TV show, and not “that edgy show about some guys who’re always concerned with having or talking about their romantic/sexual relationships.”

    I think in order to achieve some level of equality men would HAVE to lose some rights…. like the right to primacy in every social experience. You don’t get to complain when you already have all of the damn rights.

  54. PG
    October 13, 2007 at 9:59 pm

    One point where I do wonder if there is equality is on giving up rights and obligations to the child after he/she is born. That is, from what I understand, if a woman wants to raise the baby she has delivered, the biological father must make child support payments. Does anyone know if this is true the other way around — that is, if a woman delivers the baby, wants to give him/her up for adoption, the biodad steps in and says he wants to raise him/her — does the biomom have to pay child support to him as well, even though she wanted to have the baby adopted partly in order to avoid the financial obligations of parenthood?

    If the woman doesn’t have to contribute money to the biodad’s raising the baby, then I think THAT — not any of these MRAs’ attempt to equate fatherhood with pregnancy, etc. — is an inequality in the law. We already have a law that says *either* bioparent, if meeting the minimum standards of fitness, can block an adoption and raise the kid, so that is equal. The remaining question is whether they are treated equally in child support obligations.

  55. October 13, 2007 at 10:06 pm

    If the woman gives birth and doesn’t want to raise the child but the dad does- then yes she is responsible for child support. Doesn’t happen often- but that is how it works.

  56. gaia
    October 13, 2007 at 10:25 pm

    Red Queen already answered, but PG, yes, if she chooses to give the baby up for adoption and the father refuses to sign and instead takes full custody, she is required to pay child support.

    And, if for whatever reason, he later has the child taken away from him by social services, she will be expected to pay child support to the state (for foster care) until his rights are terminated AND, in many states, the child has been placed for adoption (this is true in reverse as well).

    The only time men and women don’t have the EXACT same legal rights and responsibilities is while a woman is pregnant. And then she has a lot more legal restrictions than a man ever will. If she uses drugs, her conviction is more assured and her jail time more strict that if he used drugs. If she drinks and the baby is born with FAS, she can suffer legal consequences. The very act of being pregnant means that she can be discriminated against at work. She will have to give up at least 30 hours of work (for an uncomplicated pregnancy) just for OB visits and then, at minimum, 3 weeks after the birth – time for which many women will not be compensated. Giving birth will set most women back at least 3 years on their career path – more when she’s a single mother (“slut”) and is not lucky enough to work with the few open-minded, nonjudgmental people out there.

  57. shfree
    October 13, 2007 at 10:51 pm

    Many years ago, I had a friend that got pregnant, and the guy that got her pregnant gave her two choices–have and keep the baby, or have an abortion. He was flat out not going to agree to adoption, and both parents have to sign off on that if paternity is established. You can’t get public aid via Medicaid if you don’t name the father, and insurance companies won’t take on new customers with a pre-existing pregnancy. She ended up having the abortion, even though she had some moral opposition to it, because she didn’t want to be tied to that asshat for the rest of her life, and certainly didn’t want him as a father to the child she would end up raising.

    So, no woman gets to sign away parental rights if he doesn’t as well. Why should men get that out if women don’t?

  58. alsojill
    October 13, 2007 at 11:17 pm

    have and keep the baby, or have an abortion

    Here’s where I think women’s rights to not be a mother should be the same as a father’s. If he wants the damn baby, and she is opposed to abortion, then she can have the kid and give it to him to raise. She can pay child support and stay out of it. I wonder if that wouldn’t get him to sign those adoption papers.

  59. PG
    October 13, 2007 at 11:33 pm

    Red Queen, thanks for the info. So as it turns out, once a baby is born, both of the biological parents have obligations unless the baby is adopted. Neither bioparent can opt out of monetary support while the other bioparent is raising the kid.

    Hmm, I’m running out of possible inequalities for the MRAs to complain about. Are biodads required to support the pregnancy financially? Or are they required to provide support only once there’s a legally-recognized child?

  60. John
    October 13, 2007 at 11:48 pm

    It’s kind of enlightening to see the kind of men women like having babies by.

  61. gaia
    October 14, 2007 at 12:09 am

    PG – some states do require the father who refuses to sign adoption papers to repay the mother for her pregnancy related medical costs. Of course, it doesn’t come close to making him repay her for her lost wages, etc.

  62. Hector B.
    October 14, 2007 at 1:05 am

    In Geduldig v. Aiello, the Supreme Court held that classification based on pregnancy is not a classification based on sex, even though only women get pregnant.

    I was puzzled about this years ago. My medical insurance card from my first job specified how much they would pay if I had a Caesarian, which was extra, not part of the basic plan. Now I realize they were simply trying to be inclusive.

  63. Hector B.
    October 14, 2007 at 1:30 am

    I have pondered this asserted inequality in men’s and women’t pregnancy outcome rights, and have the answer: Sexually active men should be able to buy child support insurance. This would cover him in the case that their partners changed their minds about carrying a pregnancy to term, forgot to take birth control, “forgot” to take birth control (a favorite complaint of unwilling dads), or the birth control method failed. If the insurance was prohibitively expensive, he still can choose between his left and right hands.

    Logically, before having sex, men and women should discuss what they would each want to happen if the woman got pregnant. If the man and woman did not agree, they would go play air hockey or something, instead.

    But people’s decisions to have sex are not entirely rational. Plus, what people think about a hypothetical situation often changes when faced with the actual event.

    So what if a woman changes her mind and decides to have the child? The remedy for breach of a casual sex contract should be less than allowing the father to escape paying all child support. Plus the person penalized is not the breaching party but an innocent third party. Being able to insure against this loss provides for any child while stopping his whining that women can choose to have a child or not, while he can’t stop them.

  64. Conflicted Feminist
    October 14, 2007 at 1:38 am

    Mythago –

    I’m not sure I totally understand your logic. Admittedly I don’t know very much about the legal issues involved here, which is part of the reason I am asking this stuff.

    My point is that I think men and women should have equal rights regarding parenthood, such as they are able to given women having a uterus and men not. Both men and women should be able to “cut and run”, with no force or coercion. If the woman wants to opt out by not carrying on the pregnancy, she is allowed to (yes, with provisos and restrictions that are both legal and circumstantial). If she chooses to continue the pregnancy for whatever reason, but wants to opt out of parenthood, I think alsojill’s (#58) comments are actually reasonable. Or hell, they could have a legal agreement before, like I suggested, except the man would agree to take custody and the woman would forfeit all parental rights as well as being released from child support, if the man really wanted the child.

    Whether any of this is legally realistic is of course an issue, but I don’t see why we can imagine and try to work toward laws surrounding pregnancy and parenthood that are complex in this way.

  65. the candid castaway
    October 14, 2007 at 2:46 am

    Sexually active men should be able to buy child support insurance.

    That is…awfully expensive, inconvenient, and legalistic. I don’t know, I find all of these “solutions” more problematic than the problem. Also, most of them seem to put the burden of Menz Not Paying Child Support on, gasp, women.

    I mean, I think two questions men need to ask themselves is, “why do I think I am at high risk of unfair child support?” and “how valid is this fear?” I mean, the chance your casual hook-up is going to demand child support from you is rare, Knocked Up to the contrary notwithstanding. If you’re that scared that the one night stand you had with a condom will do that to you, “vasectomy” starts to be a valid comeback.

    It seems like a lot of the “high risk” fear comes from men choosing not to have talks about what happens when the condom breaks, or not trusting women to keep their word after having that discussion. So, in the first case: no, dude, you aren’t being oppressed if you have to talk about condom breakage aftermath and you’re a damn fool not to. In the second case: why are you sleeping with someone you don’t trust on something as incredibly important as that? And finally: why should womens’ life be hindered because you’re unwilling to talk about condom breakage or sleeping with someone you don’t trust to keep to your agreement about “what we do when the condom breaks?”

    I mean yes, sometimes bad things happen to good men, and you trusted the woman who decided to bilk you out of all your money, but your individual tragedy, as crappy as it is, doesn’t outweigh the incredible amount of system-gaming and child suffering that the alternatives bring.

  66. the candid castaway
    October 14, 2007 at 3:11 am

    Concerned Feminist @64: given that the “special rights” women have over pregnancy are situated not so much in women having unequal rights to the fetus, but equal rights to HER BODY and her body’s physical processes, I think the smart-ass answer is:

    Men’s time to ‘cut and run’ is pre-ejaculation. He busts a nut and he takes his chances.

    The less smart-ass answer is: Because that’s where men have their bodily integrity choice in the process. A man 100% has the right not to sleep with someone who would do something with his sperm he would prefer not to have done. If he values being at zero risk for unwanted child support more than the variable risk that having sex brings (and god, that sounds like an abortion troll line, but I don’t mean it that way; I’m just hard-pressed to buy that an epidemic communicating, birth-control wearing men are going to wake up and be used by an ev0l woman), then he should make sure his body can’t be used in that way.

    And until you have a radical shift in physiology or technology, to where a woman can sign away her parental rights to the father, and not have to undergo pregnancy for that father to have the child, a lot of what you’re saying is just ignoring the material realities that women have a right to control their bodies and pregnancy is a process that happens to their body. Add to that that you’re focusing on a worst-case scenario: a failed condom, either non-communication or a lying woman…and I just don’t see why the outliers are more important than everyone else.

    I mean, you’re so worried about this 5%, and I want to turn it around. Why? Why are you more worried about them than the system-gamers and deadbeat dads that would pop up in most of the alternate situations? I’m sorry if that sounds harsh, but why do you worry so much about this relative minority of men and not the hungry childrens, or women forced to do things to their body they don’t want to do because someone “cut and ran” six months in?

  67. Psychobunny
    October 14, 2007 at 6:28 am

    See, and here’s what always gets me: termination of parental rights is not the same damn thing as abortion.

    When a woman aborts she is making a choice about pregnancy, and it is a choice which men simply have no equivalent to. Because if a man is let off the parental hook, so to speak, there is still a living, breathing child to deal with. What if the guy changes his mind? A woman doesn’t get to “take back” her abortion. What if the guy still lives in the same neighbourhood, still interacts with the family, is still present in his child’s life? How is THAT the “same” as a woman’s right to abort? What if the man later develops a condition requiring bone marrow, or a spare kidney, and his living, breathing child – whom he has never had to support or even think about – is the only match? Are we going to turn around and say, “No, you had your man-bortion, that child cannot exist in your frame of reference“?

    Because as soon as we have the technology to also erase all of the man’s knowledge of his child’s existence, and prevent all contact between man and child, it will not be the same as an abortion.

    I mean, that’s even ignoring the fact that abortion isn’t about parenting, it’s about pregnancy, which so far is a phenomenon exclusive to women. And Arnold Schwarzeneggar movies.

  68. h0tr0d
    October 14, 2007 at 7:35 am

    I am not surprised there weren’t any well thought out criticisms of my previous post. I certainly dont expect anything from this crew, except to label me a troll. What deep thinkers !!

    The few that challenged me seem to zero in on child support. So, here’s the government report on money spent on children by families in 2006. You can see for yourself the disconnect between actual money spent on children by families and child support guidelines for ANY state. Of course, this requires you to get the child support guidelines for the state of your choice.

    http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/Publications/CRC/crc2006.pdf

    I don’t expect anyone here to read something that might conflict with their ideology.

    Doris Lessing, what a troll !!

  69. Gayle
    October 14, 2007 at 9:41 am

    Why in the world would I disagree with you, hotrod, when you keep proving my point?

    Your posts are also hilarious, btw! Please keep them coming!

  70. antiprincess
    October 14, 2007 at 10:19 am

    my machine is having trouble with that link. I could find older reports, but not the new one that you linked to.

    in the reports that I read, the USDA was tallying up how much money was spent – not how much it actually cost.

    Further, it seems to me that for every study that says that child support is too high, there’s an equally compelling study that says that child support is too low. (lies, damn lies, statistics…)

    I’m inclined to agree with Gayle – you are pretty funny. except for this:

    Doris Lessing, what a troll !!

    see, that’s just stupid. it’s the equivalent of a six year old boy saying “Mommy is a poopyhead!” just to see what the grownups will do.

    you can do better than that.

  71. kali
    October 14, 2007 at 10:30 am

    I know it’s not romantic, but considering the weight of what we’re talking about here, isn’t it fairer?

    NO IT’S NOT FAIRER. BECAUSE MEN DO NOT FEAR UNWANTED PREGNANCY AS MUCH AS WOMEN DO!

    Given that women are ALREADY much more afraid of unwanted pregnancy than men, (and even if you don’t accept my Pill logic above, a beahavioural study of condom-wearing will establish thisfact for you very quickly) why should we shift the burden to make unwanted pregnancy even more devastating for women, and completely consequence-free for men?

    Answer: we shouldn’t. DUH.

    Sorry for shouting. I just think this discussion is unbelievably stupid.

  72. Janna
    October 14, 2007 at 10:36 am

    antiprincess- I checked it out at it says it takes, on average, around $8,000/year to raise a kid, including housing, food, schooling, and misc. costs. This is an average, though, and I know from recent housing searches near a metropolitan area, that $8k would only cover my *housing* costs for about half a year. Even with the actual figures, MRAs are wrong. After reading almost all of the 3 or 4 recent threads related to this topic, I keep noticing this $4k/month figure being thrown around, which is a bit absurd. I’ve never heard anyone pay that much for child support, and from what I’ve experienced, child support is based on how much the father earns. I had a friend who fathered a child and only had to pay $50/week. How that comes close to the $4k/month, or $1000/week that the MRAs keep quoting, I have no clue. My own father, with three children, only had to pay my mother $375/week. Even comparing that higher amount, it comes nowhere close. It doesn’t even come close to the “significantly lower” amount quoted by the USDA report. $375/week=~20k/year, and with an average of $8k per child required per year, according to the USDA report, that leaves $4000.
    Also, this all only deals with cash/money, and doesn’t take into account the time and effort required to raise children, and child support is often taken in place of that time and effort.

  73. kali
    October 14, 2007 at 10:49 am

    I’m going to expand further: the “fairness” argument is, for reasons which other people on this thread have already explained, a total crock when it comes to something as fundamentally unequal as childbearing. You can’t make that a “fair” situation between the sexes. The reason I used a “fairness” type argument above, about how men should have to face consequences for unwanted pregnancy when women always have to, is purely because of how such a dumbass rule would affect behaviour.

    Specifically, what would happen to the rates of condom use if men had no fear of pregnancy? Women often don’t have the social or physical power to enforce condom use AS IT IS. I’m betting the rates of acquaintance-rape would also shoot way up. The abortion rate would be through the fricking roof. I just can’t get over how stupid the idea is.

  74. zuzu
    October 14, 2007 at 10:50 am

    I wonder how many of these guys with outsized fears of getting trapped into paying child support said to their partners prior to sex, “It’s okay if we do it without a condom; I’ll pull out.”

  75. Robbespierre
    October 14, 2007 at 11:08 am

    This discussion took an interesting turn… one question regarding the whole legal mess the evolutionary development of sexual reproduction has left us with today. From the probably necessary disclaimer that I don’t like abortions (who does), but think that a woman’s right to terminate a pregancy is, while philosophically not without problems, superior to any other possible alternative, you may already be able to guess the direction of my question. How is it possible to have a discussion about the relative fairness regarding either parents financial and other obligations towards the child or each other without even touching the moral (or legal) rights of the fetus, as seems to be the case here. I don’t want to start a pro-life/pro-choice debate. That’s a waste of time in my opinion. But I am slightly stunned that this crucial variable is apparently not given any consideration here.

  76. zuzu
    October 14, 2007 at 11:49 am

    The fetus doesn’t have any legal rights. A living child, however, does, and it’s that living child who has the claim for support on both parents.

  77. Raging Moderate
    October 14, 2007 at 12:29 pm

    Conflicted feminist – isn’t it just easier to discuss all this with a sexual partner BEFORE you ever have sex?

    I’ve always discussed it with my partners. But what if the woman changes her mind after she becomes pregnant (as is her right)? Why should a man have to support a child he doesn’t want, when the woman stated she would abort in the event of an unplanned pregnancy?

    I’m in favor of a “pre-shctup” similar to a pre-nup. A legally binding document that states that the man will have no parental obligations or rights in the event of an unplanned pregnancy.

    And if the man bails, who pays his portion of the child support that just vanished? The state?

    Sounds good to me. I’ve got nothing against government aid for those who need it.

    Men’s time to ‘cut and run’ is pre-ejaculation. He busts a nut and he takes his chances.

    How is this any different than the anti-abortion position that a woman wouldn’t need an abortion if she just kept her legs closed?

  78. Raging Moderate
    October 14, 2007 at 12:31 pm

    Also, my “pre-schtup” would require the man to pay for half of the costs of the abortion or the birth of the child.

  79. zuzu
    October 14, 2007 at 12:57 pm

    I’ve always discussed it with my partners. But what if the woman changes her mind after she becomes pregnant (as is her right)? Why should a man have to support a child he doesn’t want, when the woman stated she would abort in the event of an unplanned pregnancy?

    Because he gave her his sperm, and can’t decide what she can do with it. In any event, it’s not like you can contract away the right to choice before sex (or, for that matter, you can’t contract away the rights of another person to support).

    How is this any different than the anti-abortion position that a woman wouldn’t need an abortion if she just kept her legs closed?

    Because his last chance to prevent pregnancy is before ejaculation. Hers is later, either before implantation or once pregnancy is underway. Those who pull out the “she should have kept her legs closed” line simply want to punish women for having sex by denying them the right to terminate pregnancy. The MRA complaint is that it’s unfair that women get to choose what to do with sperm that is freely given to them. Like I said above, I really wonder how hard some of the complainers work at making sure they’re not giving away their sperm to women, who they clearly do not trust.

  80. Raging Moderate
    October 14, 2007 at 1:23 pm

    Because he gave her his sperm, and can’t decide what she can do with it.

    Even when they agree beforehand what she will do with it (abort in the event of a pregnancy)? What’s the point of discussing these things before having sex then? Seems to me this is saying “be careful because you can’t trust a woman”.

    In any event, it’s not like you can contract away the right to choice before sex>

    What choice are you referring to? Under my “pre-schtup”, the woman still has the choice to have an abortion if she wishes.

    And what do you say to women like my cousin, who accidentally became pregnant with a man who wanted nothing to do with the child? She didn’t want to name the father and wished to raise the child alone. Unfortunately, the law required her to name him, and he has been making her life hell for the past 10 years, as she knew he would.

    Wouldn’t she and her child have been better off without his interference in so many aspects of their lives (she didn’t need his money)?

  81. Raging Moderate
    October 14, 2007 at 1:24 pm

    Oops.

    Screwed up the tags.

  82. sophonisba
    October 14, 2007 at 1:47 pm

    Also, my “pre-schtup” would require the man to pay for half of the costs of the abortion or the birth of the child.

    No, it would require them to pay half the financial costs. Women will go on enduring the entire physical trauma from either outcome. And paying for half of their own surgery on top of it.

  83. zuzu
    October 14, 2007 at 2:21 pm

    Even when they agree beforehand what she will do with it (abort in the event of a pregnancy)? What’s the point of discussing these things before having sex then?

    If you don’t want to have a child, you should discuss these things beforehand to determine whether this is someone you a) think is on the same page with you; b) will follow through with an abortion in the event of an accident; c) think is worthy of being the mother of your child should she elect not to have an abortion once you’ve given her your sperm.

    Again, regardless of intentions, once the sperm is inside her body, she can do what she likes with it. Meaning she can abort against your wishes, and she can decide to have the kid against your wishes.

    Lesson: make damn sure you give your sperm only to women you trust. Which means *you* have to take responsibility for pregnancy prevention.

  84. zuzu
    October 14, 2007 at 2:27 pm

    And what do you say to women like my cousin, who accidentally became pregnant with a man who wanted nothing to do with the child? She didn’t want to name the father and wished to raise the child alone. Unfortunately, the law required her to name him, and he has been making her life hell for the past 10 years, as she knew he would.

    Wouldn’t she and her child have been better off without his interference in so many aspects of their lives (she didn’t need his money)?

    She probably would have. But the point of those laws is to provide support for the kid. And both parents have rights once the kid is actually born (both parents also have responsibilities, which is what we’re trying to drill into you here). She can’t just unilaterally cut off her kid’s right to support from his father, nor can she cut off the father’s right to see the kid.

    Of course, her situation is a bit different than that of some guy who finds out his girlfriend’s pregnant and decides that he doesn’t want to have anything to do with it because he signed a “pre-schtup” contract disavowing any responsibility in the creation of a child.

  85. anna
    October 14, 2007 at 4:25 pm

    Those who want better male contraceptives should take the survey at

    http://www.malecontraceptives.org/new_activism.php

    to prove there is demand for such products.

  86. Robbespierre
    October 14, 2007 at 6:32 pm

    Zuzu,

    The fetus doesn’t have any legal rights.

    I just checked that – and you’re right, as far as the US are concerned. Still, not a situation I am philosophically/ethically comfortable with. This is clearly a very senstive topic. One to be discussed on another occasion (the German solution for granting fetal rights while allowing abortions (briefly mentioned in this Wikipedia article) seems interesting…)

  87. October 14, 2007 at 7:41 pm

    from hotrod’s link above;

    The sample consists of 12,850 husband-wife
    households and 3,395 single-parent households and was weighted to reflect the U.S. popula-
    tion of interest, using BLS weighting methods.

    does this seem like a small number for a sampling of families to anyone but me?
    reading the information on how they made those numbers represent the whole country, and the “actual data” they used, it sure reads like a lot of guess work to make a pretty study.

    that is a lot of number trickery, and even the “data” they used is from anywhere from 1992-1996. hardly applicable data today.

    translation: the people conducting this study didn’t survey enough people. they didn’t get a fair sampling. the number are from estimates of what they think those families may have spent on things like food, housing, clothing, etc. those numbers don’t even come close. i saw one figure that put cost of food for a toddler at $6000 per year. uhh? anyone here who has shopped for a toddler and agrees w/ that number please raise their hand.

    *reaches into pocket* i am playing my bullshit card. unless you have actually been in the sitch first hand and raised a kid in a single income household, and watched your dollars run out the door cuz those kids grow even when you can’t afford new clothes…then shut the fuck up. your fancy studies don’t even begin to reflect the actual lives and expenditure of people raising children.

    god, that is like when my ex tells me that $200 a month is more than enough to feed a five year old. hahahahahahahaha. (she has stayed w/ him for 2 weeks of five years…yeah he knows)

  88. October 14, 2007 at 7:42 pm

    oh, and there is no way to track child support spending, since you are not required to show how it is spent. so if this study is saying that they know this is how the money is spent, bullshit again.

  89. gaia
    October 14, 2007 at 8:55 pm

    There are some cases where child support is more than it costs to raise the child. The idea in the law being that the child should not be punished because its parents don’t get along. The child should get to live in the same manner it would have lived in if the parents had been married.

    Funny that. The CHILD shouldn’t be forced to live in poverty just because the parents are no longer together. And if the mother is using the child support money in a way that is not to benefit the child, the father can take her to court. This happens a lot. Most times it’s proven that the father is just experiencing sour grapes.

  90. EG
    October 14, 2007 at 11:36 pm

    God, I hate MRAs. Their entire worldview seems to come down to “It’s not fair! I want to be able to fuck whomever I want without having to think about or be answerable for the consequences!”

    If they’re that serious, I don’t see why they wouldn’t just say to any prospective sexual partner “I am the sort of man who, if our sexual encounter leads to your pregnancy, has no moral problem with disclaiming all responsibility and walking away and leaving you holding the entire financial bag. That’s how little I’m concerned with your well-being. In fact, I suspect you’re an unreliable, grasping witch who will try to entrap me into causing your pregnancy with your magical pussy which renders me incapable of making my own decisions to wear two condoms and then manipulate me.” If they do that, it should take care of any worries they might have about getting anybody pregnant.

  91. threemilechild
    October 15, 2007 at 1:57 am

    As far as child prevention, men and women have exactly the same rights: to use biologically appropriate birth control. A woman can’t get a vasectomy; a man can’t get an abortion.

    As far as child support, it so needs to be nationalized. In my state, the fathers pay into the system based on their income, and the system pays out as public assistance. This keeps all children getting at least some minimum of support, but for those fathers who do pay, a lot of the money does not go to the child. At least if it were national, it would be a little harder to just not pay.
    I’ve found that men complaining about the huge amounts of child support the men they know are being forced to pay “to their ex-wives” calm down a bit when you point out that no, actually the exes aren’t seeing half of it. I can’t but to see this as pure vindictiveness; obviously the children are going to be better off if mom has more money, but the men are happier to see it leave the family entirely. If they can’t control the mothers of their children, at least they can make them suffer.

  92. h0tr0d
    October 15, 2007 at 7:17 am

    For all of you that disagree with the report I posted about costs to raise children, please post a different study that you feel has more accurate information. My point is, tables used for child support have no basis in fact and are effectively subsidies for single motherhood. I would welcome anyone that can provide data that disputes this.

    And quit whining.

  93. gaia
    October 15, 2007 at 8:25 am

    h0tr0d, I told you how child support is calculated. It’s calculated based on what kind of life the child would have if the parents were still married. It’s all about the CHILD. You’re not much of a grown-up if providing a good life for your CHILD (who you could have prevented by wearing a condom) is too much for you.

    Sometimes child support is more than needed to care for the child. A lot of the time it isn’t. But regardless, it’s all about the CHILD.

    If a father feels the mother is using the money on herself he can take her to court. And he often does. Most times it’s proven that she’s spending the money directly on the child and that the father is just trying to make things difficult for her. Most women, after being taken to court, decide it just isn’t worth it and settle for FAR less than the law allows just to get the ass to go away.

  94. h0tr0d
    October 15, 2007 at 8:55 am

    gaia, what you told me ? Please. Sorry, your word is meaningless. Please provide something other than your opinion if you want to convince anybody of anything. As it is, your shrill pronouncements dont amount to a hill of beans. The report I posted is about averages, I will concede there are always exceptions, but the fact that average child care costs are significantly lower than average child support tables blows your case up. Talking about individuals is meaningless.

  95. October 15, 2007 at 8:59 am

    H0tr0d, if you keep talking like that, I’m going to start deleting your comments. Don’t be an ass and we’re happy to engage with you.

  96. Confused
    October 15, 2007 at 9:01 am

    A woman can’t get a vasectomy; a man can’t get an abortion.

    If a woman does not wish to become a parent, she can be sterilized like a man (vasectomy). No need for abortion then. What’s good for the goose, and all that.

  97. h0tr0d
    October 15, 2007 at 9:01 am

    @antiprincess. My statement about Doris Lessing was sarcasm. I actually like her views about gender equality. In a speech at the Edinburg Book festival she said a “lazy and insidious” culture had taken hold within feminism that revelled in flailing men. Young boys were being weighed down with guilt about the crimes of their sex, while energy which could be used to get proper child care was being dissipated in the pointless humiliation of men….

    I find it humorous that when men say the same things in forum’s like this, they are labeled trolls.

  98. h0tr0d
    October 15, 2007 at 9:04 am

    Hi jill….if you read through the thread I’m sure you’ll see much worse things being said about me. I know you want to be fair to all.

  99. October 15, 2007 at 9:08 am

    H0tr0d, fairness is very important to me, but so is creating a community where feminists feel safe and welcome. As most of the other commenters in this thread are regulars who I recognize and who I know are also committed to that goal, I’m willing to give them a bit more leeway.

    I’m not trying to threaten you or silence you, I’m just asking that you please keep up a level of civility and that you recognize that you’re entering into an established feminist forum where my first priority is the community here.

  100. h0tr0d
    October 15, 2007 at 9:23 am

    Jill, I will try to keep it civil. I would request you do your part too.

  101. Breo Saighead
    October 15, 2007 at 12:01 pm

    Okay hotr0d, how this:

    According to the USDA, an average low income single-parent household spends somewhere between $7,000 & $8,000 per year on a child.

    According to the US Census, the average yearly child support payment is $3,400 (+/- $300).

    Wow!! Looks to be like people paying child support are paying half of the cost of the child! How unfair! Not to mention the parent with custody gets to spend every free moment of the day raising said child! How barbaric!

  102. h0tr0d
    October 15, 2007 at 12:26 pm

    Are you purposely trying to compare different data from different years and different agencies ? You might want to go back and study the difference between median and average as well. Some people would consider custody a privilege….you apparently aren’t one of them.

  103. October 15, 2007 at 2:40 pm

    who are these women who are making all this money of of child support, paying off mortgages and shit? I want to meet them and find out what their secret it.

    strike that.

    I’d settle for knowing one fucking woman in my life who got so much as a penny in child support without dragging it through the courts.

    The only person I’ve ever known who got child support from their dad was the child of two trust-fund baby junkies and it was his paternal grandmother who paid the child support.

  104. EG
    October 15, 2007 at 3:31 pm

    What I find interesting here is how MRAs seem to have no shame whatsoever about declaring “I feel no responsibility for my child. I do not care about his or her standard of living. I resent any of my money going toward easing this child’s life, and I rather my child suffer than I pay a penny extra. Further, I have the delusional belief that it is possible to improve the lives of children without improving the lives of those who care for them.”

    I mean, really. They don’t have a moral leg to stand on, and then they wonder why nobody sympathizes with them.

  105. Mike
    October 15, 2007 at 4:51 pm

    Let me ask a couple of questions.

    Obviously, the whole support issue is big with both sides of the arguement. My take is that if you are the father, you’re responsible. Period. However, take the popular MRA scenario where a couple gets divorced and, at that time, it turns out that the “father” is not actually the childs biological father. Should he have to provide support or should the biological father? I feel that if you’ve raised and loved the child, you would want to continue to be the father because there is more than biology involved… but should the biological father have to provide support?

    Also, one thing I’ve noticed looking at thier websites is a lot of things they talk about have to do with criminal law reform. Specifically, equal punishment for equal crimes. What does everybody think of that part of the issue? Is there a disparity between the sentences women get and men get for the same crimes? For example, teachers having sex with students, drugs, murder, etc.

  106. EG
    October 15, 2007 at 5:13 pm

    Teachers having sex with students should be punished to the full extent of the law no matter what. It’s appalling abuse. I’ve yet to meet a feminist who says “Eh, when it’s a female teacher and a boy student, it’s no biggie.” I have met plenty of men who’ve said “Dude! That would be so hot!” which is further evidence of too many men’s ignorance of the severity of sexual abuse. Given the massive institutionalized oppression of women, however, I find it hard to get worked up about the paltry number of ways men might just have it a tiny bit worse. MRAs can get back to me when the power relations between men and women are closer to equivalent.

    I find it hard to imagine how this scenario would come up, though–the one about divorce and biological fathers, etc. It’s my understanding that if a child is born in wedlock, the legal father is the husband, and that would be how the law handles it. I think that any man who deserts a child he has previously cared for is an asshole no matter what his reasoning, and I don’t think that the bio father should even come into it. Here’s why: the point of child support is to maintain the child in the style to which it had been accustomed, so it should not suffer financially from a divorce (of course, this never works out, but for the sake of argument). If divorce had not occurred, the father would not have been able to withdraw financial support from it regardless of biology, so why should the kid suffer now?

  107. EG
    October 15, 2007 at 5:21 pm

    I would also point out that all these “injustice” that MRAs are so upset about are the result of male-dominated government policies, male judges, male legisators, and general male domination of all legal and social institutions. Let’s see, now, who is it who’s fighting against such control?

    Ah, right. Feminists.

  108. gaia
    October 15, 2007 at 5:28 pm

    LOL – “shrill”. Oooo-kay.

    http://www.lectlaw.com/files/fam19.htm

    STANDARD OF LIVING

    When a court sets child support, it often considers the family’s pre-
    divorce standard of living and attempts to continue this standard for
    the children

    http://www.dougloudenback.com/law/oklahoma%20child%20support%20computation.pdf

    Generally, the
    “income shares” approach means that (a) children should be the least to be affected
    by the economic consequences of divorce, meaning that they should be supported as
    much as possible in a manner commensurate with their parents’ income level after
    divorce much as they were before divorce; (b) families at different income levels tend
    to spend varying amounts directly or indirectly for the support of their children; and
    (c) parent’s should contribute to the support of their children in a manner which is
    proportionate to each parent’s percentage of combined parental income. Putting
    theory into practice, a “Child Support Schedule” (43 O.S. §119) shows the amounts
    of direct and indirect support that families at particular family income levels are
    presumed to spend on their children and, as is explained in the Child Support
    Guidelines statute (43 O.S. §118), the child support “obligor” would ordinarily be
    required to pay his/her proportionate share of the §119 amount as “base support”. The
    same approach is applied to actual health insurance premiums attributable to the
    children and to work/school related child care expenses of either parent, even though
    child care expenses are no longer part of “base support”.5″

    So, it’s about making sure the kids aren’t punished because the parents didn’t keep their relationship going. The theory is that kids should be allowed to live the life they would have lived if the parents had stayed together.

    It’s about the KIDS, not the mother.

    If a father feels that the child support money is not being used for the benefit of the children, he can petition the court for an accounting in 11 states and in ALL states he and his attorney can allege “taking” from the child.

    If you don’t want kids, wear a condom, every single time. If something happens and a child results – be an adult and realize that supporting the child is not about you or the mother but is about the child.

  109. h0tr0d
    October 15, 2007 at 10:33 pm

    OK, so then you agree the kids should not be punished, and since the mother has primary custody, then she benefits out of dumb luck ? And the Father should take the financial hit so that the wife and kids should maintain their lifestyles. Well I have a fundamental disagreement with that. First, the women shoud gain no benefit from child support. Can we agree this is not the case ? Marriages should end with a presumed joint custody agreement unless abuse is present on either side. Than each parent is responsbile for 50% of the child care costs. Just like that we have an fair solution. But no, now while organizations like NOW say there should be no presumed custody and drag out their phony DV statitistics. Family Court is a trap and there are so many studies to prove it…..maybe I will post one per week.

    Will y’all read it ?

  110. h0tr0d
    October 15, 2007 at 10:37 pm

    annalouise,

    The courts want to collect the child support money. That’s how they collect more matching dollars from the feds. They want to collect all child support payments and run it through their system to maximize the money paid out by the federal govt. That’s how the system is so corrupt, they incent states to collect more and more child support.

  111. EG
    October 15, 2007 at 10:41 pm

    No, not out of “dumb luck.” Out of patriarchal cultural tradition that has succeeded in making women overwhelmingly take on the role of primary caretaker for children. Why should a child’s routine life be turned upside-down because Daddy decides to run off with a woman he met on the train? If the kid is used to being taken care of by Mommy, why can he not go on being taken care of by Mommy? Because Daddy doesn’t want to have to write a check? You think that’s in the best interest of the child?

    Marriages should end with a presumed joint custody agreement unless abuse is present on either side.

    I refer you again to the fact that women are overwhelmingly children’s primary caretakers. When men take on half of the parenting work while married, they have a right to joint custody.

    I note that you’re also assuming that most fathers want joint custody. Considering the number of men who skip out on their kids and show little to no interest in seeing them, I suspect you have a rude awakening in store.

    By the way, nice attempt at slight-of-hand there, saying that joint custody should be presumed except in cases of abuse, and then claiming that DV stats are “phoney.” Don’t tell me, you believe in PAS too, right?

  112. EG
    October 15, 2007 at 10:42 pm

    The courts want to collect the child support money.

    You’re assuming the mother has the money and resources to go to court in the first place. Tell me, do you have any insight at all into how divorce works here in the real world?

  113. EG
    October 15, 2007 at 10:58 pm

    Further, you seem ignorant of the fact that when a father cares enough to contest custody, he is rewarded with increased custody more than half the time. His child support payment is the reduced. And then, you know, quite often the funniest thing happens. He starts to spend less and less time with his kids…and then the mom, if she has the resources, has to go back to court.

    You also don’t seem to get that what is at stake with child support is maintaining the kid in the style to which it had been accustomed when its parents were married. If it had previously lived with a dad who was a lawyer and a mom who was a SAHM, its standard of living was probably pretty good. In the scenario you suggest, the kid goes from that to spending one week with a lawyer who is now supporting himself all the time and a kid half the time rather than himself, his wife, and his kid all the time. And the next week, the kid is living with its mom, who has had to re-enter the workforce after a 6-year absence. She hasn’t been able to find a job, or the only job she’s been able to find pays 10 bucks an hour. The kid is therefore spending half the time considerably worse off than it had been before. When it comes to a child’s standard of living, you can’t just average the two extremes and call it even. It’s how the child lives all the time.

    I would add that I don’t think that having to change homes every week is good for a kid. Children generally need stability. Aren’t all these fathers at all concerned about what’s best for their children? If they’re not, they don’t deserve custody at all.

  114. zuzu
    October 15, 2007 at 11:27 pm

    And the Father should take the financial hit so that the wife and kids should maintain their lifestyles.

    I so love this argument. As if maintaining the lifestyle of the kid costs significantly more now that it’s assessed as a monthly or weekly lump sum rather than as the largely-invisible expenditure it was when the couple was together.

    And, newsflash! Someone else has to make up the rest of the cost of maintaining the child. Who could that be?

  115. gaia
    October 15, 2007 at 11:41 pm

    EG – I’ve heard of custody arrangements where the kids stay in the same house and mom and dad rotate out to an apartment (usually the same apartment to keep costs down).

    h0tr0d – Active fathers are almost NEVER denied joint custody. If I were to get divorced right now, I know no judge would award me full custody. Mr. Gaia is a very involved father and shares equally in childcare duties. And has from the beginning (even before the beginning – he made it a point to come to every OB appointment with me).

  116. October 15, 2007 at 11:54 pm

    First, the women shoud gain no benefit from child support.

    But it’s OK if a man benefits from child support?

    I actually believe it would be better for men to get primary physical custody more often. Let them juggle single parenthood and work instead of showing up to play Fun Daddy on weekends and bitching that the ex spends too much money on necessities.

  117. h0tr0d
    October 16, 2007 at 9:23 am

    EG – Patriarchal tradition went the way of the dodo bird a long time ago. Are there any women here that dont expect their husband to participate in child rearing. And even if your a stay at home mom, the reason the dad is at work is to provide for the family. Believe it or not that is contributing to the good of the child. If a man does not want to share custody, there’s not much of a discussion. Why would you object to presumed shared custody if “most” fathers wouldn’t be interested ? The DV stats that are phoney are the ones that most feminists throw around like 95% of DV is initiated by men, but they have no reference. There is plenty of data at the CDC website which documents that DV cuts both ways and for young adults, women are more likely to initiate violence and in non-reciprocal cases of DV men are more likely to be the victim.

    Maintaining a child’s lifestyle is not realistic. Just look at the math, you have one household with some total income. Now you have to run two households with the same income. How is it possible to maintain a lifestyle ? zuzu, care to share your vision ?

    mythago, how in the world would a man benefit from child support ? I’m sure there are some men that get child support payments, but I think they are a distinct minority. And unlike most feminists I don’t think there should be special rules by gender, so if child support tables are too high, that means men with custody should get less….very simple. You sound very angry.
    You shouldn’t confuse your experiences with all men.

  118. threemilechild
    October 16, 2007 at 5:08 pm

    Confused:
    You’re changing the subject. The legal right to abortion is being argued elsewhere. Care to explain why biological differences in available birth control mean that men have no moral and should have no legal responsibility to their offspring?

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