Is it unfair to force men to support their children?

In what’s actually a pretty reasonable and thoughtful piece, one woman says yes: That abortion rights given women an out from being parents, and we shouldn’t tell men that having sex means taking on the responsibility to have a child:

Women’s rights advocates have long struggled for motherhood to be a voluntary condition, and not one imposed by nature or culture. In places where women and girls have access to affordable and safe contraception and abortion services, and where there are programs to assist mothers in distress find foster or adoptive parents, voluntary motherhood is basically a reality. In many states, infant safe haven laws allow a birth mother to walk away from her newborn baby if she leaves it unharmed at a designated facility.

If a man accidentally conceives a child with a woman, and does not want to raise the child with her, what are his choices? Surprisingly, he has few options in the United States. He can urge her to seek an abortion, but ultimately that decision is hers to make. Should she decide to continue the pregnancy and raise the child, and should she or our government attempt to establish him as the legal father, he can be stuck with years of child support payments.

Do men now have less reproductive autonomy than women? Should men have more control over when and how they become parents, as many women now do?

The political philosopher Elizabeth Brake has argued that our policies should give men who accidentally impregnate a woman more options, and that feminists should oppose policies that make fatherhood compulsory. In a 2005 article in the Journal of Applied Philosophy she wrote, “if women’s partial responsibility for pregnancy does not obligate them to support a fetus, then men’s partial responsibility for pregnancy does not obligate them to support a resulting child.” At most, according to Brake, men should be responsible for helping with the medical expenses and other costs of a pregnancy for which they are partly responsible.

Few feminists, including Brake, would grant men the right to coerce a woman to have (or not to have) an abortion, because they recognize a woman’s right to control her own body. However, if a woman decides to give birth to a child without securing the biological father’s consent to raise a child with her, some scholars and policy makers question whether he should be assigned legal paternity.

Historically, it was important for women to have husbands who acknowledged paternity for their children, as children born to unmarried parents were deemed “illegitimate” and had fewer rights than children born to married parents. Today, the marital status of a child’s parents affects much less that child’s future. Nevertheless, having two legal parents is a significant advantage for a child, and establishing legal paternity for both married and unmarried fathers is a complicated but necessary part of our public policies.

As more children are born to unmarried parents, the social and legal preference for awarding paternity to the mother’s husband becomes more outdated. When there is a dispute about fatherhood rights and obligations, the courts can use different criteria for assigning legal paternity. These include a man’s marital or marriage-like relationship with the child’s mother, his caregiving and support role in the child’s life, and his biological relationship to the child.

The legal scholar Jane Murphy has argued that a new definition of fatherhood is emerging in our laws and court decisions which privileges a man’s biological tie to a child over other criteria. In a 2005 article in the Notre Dame Law Review, Murphy wrote about paternity “disestablishment” cases in which men who have assumed the father role in a child’s life seek genetic testing to avoid the obligations of legal fatherhood, typically when they break up with the child’s mother. Her research shows that replacing the limited “mother’s husband” conception of fatherhood with a narrow biologically based one still leaves many children legally fatherless.

Furthermore, Murphy explains how the new definition of ‘fatherhood’ is driven by the government’s goal of collecting child support from men whose biological offspring are in the welfare system, as well as lawsuits from men aiming to avoid financial responsibility for their dependents. Murphy, then, reasonably proposes that judges and legislators “recognize multiple bases for legal fatherhood” and be guided by “the traditional goals of family law — protecting children and preserving family stability.” Murphy argues for revising paternity establishment policies so that fewer men become legal fathers involuntarily or without understanding the legal responsibilities they are assuming.

Court-ordered child support does make sense, say, in the case of a divorce, when a man who is already raising a child separates from the child’s mother, and when the child’s mother retains custody of the child. In such cases, expectations of continued finiancial support recognize and stabilize a parent’s continued caregiving role in a child’s life. However, just as court-ordered child support does not make sense when a woman goes to a sperm bank and obtains sperm from a donor who has not agreed to father the resulting child, it does not make sense when a woman is impregnated (accidentally or possibly by her choice) from sex with a partner who has not agreed to father a child with her. In consenting to sex, neither a man nor a woman gives consent to become a parent, just as in consenting to any activity, one does not consent to yield to all the accidental outcomes that might flow from that activity.

Policies that punish men for accidental pregnancies also punish those children who must manage a lifelong relationship with an absent but legal father. These “fathers” are not “dead-beat dads” failing to live up to responsibilities they once took on — they are men who never voluntarily took on the responsibilities of fatherhood with respect to a particular child. We need to respect men’s reproductive autonomy, as Brake suggests, by providing them more options in the case of an accidental pregnancy. And we need to protect children and stabilize family relationships, as Murphy suggests, by broadening our definition of “father” to include men who willingly perform fatherlike roles in a child’s life, and who, with informed consent, have accepted the responsibilities of fatherhood.

These are more compelling arguments than those usually used by men’s rights activists, but they still fail. What a lot of “what about the dads??” commentators seem to be forgetting is that child support is for the child, not the mother. Abortion rights don’t mean that a woman can get out of being a parent to a living child. Once the child is born, it’s entitled to support from both of its parents. Yes, women can surrender infants at hospitals — Save Haven laws were passed in most states in response to the “prom baby” hysteria, that teenage girls were giving birth and committing infanticide. But as I understand it, infant surrenders under Save Haven laws are fairly rare. And Safe Haven laws only apply to infants. Jessica Valenti talks about this in her latest book, but a few years ago Nebraska made its Safe Haven laws applicable to any children under the age of 18; something like 35 families attempted to surrender older children, and the state changed the law.

And as a general rule, adoption law requires that the biological father is also notified and can surrender his rights. Outside of infant safe haven laws, women can’t just turn their children over to the state with no consent from the father, if the father is known (and at least in some states, authorities will look for the father of an infant dropped off under Safe Haven). Nor can a mother push the child off on the father and demand he take full responsibility, financial and otherwise. Once the child is born, the rights of both parents are more or less equal, because the state interest is in the child.

Before the child is born, yes, the woman has the right to terminate, because she’s not obligated to use her body to carry a pregnancy against her will. Men who are capable of getting pregnant are also entitled to terminate pregnancies. What these fathers’ rights advocates are asking for is essentially a special right for men that women generally don’t have: The right to not support your own child, aside from surrendering that child for adoption.

I also wonder at what point these advocates would suggest severing fatherhood responsibilities. Before a certain point in the woman’s pregnancy, so that she can terminate if she decides she can’t support a child herself? That seems like it wouldn’t be particularly appealing to pro-lifers (and certainly isn’t appealing to pro-choicers for its coercion). But this author is also concerned about the apparently dim-witted dude so excited about a girlfriend’s pregnancy that he signs the birth certificate but wants to terminate his rights at some later time. So men should just get to sever their parental rights whenever they feel like it?

Considering the fact that child support delinquency is extremely common and payments aren’t strongly enforced by the courts, and that fairly significant shares of women never seek child support, this doesn’t seem like a hugely pressing social issue. And the men who don’t want to pay to support their own children, who a former female partner is doing the actual hard work of raising, aren’t particularly sympathetic.

These folks aren’t asking for equality. They’re asking for preferential treatment, above even the state interest in children.

Author: has written 5280 posts for this blog.

Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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250 Responses

  1. Kierra
    Kierra June 17, 2013 at 9:51 pm |

    broadening our definition of “father” to include men who willingly perform fatherlike roles in a child’s life, and who, with informed consent, have accepted the responsibilities of fatherhood.

    Don’t most men who are performing “fatherlike roles” generally go on to legally adopt those children when they marry their mothers anyway? I’m not really understanding what’s being proposed here.

    1. Librarygoose
      Librarygoose June 17, 2013 at 10:14 pm |

      Not really, no. My dad never formally adopted my brother and sisters, who my mom had in a previous marriage and my brother-in-law never formally adopted my sisters first two kids despite being the only father either has known. It can be cost prohibitive to formally adopt and change a kid’s name.

      1. Joe from an alternate universe
        Joe from an alternate universe June 19, 2013 at 9:39 pm |

        For this to happen the biological father has to formerly give up his paternity. The problem is if the biological father is around at all, or his family is still even remotely involved, he won’t relinquish those rights. He and his family have to agree never to see the child again, usually. Once the bioligical father and his family agree to give up paternity, name change and adoption aren’t that expensive.

        I had this happen when I was almost engaged to a woman with a 5 year old girl. We agreed to ask the father to sign away paternity. Then I would be free to adopt her daughter and change her surname from hers to mine. It almost worked until his parents objected, and convinced him not to give up his rights. You have to realize once adopted his extended family has no visitation rights. They were nice people, but I did not want them around.

        1. Hrovitnir
          Hrovitnir June 19, 2013 at 11:40 pm |

          It really irritates me you can only have one mother and father. I realise logistically it would be a big change and would probably involve having to acknowledge poly families exist but for an anecdote:

          My father died when I was 11 months old. He was 19, I love him, and he’s my father. My other father raised me from when I was around 1 year old. I love him, and he is also my father. We seriously considered him adopting me when I was a teenager because I could get European citizenship (he didn’t even get around to confirming *his* so that was a no-go regardless). I did not want to erase my birth father from my birth certificate.

          I want my mother and BOTH my fathers on my birth certificate, damn you all!

        2. debbie
          debbie June 20, 2013 at 9:56 pm |

          @ Hrovitner

          In Ontario, you can have three parents on your birth certificate.

        3. Librarygoose
          Librarygoose June 20, 2013 at 11:47 pm |

          For all four of my mom’s kids at that point in time, it was prohibitively expensive.

        4. Librarygoose
          Librarygoose June 20, 2013 at 11:52 pm |

          You have to realize once adopted his extended family has no visitation rights.

          My mom’s first husband was a abusive pedo who was not allowed anywhere near his kids and since his family refused to stop seeing him the judge ruled my mother could keep the kids away from any extended family she deemed dangerous (within reason, obviously). It really was a matter of us living in poverty at the time, then never getting it done because if it hadn’t happened,why bother?

    2. Alexandra
      Alexandra June 17, 2013 at 10:16 pm |

      This is certainly what happened in my family, when my grandmother remarried after being abandoned by her first husband – my grandfather legally adopted my father and my uncle.

      But not all families are headed by a married couple any longer. What about a man who lives with a woman for ten years, helps raise her kids, and then leaves? Or a man who has a child with a woman, helps in the first few months of the child’s life, and then leaves, all outside of a marriage?

      These are sticky situations which our laws don’t do a great job of addressing. I don’t have much of an opinion about the debate being presented here because I feel frankly too ignorant of the issues. I find persuasive both the notion that men have fewer options to choose not to parent and the concept that child support is fundamentally for the child, not the custodial parent (I know families where the mother pays child support to the custodial father, so).

      1. lilith danne
        lilith danne June 19, 2013 at 9:37 pm |

        Right

    3. zaebos
      zaebos June 17, 2013 at 11:26 pm |

      Honestly, if a man can reasonably work without great physical pain/risk, he should support his child that he conceived with at least money. Paying money and forced into fatherhood are two very different things.

      Though, I don’t think an act of kindness or care for their friends/lover’s children should lead to legal responsibility. That sounds a bit…entitled? Now if he goes through the motions of adopting and he decides he can’t live with that woman and, for some reason, doesn’t want to live with her children then yes, he should be held responsible.

      Also, what of same-sex relationships, can legal motherhood/fatherhood be obtained from temporary support in non-heterosexual relationships?

      1. macavitykitsune
        macavitykitsune June 17, 2013 at 11:40 pm |

        can legal motherhood/fatherhood be obtained from temporary support in non-heterosexual relationships?

        Depends on the meaning of “temporary”. I reckon (and I know this is non-PC and probably unenforceable) someone involved in a kid’s life for 10 years or whatever really should be taking at least some responsibility for the child’s welfare, but I don’t think someone in a relationship for 5 months should be in the same position.

        But then again my poly-friendly self would also like to see parenting responsibilities (if not all rights) extended beyond two parents with bioparental consent. So…you know. YMMV and all that.

        1. zaebos
          zaebos June 18, 2013 at 10:34 am |

          I suppose, but still, I just don’t like the idea of personA helping/supporting personB and then have personB turnaround and demand more. I dunno, just sounds icky to me.

          But I’d support such a notion of personA was allowed to make life-direction choices for the child as if he had rights to it. Then I’m fine with him having the rights AND responsibility.

        2. debbie
          debbie June 20, 2013 at 9:58 pm |

          Canadian family law actually does allow for this. There have been a number of family law cases in Canada where parents who have been involved in a child’s life in a parental role (i.e., as the the child’s parent’s partner for a significant part of the child’s life and actively parenting them) have had to pay child support.

      2. TomSims
        TomSims June 18, 2013 at 6:31 am |

        “Paying money and forced into fatherhood are two very different things.”

        I disagree. No one forced him to not to use a rubber or even have sex in the first place. Accidents happen. We all have to pay for our mistakes. As a taxpayer, I’m tired of paying for the mistakes of others.

        1. zaebos
          zaebos June 18, 2013 at 10:30 am |

          Seems like you’re attacking a strawman.

        2. thefish
          thefish June 26, 2013 at 6:43 pm |

          No one forced him to not to use a rubber or even have sex in the first place.

          Men get raped. No but you keep on telling he roughly five million people male victims in America they weren’t really raped. It just makes you a terrible person.

    4. lilith danne
      lilith danne June 19, 2013 at 9:26 pm |

      That what I thought this is a straw man from the mra

  2. Wordwizard
    Wordwizard June 17, 2013 at 10:03 pm |

    I always understood a man or woman’s parental rights were based on the child’s passing along their genes, quite aside from abortion rights, or “choosing” to be a parent. Once the child is born, it’s a fact, however it came to be.

    However, I could argue in the opposite direction: “having two legal parents is a significant advantage for a child” Specifically how? What if the mother does not WISH to grant parental rights, for whatever reason, to the man who impregnated her, or that she is married to/living with? There are certainly a lot more “deadbeat dads” than “deadbeat moms” (a term that doesn’t even exist), so is it necessarily in the child’s best interests for the mother to HAVE to share her parenthood decision-making with someone she does not choose to, and may not be able to get along with co-operatively?

  3. macavitykitsune
    macavitykitsune June 17, 2013 at 10:20 pm |

    In places where women and girls have access to affordable and safe contraception and abortion services, and where there are programs to assist mothers in distress find foster or adoptive parents, voluntary motherhood is basically a reality.

    I guess the important question, then, is where these places are. I would have very different answers depending on the place the author’s from. If it’s the US, well…I’ve got nothing but “lol”.

    Also, I would like to further extend a lovely “lol” to the notion that telling a uterus-haver “well, there’s always adoption” is in no way financially or emotionally coercive. What’s to stop someone doing that at any age? I mean, I guess if Val and I were poor enough, the kid would be taken away from us. So does that justify her father not paying child support? Fostering is still an option, after all, and will remain so until she’s 18. The fact that we’d fight tooth and nail to keep that from happening is incidental to this argument. (Unless there’s something I’m not seeing?)

    Since we’re discussing Fantasy Feministopia, my ideal world would look like this: people have 100% access to birth control, preventative/curative, doesn’t matter, and everyone is entitled to safe and immediate access to abortion facilities, long-term birth control, etc. (This is also why I would dearly love to see male long-term BC – the equivalent of Depo would be good.) Gestating partners have complete say over termination at any point (with obvious caveat such as if the foetus is already viable and completely non-threatening to the gestator’s life, it should be removed in a manner that ensures it a decent chance of survival at least). At birth, both biological parents have the right to accept or terminate parental rights (which is fair given that parenthood in this ideal world is an opt-in); should neither desire to maintain parental rights, the child is put into the foster care system. After that point, both bioparents are on the damn hook for the kid, and they’d better bloody well pay, too. I have no patience for deadbeats.

    Ideally, there should be an option for “partial rights” – I’m thinking things like open adoptions, here, or joint custody – which would entitle bioparents to visitation, or whatever, if they choose to go that route, and that would be a negotiation with adoptive parents that can be enforced through courts, like child support payments. But that’s a tangle I freely admit to not knowing enough about to posit an ideal.

    1. amblingalong
      amblingalong June 17, 2013 at 10:45 pm |

      /thread

      1. Aaliyah
        Aaliyah June 17, 2013 at 10:50 pm |

        Seconded. Leave it to Mac to make an awesome starting comment in a thread.

        1. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune June 17, 2013 at 11:45 pm |

          Aww, y’all. ^///^

        2. rox
          rox June 18, 2013 at 8:39 am |

          “At birth, both biological parents have the right to accept or terminate parental rights (which is fair given that parenthood in this ideal world is an opt-in); should neither desire to maintain parental rights, the child is put into the foster care system.”

          As an adoptee, I feel there is a little person in this picture you’re forgetting to advocate for. Being dumped by two doofs who can’t be bothered to give two shits about their own offspring is not part of a “fair” world, in my opinion. The foster system, I guess, in an ideal world,would be awesome and stuff but that can’t erase that your parents chose to create you and not give a shit about you.

          Serving their interests at the expense of children is not part of fair. Yeah, sometimes people should grow up and stop being self absorbed and at the expense of children they created. Our culture feeding people this idea they have the right to have sex without any concern for children they create is toxic to real children.

        3. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune June 18, 2013 at 12:26 pm |

          Being dumped by two doofs who can’t be bothered to give two shits about their own offspring is not part of a “fair” world, in my opinion.

          So what do you advocate, allowing people to raise children they actively don’t want? But sure, let’s force unwilling, grudgy, immature “doofs” who “can’t give two shits” to care for small vulnerable infants! It definitely won’t go wrong! They will definitely be caring and loving people because of the magical power of child-forcing.

          Keeping in mind that in this ideal world, between perfect birth control access and perfect abortion access, these numbers would be ridiculously low. That said, the point I was attempting to address with offering termination for parental rights would do such things as allow pro-life people to carry through a pregnancy without forcing them to take care of a child they may feel unable to. It would also allow uterus-havers, who are at greater risk for physical abuse during pregnancy, to have an out. It would also offer some level of protection for fathers who, as it turns out, aren’t, because the uterus-haver cheated on them. It would allow someone who is desperately poor and who has a disabled child to give up primary caregiving for that child and knowing it will be in a safe, non-ableist environment.

          Also, remember I advocated legally protected open adoptions? I think a huge number of people would go for that. This, in my ideal world, would be a tiny fraction of people.

          YMMV as to whether or not this is ideal, but personally I think no one here would advocate rounding up pregnant people and giving them abortions willy-nilly if they think they might put the (eventual) baby up for adoption. I’m pretty surprised you’re advocating it – and you are de facto advocating it, if you’re not advocating being forced to take care of a child the parents don’t want. There is nowhere else to go with an unplanned, unwanted pregnancy aside from abortion or adoption.

          that can’t erase that your parents chose to create you and not give a shit about you.

          What in the actual fuck? Didn’t you give up a child to adoption? Would you characterise yourself as someone who doesn’t give a shit about that child? I ask, because it seems that you made an incredibly offensive statement to birth parents very casually, and I’m kind of annoyed by it.

        4. rox
          rox June 18, 2013 at 12:40 pm |

          I gave up my child because I was told there were people who were better than me. I wanted my child with all my heart and she will always be welcome in any home I am living in. Any of my resources I have, she can have access to them. I allowed others to take her away but I would never abandon her to this world or leave her without her knowing I would always be there.

          Intent matters and how we teach people what it means to be a good person matters. I think people have will and teaching people to be selfish DOES increase people cultivating selfish behaviors. If we teach people they have a right to produce offspring and abondon them we have people like my friend who was this nice kind hippy dude who completely bailed on his own son because he didn’t think he should have to care and he wanted an abortion. He’s now helping someone ELSE parent a child having given up his own.

          I think he was fed bad messages about his responsability and that will be hard for his child to take. His dad gave him up because he just didn’t feel like it? Yeah, that sucks. I’m not saying force abusive uncaring people to raise children, I’m saying IT IS ABUSE.

          Children deserve to be acknowledged when they are abused by their parents.

        5. rox
          rox June 18, 2013 at 12:47 pm |

          I’m also saying that a lot of people who are going along with the messages they are being taught that their children don’t need them, could have chosen to be very good parents if they had been encouraged to put their efforts that direction and given guidance and support that direction. It shouldn’t be culturally permissible to abandon (give up without ever caring about or being there for again) ever really.

          Most biological parents I know (with some exceptions) have not abandoned their children and would happily take over the rearing if the adoptive parents suddenly were unable to fulfill the role.

          I’ll put it another way, not having any food to feed your child is not neglect. Not giving food you have to your own child is neglect. Parents who are incapable of loving a child are not at fault. Parents who dump a child on the state because they don’t care are at fault.

          People who teach parents that their kids don’t NEED them to make courageous decisions when things are hard are doing a disservice to children.Love is a choice and people can choose to fight to be there for their kids if they realize how much they are needed and that foster care is a terrible place to never let a child go to if you have even a drop of love in your heart at all.

        6. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune June 18, 2013 at 1:14 pm |

          I allowed others to take her away but I would never abandon her to this world or leave her without her knowing I would always be there.

          Why do you assume that hordes of people would be different from you in this? I’ve heard a lot of stories about people terminating parental rights; very few of them were “lulzies”.

          we have people like my friend who was this nice kind hippy dude who completely bailed on his own son because he didn’t think he should have to care and he wanted an abortion.

          So…if someone gives up rights to a child, but then has another, that’s always abuse? I mean…disability happens. Age happens. Economic circumstances happen. Accidents (of the non-reproductive kind) happen. Being a cult survivor who’s pregnant and can’t abort but is in no way ready to parent a child happens too, by the way.

          Are you fucking kidding me?

          His dad gave him up because he just didn’t feel like it?

          People are allowed not to fucking feel like it, actually. I am exceedingly comfortable with not forcing people to raise children. I have seen what that looks like, and I have no interest in ever perpetuating it on another person. Think knowing your parent gave you up sucks? How about being told every damn day of your life your parent wishes they’d given you up? That your parents wanted to abort you? That you’re lucky they just beat and starve you, because you’re unwanted and they could have killed you and nobody would blame them? Etc, etc? Because, you know, that’s a thing; people get told this sort of shit. Trust me, I’m Indian. It’s six of one long-term trauma and half a dozen of the other single-event awful trauma that resonates through a life. But, you know, the unwanted abused child is, like, being actively abused.

          Besides, in a world with long-term male birth control, how often do you imagine that happening?

          Children deserve to be acknowledged when they are abused by their parents.

          So, to get this clear: are you saying that any bioparent who doesn’t want to take their child back is abusing that child?

        7. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune June 18, 2013 at 1:28 pm |

          I’m also saying that a lot of people who are going along with the messages they are being taught that their children don’t need them, could have chosen to be very good parents if they had been encouraged to put their efforts that direction and given guidance and support that direction.

          Ah, I see where you’re coming from better now.

          Okay, to clarify: I think open adoptions should be a thing. Hell, if you want me to be really revolutionary, I would love love love to see “open parenting” situations where more than two people would parent, which would help a lot in cases of PWD or PWMI who want to parent but can’t do much of the physical work, or low-income people who could contribute time and energy to parenting, while someone else provides the physical housing etc and also parents the child. (No child was ever hurt by the act of having several caregivers, as long as the caregivers weren’t shitty, IMO.) I don’t know exactly how it would work, but that’s the point: it would be personalised.

          Most biological parents I know (with some exceptions) have not abandoned their children and would happily take over the rearing if the adoptive parents suddenly were unable to fulfill the role.

          I am very very down with bioparents staying involved. “My biomom can’t take care of me all the time because she’s disabled and poor and works a lot, but we spend Fridays together and I wheel her around the park sometimes and we get on gchat at 8:30 the other evenings and play chess together” seems like a far less traumatic lifestyle to me.

          Parents who are incapable of loving a child are not at fault. Parents who dump a child on the state because they don’t care are at fault.

          Wait, don’t those contradict each other? People might be capable of loving a child at 29 who aren’t at 15. I don’t think I could have parented as a teen; I don’t think I was really capable of the kind of dedicated attachment parenting requires at that age. I’m doing okay with it now, though. I can think of a hundred other reasons why someone might not be capable of loving this child at this particular moment, while still being capable of loving a child at some point (disability, mental illness, traumatic relationships, etc, etc).

        8. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune June 18, 2013 at 1:33 pm |

          Also, I realise that this is not your intention at all, but your narrative of responsibility comes dangerously close to the “sluts should keep their legs closed if they don’t want to raise a child” thing and it’s making me really uncomfortable.

        9. rox
          rox June 18, 2013 at 3:51 pm |

          Yeah, I do think it’s abusive to stop loving your children if you’re capable of loving. But that’s just the adoptee in me who loves and needs my biofamily, and loves and wants my biodaughter and always will. To me, if a parent signs relinquishment under duress of circumstances– they don’t WANT to give up their child- they haven’t actually agreed to the adoption. They have just, literally, surrendered to the social response to parents struggling which is pressuring the mother to give her children up instead of helping her. I don’t think you should ever leave a child behind and if you have, especially if they ever need your love- yeah I think it’s abusive to not offer whatever you have available.

          Adoption to me, is a very different thing than abandoning kids to the state. I’ve worked with foster kids and alumni and they DO get actively abused and neglected and hated and remain unwanted in many foster families in addition to pounded with so many drugs their brains will literally struggle to develop normally if not beaten into submission in “attachment therapy” or just plain abuse.

          So what I mean is, it sounds like you could have used the benefit of adoption which I think is preferable to children being horribly abused but the foster system is not what you think it is if you think it means actually being saved from abuse. Sexual abuse, rape, and physical and emotional abuse happen all the time to foster kids.

          It happens to adoptees too, but is much less likely when parents own their parenthood and go through the process of adopting. In Australia they have a no-profit adoption system and a much stronger welfare system for mothers- so mothers are not encouraged to see themselves as not good enough to parent just for being poor or single and there is no pressure to relinquish.

          I’m so sorry for the abuse you’ve been through and I can feel it in your words. I wish that you had been adopted into a loving home because I am completely on your side that no child should be abused and hated. I do believe that some parents whoare being selfish have more capacity to change than we give them credit so my point is, if a parent is going to have an epiphany- the first choice is to be a loving parent and devoted to working on yourself and being their for your child at every moment. If you are really ill/damaged/dead inside- first get help– but in america we don’t have much free therapeutic services in depth for repairing emotional suffering so in which case- yes it’s much better to find a loving adoptive family than to abuse/hate your children.

          It’s common for women to feel emotionally empty/unloving when coping withunresolved trauma when they might otherwise be loving and there are extensive services to help people cope withthis if you have MONEY- since we don’t offer them to the poor I don’t think you can evaluate whether a blank or negative emotional state is a sign of actually not loving a child. And to that child- it really matters so any mother that can look past her issues and let their children know they DO love them… it can matter to many children. Many adoptees move on and are disinterested in their biomother seeing her an irrelevant and somewhat meaningless stranger who did something nice for them once long ago– but a lot have much more feelings that that. I hope you’ve found loving people in your life macavitykitsune., though I know even loving people can’t erase all that is oftenleft from abuse.

          I think our vision is pretty similar and where we differ might be that you actually the government to pay people to raise kids and that there won’t be terrible sexual and physical and emotional abuse there too and I don’t. Dumping kids on the state is dangerous to children and shouldn’t be seen as harmless to child welfare. The attitude of my friend that he can just abandon his child and then parent later when he feels like it for no reason- yeah I think that’s horrifically abusive. Because I know that he’s better than that and much more capable of love than he pushed himself. I have seen him be thoughtful and empathetic over the years and that people like him think they have a right to impregnate women and just abandon the children completely if they don’t feel like it– it’s terrible. The solution isn’t to “force” them to parent, but I think it is damn straight to tell them their behavior is harmful to their own kids and they should grow a heart already. The social climate and expectations influences human behavior and a lot of people regret it when their culture encourages them to not love when they could. I don’t think people should PLAN to have sex assuming they can just ditch the kids. That’s what I think sadistic towards child welfare. Accidents happen but we shouldn’t be teaching people they have an inalienable right to go around making kids they just dump without caring how they harm those chidlren in doing this.

          I also think we aren’t educating people how common it is for pro-choice women to wind up not feeling comfortable with abortion leaving MANY people in this exact circumstance where the guy feels he deserves an abortion/paper abortion and the child winds up with less caregiving/money/love because people didn’t consider commiting to being there for their kids before having any type of sex where there is any risk of pregnancy.

        10. (BFing)Sarah
          (BFing)Sarah June 18, 2013 at 6:06 pm |

          Most biological parents I know (with some exceptions) have not abandoned their children and would happily take over the rearing if the adoptive parents suddenly were unable to fulfill the role.

          Really? I have to say that most of the bio parents I know who have “given up” children to foster/adopt/kinship care would absolutely not happily care for the child if the current caregivers could not do it. They could not care for the child for various reasons (mental health and addiction being the main ones for the people I know personally) and it is because of that that they gave custody over to someone else in the first place(or had custody taken from them in some cases). But, they did not “abandon” the child or ever stop caring about the child…but in many cases, it was BECAUSE they care and because they knew that they were unable to care for the child(ren) that they put him/her/them in another person’s care. That’s not abuse. That’s a way of showing love. And its also knowing your limitations, which is never a bad thing.

          Obviously, I love the idea of open adoption. But, I’m confused about what you are saying about giving up parental rights. Based on what you are saying, who are the “abusive” parents that “abandon” their kids? The ones that give their kids up for adoption for no reason other than that they just don’t want to parent? Who are those people? Because I have never met anyone who gave that as their only reason for giving up their parental rights (even temporarily). Then again, even if they did give that as their sole reason for not parenting…that’s good enough for me…because, as you said, no one wants to force anyone to parent a child they do not want.

    2. DouglasG
      DouglasG June 18, 2013 at 9:23 am |

      Very neat. Being far too prone to “ideal world” speculation (anything to avoid productivity, it sometimes seems), I got into a discussion along these lines about twenty years ago, and our ideals look pretty similar. The difficulty was in trying to calculate how to Get Here From There.

      The biggest sticking point about Ideal World would seem to be the situation in which both parties want to parent – just neither with the other. With the Ideal World Fairness Standard, both parties then get stuck with the undesired outcome or we end up with a big game of chicken.

      One party wanting supported parenting and the pother choosing not to accept a connection to the child could perhaps be covered to some extent by having some sort of registry of willing potential co-parents (a cross between a sperm bank and a dating service?). But if that were to prove insufficient, would the likely demand on public funds be large enough to result in a sideways tax on the childless? I could see a situation in which demands on income would become so great that individuals without children would be paying as much as if they were parents anyway. (At the time of the original conversation, it was worse, as the chances for same-sexers to be raising children individually or in same-sex couples was practically nil, so that this had a distinct aspect of Soak the Queers.)

      Would there be a consequence at a particular number of male declines? Part of why I concluded originally that we couldn’t (or shouldn’t want to) Get Here From There was that all the advantages under such a system seemed to accrue to Rampant Patriarchs, to be paid for by The Usual Suspects.

      Of course, I’m probably full of holes.

      1. macavitykitsune
        macavitykitsune June 18, 2013 at 12:38 pm |

        The biggest sticking point about Ideal World would seem to be the situation in which both parties want to parent – just neither with the other.

        …divorce? I think we’ve figured that out.

        Alternatively, don’t get pregnant/terminate the pregnancy and try with someone you* like, I guess.

        The only issues I see with Ideal World are abuse (particularly reproductive coercion) and possibly religious injunctions to Definitely Procreate Lots, neither of which I expect to disappear in Fantasy Feministopia, simply because people are assholes, always have been, always will be. Aside from “shoot misogynist dickbags in the face” I can’t really think of an option. All we can do is strive for 100%, and be happy with 95% and provide ample logistical support and compassion for the 5%. And that payments made by a reproductively abusive parent to the gestating parent would be paid not as child support, but as victim damages, in order to minimise abuser-parent’s contact with the child.

        1. DouglasG
          DouglasG June 19, 2013 at 12:49 am |

          Well, I was thinking of a situation presumably with an unmarried couple that separated before the pregnancy was discovered, or very early in, in which the mindset of each party was, “Ze’s a complete train wreck. There’s no way we can possibly co-parent, but I do want to raise the child. But I’d rather opt out if ze doesn’t.” That’s where I got the idea of the game of chicken, with each partner waiting nervously as the clock runs out, hoping the other will crack and opt out first. Or maybe trying to win an eBay auction cheaply by getting in a bid in the last few seconds captures the feeling.

          I agree with your perceived difficulties. But even some of those may lessen slightly in time. When I was your age, your current situation was out of reach, all the more so for an exclusive same-sexer. Even if I’d had a bisexual partner raising a child or been chosen guardian to my nephew in my sister’s will, any legal challenge would probably have resulted in termination. While we’re still not all that close to Ideal World on that front, and the application of gains is wildly inconsistent, just the way that my young friends plan with confidence things that I never thought would happen in my lifetime makes the whole scene feel quite different.

          Apologies for playing the Age Card, but this was one of the rare times when it didn’t make me want to gag.

  4. Lynne S
    Lynne S June 17, 2013 at 10:35 pm |

    This is why I think it’s important for men to have more birth control options. Women have female condoms, shots, pills, rings, implants, patches to name a few. Men have… the condom. (I don’t really consider “pulling out” a great option.) I’ve heard about a polymer gel that is in development. Instead of a man needing to “get snipped,” the polymer could be injected in the vas deferens. It works by ripping the sperm apart from shear forces, works for 10 years, and it easily reversible with another shot that breaks down the polymer. The biggest hurdle to this is that the drug companies don’t want it on the market. It’s cheap, effective, and only requires one shot. It was developed in India and due to hurdles, they’re having to completely redo the trails in US and were testing it on rabbits last I heard.

    1. Sereg
      Sereg June 18, 2013 at 6:51 am |

      it’s called RISUG if i recall correctly

    2. (BFing)Sarah
      (BFing)Sarah June 18, 2013 at 6:08 pm |

      I’m so pulling for the male pill.

  5. TheGreatCO
    TheGreatCO June 17, 2013 at 10:36 pm |

    My biggest issue with court ordered child support has been auditing that the money is actually used to support the child. I have heard (albeit hearsay) of mothers spending the a good portion of the money on themselves, not the child. How do we make sure that the child doesn’t get screwed?

    1. Bunzor
      Bunzor June 18, 2013 at 1:27 am |

      I had a friend that this happened to. Child support didn’t necessarily go to her and her sister, and once they were teens they had to get jobs to pay for their own food, clothes, etc. Mom was a teacher, so not rich but not poor, and grandparents helped with housing. It was also one of those sad cases of “once you’re 18 you’re out of the house.” So my friend would sometimes leave school to go work because she figured it was going to benefit her more in the long run.

      I don’t think this is common–certainly the only case I knew–but there it is.

    2. Miriam
      Miriam June 18, 2013 at 1:42 am |

      How do we make sure children don’t get screwed in any situation? We can’t. Just as we have no choice but to trust parents to prioritize their children’s needs when spending their money in any case, we have to trust in cases of child support payments. If a non-custodial parent believes his/her child is being neglected, s/he can return to court for a modification of the custody agreement.

      Also, non-custodial parents don’t always have the most accurate perception of how their child support money is being spent. It’s not like mothers get to separate out their own money so neatly into expenses that go for the child and expenses that go for themselves. If a mother spends all of her paycheck on food, utilities*, and clothes for the kids and then uses a child support payment for babysitting and a movie, is that spending the child support money on herself or paying herself back for the portion of already-spent-money that should have come from the child support payment?

      * Remember that custodial parents generally need more space and will have higher bills because of the extra person/people.

    3. konekon1nj4
      konekon1nj4 June 18, 2013 at 12:01 pm |

      This is one of those things that seems to be a common idea amongst those who don’t live in the situation. Not saying that’s you specifically, but I hear it from those who don’t. I receive a minimal amount of support from my sons bio dad. The money is autodeposited in my bank account whenever he has income and I use it just like my other money. I spend over a thousand dollars in basic care for my kid every month what with daycare, food, medical expenses and so on. Does it really matter if I use that specific one hundred dollars to pay for those things? Or if at the time I receive it I have already paid my daycare for that week and the money in my account goes to pay for my gas or food or a lunch out or whatever? If a parent is already spending the money then it is just reimbursement for all the money I have already spent to care for my son. As long as a parent is caring for their child then that specific money shouldn’t really matter.

    4. Donna L
      Donna L June 18, 2013 at 4:51 pm |

      It happens, although I doubt it happens frequently, especially since the average child support payment is so low in the first place; it isn’t as if most recipients of child support could use that money to buy themselves diamonds and fancy vacations even if they wanted to.

      I do know of one case in which the father agreed in the divorce settlement to pay the mother the statutorily-determined amount of child support (about $9,000 per year) until their son’s 24th birthday, and continued to pay that sum throughout their son’s four years away at college (and thereafter), when it was clear that the mother spent almost nothing on their son, because the father also separately paid all of their son’s living expenses during that period, and the mother sent him no money at all. But from everything I know, that was an unusual arrangement, and the father’s reasons for agreeing to that arrangement (which also required the payment of substantial alimony for 15 years) were also unusual. The idea that this is common is, I think, an MRA fantasy.

  6. Gerry Dorrian
    Gerry Dorrian June 17, 2013 at 10:42 pm |

    I agree. I’ve never met a bloke so feckless that he didn’t know that sex can result in a baby being conceived. If the method of contraception (if any) hasn’t worked and a baby is conceived, he has contracted a duty to support his child, regardless of whether he wants to exercise his right to be part of the child’s life.

    1. Wordwizard
      Wordwizard June 17, 2013 at 11:54 pm |

      You mean, you DISagree….

    2. fsmemc2
      fsmemc2 June 18, 2013 at 5:26 am |

      The problem with this is I’ve heard almost the exact same language used to justify limiting abortion rights. “I’ve never met a woman so feckless that she didn’t know that sex can result in a baby being conceived…”.

      That line of thinking is obviously wrong because carrying the pregnancy to term poses a unique burden on the woman that a man doesn’t have to face. But it still seems like a bad idea to rely on the idea that consenting to sex equals consenting to parenthood.

      1. 2ndNin
        2ndNin June 18, 2013 at 8:04 am |

        The unique set of circumstances of pregnancy though isn’t really an out to that argument because the parties know the unfair distribution of risk and so have already weighed those options and decided to accept it.

        I do feel the best way to resolve this kind of situation is to make the choice opt-in rather than opt-out. That way a mother ( / the pregnant person) makes the decision to abort or keep the child with the expectation that she will be a single mother, if the father decides to opt-in ( / other spouse / people) then they are contractually liable for the maintenance of the child. This lets poly-families all opt-in to cooperatively raise the children as well as making the decision points clearer. Until the birth her body, her choice; at birth her responsibility unless others opt in to the situation.

    3. thefish
      thefish June 26, 2013 at 6:50 pm |

      If the method of contraception (if any) hasn’t worked and a baby is conceived, he has contracted a duty to support his child, regardless of whether he wants to exercise his right to be part of the child’s life.

      Why? And why aren’t women required to support their children? Why give women (or anyone for that matter) access to Safe Havens? And why does that duty suddenly disappear if they went through a sperm bank? Does having a doctor handle the sperm somehow negate that duty?

  7. amblingalong
    amblingalong June 17, 2013 at 10:48 pm |

    I will add one thing, though; incarcerating people who can’t pay child support is ridiculous. Debtors prison shouldn’t exist.

    1. Wordwizard
      Wordwizard June 17, 2013 at 11:57 pm |

      Debtor’s prisons DON’T exist, and haven’t since Dickens’ times. How can a guy pay child support anyway, if he’s in jail unable to work….

        1. lilith danne
          lilith danne June 19, 2013 at 8:09 pm |

          Mac thanks for those links I appreciate them. I agreed with Alex but I made the mistake of reading the entire newfeed attached to her links

      1. Alexandra
        Alexandra June 18, 2013 at 12:20 am |

        But people are being imprisoned for failure to pay debts, right now, in the US, as we speak. People have been sent to jail for failure to pay child support for years, and in the recent financial crisis as more and more people have been left with unpayable debts, people who are delinquent on other kinds of debts have wound up in prison too. I will be back in another comment in a mo. with some links about this.

        1. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune June 18, 2013 at 12:22 am |

          Yeah, no shit.

          I already grabbed links but I think I did too many, lol D:

        2. Alexandra
          Alexandra June 18, 2013 at 12:25 am |

          Modern Day debtors’ prison in Ohio

          As economy flails, debtors prisons thrive

          “Some states apply “poverty penalties,” such as late fees, payment plan fees and interest, when people are unable to pay all their debts at once. Alabama charges a 30 percent collection fee, for instance, while Florida allows private debt collectors to add a 40 percent surcharge on the original debt. Some Florida counties also use so-called collection courts, where debtors can be jailed but have no right to a public defender. In North Carolina, people are charged for using a public defender, so poor defendants who can’t afford such costs may be forced to forgo legal counsel.

          Jail Time for Unpaid Child Support

          “Failure to obey a court order is called contempt of court. If you owe unpaid child support, the other parent can ask for a hearing before a judge and ask that you be held in contempt of court. You must be served with a document ordering you to attend the hearing, and then must attend and explain why you haven’t paid the support you owe. If you don’t attend, the court can issue a warrant for your arrest. Many courts do issue warrants, making county jails a resting stop for parents who don’t pay child support and fail to show up in court.

          If you attend the hearing, the judge can still throw you in jail for violating the order to pay the support. And the judge might do so, depending on how convincing your story is as to why you haven’t paid.

        3. Alexandra
          Alexandra June 18, 2013 at 12:27 am |

          @Mac – quite! I have a longer comment in mod right now because of the links, but one fun tidbit of information is that in parts of the country, you are not entitled to a public defender in collections court and can be jailed without ever getting any legal representation. In other parts of the country, you have to pay for your public defender. Yikes!

        4. lilith danne
          lilith danne June 19, 2013 at 7:54 pm |

          Um I just wanted to say I agree that they incarcerated men for child support failure but the first two links are not appropriate did you read anything else on that site other then that post they said alot of things on other posts that was propaganda and just plain sick I would appreciate different links and while they do lock up people for not paying bills (they call it stealing from the utility companies or town) fines for criminal activity is not locking someone up for being in debt it a punishment for crime.

      2. Chataya
        Chataya June 18, 2013 at 10:04 am |

        Yeah, no. My younger sibling’s father went to jail at least 3 times for not paying child support.

        1. amblingalong
          amblingalong June 18, 2013 at 10:56 am |

          Which is, you know, a really great way of helping someone get into a better financial situation.

        2. rox
          rox June 18, 2013 at 11:33 am |

          I don’t believe in jailing poor people for not having the money to help with their children’s needs. Yee who makes the laws requiring parents provide well for children should also provide the tools and resources and aids for that to be possible. (Including financial assistance and providing jobs to people that match their abilities and pay living wages that allow for children’s needs as well as the parents.)

          I think parents should be required to provide for their children, including emotionally— but in order to do this many parents need financial resources, mental health help, therapeutic support, parenting development support, relaxation and enjoyable activities— when life is hell it’s sort of hard to be a nurturer when you’re struggling to keep from sleeping on the streets and getting beat up, robbed, sexually assaulted in a fucked up part of town. And while, sure I think it makes perfect sense to hold a man earning 50,000 a year accountable for helping with his child, it doesn’t make much sense to expect a man earning 12000 a year at odd jobs to be able to put a whole lot of money down at once, and it’s SO easy to get behind when you’re that broke. One car breaking down, or home repair need and you’ve got zero cash to eat off of. If someone is dealing with some serious issues earning money I have complete sympathy for that and have never persecuted my child’s father for not helping financially, though the state has in the past. He became really fucked up in the head when that happened and it’s been a kind of dangerous situation for me. You threaten a poor man with abused child history (and living abusive ideology), alcohol addiction, and a lot of rage with jail time “on behalf of the child and the mother” and guess where that rage is going to go? I think the rage is misplaced, don’t get me wrong, but nevertheless- it’s a hazard for families dealing with domestic violence or abusive partners/exes that can sometimes be eradicated by evading the system but that can be a tricky and messy process too.

          I also think (non violent) parents who are struggling with being providers should have the option of living in assisted living where services that assist with healthy meal preparation, facilitating activities and developmental play, help maintaining a regular schedule and ensuring the child receives appropriate medical care and school attendance etc. Instead of being offered removal if they can’t make improvements they can’t really meet due to their own functional impairments and limitations.

          Many parents and kids are well bonded and would do much better to stay together but could use some access to more support to make the family life more functional. It sucks living in assisted living, but it could be a better option for some families than accepting a forced separation. Especially if there was support not only for functional impairments or mental differences– but also for trauma and past child abuse which is often rooted in poor parental performance and ideology about parenting.

      3. lilith danne
        lilith danne June 19, 2013 at 9:24 pm |

        That’s the point it doesn’t make sense to lock up everyone behind on child support but I have been told it is so the mother can receive state aid idk

    2. Ann R
      Ann R June 18, 2013 at 7:42 pm |

      I think in some very rare circumstances jailing for failure to pay support is justified. I know of a couple who were married and divorced when their children were small. She received primary custody of the children and he was to pay her child support. He decided he just didn’t want to do that so he quit his job. No job means no money to pay her for the care of the children. While he moved in with his parents and did not seek out any other employment she worked away working double shifts at a convenience store to put food on the table. If you are willfully, purposefully avoiding work to avoid paying support then I think a stint in jail may be justifiable.

      1. lilith danne
        lilith danne June 19, 2013 at 9:10 pm |

        I think I know that same guy.

  8. Mariucel
    Mariucel June 17, 2013 at 10:53 pm |

    1) “unfair” strikes me as a bit whiny.

    2) I always thought that, while sometimes seeming “unfair” in individual instances, the system as a whole makes structural sense: men have less of a say in this because they carry less of the overall risk. Having a child affects and can change the body of the mother in permanent ways. And in the first months after the birth, society tends to fob off all the responsibility for the physical well being of the child onto the mother. There is just this huge, intense, physical amount of risk and investment on the mother’s side – and to have the option of forcing the biological father to pay for the child seems a very mild thing to put on the other side of the equation.

    For men’s right’s advocates to complain about being on the hook for pregnancies they helped cause feels a bit like well off white people complaining about paying taxes. In a society risk is structured in various ways, and usually in favor of those who are privileged. Theoretically, men can just walk away from a pregnancy from day one. Women do not have that option. If anything, THAT is what’s unfair. What’s child support compared to that?

    I always feel a bit grossed out by the men’s rights complaints about all the horrible horrible unfair things men have to do. Please.

    1. Meropi
      Meropi June 18, 2013 at 3:09 am |

      I agree entirely. And I find it s huge stretch that someone’s choice to keep a pregnancy and raise a child, which is called here “voluntary motherhood” is implied to involve potential coercive fatherhood, as if somehow, actual parenthood and being legally required to pay money are by any means equivalent commitments.

      The biological mother can either become a parent and assume a huge spectrum of responsibilties that such a decision comes with, or put the child they carry to term (with all the body altering implications a pregnancy involves) for adoption. It can be required for the biological father to assume the formal responsibility of financial support in the first case, or absolutely nothing in the second. I find it very hard to see how any of this is unfair for the biological father given that the first scenario pits extensive life-changing responsibility vs. potential formal limited responsibiity and the second medical risk vs. no risk.
      That’s why I just don’t see how this discussion can in any way be separated from MRA bullshit.

    2. tinffoil hattie
      tinffoil hattie June 18, 2013 at 4:02 am |

      Thank you, Mariucel.

    3. Mariucel
      Mariucel June 18, 2013 at 8:10 am |

      Moderators, can you remove my comment? Please?

      1. tigtog
        tigtog June 18, 2013 at 8:34 am | *

        Mariucel, others have responded to you, so it doesn’t seem quite right to remove your original comment without you offering some sort of explanation. Please contact us by email (see sidebar links) if you wish to explain privately.

        1. Meropi
          Meropi June 18, 2013 at 9:25 am |

          You can delete my comment since their problem is that they dislike my comment assosciated with theirs.

  9. Donna L
    Donna L June 17, 2013 at 10:59 pm |

    is it necessarily in the child’s best interests for the mother to HAVE to share her parenthood decision-making with someone she does not choose to, and may not be able to get along with co-operatively?

    Are you suggesting that a birth mother should have the unilateral right, whether because she “may not be able to get along” co-operatively with the biological father (or for any other reason), to terminate a father’s parental rights or custody rights, either at birth or at any time thereafter? Perhaps I’m misinterpreting your words, but it certainly sounds like that. If so, how would that work, exactly?

    1. Donna L
      Donna L June 17, 2013 at 11:07 pm |

      I should add that I don’t actually believe that if that were possible, there would be an epidemic of capricious decisions to terminate fatherhood rights. But such things do happen, and would happen. Not that any of this really has anything much to do with the topic of this thread.

      1. Donna L
        Donna L June 17, 2013 at 11:08 pm |

        And I should also add: it should not necessarily be assumed that all fathers are men.

      2. Lolagirl
        Lolagirl June 18, 2013 at 1:28 pm |

        I agree with you completely, Donna.

        What gets missed so much in these ridiculous MRA’s whine fests is that it ceases to be about the parents once an infant is in the picture. Thus, neither parent gets to decide by personal fiat to cut off the other’s access or legal rights to that infant. (Note, I am not talking about decisions to put a child up for adoption, but that usually requires both bio parents cooperation to be a done deal as well.) I’m completely opposed to going along with a system that would permit a parent to terminate the other’s parental rights because they have concluded they don’t get along with them, or don’t like them, or whatever.

        Because parenthood is about putting on one’s adult pants and taking responsibility for a child that is in no way responsible for whatever circumstances led to their conception or birth. They don’t deserve to suffer for the misbehavior or slights, perceived or otherwise, committed by either parent against the other. In other words, personal dysfunctions must be left at the door and whatever personal butthurts one may have need to be gotten over at least as far as the child is concerned.

        I don’t see what is so difficult to understand about that.

    2. Wordwizard
      Wordwizard June 17, 2013 at 11:51 pm |

      I was raising questions. I was not suggesting anything new, like mothers unilaterally terminating existing parental rights of fathers. Mothers ALREADY HAVE the right to NOT put a father’s name onto a birth certificate in the first place, at least not if they aren’t married to him. Parental rights are not terminated–They aren’t started (granted) in the first place. Do you feel a rapist should have unconditional rights to interfere in how a mother raises her child? Or a guy who is unwilling to commit? Should having a CHILD (that she couldn’t bring herself to abort) commit a woman to having to deal with a MAN she can’t deal with, for the next 18 years? Is the wrangling in the child’s best interests? A father can take legal action to be granted parental rights, by proving paternity + making his case before a judge ($$$) later on. Sometimes a father might not WANT legal responsibility for child-support to begin with, but change his mind when he feels the child is not being properly cared for. Again, I’m asking questions, not proposing that I have The Answers.

      1. Donna L
        Donna L June 18, 2013 at 12:11 am |

        Do you feel a rapist should have unconditional rights to interfere in how a mother raises her child?

        Obviously not. That would fall into the category of what’s known as a “reason” for a biological father not to have any rights.

        1. Miriam
          Miriam June 18, 2013 at 1:49 am |

          But it is the current legal reality in the majority of states right now that rapists don’t have their rights terminated, and women are forced into ongoing relationships with their rapists as a result. So it’s not a crazy example at all.

        2. Willard
          Willard June 18, 2013 at 1:40 pm |

          It bears mentioning since this is basically a “what about teh menz” article that men have been made to pay child support to their rapists for children that are a result. So no, a rapist of any gender should not expect normal parental rights.

        3. Alara Rogers
          Alara Rogers June 18, 2013 at 2:42 pm |

          Willard, this is one of those things that I think is utterly horrible and is a reason why both men and women should stand behind laws that terminate the parental rights of rapists. Boys who impregnated adult women who raped them should have the option to either adopt the child or ensure that it is given up for adoption; the rapist should lose all rights to her baby, because she is a rapist (and in particular, you’re going to leave a baby in the hands of a CHILD MOLESTER?)

          Men who argue against terminating rapist parental rights because what about the lying bitchez also tend to bring this one up to argue that feminists don’t defend male rape victims, but in fact laws that terminate rapist parental rights would protect raped boys from paying child support to their rapists as much as they would protect raped women and girls from having to deal with their rapist having rights to their child. In this case it’s not about child support — it’s about the fact that the rapist shouldn’t *have* custody and it should be entirely the boy’s decision (well, and his parents, because he’s a minor generally) as to whether he will give the baby up for adoption or take sole custody for himself/his family. Rapists should never have primary custody of a child, full stop, so no one should ever be forced to pay child support to their rapist.

        4. amblingalong
          amblingalong June 18, 2013 at 3:02 pm |

          It bears mentioning since this is basically a “what about teh menz” article that men have been made to pay child support to their rapists for children that are a result. So no, a rapist of any gender should not expect normal parental rights.

          This sort of gets at “there’s no perfect solution.” I mean, nobody should ever have to pay a monthly check to their rapist, but also no child should grow up hungry because one of their parents is a scumbag. So while I think it’s horrifying that men (and women, too) are occasionally on the hook for child support after being raped, in my view the alternative is worse.

        5. Wordwizard
          Wordwizard June 18, 2013 at 8:39 pm |

          Thank you, Sarah. + Lola, you’re the one making no sense, claiming I didn’t answer YOUR post when I was…answering your post. But if you keep on with your abusive remarks about reading comprehension, native language, and–WHAT?–calling me “HE”? An MRA?–That is
          REALLY beyond the pale, and nothing else you can say could possibly be worth answering.

        6. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl June 18, 2013 at 10:54 pm |

          Abusive? Seriously? Abusive?

          You clearly have no idea what that word actually means. Disagreeing with you and pointing out the shortcomings in your style of argument is not abusive. Talk about absurd, and insulting, not to mention a pathetic downplaying of what abuse actually is.

          Give me a break with your persecution complex, Wordwizard. Because it is utterly clear that you are using your cries of abusive! meanies! as an attempt to deflect attention away from having your comments challenged or disagreed with. And I never referred to you In a gendered manner. You don’t need to be a man to be an MRA.

        7. Wordwizard
          Wordwizard June 18, 2013 at 11:50 pm |

          “Wordwizard is taking all of his points from the MRA playbook, without actually understanding the underlying issues at play, and that he does not care about those underlying issues as well.*

          MODERATORS: Are “his” and “he” not gendered terms? Does Lola get to decide that abusive language is NOT abusive because she has something else in mind for the term? I really wouldn’t know what the MRA playbook says, as I am a woman + radical feminist who doesn’t care to go there. There is such a thing as fighting fair, in the arena of ideas, and then there is ad hominem name-calling. She doesn’t seem to know the difference, or (“Fie!”) care. She also doesn’t seem to have noticed that I never advocated men not having to be responsible, or claimed that I had The Answers. I have been asking questions, and fending off attacks. I’m fresh out of solutions.

        8. Willard
          Willard June 19, 2013 at 12:51 am |

          “there’s no perfect solution.”

          I think the solution Alara advanced is a better alternative to the current state of affairs. The system mostly works some of the time, which is better than the dissolution alternative of nothing. I think it could certainly use some looking at and perhaps a complete makeover, but only after the social supports for children are overhauled and every kid has a solid foundation upon which to build their lives.

        9. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl June 19, 2013 at 6:57 am |

          Sorry for using he and his briefly when referring to you, Wordwizard. I briefly slipped back into college English class, verb subject agreement, autopilot.

          But that is in no way abusive. You gave no indication of what you preferred for your own self-identification, nor in any way that you were a woman. The mods can feel free to clarify if I am misstating, but there are no rules at Feministe considering such a thing against the commenting guidelines (those guidelines are posted on the top, right side of the page, btw.). And for crying out loud, there is nothing ad hominen in using he to refer to you. If I called you actual names, that would be an ad hom attack.

          Also, proceed with caution if you are a Radfem. As radfeminism goes hand in hand with transphobia, you may very well be in for a rough ride here at Feministe.

        10. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl June 19, 2013 at 7:05 am |

          Oh, and I was actually paraphrasing you when I wrote out Fie! below, Wordwizard. You have repeatedly misunderstood and misinterpreted things written here by others and by myself. Hence the comments about your reading comprehension skills (which is not an ad hom attack either, FFS.)

          And I will repeat the point I made below, one need not be a man to be an MRA. The author of the linked article is a woman, and arguably an MRA, or at the very least an apologist for their cause. There are plenty of MRA apologists in the world of female punditry these days, which only serves to utterly discredit your claim that a woman can not be an MRA.

        11. Bfing Sarah
          Bfing Sarah June 20, 2013 at 1:06 pm |

          This is a reply to pheeno bc I can’t figure out how to do it. Yea I know they have to put it in the paper…she wasn’t too worried about that. Dudes who are actively using don’t tend to scour newspapers looking to take responsibility for kids they don’t know about. They also don’t tend to answer their phones or call back when someone they don’t know wants to interview them so that might be why it wasn’t a problem. Plus, it can be just left at that (don’t know dad) if you are planning to raise the child and the guy doesn’t find out or care to…puttin the onus to establish paternity on a guy who is not worth putting on the bc in the first place is a pretty safe bet and its one I would take if I got pregnant by a guy who was likely to dip out…if i was raising the child, especially.

      2. amblingalong
        amblingalong June 18, 2013 at 1:56 am |

        Mothers ALREADY HAVE the right to NOT put a father’s name onto a birth certificate in the first place, at least not if they aren’t married to him. Parental rights are not terminated–They aren’t started (granted) in the first place.

        This is the second empirically false legal claim you’ve made on this thread. I suggest you educate yourself before posting a third time.

        1. Wordwizard
          Wordwizard June 18, 2013 at 3:36 am |

          I was dismayed to learn that there ARE the EQUIVALENT of debtors’ prisons. I hope the ACLU can get this stopped. It is clearly illegal. I thank those who have corrected me, though it made me miserable to learn.

          I don’t know how to evaluate your comment that what I’ve said is “empirically false” a SECOND time, since you gave no details HOW it is false. I admit to being puzzled–If an unmarried woman refuses to say who got her pregnant, how can a name be put in the blank? At the very least, someone would have to show up + claim he was the father, and have a paternity test done, before this happened. If she claims she was raped, he’d be walking into a minefield.

        2. Meropi
          Meropi June 18, 2013 at 5:40 am |

          In what sense is this a false legal claim?

        3. amblingalong
          amblingalong June 18, 2013 at 10:49 am |

          Mothers don’t have the legal option to avoid granting their child’s father parental rights by not putting their child’s father’s name on the birth certificate. It might work out that way in practice, due to a ponderous legal system or apathy or lack of information, but there’s no legal mechanism there.

          What you said is wrong for the same reasons as “fathers have the legal option to terminate mother’s parental rights by taking their kids and running away to Japan.” In practice, it might be something you could do, but it’s not a legal right.

        4. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl June 18, 2013 at 10:58 am |

          In the U.S. the biologically related father is known at the time of birth (the legal term used is putative father) that he has the right to petition the courts to have his name put on the birth certificate should the mother refuse to do so. The father usually must submit to a paternity test in order to do so, and is usually given a specific time frame withing which to do so after the child is born.

          So, yes, Wordwizard’s claim is empirically false, at least here in the U.S., the country in which the above article is addressing the supposed undue burden put on the poor menz who make unintended progeny.

        5. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl June 18, 2013 at 11:00 am |

          Stupid autocorrect, I meant to type if the putative father is known at the time of birth.

          Sorry for the typos.

        6. Wordwizard
          Wordwizard June 18, 2013 at 2:09 pm |

          So, no one is ACTUALLY disputing that a girl who says “I don’t know who the father was; I was raped!” (whether or not this is true–She may be pressured by parental disapproval into denying consensual sex, and is not actually falsely accusing anyone, since she names no names.) IS empirically keeping the father’s name off the birth certificate, and preventing him from exercising parental rights! You say I’m wrong, because there’s no LAW saying you can do that, but YOU used the word EMPIRICALLY first!

        7. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl June 18, 2013 at 3:25 pm |

          For someone calling themselves Wordwizard, you seem to have some serious issues with reading comprehension.

          Seriously, do some freaking research. A 10 minute google search will be plenty to understand how putative fathers’ rights work in the various state family courts systems here in the U.S. And don’t expect me or others to be your google monkey either. You don’t get to make specious claims about the law that are easily controvertible and then say to anyone who calls you out for it prove me wrong!

        8. Wordwizard
          Wordwizard June 18, 2013 at 3:45 pm |

          Sorry you feel so put-upon by my ignorance/disagreeing with your opinions, but how did I MAKE YOU my search-monkey? Meropi asked first how what I said was wrong–You didn’t tell HER “Go spend 10 minutes researching instead of asking someone who claims to know to say.” You do not need to be my search-monkey; you are not obliged to answer my posts if you don’t wish to. All these posts are optional.

        9. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl June 18, 2013 at 4:29 pm |

          I don’t have to respond to your posts? Really? That’s the best you’ve got?

          Sure, you have the freedom to say whatever nonsense you choose to say. But that doesn’t come with the freedom from others pointing out you are wrong, nor does it require everyone else to disprove your point. How utterly ridiculous.

        10. Wordwizard
          Wordwizard June 18, 2013 at 5:04 pm |

          “that doesn’t come with the freedom from others pointing out you are wrong, nor does it require everyone else to disprove your point.”

          Huh? I don’t expect to be free from criticism, OR require others to disprove my points. How can I be expecting both at the same time, anyway, since they are mutually exclusive? My point is, it is YOUR CHOICE what you do in response to me– I have not forced you to do anything. You could EVEN choose to agree with me (fat chance) and I couldn’t force that either. E.g., some posts are so ridiculous that it isn’t worth my while to bother to disagree. You could loftily ignore me if you chose, but you did not.

        11. (BFing)Sarah
          (BFing)Sarah June 18, 2013 at 6:24 pm |

          Ok, I see this as semantics…WordWizard was just saying that a mother doesn’t have to state a father on the birth certificate. Yeah, yeah, that’s not a “right,” but it does happen all the time and when it does happen there is no putative father until the guy who suspects he is the father goes out of his way to petition the court and submit to a paternity test…and sometimes the guy doesn’t do this (big surprise that someone who mom doesn’t even want on the BC doesn’t come forward to demand to be placed on the BC). It might not be a legal right of the mother, but it does happen. In fact, if I was a mom in a position where I didn’t want the dude in my life, its exactly what I would do: not put his name on the BC and claim I had no idea who he is…puts the onus on him to come forward. I guess what I’m saying is arguing about legal semantics with a non-lawyer seems silly in this situation when we all know that it happens all the time and we might as well just address the argument and not attack whether or not the wording was exactly correct.

        12. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl June 18, 2013 at 6:28 pm |

          Huh? I don’t expect to be free from criticism, OR require others to disprove my points. How can I be expecting both at the same time, anyway, since they are mutually exclusive?

          Huh indeed. They are not mutually exclusive things, to expect freedom from disagreement and expecting others to prove you wrong. Talk about a logical fallacy. No wonder you don’t seem to be able to follow the discussion here terribly well.

          My point is, it is YOUR CHOICE what you do in response to me– I have not forced you to do anything. You could EVEN choose to agree with me (fat chance) and I couldn’t force that either.

          It isn’t a choice to disagree or disagree with you. FFS. It is my freedom to do so, thus of course you are not free to, nor can you, force me to do anything.

          E.g., some posts are so ridiculous that it isn’t worth my while to bother to disagree.

          *Stomps foot* My posts are too ridiculous to bother disagreeing? That is downright laughable. You are the one utterly incapable of following a logical string of thoughts through to their logical conclusion, Wordwizard.

          You could loftily ignore me if you chose,
          but you did not.

          Translation: You and your lofty goals of logical discourse and debate! Fie, I say, fie! Oh, wait, why am I bothering to respond to you instead or ignoring you? Oh noes, I have been sucked in yet again!

        13. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl June 18, 2013 at 6:38 pm |

          Ok, I see this as semantics…WordWizard was just saying that a mother doesn’t have to state a father on the birth certificate. Yeah, yeah, that’s not a “right,”

          Sarah, I think you are being far too charitable where this person is concerned. And I lurve you for it, I really do.

          Except the whole “the mother can cut a father out of his child’s life by not putting him on the birth certificate” meme is a standard MRA talking point. And it is a complete and total distortion of how the actual law works here in the U.S. Also, see my previous point that the issue ceases to be one of forced fatherhood if the mother is not putting the father on the birth certificate in the first place. It is abundantly clear that Wordwizard is taking all of his points from the MRA playbook, without actually understanding the underlying issues at play, and that he does not care about those underlying issues as well.

        14. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll June 19, 2013 at 2:15 pm |

          Just some FYI- If a girl doesn’t know (or refuses to name) the father while trying to get the child adopted out, the adoption agency can and will hire a private detective to find possible fathers for paternity testing. They do this to cover their own butts so they don’t get sued by a father later on.

          So it’s not quite as easy to do as some here are claiming.

        15. (BFing) Sarah
          (BFing) Sarah June 19, 2013 at 11:39 pm |

          Not always. I know a few people who have just given a big ole “Whaaaa?? Father?? I just have nooooooo idea…” to the question of “Who is the father?” and then had a blank space on the BC (of course, some of them genuinely did not have any idea who the father was so there’s that) because they didn’t want to deal with the dude and knew he wasn’t going to be involved anyway. I know at least one person who did that and then gave the child up for adoption…I think some adoption agencies are more careful than others.

        16. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll June 20, 2013 at 12:07 pm |

          Some of them don’t tell the mother they do this. I don’t know too many people who would be happy to know a PI was interviewing friends, co workers and employees in places you’ve hung out in and asking about men you’ve been seen with. The agency has to make an effort to identify a father. They’re also supposed to place a notice in the paper, stating the adoption is in process. It’s NOT left at ” I have no idea” no matter how much the mother knows about the process.

        17. Wordwizard
          Wordwizard June 20, 2013 at 5:32 pm |

          Pheenobarbidoll:
          Do you happen to know whether this is done even if the mother is NOT seeking to put the child up for adoption? The scenario I was imagining was if the mom didn’t want to deal with the dad’s interfering with her decisions about how she (+/her parents?) brought the child up. (If she put the child up for adoption, she would NOT be bringing the child up.) That doesn’t necessarily mean the State might not feel it had an interest in getting the dad to pay child-support if the mom was on assistance of some kind, but perhaps some moms might have enough resources to avoid that too. Does a PI actually interview HS kids at school w/o their parents present?

        18. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll June 21, 2013 at 1:33 am |

          If a father suspects he’s in fact a father, HE can take the mother to court and have a paternity test done and be placed on the birth certificate AND be granted parental rights. If the mother is on welfare, the state will demand a paternity test and will also have LE investigators search for one. A PI isn’t LE and doesn’t have to have parental permission to question anyone, though no one is obligated to speak to one. A PI is as free to talk to HS students as you or I am and I think age limit is 14. Under 14 and there has to be a parent present.

    3. Wordwizard
      Wordwizard June 19, 2013 at 11:26 am |

      I will accept your apology for calling me HE, for what it’s worth, but your language was still abusive and ad hominem. (Amblingalong has certainly not been easy on me, but has NOT been abusive, so you can’t complain that I’m just objecting to being challenged. Amblingalong’s attacks have been on ideas, and not the person, and have been on target + educational, eminently fair.) I didn’t say women COULDN’t be MRAs, though it’s certainly puzzling–though you’re right about the author of this piece–I said *I* couldn’t be a woman and a MRA, and being called one unjustly is abusive. Perhaps YOUR reading comprehension could be called in question? You have several times said that I said some proposition that I did not, and don’t agree with. It has become too difficult scrolling back+forth with different lines of postings to keep up with them all. If you want to challenge something another person has said, why not QUOTE them first, at least if your comment is NOT going to be directly below theirs, so it is clear what you’re responding to? I am certainly not consulting anyone’s playbook. If Radfems is some particular group which is transphobic, I am unacquainted with it. I have made no transphobic remarks, right? So why bring such an unmerited accusation up?

      1. Lolagirl
        Lolagirl June 19, 2013 at 1:22 pm |

        but your language was still abusive and ad hominem.

        And I continue to strenuously disagree with this assertion.

        The definition of ad hominem is as follows:

        1. appealing to feelings or prejudices rather than intellect;

        2. marked by or being an attack on an opponent’s character rather than by an answer to the contentions made.

        I did neither of these things in any of my responses to you, Wordwizard. Questioning your reading comprehension skills is not appealing to prejudices or emotions or attacking your character, nor is it being abusive. Vigorous debate is a hallmark of the comments community here at Feminste, it just is.

        I said *I* couldn’t be a woman and a MRA, and being called one unjustly is abusive.

        I may have implied that you were an MRA, but even if I did call you an MRA, that is not being abusive. You did argue the point that women have some sort of (assumed) right to keep fathers away from their children by not naming them on the birth certificate, and that is a very common talking point within the MRA movement. It is also a distortion of how the law actually works when it comes to men seeking paternity and involvement in their children’s lives. My pointing that out is not abusive, it’s simply arguing against the points you were making, the end.

        If you want to challenge something another person has said, why not QUOTE them first, at least if your comment is NOT going to be directly below theirs, so it is clear what you’re responding to?

        OK?

        One can only assume you are directing this comment towards me, Wordwizard, and yet you do not do me the same courtesy you demand of me and others. Do you not see how logically inconsistent that is? Again, this is not an attack, or abuse, this is taking issue with what you have written and responding to it with how I disagree with you.

        If Radfems is some particular group which is transphobic, I am unacquainted with it. I have made no transphobic remarks, right? So why bring such an unmerited accusation up?

        If you have been reading the posts and comments here at Feministe terribly long, you would be well-acquainted with the transphobia of the Radfem movement. I bring up this reality because you specifically identified yourself as a Radfem, Wordwizard. There are several active commenters here at Feministe who are trans, and you’re self-identifying as a Radfem is likely to put them on high alert as to where you are coming from in your comments. So my bringing up transphobia was intended as a heads up to you more than anything else.

        Finally, I admittedly have a somewhat brash and confrontational argument style. It isn’t intended to be abusive, but it is sometimes intended to be in (general) your face, and I am disinclined to back down from arguing a point with someone simply because they feel “attacked” or slighted or get their feelings hurt. Take that for whatever it’s worth, clearly you and I are not going to agree on much of anything.

        1. Wordwizard
          Wordwizard June 19, 2013 at 2:08 pm |

          Lola: I have attempted to put my comments directly below your own, by clicking the first “Reply” above them. If they have not gone there, either there’s a bug, or I don’t understand how to place them where I mean to. It’s easier when there’s a “Reply” on the exact comment, as there is this time, but often there is not.
          Throwing slurs at my reading comprehension, + mastery of the English language, + name-calling me a MRA, even by implcation, is just making things up and personal attacks.
          I called myself a radical feminist, not a Radfem, whatever that is. (I am hardly responsible to read each and every post on each and every blog-article to know what you claim I should. There is no END to what you think I should already know–It is equivalent to every opinion you have.) Is NWL a transphobic organisation? News to me!

        2. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl June 19, 2013 at 2:34 pm |

          I have attempted to put my comments directly below your own, by clicking the first “Reply” above them

          Wordwizard, I don’t actually care one way or the other about the quoting thing. YOU brought it up yourself, I did not, and I then pointed out how you were not doing what you claimed you wanted others to do. Why on earth are you arguing against your own point?

          Throwing slurs at my reading comprehension, + mastery of the English language, + name-calling me a MRA, even by implcation, is just making things up and personal attacks.

          No, it is not. Really and truly. I did not “throw slurs” at your reading comprehension, ever. I challenge you to find one example here where I did so, because you will not be able to do so. I repeat, questioning your reading comprehension skills is not engaging in personal slurs, or throwing slurs, as you put it. It’s pointing out that you don’t seem to be following well what others were writing in response to your own comments and questions. Furthermore, referring to you as an MRA is not a slur/insult/name-calling. The Men’s Right Activists (MRA for short) are a very real and very vocal group of people. Honestly, I don’t even see how you can argue in good faith that calling you an MRA is name-calling. It’s simply untrue.

          Finally, and to repeat once again, YOU called yourself a Radical Feminist. I did not call you that, you did so of your own accord. Radical Feminism is a distinct movement onto itself with very specific ideologies it calls its very own as a movement. Radfem is simply short for Radical Feminist, how you can self–identify as a Radical Feminist and claim ignorance as to the term Radfem is beyond me. And I agree with Donna that I’m somewhat incredulous that you call yourself a Radical Feminist and yet claim to be utterly unaware of the common thread of transphobia that is part of the Radical Feminist movement. If you do not intend to actually identify with the Radical Feminist movement, then you might want to reconsider what terminology you use when describing your personal affiliations.

      2. Donna L
        Donna L June 19, 2013 at 2:02 pm |

        If Radfems is some particular group which is transphobic, I am unacquainted with it.

        There are certainly radical feminists who aren’t transphobic. (Including at least one of the regular commenters here, and probably more.)

        But I find it almost impossible to believe that anyone who identifies as a radical feminist who is even remotely familiar with radical feminist literature and thought over the last 40 years or so could be unaware of the extremely persistent and virulent transphobia expressed by a great many self-identified radical feminists — including almost every well-known radical feminist — during that time-period, and continuing to the present day.

        1. Wordwizard
          Wordwizard June 19, 2013 at 2:49 pm |

          Donna:
          I’m glad you acknowledge radical feminists DON’T have to be transphobic. I should have characterized practically everyone who posts here in that category (not meaning to offend anyone who does not wish to be so categorized, or to falsely compliment anyone who IS transphobic.). It may be hard for you to believe that I don’t know about radical feminist transphobia, but believe it. I myself believe in live and let live. I’m too eccentric to go around pointing fingers, and I firmly believe in non-violence. Everyone should have the right to be safe, and I would put my body on the line to protect a trans-person’s safety as I HAVE done w/gay-bashing.

        2. Wordwizard
          Wordwizard June 19, 2013 at 3:55 pm |

          No one has answered my question: Is National Women’s Liberation [NWL], which was just recently so instrumental in getting free access to the Morning After pill, and which identifies as radical feminists, small r, small f, not RadFems, a hotbed of transphobia? News to me!

        3. Donna L
          Donna L June 19, 2013 at 4:02 pm |

          I didn’t answer your question because until you just explained it, I had no idea what NWL is, and am not familiar with it anyway. Why don’t you tell us what the answer is?

        4. Donna L
          Donna L June 19, 2013 at 4:15 pm |

          I can’t find anything at all indicating that this organization in its current form has actually existed for more than a very brief period of time, although it seems to claim descent (I can’t tell how) from various other groups including the Redstockings from back in the 1960’s. And I can’t find anything on its website revealing the group’s position on trans issues. So I’ll reserve judgment. Feminist organizations that are trans-positive and trans-inclusive tend actually to say so.

        5. Donna L
          Donna L June 19, 2013 at 4:36 pm |

          OK, it’s what I figured. Although the group says it’s been leading the fight for the morning after pill for 10 years, it was founded in 2009 by a Gainesville, Florida group:

          http://www.mapconspiracy.org/contact.html


          In 2009 Gainesville Women’s Liberation and the Women’s Liberation Birth Control Project founded National Women’s Liberation (NWL), a feminist group for women who want to fight back against male supremacy and win more freedom for women. NWL continues to lead the grassroots fight against restrictions on the Morning-After Pill as one of its main priorities. NWL currently has chapters in New York City and Gainesville, Florida.

          I suspect that the claimed descent from the Redstockings may be more spiritual than historical. And although Gainesville Women’s Liberation was founded in 1968, I don’t know if it has been active continuously or was revived at some point.

          As far as the original Redstockings are concerned — Shulamith Firestone, et al. — I have always thought that certain of her views (including her belief that pregnancy is “barbaric” and that Science will end both pregnancy and patriarchy) were fundamentally misogynistic. They were also known for being homophobic. Admittedly, however — and thankfully — Firestone, at least, was not as obsessed with the evils of trans women as so many of her contemporaries were.

        6. Donna L
          Donna L June 19, 2013 at 4:43 pm |

          Aha.

          http://www.civicmediacenter.org/event/2010/08/26/women%E2%80%99s-liberation-gainesville-building-what%E2%80%99s-been-won-knowing-what%E2%80%99s-been-done

          Featured speaker Carol Giardina is a pioneer of the 1960’s women’s liberation movement. She began making referrals for then-illegal abortions from her college dormitory at UF’s Reid Hall in 1963. By 1968, she had been fired from her job for participating in the Miss America Pageant protest. That same year, she co-founded Gainesville Women’s Liberation with Judith Brown. She was one of a core of movement founders from Gainesville Women’s Liberation, New York Radical Women and Redstockings that helped to develop and spread the radical feminist theories of consciousness-raising, the pro-woman line, and the personal is political.

          Today, Carol Giardina is a lead organizer for Redstockings and National Women’s Liberation, where she continues to work for feminist revolution in the uncompromising, “go for what we really want” spirit of the Sixties.

          There’s your answer, Wordwizard. This is a familiar name to me.

        7. Donna L
          Donna L June 19, 2013 at 5:02 pm |

          Again, though, as long as the group stays away from advocating or furthering transphobia (or transphobic narratives of what feminism means), it doesn’t really matter so much what its founder’s views on trans issues may have been 40 years ago, or even what they are now. There are far more important things to worry about.

        8. Wordwizard
          Wordwizard June 19, 2013 at 5:05 pm |

          So I gather she passes your sniff test? I took a course given by NWL in NYC, with a variety of readings, none of which do I RECALL addressing trans-issues (but with my memory, that doesn’t mean anything–except that I ABSOLUTELY WOULD remember any homophobia or trans-bashing!). I believe she was the guest lecturer at the final class.

          Shulamith Firestone’s contention that pregnancy is barbaric and soon to be outdated along with patriarchy IS misogynistic–and so silly it gives me the giggles! That’ll be the day! Seriously? If men didn’t need women to procreate, we’d been trampled into the dust long ago….Sounds like a fine science FICTION idea.

        9. Donna L
          Donna L June 20, 2013 at 2:43 pm |

          Wordwizard, I’m not sure I’m happy with your use of what I think is a rather repellent term — “sniff test” — to describe my trying to find out whether a particular radical feminist group you praise has a policy or history that’s hostile to trans people, and to trans women in particular. It happens to be a serious issue, at least as I see it.

          Leaving that aside, I didn’t say what my answer was, or that Ms. Giardina had passed any kind of “test.” What I did say, in my next comment, is that as long as the group continues to focus on what it’s been doing, and at least is neutral about trans issues, and doesn’t start telling trans women that they can’t join, or explaining that trans women are “really men,” then even though that’s obviously not ideal, it won’t matter so much to me what views their founder holds, or has held in the past.

        10. Wordwizard
          Wordwizard June 20, 2013 at 5:14 pm |

          Donna:
          I did not mean to offend with my use of that phrase “sniff test”. I was actually interested to learn what you might think of the group–especially if it should turn out to have an unsavory past that I knew nothing about. I enjoyed the course, and think the accomplishments of the group stand for themselves, but all of the students felt cheated for being channelled into an apparently pre-determined action (when we’d been told we were to choose our own) that accomplished nothing. We ended up trying to get up some steam for Single-payer Healthcare picketing outside a congressional office, while being told not to use that term because the general public was unfamiliar with it! Call it Medicare For All instead! I’ve been attacked for not knowing what I wasn’t told….I muddle along doing the best I can.

        11. amblingalong
          amblingalong June 20, 2013 at 5:22 pm |

          Wordwizard, I’m not sure I’m happy with your use of what I think is a rather repellent term — “sniff test” — to describe my trying to find out whether a particular radical feminist group you praise has a policy or history that’s hostile to trans people, and to trans women in particular. It happens to be a serious issue, at least as I see it.

          Hey, I completely agree with what you wrote but I want to make sure I’m not missing something- does ‘sniff test’ have a double meaning/bad origin? I always thought it came from food, like sniffing a bottle of milk to see if it had gone spoiled.

          Completely on the same page otherwise.

        12. Donna L
          Donna L June 20, 2013 at 5:43 pm |

          No, not really! I guess “sniff” is just one of those words I instinctively dislike. Like some people hate “moist.” Or “smegma.”

        13. Donna L
          Donna L June 20, 2013 at 5:45 pm |

          I’ve been attacked for not knowing what I wasn’t told

          I hope you don’t think I’ve been attacking you. Because I don’t think I have.

        14. Wordwizard
          Wordwizard June 20, 2013 at 6:02 pm |

          Donna:
          I did not mean that YOU were attacking me. You agreed, civilly, with a point made by someone else whose manner is not at all like yours. Again, I am really not trying to offend you!

        15. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve June 20, 2013 at 8:00 pm |

          I guess “sniff” is just one of those words I instinctively dislike. Like some people hate “moist.” Or “smegma.”

          I hate moist smegma.

  10. jemand
    jemand June 17, 2013 at 11:08 pm |

    I’d be far more persuaded by this if they also proposed raising taxes on everyone and providing state-supplied “child support” to custodial parents to make up the difference.

  11. Katie
    Katie June 17, 2013 at 11:38 pm |

    But Jill, most people have abortions not because they want to avoid the pregnancy, but because they want to avoid the birth, no? So in effect, women do have the option in your ideal world to opt out of parenthood, whereas men don’t. What am I missing?

    Not that I think this is a great tragedy, mind you. I’m happy with “unfair” laws if they go against some oppressive grain. (In this case, as other commenters have pointed out, the cultural pressure for women to assume primary responsibility for children.)

  12. Sally Archer
    Sally Archer June 18, 2013 at 12:52 am |

    From the article, this moved me as reasonable and caring both: ‘What a lot of “what about the dads??” commentators seem to be forgetting is that child support is for the child, not the mother.’

    As long as heterosexual intercourse by a man with a woman can result always in her, never him, being impregnated, suffering (or enjoying, some do) gestation and giving birth, and then having a newborn child delivered who needs economic support, it seems the least the child should be entitled to is financial assistance from the man as well as the woman whose sperm and egg after gestation made the child.

    Man + Woman = child.

    Man + Woman = child support.

    Child, who cannot earn money for support, being only a child, therefore receives funds for support from man + woman (which may include services in kind from a non-economically producing parent). Or am I missing something?

    1. Angel H.
      Angel H. June 18, 2013 at 12:33 pm |

      Aside from the cissexism in your comment?

      1. Sally Archer
        Sally Archer June 19, 2013 at 12:12 am |

        The question was rhetorical and putative cissexism is not only off point to child support but a seeming ad hominen attack on my comment which does belong here. I don’t think I’m missing anything in saying so, not at all.

        1. amblingalong
          amblingalong June 19, 2013 at 12:40 am |

          putative cissexism is not only off point to child support but a seeming ad hominen attack on my comment which does belong here.

          No. The formula man + women = child is cissexist because it ignores that man + man and woman + woman can also = child, depending on the identification of the people involved. Pointing this out isn’t ad hominem, it’s asking you to check your privilege.

          Instead of considering what you posted, you lashed out at the person who made that perfectly valid point. Take a sec and reflect before responding again.

        2. Donna L
          Donna L June 19, 2013 at 12:58 am |

          Actually, amblingalong, she specified heterosexual relationships.

          However, technically speaking, I suppose it was cissexist, in stating that “heterosexual intercourse by a man with a woman can result always in her, never him, being impregnated.”

          Because, of course, that isn’t actually true. There are men who can be impregnated. That’s hardly a secret in this day and age. And, furthermore, there are women capable of impregnating. (Although, of course, if either were in the process of medical transition, they would have to go off hormones in order to conceive. At least for trans women, though, after a certain time the chemical sterilization is irreversible.) Both are possible, and they could easily happen to intersect in the same couple. Which means that the “always” assertion is untrue. Why? Because of ciscentrism, if not cissexism.

          Finally, I disagree with the idea that cissexism (or cissexism) is “off point” to this subject and, therefore, shouldn’t be mentioned. Even it really is off point (and I can think of situations in which it definitely would not be), if someone perceives cissexism (or racism, or anti-Semitism, or anything of the kind) in a comment, why shouldn’t they point it out, regardless of whether it’s “on point”?

        3. amblingalong
          amblingalong June 19, 2013 at 9:48 am |

          Actually, amblingalong, she specified heterosexual relationships.

          I didn’t read the ‘formula’ as being a modification of that statement- if I misunderstood, my apologies Sally. That said, I do think there’s a better way to respond to being asked to check yourself.

  13. AJD
    AJD June 18, 2013 at 1:22 am |

    I think that at the beginning of this post what you meant to say was “One woman says yes” instead of “One woman says no”? Or if not, I don’t understand what you mean to say that one woman is saying no to.

  14. Katie
    Katie June 18, 2013 at 1:46 am |

    I feel like “forced fatherhood” is the wrong conversation to be having. We are meeting MRAs and their ilk on their own turf, and comparing child support payments to “forced” parenthood or some such violation of human rights is a false analogy in the first place. Fatherhood, or parenthood more generally, is the free and willing giving of one’s time, body, energy, and love to raise a child. This is something that men absolutely can, and do, opt out of (at least, I’ve never heard of courts ordering dads to take their kids to the park and have family dinners with them).
    Child support payments are something else entirely, and something that a mother can also be ordered to pay if she surrenders custody of her child, but the father wants to step up. Now, I would agree that the burden of child rearing (financial and otherwise) should not fall to the individual (parent or parents), as the state and society generally have a vested interest in that child, so should darn well cough up and make sure that all children have a decent standard of living.
    However, that is not the system we have right now and it is certainly not one that these fathers’ rights activists themselves are advocating for, with all their talk of mothers being “personally responsible” if they choose to become a parent. Your body, time, and free expression are inalienable human rights that should not be infringed upon, even for the sake of a child. I don’t count “earning and keeping all teh monies for meeee” as an inalienable human right. The capitalist system we have is, ultimately, a means to the end of providing for, and reproducing, our society and its members. Therefore, if the money that you make in the market (that is safeguarded and provided for by the government) is required by the state to provide for a child you are the biological parent of, you can’t cry that your rights are being impeded. Your money is doing what it is supposed to do.
    Again, at the end of this rant, I would like to reiterate that I think a radical re-imagining of parenthood and individual and social responsibilities to children would offer a much more fair way for everyone, and yes, then perhaps child support would be unnecessary. However, that’s not what this author, or the people she is allies with, is advocating for. Personal responsibility is their mantra, but only for women.

    1. Critical Thinker
      Critical Thinker June 18, 2013 at 3:16 am |

      A big reason many women abort is because they aren’t ready to be a parent. Not ready emotionally, financially, or a host of other reasons. Women get to make this decision. Men don’t. If medical science was able to bring the baby to term without a risky pregnancy then force the mother to be a mother whether by raising the child or helping to financially support it, abortions would still happen. Abortion is the decision not to be a parent. Women have the ability to opt out of a lifetime of being a parent because of ( what may have been) one drunken mistake. It seems only fair that both halves of the mistake be given the same rights in the decision making process.

      1. Katie
        Katie June 18, 2013 at 2:47 pm |

        First of all, I’d like to point out that your reply didn’t actually reply to any of the points I made. If you think something I said is wrong, tell me why, don’t try to override my arguments with your unrelated arguments.

        Secondly, abortion is the decision not to subject one’s body to, as Jill said, a strenuous ten month pregnancy and subsequent birth. When the decision to be a parent plays a role (there are many women out there who would love to be mothers, but due to medical or psychological conditions are unable to safely carry a pregnancy to term), the question is ultimately: “Given that I will not be a mother to this child, am I willing to subject my body and myself to pregnancy and childbirth?” For some women, the answer is yes and they go through with surrendering custody to a willing father or finding an adoptive family. Some women choose not to do this, and have an abortion. Whether to give one’s body over to nurturing a fetus for 10 months is an intensely personal and difficult decision, and it’s not for anyone else to judge.

        Choosing to have an abortion is not the same as choosing not to be a parent – they are separate, although often related, decisions. Thus, it’s ridiculous to compare men choosing not to be fathers to women choosing to have abortions: they are simply not the same things.

      2. Miriam
        Miriam June 18, 2013 at 10:36 pm |

        I would have loved to have had a biological child without being pregnant. I would love to have had the choice to not be the one getting up every 1.5 to 3 hours during the night when my baby refused a bottle. I would love to have been able to go back to work after two weeks instead of still healing and recovering. I would love to have not had permanent changes to my body that range from the aesthetic-only (stretch marks) to the possibly permanently health altering (my RMI).

        I didn’t get these choices because life is not fair and biological reality is what it is. Sometimes there is no way to have symmetrical choices, and someone gets the relative short end of the stick. Unless you can point me to an option I’m missing, the choices here seem to be to either allow a child less financial support than s/he can otherwise have, give a man the right to force a woman to have an abortion she does not want, or legally compel a man to financially support his child. While the third option may not be fair, it does seem the fairest.

        (Also, I feel that this conversation is ridiculous to be having in the present US when women do not all have the option of an abortion. Is this right for men to terminate their parental obligations going to be tied to abortion access so that it only applies in states with no financial or legal barriers to abortion?)

        1. critical thinker
          critical thinker June 19, 2013 at 8:12 pm |

          With our medical technology in the west it’s relatively rare that pregnancy will seriously harm the mother. If it is going to then abortion is fine. The rest of the tie te pregnancy is aborted because she doesn’t want a child. That’s fine too. My problem is that if she wants the child and he doesn’t then tough for him. There is no getting out of it. Some women do want children, some don’t. They have options, the same situation is there for men but they don’t have options. That’s the issue in my mind.

          Why the double standard? M thought would be to give the man a week or so after being advised about the pregnancy to make a decision about whether or not he wants to be a father. The woman in most states gets 3 months to decide. If he decides not to be a father then allow him to walk away without any parental rights or responsibilities. That’s what she is able to do.

          BTW, an abortion can be just as dangerous as bringing a pregnancy to term. That is to say that neither causes a lot of cases of serious injury or death but both have he potential too.

        2. Katie
          Katie June 19, 2013 at 9:18 pm |

          Critical Thinker, how have you not been banned? The medical community’s consensus is that abortion is significantly safer than childbirth (Raymond & Grimes, 2012). Lies don’t strengthen your case.

          As I pointed out above, men do get to decide if they will be a parent. To equate sending a cheque once a month with actual parenting is incredibly disrespectful to parents, biological and otherwise, who happily and voluntarily sacrifice a significant portion of their lives to raising a child. Court-ordered child support payments do not equal court-ordered fatherhood.

          Furthermore, forced child support payments are not equal to forced pregnancy and birth. The latter is an infringement on a woman’s bodily autonomy and right to self-determination. The former is a curtailing of state-sponsored privileges for the sake of one (or more) of its citizens. The state compels you to pay taxes to provide very basic services for all its citizens; it can also compel you to pay child support for one of its citizens. If you think that the financial responsibility for children should be taken care of by the state rather than assigned based on biological lineage, fantastic. Be prepared for massive tax hikes to pay for other people’s kids, rather than just your own.

          Seriously, get over the abortion issue. You don’t understand it.

  15. Is it unfair to force men to support their children? | Genderopoly

    [...] Is it unfair to force men to support their children? [...]

  16. Batos
    Batos June 18, 2013 at 4:47 am |

    There should be a legal way for a man to sign away his parental rights before the child is born. He would have no say in how the child is raised, but also not be legally or financially responcible for the child.

    This should happen in good time, while abortion is still an option so that the woman has the choice to terminate if she feels she can not financially care for the child alone.

  17. fsmemc2
    fsmemc2 June 18, 2013 at 5:43 am |

    Obviously this shouldn’t be the case now because the feminist utopia of universal access to contraception and reproductive healthcare doesn’t yet exist. Far too many women don’t have access to affordable birth control, many pharmacies and hospitals still refuse to dispense emergency contraception, most state in the US don’t pay for poor women’s abortions and many private insurance plans don’t cover it, crisis pregnancy centers and public shaming also pose major obstacles to “voluntary motherhood”. “Safe haven” and adoption also don’t make up for this because they can only be done after a women has given birth and undergone major expenses (even a simple healthy pregnancy runs on the order of 5-10,000 dollars) or emotionally bonded with the child. In a world like this giving men, and only men, the right to easily formally absolve themselves of all parental obligations means making things less fair. It means that men would be able to avoid the costs and hardships of an unwanted pregnancy they were partially responsible for while women wouldn’t be. As it is I think ascribing equal responsibility for the costs and burdens of an unplanned child to both consenting adults is reasonable.

    If we do get to a world with universal accurate sex ed, access to all methods of contraception regardless of income, practical access to abortion (without CPCs or shaming), then we might have “voluntary motherhood”. Then the argument that giving men a formal legal opt out would equalize things becomes much more reasonable.

    1. XtinaS
      XtinaS June 18, 2013 at 10:20 am |

      This is pretty much my feeling on the subject. If abortions were actually reasonably procurable for uterus-bearers, I’d be more inclined to care at all about “fairness”. As it is, we’re still screwed, and so I don’t care about this “fairness” thing for men.

  18. McMike
    McMike June 18, 2013 at 9:54 am |

    Well if mandatory child support is struck down, then there is still a child that needs resources. The gap has to be filled with public money somehow. That is good for people whom would end up paying less, that what their child support payments would be and will be scorned at by people whom do support their children and now see their tax dollars go towards the children whose biological fathers did forfeight to pay for them.

    Then again tax dollars go towards women whom have contraception and abortion paid for with public money as well. The children of women whom decided against an abortion but literally left the children on a doorstep also get public money.

    The question of equality becomes one of practicality. Either the same rights are extended to men, or women are made to pay their own way the same, in this day and age where they have more possibilities than ever before at least in the US and EU.

    1. McMike
      McMike June 18, 2013 at 9:57 am |

      Just the way public money fills the gap for women it could do the same for men. After all you cant avoid dead and taxes. The nations which will face undesirably low reproductive rates might enact models where men pay anyway so they might as well have children.

      Of course when overpopulation is the issue and keeping birthrates where they are in a sense where they shouldnt go any higher the administration will prefer a policy where a man is hurt in the wallet if he fathers children on the side.

      1. McMike
        McMike June 18, 2013 at 10:00 am |

        So the question isnt so much what is fair, but what does the administration of country X want and how does it need to yank the chain to achieve what it wants?

  19. Alara Rogers
    Alara Rogers June 18, 2013 at 10:06 am |

    I have a much better idea.

    Let’s get on that male birth control thing and fix it. The stories I’ve heard of RISUG are very, very promising. Give men a reliable means of preventing their own fertility, and the issue goes away; women, after all, do not get to get out of motherhood unless they employ birth control technologies, so “I forgot to get my shot” or “oops, it didn’t work” would result in fatherhood just as much as “I forgot to take my BC” would result in pregnancy. (Pregnancy, then, being a physically strenuous condition that can also be ended technologically, but those who cannot do so or make the choice not to will end up mothers.)

    Abortion is not, in fact, the last line of defense against motherhood. That’s adoption. Abortion is the last line of defense against *pregnancy*. If women could pop out an egg like they were taking a particularly large poop, without ever showing any sign they were pregnant, and hand it over to adoptive parents who want to sit on it, abortion wouldn’t even be an issue most likely. But pregnancy is physically destructive to a human body and socially stigmatized for anyone who isn’t married (to the father of the child), considered an acceptable age, and considered to be in socially acceptable physical and mental health. (I have a blind lawyer friend who got shit on for being pregnant while being a middle class married woman.) It can also destroy your career even if you are an appropriately-aged, appropriately-healthy-looking married woman. So there are myriad excellent reasons to not be pregnant that have nothing to do with the cost of raising a child.

    Once a child is born and a woman has *not* surrendered it for adoption, she is just as much on the hook for child support as the father is. Letting men get out of child support gives men special privileges that women don’t have; if a man has been identified as a father (necessary for child support to be served on him), he has the right to prevent the mother from giving up the child for adoption, so it’s not like women have unilateral rights to not pay for the kid either. All men or women get is the right to control their own bodies, and it’s 99% to men’s advantage that that means they don’t have to deal with 9 months of gestation; let’s not get rid of the 1% of a disadvantage it grants.

    (Although I do have a bit of schadenfreude at the thought of a screaming, placard-waving crowd of protesters surrounding a courthouse yelling “DEADBEAT” and “DON’T ABANDON YOUR BABY” at men going in to sign 27 papers in triplicate to terminate their paternal rights, after a 24 hour waiting period and a mandatory parenting video full of cute babies and dads playing with little kids and a mandatory interview with an asshole counselor who tries to make them feel like shit… but no. I’d rather live in a world where women don’t have to deal with that crap than where men do too.)

    1. (BFing)Sarah
      (BFing)Sarah June 18, 2013 at 6:31 pm |

      Oh I agree pretty much with all of this.

    2. moorepark
      moorepark June 19, 2013 at 12:28 pm |

      Give men a reliable means of preventing their own fertility, and the issue goes away;

      No it doesn’t, it just becomes less likely.

  20. Chataya
    Chataya June 18, 2013 at 10:19 am |

    Monthly cost of a child: $1100*
    Average monthly child support: $430*

    *sources:
    http://m.theweek.com/article.php?id=229416
    http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/children/cb12-109.html

  21. A4
    A4 June 18, 2013 at 10:26 am |

    “Fair in the US: When men have access to all mechanisms of power and are subject to no mechanisms of accountability or responsibility”

    1. amblingalong
      amblingalong June 18, 2013 at 10:43 am |

      That’s funny, as a black guy somehow I feel like one or two “mechanisms of responsibility” still apply to me…

      1. macavitykitsune
        macavitykitsune June 18, 2013 at 12:45 pm |

        What is racism? How is babby formed?

      2. A4
        A4 June 18, 2013 at 2:15 pm |

        Yes I understand. How clever.

        Could you both please go triangle elsewhere? This pattern of the two of you making fun of me as a bonding mechanism is distasteful.

        1. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve June 18, 2013 at 7:49 pm |

          Could you both please go triangle elsewhere?

          Yes, this triangling is just so isosceles. Please put an end to it before I blow my hypotenuse,

        2. A4
          A4 June 18, 2013 at 10:35 pm |

          hahaha!

        3. SamLL
          SamLL June 19, 2013 at 8:23 pm |

          That’s acute joke, but I think you’re being obtuse.

  22. Lolagirl
    Lolagirl June 18, 2013 at 11:35 am |

    The biological series of events that lead up to and result in the birth of a child are inherently inequitable, and while the laws surrounding paternity and child support have their imperfections, they are the best system we have come up with to date.

    Because the uterus owner does all of the heavy lifting of gestating, while the sperm contributor does not, it makes the most sense for the uterus owner to have the ultimate decision of whether or not to carry a pregnancy. And the reality of how inconsistent access is here in the U.S. to contraception and abortion, it is vastly over-simplistic to claim that sperm contributors should be let off the hook for a resulting child they do not want as a result of the uterus owner’s right to prevent pregnancy or access abortion.

    Furthermore, all of the prattling of this NYT’s columnist utterly ignores the reality that a living, breathing, and utterly dependent little human being results from the culmination of any given pregnancy. And it is never, ever equitable to leave the uterus owned solely responsible for that child’s care and support into adulthood, even though they may have had the opportunity to prevent or terminate that pregnancy. Also, parenting/child support paying is not a punishment for creating a small human, it is merely an acknowledgement of the reality that the little human costs money to support and care for.

    Finally, much of our U.S. family law jurisprudence is premised on the above, and that the state should not be responsible for a child’s financial support, save for emergency conditions such as the death, desertion, abuse/neglect of, or termination of that child’s biological parents’ rights to the child.

    This NYT column just makes me ragey, what with all the poor men who don’t wanna be daddies or take financial responsibilities for their children. Life isn’t fair sometimes, and acting like a child is not sufficient grounds for being let off the hook for caring for your own children. The end.

  23. rox
    rox June 18, 2013 at 11:55 am |

    The concept of voluntary motherhood really bugs me because I’ve been pregnant twice– once by rape, and once by reproductive coercion (i.e. impregnated deliberately after falling asleep during previously consented to sex).

    I don’t feel like becoming pregnant when a man makes a decision like this is the same thing as saying “I am volunteering to be a mom in this exact situation and it’s all great to me!” even if you decide you want your child to be born and to never part from them and to be there for them no matter what.

    I wanted to be a mom anyway- I loved my squishy little blob person the moment I felt they existed (trust me I support women identifying their fetus/embryo as person or no! I go with person as it’s my choice, yay freedom!). But that doesn’t mean I really felt it was the greatest time for me to be a mom. The question of personhood becomes a big deal because deciding that you are ALREADY a mom- is a different decision than deciding whether to become a mom.

    For some women, personhood doesn’t start until after the birth or some time during the pregnancy. For me it had already started and I was already bonded to an entity I felt was a person. Which means my choices involved how to serve that person as best as possible (which by they way could have involved an abortion anyway because I do believe that can be the merciful option in some situations even if you see an embryo/fetus as a “person”).

    So I guess what I mean to say is, for me I became a mother and it was not something I would have volunteered for mostly because I was extremely unprepared not because I wouldn’t love or want a child.

    I have a hard time with people assuming that motherhood could be voluntary in such cases because of the fact that rape and sexual coercion/reproductive coercion exist (pressured or forced unprotected sex with an otherwise consenting partner who wanted to use protection). And because it defines the status of the embry/fetus FOR another woman which is sort of the point of choice, women should be allowed to decide when personhood begins or whether or not the entity in their body should be protected or not.

    But I do think we should essentially teach people that when you agree to have sex you ARE theone who needs to be accountable to any children you create EVEN ON ACCIDENT. They had no choice in being created and adults can choose whether or not to have sex. If you have sex, even WITH protection, you’re still the one responsible if a weird accident happens and somehow you wind up with a born child. It’s the adults responsibility to care for any children who are born from their consensual sex and that should be the message we teach in sex ed. Birth control and abortion are tools that could prevent this responsibility from happening, but once born, even if it was an accident- the parents should be the ones to take accountability for the difficulty of the situation not just force the suffering all on the child and dump kids on the state or the horrible fucked up foster system without caring how much these children suffer.

    And men should NOT be told they have the right to demand an abortion or paper abortion. This is really fucked up for the children involved. Men should be taught that yes, when they have sex they ARE giving up their semen to a woman and it could create a child they are morally and possibly legally responsible for. Women have the RIGHT to give birth! This is a hard thing for men, so they should be advised to avoid having sex if they can’t handle being there for a child if an accident occurs (or be prepared to grow up and at least try their best in the even of an accident). Same goes for women. If you wind up giving birth after having consensual sex, you aren’t owed a consequence free ride at the expense of letting your own child live as an orphan of the living.

    I DO believe in helping parents with these duties because they can be very difficult duties to carry out, but no culture should teach it’s populace they are owed the right to produce children and dump them in terrible circumstances without any family or true caregivers as some sort of innate “human right” parents deserve. It’s just so many lightyears of fucked up. The legal right might be there for people who are too dangerous for their children, but it’s an option to be used when parents are horrible people, or severely ill and incapable—- it’s not some sort of innate right parents should be demanding because it competes with innocent childrens rights to be loved by their own parents as best the parents are able, which every child deserves.

    1. AMM
      AMM June 19, 2013 at 5:22 pm |

      But I do think we should essentially teach people that when you agree to have sex you ARE theone who needs to be accountable to any children you create EVEN [BY] ACCIDENT. They had no choice in being created and adults can choose whether or not to have sex.

      It’s amazing how many people aren’t on board with the idea that “adults can choose whether or not to have sex.” Sex is seen as being as necessary to life as breathing, and the idea that some silly thing like possible consequences should interfere with it is seen as addled.

      FWIW, there’s the flip side of the “I shouldn’t have to play child support because I didn’t intend to make her pregnant when we had wild unprotected sex.”

      I had a disagreement a number of years ago with a blogger (Feminist Law Professors, or something like that) about whether the mother in the case of an unplanned (or not mutually planned) pregnancy should be able to arbitrarily exclude the father from the child’s life. She felt that her not wanting to have to deal with him (for whatever reason) should be reason enough to forbid all future contact. I argued that the “best interests of the child” should be the primary consideration, and if she could not bear the idea of possibly having to deal with him for the next 20+ years, she could choose not to have sex with him in the first place. She thought that idea was too stupid for words. Sort of like “why should some stupid baby be a reason for me not to do whatever I feel like?”

      (Since this is Feministe, I suppose I have to say that I think there might be perfectly good reasons why a father might be forbidden contact with his child. I just don’t think the mother’s “I don’t feel like having him in my life” alone should be enough.)

      1. rox
        rox June 21, 2013 at 6:07 pm |

        AMM I’m so glad you’ve seen that to. That’s the part that’s bugging not that there are situations where a man and woman might need to place because they aren’t capable of parenting. The interests of the childs should always require a parent be held accountable to the child unless they can find a better situation that is truly better for the child. If that is not available then yes, sometimes parents wind up trapped rearing their children.

        That sucks which is why I would like to save people from this fate by helping people understand this is a possibility that could happen to them if they choose to have sex, and to have tools such as birth control to help limit the risk of this happening to the adult if they feel it wouldn’t be a good thing for them. But I’m not willing to just state that all adults should get to dump babies because they should be allowed to have sex without any responsability to the babies they make.

        Absolving parental obligations should only be allowed in a best interest of the child situation meaning the parents are required to ensure their children are cared for and if no one else is available- the parent has to try. If both parents can’t agree to place- the child deserves both parents who created them to look out for their well being and assume parental duty to love and care for their interests. Custody doesn’t need to be 50/50 I’m not saying that, I’m just saying yes, parents should be available to their children as best they can. If you can’t agree with that you really might reconsider having sex and assuming a child should pay the price if an accident happens rather than assume you would have to challenge yourself to look out for a littler person if an accidental person happened with or without birth control use.

        People who are so mentally ill or traumatized as to not know what they’re doing are not people I would hold accountable for not being able to love a child– most people who talk about how they “Shouldn’t have to care about a child” are not in this category in my experience. (Though if you are too mentally ill/damaged to love a child and say such things you have my understanding in that you can’t help your own emotional states). My mother felt empty while pregnant with me and that’s not because she didn’t love me (though she did want to escape) it’s because she was traumatized and in horrible pain. I understand that. I still think if you’re in that position you need to do your best by that person to get them into a good home, or to care for them imperfectly if there’s no other options.

  24. rox
    rox June 18, 2013 at 12:01 pm |

    (Obviously, I’m only referring to men who are risking impregnating a woman with sex in terms of educating men about such risk. Of course men have sex outside of those contexts that would create pregnancy risk and are not in need of that specific education.)

  25. zaebos
    zaebos June 18, 2013 at 12:21 pm |

    Huh, just thought of something as I was thinking my little baby scare a few years ago I had.

    So, how would anyone feel if, before a relationship began, a man declared on paper that he has zero intentions to father a child? If she was aware of his intentions, would he have legal recourse than? I dunno, it sounds ‘better’ than a man telling a woman after she’s pregnant, but not sure if I’d support it still.

    It’s something that I’d personally like to have, but I don’t know if it’s fair. Simply because I had a relationship with a creep woman who didn’t care that I said that I wouldn’t have sex unless she (and me obviously) did everything we could to avoid a child. Hint: Tampering with contraceptives and lying about using others.

    *shiver*

    1. Wordwizard
      Wordwizard June 18, 2013 at 2:27 pm |

      I knew a man who told his girlfriend there was NO WAY he ever wanted another child (He had two, and a wife, and a contested divorce custody battle….It was difficult to make ends meet as it was–) and she simply refused to believe him! Someday, he might change his mind! So, to protect himself, he did the sensible thing, and got a vasectomy, only informing her after he’d tested infertile, to avoid the sort of horror story you went through. Some people are in total denial that the other person won’t ever want what they want, and CAN’T be convinced….He was a caring father who would have felt obliged to to the right thing by an unwanted “accidental” child regardless of circumstances that might make it difficult to STAND the other parent–so he made an “accident” impossible. Hopefully, RISUG will make reversible infertility available to men, the sooner the better! My sympathy to you–I’m glad it was only a scare!

  26. rox
    rox June 18, 2013 at 12:22 pm |

    Oh also– I think the person who carries the child in their womb (whether man or woman) should be given extra rights in terms of amount of custody in the child’s early years. The courts favor this model typical especially if there was no marriage- and I think this is extremely important because the bonds that can happen for many people during this time and during the birth and shortly thereafter can be so strong… and even for people who the bonds are not so innate spending a lot of time holding and nursing can help build the bond if it’s not coming naturally. Either way it’s such an important developmental time and I think in this age of “men and women are exactly the same and there is no difference!” this is an area where there is literally a great big giant difference and it matters in terms of determining where the child should be. That some families opt for different models should be allowed to, but if you’re going to tell me that some jack ass can knock me up, leave me for another woman, and then demand I hand over my nursing newborn two to four days a week while my breasts are dripping milk and I can FEEL my child’s need for me, I’m going to get really pissed.

    I think dads should stick around AND be good dads, but in the event they can’t be good dads or spend time with the child and the mother all together- it should be harder for a man to break up a birther/infant bond without demonstrated cause that the there is a unique variable making it better for the infant to spend more time with dad.

    To make this easier regarding trans issues is there a way to refer to like.. penis parent and uterus parent or something? I think gender is fluid but sometimes we are taking about the specific genitalia of the person.

    Another thing that I think is as it should be and we REALLY REALLY OMG REALLY need to be giving people comprehensive sex education that discusses all of these risks and responsabilities that people should understand are related to sex (including the tools to avoid or minimize risk of these responsibilities if unwanted).

    Taking responsibility for minimizing risk doesn’t mean you are therefore morally free of responsibility to your own children if they happen. As a penis person– if you impregnate someone you are not owed an abortion just because she said she pro-choice. She is PROCHOICE that means she gets to choose and you are both responsible to the child if a child happens. If you make children and dump them without caring at all– there’s just no way around how horrifically fucked up that is to the child in question.

    This is why I think we need to be teaching people to at least consider whether they could handle parenting with anyone they have (potentially baby creating) sex with- at least consider the possibility of a freak accident (you aren’t able to get an abortion or change your mind about abortion when you didn’t think you which is a REALLY NORMAL occurrence.). Even if you use protection or think you get sterilized– if a weird event happens- you’ll still need to figure out how to care for the child. If BOTH parents agree to relinquish rights to an adoptive situation that is well suited to the child, that can become an option but it’s not innately available to either parent without both agreeing. And no– one parent doesn’t owe the other parent agreement to adoption just because the other wants it.

    1. Andie
      Andie July 1, 2013 at 8:22 am |

      Even if you use protection or think you get sterilized– if a weird event happens- you’ll still need to figure out how to care for the child.

      This. I’ve had my tubes tied, after my second child. Boyfriend has made it clear that under no uncertain circumstances does he EVER want biological children, to which my response has generally been “woohoo!” (Oddly enough, he’s great with kids and mine adore him) and so every few months I have the “99% effective is not 100% so just so you know, should the unthinkable happen, I still plan to terminate.” talk with him, because even if you’ve been effectively sterilized, that’s a conversation that should be had.

  27. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve June 18, 2013 at 12:47 pm |

    What I find interesting is it it seems that fathers who stay married but just do nothing get off scot-free. Are there any laws requiring married men to contribute to their child’s well being, either financially or in some other way? My point being, maybe there should be one- as I could see men procrastinating divorces for this reason.

    1. Lolagirl
      Lolagirl June 18, 2013 at 1:16 pm |

      Yes, there are limited systems in place to insure that both fathers and mothers in married relationships care for and support their children financially. Which is a huge part of what the Family Court systems do on a daily basis here in the U.S. It isn’t as cut and dried as is he paying the bills or engaging in day to day care of the child. But if the child is found to meet the guidelines of legally neglected or even abused, then dad is going to be as much on the hook, legally speaking, as mom. It’s also often a lot harder to get social welfare supports for a child when the child’s parents are legally married, because the minimum income threshold is higher than if that parents are not legally married.

      You are correct that there are no guidelines saying either parent has to contribute whatever portion of their income towards the financial responsibilities or time sensitive responsibilities related to the care of a child. The law generally leaves it to a married couple to sort that out. And can you not imagine the legal quagmire involved in trying to legislate such a thing? It’s just not feasible or reasonable, absent some seriously ott governmental sniffing around in one’s personal life.

      1. Fat Steve
        Fat Steve June 18, 2013 at 2:25 pm |

        You are correct that there are no guidelines saying either parent has to contribute whatever portion of their income towards the financial responsibilities or time sensitive responsibilities related to the care of a child. The law generally leaves it to a married couple to sort that out. And can you not imagine the legal quagmire involved in trying to legislate such a thing? It’s just not feasible or reasonable, absent some seriously ott governmental sniffing around in one’s personal life.

        I agree about the infeasibility and unreasonabless (if those are, indeed, words,) to do that to a married couple. But what if the couple is only married on paper? If a husband and wife live separately, surely a child caring wife should be able to get child support, even if she doesn’t want (or can’t afford) to go through divorce proceedings.

        1. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl June 18, 2013 at 3:33 pm |

          Filing for legal separation is usually sufficient to trigger the courts to get involved in ordering support and custody arrangements. And that can totally be done pro se if one can’t afford to hire an attorney. Bonus points if both spouses can agree and put that agreement into writing.

          I guess I don’t see the point in refusing to go through a separation/divorce if one can no longer continue to be married to their spouse. I know it can be expensive, but staying married is far from a bargain either.

        2. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve June 18, 2013 at 4:59 pm |

          I guess I don’t see the point in refusing to go through a separation/divorce if one can no longer continue to be married to their spouse. I know it can be expensive, but staying married is far from a bargain either.

          I don’t either but I know a number of people who haven’t gotten divorced ‘yet’ because of the cost. Fortunately they are a couple with no kids and a couple with grown kids.

        3. Eleanor
          Eleanor June 18, 2013 at 8:01 pm |

          Cost is absolutley a factor. My ex and I stopped living together in 2008. Our divorce was final in 2012. Because of costs. What costs?

          In my/our case? 1. Health Ins. I was self employed, then unemployed, and then under-employed for about two and half years. So, happily enough in my/our case – we stayed married so I had health ins. 2. Given that we co-parent just fine and were in agreement over everything else, plus my un/under employment – coughing up the extra $1000 cash, even for the cheapest possible divorce under MN law (one lawyer, fill in the blanks forms) ((okay, yes, techincally you can file yourself for ‘only’ the $500 filing fee, but oh man. The stack of forms are like an inch thick.)). Anyway – we didn’t have $1000 cash just lying around.

          If there is any dispute, or even just two lawyers instead of one – the costs go up from there.

  28. a lawyer
    a lawyer June 18, 2013 at 1:36 pm |

    There are all sorts of ways to improve this situation.

    For example, a woman who doesn’t want to have a child should be able to recover the costs of an abortion. Or, if she prefers to put the child up for adoption, she should be able to recover all costs of prenatal and post-natal care, and should be able to avoid all liability for child support. The father has no right to a long term commitment from any mother who doesn’t want to be a parent, and who has agreed (through adoption or abortion) to do their part in avoiding parenting.

    Similarly, a man who doesn’t want to have a child could offer to pay for an abortion. Or, he could offer to fund prenatal care and an adoption. If he exercised his “not interested in parenting” rights in time he would lose any ability to change his mind and claim any parental rights… but he, too, would be able to avoid liability for child support.

    What would happen? Fewer births. The reality is that if women had more access to abortions, and less access to guaranteed child support from a disinterested parent, then more of these pregnancies would be aborted. Adoptions would also probably go up. That is as it should be: there’s nothing wrong with abortions, after all.

    Bodily integrity doesn’t get hurt here. In this particular context, that’s not an issue. Most obviously, the women HAVE bodily integrity. Nobody is making anyone have an abortion, or making anyone have a baby. They can still make a decision: if you decline a free abortion, and you decline free prenatal care and putting the baby up for adoption… well, then, it’s your choice. But you lose your claim on the money which may or may not be earned by the other, unwilling, parent.

    Alternatively, you can choose (as a guy) not to fund abortions, or not to pay for prenatal care pre-adoption. But you can get sued for those costs, and you’ll probably lose. And if you don’t agree to fund those, then you can be held liable for child support even after adoption, until the kid’s 18.

    I mean sure, you can make a bodily integrity argument if you’re one of those folks who believes that anything AT ALL which interferes AT ALL is “coercive” and therefore inappropriate. But that line of thinking, if applied to reality, leads you think that child support for either parent (when you have to work without wanting to, to meet a court order) is slavery. It isn’t, of course.

    Considering the fact that child support delinquency is extremely common and payments aren’t strongly enforced by the courts, and that fairly significant shares of women never seek child support, this doesn’t seem like a hugely pressing social issue.

    OMG. That is so weird. That is EXACTLY what the MRA groups think about a lot of feminist issues. Fortunately, we generally realize that they don’t get to put something in the “unimportant and not worthy of addressing” pile just because it makes them uncomfortable. We wouldn’t do that… would we?

    1. msgd
      msgd June 20, 2013 at 2:16 pm |

      This is basically the most cogent post here, which probably explains why it has no responses.

    2. Azalea
      Azalea July 1, 2013 at 11:47 am |

      I love your post! *standing ovation*

      This makes perfect sense to me!

  29. Cory Ray
    Cory Ray June 18, 2013 at 1:53 pm |

    Thanks for pointing out political philosopher Elizabeth Brake. Your post content and question is covered in detail, with U S Supreme Court Case numbers that back up each answer in the book “In the Best Interest of the State: Escape from Slavery” found here http://www.theamericansovereign.com

    Stop paying for your right to be a parent… the contract should not be with the state (per the U S Supreme Court)

  30. msgd
    msgd June 18, 2013 at 2:01 pm |

    Abortion rights don’t mean that a woman can get out of being a parent to a living child.

    Yes they do. The woman can avoid the situation of having a living child by having an abortion. That is the whole point. This whole discussion about living children is totally superfluous to this discussion and has nothing to do with what that article is claiming.

    What these fathers’ rights advocates are asking for is essentially a special right for men that women generally don’t have: The right to not support your own child, aside from surrendering that child for adoption.

    No, what these advocates are asking for is an identical position with respect to the option to decide not to be involved in raising a child.
    A woman discovering she is two weeks pregnant can decide that she will terminate that pregnancy in order to avoid raising a child; the father cannot decide that. This is a very simple and straightforward claim about a very specific situation.

    Half of the comments here don’t even try to address the main point of the article and just start saying “But inequality!” Yes, that’s all true. It doesn’t affect this point.

    1. Alara Rogers
      Alara Rogers June 18, 2013 at 2:33 pm |

      When men’s termination of their parental rights involves surgery, or a combo of pills that makes them vomit and have horrible cramps, there might be some equitability there.

      You’re saying “But the woman can just go get surgery/take pills that cause horrible internal cramps to get out of having to pay for a baby, so men should be able to sign a piece of paper to do the same thing!” This is not fair on any planet I’ve ever lived on.

      Women *can* sign a piece of paper to terminate their parental responsibilities, but *men can stop them from doing so.* That part is *adoption*. Since abortion rights are based in “control over own body” rather than “control over own finances”, men have exactly the same right women do: control their own body with medical technology to prevent a baby from being born. The fact that the time window for men to do this is much much shorter is due to the same fact that allows men to not *have* to endure nine months of pregnancy or else surgery/nasty pills. The right men are looking for is the right to give the child up for adoption. They don’t have that ability unilaterally — it must be a mutual decision of both parents — but that’s true for the mother as well. If the father is known (and he must be known to be on the hook for child support), he can block the mother from giving the child up for adoption.

      So both parents have the ability to control their own bodies to prevent a birth, and both parents have the ability to terminate parental rights and hand the child over to a third party provided that they *both* agree to do this, and if they do not both agree to do this, both parents are on the hook for financially providing for the child for 18 years. As nearly as I can see, men already have all of the same rights women do. The fact that women have the option to have an abortion after a pregnancy has started is only because it happens in their body; if a woman gets a man pregnant (and I actually know a couple, now divorced, where that would have been theoretically possible, because both are trans and were under 24 and they don’t let you get surgery or hormones until then, at least not according to the doctors they consulted), the pregnant man has the right to abortion and the woman who impregnated him is on the hook for child support if he has the baby.

      Now I would like to see more biological fairness, in the form of technology, ie, better male birth control. It *is* unfair that women have so many BC options and men have “semi permanent sterilization via surgery” and “device that reduces sensation in sex” and that’s it. But we do not need to alter the law to redress the “unfairness” that a guy can’t get from signing a piece of paper what a woman can get from enduring surgery or taking pills with nasty side effects.

      1. amblingalong
        amblingalong June 18, 2013 at 3:12 pm |

        Well said. The only thing I’d add is that I’d like to see a much stronger push to abolish presumptive maternal custody*; it’s one of those things that is based on misogynistic assumptions, while also hurting men who want custody and are potentially better/equally good caregivers, so everyone should be able to agree.

        *the presumption varies by state; my argument would be for a presumption of shared custody, which is the standard many states adopted in the last 30 years or so.

        1. rox
          rox June 18, 2013 at 5:21 pm |

          My disagreement would be in the first year or two when the child is nursing and used to being with mom. If the separation happens after age 5 I would agree with you, split is ideal from a court perspective outside of evidence to the contrary– but if the split happens BEFORE THE BIRTH I think it’s totally inhumane to forcibly separate newborns from their mothers like that. My son had separation anxiety and his dad was abusive so the idea of the courts forcing me to let some guy who TALKS ABOUT SMASHING THE BABY IN THE WALL– is really fucked up. It’s really hard to prove abusive language or threats of abuse without bruises or evidence so I don’t trust the courts to really be able to sort these things out. What I mean is, if it’s a never married couple the person (man or woman) who carried the baby and has the lactation devices and bonding hormones going should not be forced in have their bonding interfered with to match some fucked up standard of 50/50 that is often not in child’s interests.

        2. amblingalong
          amblingalong June 18, 2013 at 11:13 pm |

          I think you’re conflating a specific example, where a father was abusive/potentially abusive- and I totally agree with you there- with a general principle re: mothers, fathers and infants.

      2. Azalea
        Azalea July 1, 2013 at 11:57 am |

        So both parents have the ability to control their own bodies to prevent a birth, and both parents have the ability to terminate parental rights and hand the child over to a third party provided that they *both* agree to do this, and if they do not both agree to do this, both parents are on the hook for financially providing for the child for 18 years.

        Nope. A woman can give a child up for adoption and not even tell the man she suspects of being the biological father that she is giving up a child that she suspects is his up for adoption. A man can’t give a child up for adoption without the woman knowing she is a mother.

        If person A decides that she doesn’t want to take the morning after pill, doesn’t want to get an abortion, doesn’t want to give the child up for adoption and instead would love to parent yet person B has begged her to do all of the above. Why must person B hold financial liability for person A’s decision to become a parent? It was a decision person A made alone as person A could have prevented the pregnancy, terminated the pregnancy or gave the child up for adoption all post coitus.

        Punishing a man financially because he CANT abort the child is unfair. There are men who were raped, boys who were raped who are being forced to financially support the product of their rape. This would NEVER happen to women as the morning after pill, abortion and adoption absolves them of having to face such horrors. There are men who were with women who swore they were on birth control, swore they’d get an abortion who turned around and changed things up.

        This discussion isn’t about absolving fathers (people who agreed to parent) of parental responsibility it is about absolving fertile cismen of the financial burden of a fertile cis woman’s decision to become a single mother.

        1. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll July 1, 2013 at 12:24 pm |

          A woman can give a child up for adoption and not even tell the man she suspects of being the biological father that she is giving up a child that she suspects is his up for adoption. A man can’t give a child up for adoption without the woman knowing she is a mother.

          Except- this isn’t something that’s as easy or simple as you think- because the state and the agency have both financial and legal obligations to hunt down the father, even going so far as to hire private detective to do so. Also- they have to make the adoption public notice in the local newspaper. When only one parent is present, it is not a closed adoption.

    2. Lolagirl
      Lolagirl June 18, 2013 at 3:37 pm |

      This whole discussion about living children is totally superfluous to this discussion and has nothing to do with what that article is claiming.

      Wrong!

      Commenters are bringing in living children into the discussion precisely because it is the huge, glaring, ignored point, left utterly ignored by the writer of that article. Saying men aren’t given equal rights in this equation ignores why the system operates the way it does, which is to protect the interests and support needs of the offspring created in these contentious and contended couplings.

      1. msgd
        msgd June 20, 2013 at 2:20 pm |

        The relevant scenario to this point is one in which pregnancy is detected early and a father wants to give up his rights and responsibilities while there is still time for an abortion. This allows the mother to decide whether she still wants to have a child with the knowledge that she will be assuming full responsibility for it.

        1. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl June 20, 2013 at 3:18 pm |

          No

          Because ignoring the fact that a full fledged, separate human being who is utterly dependent in every way should the woman opt to not obtain an abortion (or can’t, which is still shockingly common for both practical and economic reasons) does not make this outcome disappear.

          Once a child is actually born, their right to support and care becomes an entirely separate issue. Waving it away with, well the mother knew she would be on her own if she had the child, has nothing to do with that child’s needs and rights to support and care. Child support is intended to benefit the child, not the custodial parent. MRAs arguing that child support is just a racket to relieve poor chumps of their rightly earned income notwithstanding. Thus all this nattering on about too bad so sad for mom not getting child support is just utter bullshit. Because that simply seeks to stick one’s head in the sand and lalala away reality, a tactic that is stunningly ineffective in actually achieving such a goal.

          See also, the repeatedly already made point by others here that financial support does not parenting make.

  31. rox
    rox June 18, 2013 at 4:22 pm |

    I’ll put it another way, I’m sick of men pressuring me to have unprotected sex because they think they deserve to impregnate me and then leave me to raise the child with no help from them and somehow their own child is none of their responsibility because abortion exists.

    I don’t want to get anywhere near men because too many liberal men will pull this shit and think it’s their right and I’m sick of it. (Not saying women are innately bette, just that most can’t make me pregnant) It’s become an expectation that men should get to have sex before showing who they are, whether they will be a good father, what their values are, or making any kind of commitment and I think this is a fucked up cultural dynamic that results in women being left pregnant and FORCED to choose between an abortion they might not even want, to raise a child while unsupported and poor and often having lost their male partner and mourning that, OR carry a child to term and risk all the health effect and risk falling in love with a baby that they will lose and cope sith severe PTSD and trauma.

    I feel like the mentality that men deserve sex without committing to rearing children if needed leaves women (who DO often commit to the rearing) with the entire burden of parenting and often inadequately and the woman gets blamed for the whole thing when guys are so often the initiators and manipulators of sex of unprotected sex!! It’s not fair to kids and it’s not fair to women. I like that we are trying to be more free with sexuality now but I think we HAVE started telling people they deserve consequence free sex AT THE EXPENSE of children and people think they automatically DESERVE to dump a kid instead of finding it in their hearts to be the best parent they can and shifting their selfish values a bit. I think anyone having sex should be encouraged to be prepared to do this. I think sex is natural and so are babies. If you’re having the sex, you should be willing to care for your babies as well as you can. I think the way we teach sex ed (or don’t) leaves people with the impression they should not have to care about their own children because they shouldn’t have to care about anything but their own selfish urges. I think this sucks and MOST humans are capable of more than this with the right coaching and forward thinking.

    1. macavitykitsune
      macavitykitsune June 18, 2013 at 5:23 pm |

      Okay, I’m going to assume this is a reply to me:

      I’m sick of men pressuring me to have unprotected sex because they think they deserve to impregnate me

      My Ideal World posited the existence of freely available and accessible birth control for all. So your objection about men pressuring women into unprotected sex is completely irrelevant. And if someone who wants to be childfree is fucking stupid enough not to avail themselves of freely available birth control AND to consent to unprotected sex AND to somehow forget the existence of emergency birth control/abortion as a procedure for several months, I don’t trust them with the raising of a child they just sort of forgot to prevent. Hell, I don’t trust them with a pet rock.

      a fucked up cultural dynamic that results in women being left pregnant and FORCED to choose between an abortion they might not even want, to raise a child while unsupported and poor and often having lost their male partner and mourning that, OR carry a child to term and risk all the health effect and risk falling in love with a baby that they will lose and cope sith severe PTSD and trauma

      Well, since you’re talking about relationships, might I suggest not engaging in unprotected sex? Being on birth control tends to help with that, whether or not Dudebro wraps his willy. If you’re not being allowed to use protection, that’s pretty much rape, which is not remotely what I’m talking about, so again, I don’t understand why you’re bringing this up.

      Also, yes, if someone gets pregnant their choices are broadly definable as abortion, adoption or raising the child. I don’t see what’s horrible about that, in my ideal world where everyone can access contraception? That’s like saying that marriage is awful because everyone who gets married is FORCED to stay married until death, separate or divorce. Or that work is awful because people are FORCED to keep working, take a vacation or quit. Any situation has a limited number of options. That doesn’t make the situations themselves horrible.

      people think they automatically DESERVE to dump a kid instead of finding it in their hearts to be the best parent they can and shifting their selfish values a bit

      Ooh, how lovely! More disses of parents who give their kids up for adoption! Could you not? Like seriously, could you not? Hey, maybe the person’s like me; I’m abled enough to care for my 12yo but I’m too disabled to care for an infant. If I gave up a kid for adoption, I wouldn’t regret it. But I guess that makes me a child abuser in your eyes?

      I think anyone having sex should be encouraged to be prepared to do this. I think sex is natural and so are babies. If you’re having the sex, you should be willing to care for your babies as well as you can.

      And now we’re moving on to “keep your legs closed if you don’t want babies”. How very, very feminist. And verging on forced-birther language. And again, utterly irrelevant to my hypothesis, which involves freely available birth control and abortion.

      Are you at least willing to agree that sometimes people give up children to adoption/fostering for reasons that aren’t just “whee recreational adoption”? And you still haven’t answered my question about whether you feel that giving up a child to adoption and not regretting it is inherently an act of abuse.

      1. rox
        rox June 18, 2013 at 9:19 pm |

        Yes since you’re comfortable with justifying the horrific horrific abuse of abandoning children without caring about their suffering, just for the sake of the parents convenience I think you should be the one apologizing for siding with human rights violations.

        No child deserves to be abandoned just because their parents made mistakes. Children need their parents love. Yes parents SHOULD if nothing else TRY to love their own children.

        I don’t think women should feel bad for having sex. Yes I have been forced to have unprotected sex which is yeah rape.

        That’s why I’m talking about it obviously because it happens to real people.

        You say parents “don’t have to care about their children”. At what point do they get to neglect their childrens emotional well bring with your support and approval? Is it at any point in time they can just decide they don’t care and stop parenting? Like a bad relationship, parents can just say “Meh, I’m not feeling it kid, who cares?” and you think children deserve to be treated that way? Yeah that’s child abuse.

        An unfeeling foster system with people who are paid to care for kids THEY DON’T WANT TO RAISE EITHER, is not inherently better than asking the parents who created them to find some love in their hearts and be there for their own children.

        I’m sorry that you were abused but that doesn’t mean you should side with parents rights to abuse their children too. You seem to not care about the suffering of children abandoned to the state and that you excuse their suffering by claiming women’s rights are more important than children’s rights to their own parents is a worse human rights violation.

        If you want to fight for women’s rights to be child abusers and support child abusers welfare over the welfare of their innocent children it’s your choice, but I think it’s a really fucked up one.

        1. rox
          rox June 18, 2013 at 9:27 pm |

          Also at the same time as you act like you’re more on the side of women, you’re the one who just said any women who fails to use birth control before planning to have a child is unworthy of being a mother.

          So really, EVERY women who has ever had unprotected sex without intent to make a baby is unworthy of motherhood in your opinion? Or is it just the women who actually get pregnant from their mistake that become unworthy of their own children to you? The rest are fine to pretend they’re better than we sluts who didn’t keep our legs closed when pressured by male bullies and we don’t deserve our own kids now because we got bullied into sex?

          You sound like a great woman’s advocate too.

        2. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune June 18, 2013 at 10:02 pm |

          you’re comfortable with justifying the horrific horrific abuse of abandoning children without caring about their suffering, just for the sake of the parents convenience

          I’m comfortable with the idea that someone who does not want to raise a child would do a terrible job of raising a child, and probably shouldn’t be raising a child. If that makes me a supporter of human rights violations, so be it. In my eyes, that is primarily for the protection of the children involved. You seem to think that being beaten, starved, raped, etc is just fine as long as it’s by bioparents. (Didn’t happen to me, but whatever.) I guess it’s not Super Special Rox-Approved Trauma unless it happens to adoptees?

          I don’t think women should feel bad for having sex.

          No, you think they should be forced to raise a child for 18 years, damage their bodies and jeopardise their financial circumstances for having sex. Talk about calling others human rights violators.

          You say parents “don’t have to care about their children”.

          And now you’re just making shit up.

          Is it at any point in time they can just decide they don’t care and stop parenting?

          My original comment mentioned specifically that termination of rights could occur at birth and no later. So your diatribe is both easily falsified and kind of pointlessly horrible to me. I’m really baffled why you’re attacking me for positing a hypothetical ideal world as if I’m making judgments on the real one.

          An unfeeling foster system with people who are paid to care for kids THEY DON’T WANT TO RAISE EITHER, is not inherently better

          And again, you assume, in the total lack of evidence, that a Fantasy Feministopia (which is what we’re talking about, remember?) would have a horrible foster care system filled with abuses, like the one that exists today.

          you should side with parents rights to abuse their children

          I do not in any way condone child abuse! What in the fuck are you even accusing me of this for?

          women’s rights to be child abusers and support child abusers welfare

          Wow, okay, so you do believe people who give children up are all child abusers. (Except for you, of course, because you are a super special person or something?)

          Well, all right, then. I’ll side with those horrible child abusers – the destitute single pregnant women, the disabled, the addicted. I’ll side with all of them and their choices. And I hope you feel good for judging women like this. I hope it feels really really good for you to say that women are child abusers for making the best decision they could at the time, and chalking up all the reasons I outlined to “convenience”. Poverty is convenience? Disability is convenience? Trauma is convenience? What world are you living in?

        3. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune June 18, 2013 at 10:08 pm |

          you’re the one who just said any women who fails to use birth control before planning to have a child is unworthy of being a mother

          No, I said that someone who DOESN’T WANT to raise a child, who is SO INCREDIBLY UNABLE to do a thing to prevent that child, probably isn’t EMOTIONALLY INVESTED ENOUGH in being responsible to take care of that child. If they ACTUALLY WANT THAT CHILD they SHOULD DEFINITELY KEEP it, but if they DON’T, I don’t want someone that irresponsible in charge of a child THEY ACTIVELY HATE. It seems like BAD THINGS could happen to that hated and unwanted child.

          I’m trying capslock now, to see if it gets past your particular brand of batshit. Do let me know if it works.

          And seriously, why do you single me out for angry diatribes and accusations? I’ve been avoiding responding to anything you say on threads for ages, but here you are, picking fights with me and calling me horrible things again. Stop it. Seriously just stop it.

        4. rox
          rox June 18, 2013 at 10:23 pm |

          I don’t believe placing a child in a loving home is abandonment.

          Abandoning a child to a merciless government run foster institution were they ARE likely to be neglected, unloved, over-medicated to the point of brain damage…. yeah that’s abuse.

          Not feeling like caring about your own child is abuse, yeah.

          The only people you’re not siding with in innocent children who have NO CHOICE in what you’re saying adults have the right to do to them and it’s no biggy.

          You’re talking about real children being forced into state care and being unloved and winding up on the streets (happens all the fucking time look at the stats) and saying that parents who have the option to choose whether or not to have sex or not should be prioritized over the parents?

          Yes sex DOES involve responsibility to children! That is not anti-feminist to say! If you have children you should care about them! Did you know that some of those children have vagina’s and therefore maybe should matter to you as human beings to?

          Many men I know who abandon their kids are NOT abused dudes, they are not suffering, they are not poor or living in a bunch of strife and when they decide to have kids later “when they feel like it” they just do.

          This is bullshit treatment of children whether you’re a man or a woman. I’m not sure where feminism began teaching that women have the right to have sex that harms children but that’s not my feminism. If that’s what you want your feminism to do, then cool.

          People with disabilities or poverty are not at fault that they are not given enough assistance to care for their children. Not having resources is not abandonment. You stand so strong with the hypothetical woman who doesn’t care about her own child which you keep saying is fine, but these are very rare women who place infants. I personally have only ever once met a biological mother who didn’t care about or want her child so I don’t know why you defend this very rare sort of woman so much.

          Maybe you havent’ spent years with adoptees listening to them sob when they meet such a woman as their bioligical mother or what many adoptees go through? Because I’ve spent ten years in adoption communities both as an adoptee and a woman who’se placed. Voluntary and involuntary placement are very different and I have not been as involved with women who lost children to CPS but I have had such women in my family and they are not all monsters.

          The above article is all about how men should get to abandon their children and not be bothered even if it leaves their children struggling in poverty. That’s bullshit whether it’s a man or woman doing it. Feminism should not be empowering women to be selfish over child welfare. You’re talking about people planning to do this to children by assuming that they should be having sex knowing they would abandon their own children.

          I’m saying it should be taught to women that dumping your kid on the state is a respectable option. It’s a horrific thing to do to another person, and it’s horrible for all the children who have suffered through state care that you care so little about what they go through that you can’t acknowledge that it’s really crappy to do without at least trying to avoid doing it to someone.

        5. rox
          rox June 18, 2013 at 10:27 pm |

          “shoudn’t be taught”

          you’ve been hurting my feelings a lot too, calling me all sorts of insults.

          I think we mostly agree- the thing I strongly disagree with is that you don’t care about children abandoned to the state where children ALSO get abused and seem to stand strong with women who don’t care about their own children instead of standing with the children who are hurt by that. I don’t understand why you stand with people who hate their children instead of caring about how that hurts their children to say they don’t deserve their parents to at least try to love them.

        6. rox
          rox June 18, 2013 at 10:32 pm |

          I also don’t understand why you think rape trauma which is what you’re calling “batshit” is an excuse for you to get a cheap dig at someone.

          I’ve watched so many adoptees sob over abanment issues and that you stand with the rights of their mothers to not give a shit like it’s some obvious right parents should have even if it hurts children is a really hurtful thing you keep doing.

          Stop doing that and I’ll stop callingyou out for it.

        7. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune June 18, 2013 at 10:51 pm |

          you’ve been hurting my feelings a lot too, calling me all sorts of insults…I also don’t understand why you think rape trauma which is what you’re calling “batshit” is an excuse for you to get a cheap dig at someone.

          I used one insult – batshit. I’ve been very careful with curse words, since you said that triggers you in a past thread; if any got past me, I apologise. I certainly did not direct any curse words at you. And rape trauma doesn’t cause disingenuousness, or a tendency to make shit up, like you’ve been doing, so please, pull the other one. I hear it has pretty bells on. (You can tell, because there’s lots of survivors here who don’t feel free to create Feministe Comment Thread Fiction.)

          you don’t care about children abandoned to the state where children ALSO get abused and seem to stand strong with women who don’t care about their own children instead of standing with the children who are hurt by that

          I think the fundamental disagreement we have is that I think being raised by an angry, loveless parent is as likely to be abusive as being raised by adoptive parents. I want to protect children from being raised by people who hate them. How is that bad? Okay, YOU would be good to the child you gave up, but do you seriously think every birth parent out there is going to do the same?

          Also, keep in mind, AGAIN, that I am speaking of a hypothetical world in which foster care is no longer systemically abusive and women have free access to BC and abortion.

          the rights of their mothers to not give a shit

          Do you honestly believe biomothers don’t give a shit, and that’s what I’m supporting? There’s lots of reasons for people to give up a child that have nothing to do with “not giving a shit”. I named some. You have yet to address them. Poverty. Disability. Trauma. Which of these do you believe insufficient cause to give up a child? You suffer from all three. How good a parent would you be if you hated your child, instead of loving him as you do? I mean, I’ve come from all three (though less trauma than you) and I know I could be an awful, abusive step-parent if I felt forced into it, or trapped by it. I chose to parent; I’m happy parenting. I think that’s better for my kid, don’t you?

        8. rox
          rox June 19, 2013 at 7:51 am |

          If we talking about making things better, women would have access to financial assistance, trauma support, and disability assistance including empowering supportive housing situations that are not rotting old buildings with violent people allowed to stay on the premises.

          You’re defending women’s right to have sex without being expected to love children they create with their own actions. Any woman CAN’T love her child (due to poverty/trauma/disability) can’t be help at fault for something that isn’t their fault.

          Most people have some free will– ability to take on their own issues and make choices. Some people have none, but most people have some.

          Anyone with the ability to love their children should be encouraged to AT LEAST TRY. Loving a child CAN mean placing them in the care of someone more capable.

          But dumping a child with you child porn creating neighbor is not that. You’re saying women who have sex shouldn’t have to have ANY responsibility to that child because “no one should be forced” and yet you yourself say that after the birth if a woman doesn’t parent she should be forced to love her child.

          Right? I’m just saying that moment should happen when a person chooses to have sex because that’s when you choose to put an innocent person at risk of coming into the world unloved. Wanting women to be free to have choices is not the same thing as standing behind every choice a person makes because they are a woman. It is not the same thing as having no laws or allowing women to do whatever they want to other people, including creating a person who will have to cope with their own abandonment.

          I don’t think your parents should have not loved you either. I think that was wrong and I don’t stand behind their decision at all. If they were mentally ill/trauma survivors/unable to love then I certainly don’t wish any ill on them for being damaged by this reality- but that’s not the same thing as agreeing that shouldn’t AT LEAST TRY to love their own children.
          The child has NO say in being created by someone who doesn’t care about them. In the case of consensual sex, yes the people have sex decided to put that person at risk of being born and the child shouldn’t be forced to pay the price.

          You act like no woman should have to be expected to love and care for her own child that she created with consensual sex- like this is “enslaving” women. It’s reality that children result from sex and the child DESERVES TO BE LOVED BY IT’S OWN PARENTS. The abandonment issues many adoptees feel even in loving adoptive families can be very deep rooted and creating a culture where women literally think it’s ok to do this to children is REALLY ABUSIVE to children who have to live through that.

          Adults have choices and having a society that says “women should be allowed to make whatever choices they want no matter who it harms” is a really messed up society. The fact that a woman made a mistake regarding her sexual decisions is not proof that children should have to be left unloved to make things easier for the parent who is the one who made the choice to risk creating a person to begin with! No one should be punished or feel bad about sex— but to force children to suffer in order to make the consequences of sex easier for parents is barbaric.

          My problem is with the ideology you’re promoting and yes I HAVE started meeting people who are NOT traumatized or disabled or even poor who think they have an innate right to not have even consider the welfare of children they create if it’s an accident.

          This makes our culture hostil to the needs of accidental children who are considered unworthy of the basic love we expect every other parent to give their children. The child is not less worth of their own parents love just because their parent made a mistake.

        9. rox
          rox June 19, 2013 at 8:12 am |

          I have yet to meet any biological mother who wouldn’t have tried to raise the child herself if she hadn’t been told there were people who could do it better. So I don’t know why you mention over and over that women should have to care about their own children because most do, even if they wind up placing.

          I’m saying- that the responsibility to rear the children in the event there is NOT a loving adoptive family is still on the person who had the sex even if it’s hard and difficult for the mother. Ultimately yes, if needed, a woman who had consensual sex absolutely SHOULD be responsible for rearing and loving their child for 18 years- to not hold women AND men accountable to their children in this way amounts to child abuse.

          I don’t want anyone to be trapped into parenting when they don’t want to either, but encourage all women to feel free to not even try to care about their own children and just dump them in orphanages results in terrible things– see cultural trends in many other cultures where children get dumped in orphanages without securing adoptive homes and it’s socially sanctioned.

          The fact that you seem to care more about the suffering a mother at being “forced” to care for a child she chose to create- instead of what the CHILD will go through if we don’t have social responsibility on parents to ensure their children are provided for.

          I don’t like this societal shift where not only do people feel empowered to have sex- the feel they have the right to abandon children because they are owed consequence free sex to THEM at the expense of their own children.

          Do you not see how this is exactly the mentality of the original piece?

        10. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune June 19, 2013 at 12:04 pm |

          rox, I have to go write an exam in like five minutes, but i am considering your words seriously.

          (Also, the abuse didn’t happen to me, it happened to two of my best friends in childhood, and to my aunt and to my cousin, following nearly identical pathways. I thought I’d conveyed that, but I guess I didn’t do it clearly enough. I don’t want to lay such insinuations at my parents at all. They did their share of emotionally abusive shit, but we’ve mostly worked through that now, and they never made me feel unloved.)

        11. (BFing) Sarah
          (BFing) Sarah June 19, 2013 at 11:56 pm |

          Abandoning a child to a merciless government run foster institution were they ARE likely to be neglected, unloved, over-medicated to the point of brain damage…. yeah that’s abuse.

          Okay…so what is a person supposed to do when they are, say for example, addicted to heroin and living on the streets? Or in prison? What then? Its not so easy to just ‘get over it’ and just stop being addicted or suffering from mental illness or find housing. Those are difficult things to do, ESPECIALLY when you have a newborn, which is stressful for people in all situations. Sometimes people really don’t have a choice and their children must be put into foster care…and not ALL foster homes are abusive. Not. All. But, I would venture to guess, that foster care would be preferable to living on the streets with an addicted mother who is in and out of jail, who also does not think that she can be a parent right now. When I read what you are writing, it kind of sounds like you are mostly talking about the non-pregnant partner walking away and not taking any responsibility…but you are phrasing it like all parents that place their children (with the states or otherwise) are abusive because they are doing it out of “convenience.” That is really, really offensive. It is not convenient to be an addict. Its not convenient to live on the streets. Its not convenient to be in jail. Those are painful things and they necessitate someone else raising your child, at least for a period of time. That’s the real world, with real people. Children are not the only real people…adults are real people, too. I just don’t understand what people are supposed to do to meet your approval when they are in that situation. They can’t ‘just’ raise their child, regardless of how much they might love the child.

        12. rox
          rox June 21, 2013 at 5:30 pm |

          I’m arguing with the mentality that adults have no responsibility to love and care for children they create. If a man is mentally ill and dangerous and it’s better for him to not be involved I think it’s fine for him to choose not to be involved FOR THE SAKE OF THE CHILD.

          It’s not okay for any man or woman to dump their kids just because they don’t feel like caring. Which IS a mentality I’m seeing become more popular.

          What I see happening is that arguments in favor of abortion “No one should have to parent for any reason ever!” get applied to REAL CHILDREN.

          Yes people should have to care about their own children! Yes when you consent to sex you should be held liable for caring about your children as best as you are able! Absolutely! Our culture is getting really sick if it’s assumed adults have the innate right to have sex knowing they plan to dump children on the state and that’s an ok thing to do to kids. If you ever have to do that to a kid you damn well owe them a good reason such as poverty/trauma/mental illness…

          I’m saying there is no right to have sex at the expense of harming children. It might be a thing people can legally get away with, but children deserve to know this is not a thing we condone adults doing to children as some sort of right adults get to take out on children because they can’t even conceive that it’s their fault if they force a child into existence— it’s not the child’s fault!

          Actual bioparents don’t even talk about their kids this way, I see people in feminist communities talking about bioparent rights to be horrible abandoning monsters when that’s not even a right most bioparents want. I don’t know many biomoms who are fighting for the right to dump babies without caring about them. So I don’t understand why that’s gotten on the feminist platform that there is a right to have sex that harms children and no responsibility to how that hurts the children.

          I believe in harm reduction and sometimes people are going to have sex without birth control. We should help people prepare to VERY MUCH care about doing right by the children in such instances.

          My point is that people have made many statements on this site to the extent that adults have an innate right to make babies and dump them. It’s so harmful to accidental children who don’t deserve to be dumped or talked about like that.

          All people have a responsibility to work hard on behalf of children if they have consensual sex and make a baby. The fact that this can include safe haven or foster care is not because ADULTS HAVE THE RIGHT TO DUMP CHILDREN it’s because it can be the best thing for the child. That’s different than saying adults have no responsibility to care or act on behalf of their children because all parents do.

          So yeah, in general, a man dumping his kid with the mother is not ok, and a mother dumping her kid with the father is not ok. There’s more to the cultural narrative than just the law and community expectations do guide behavior. We should be working to ensure that unwanted babies are NOT created by people who don’t care about them- not just as a society but as individuals who take responsibility for our own consensual sex and the people we can harm by behaving thoughtlessly with out sexuality. I’m not asking people to not have sex, or even to feel bad about messing up birth control. I’m just asking people to assume the welfare of the child IS the parents responsability, they had no say in being created.

          I come from a family of poor addicts who are bad with birth control, so trust me, I know all the reasons these things happen and people need help raising their kids. All of these people in my personal family love their kids very much even when their kids are in foster care or adopted out. That’s all I’m asking is for people to be available to their kids and love them as best they are able and to own the responsability for loving a child you create.

          The right to not give a shit about children you create is something even the women I know who’ve placed children don’t usually want (with a few exception of biomoms who hate the shit out of their own children- who can sometimes make their children’s lives hell with their hatred even from a distance.)

          I think this is the farthest thing I’ve ever seen from the goals of women I know who’ve placed children. These are mostly (with the exception of CPS removal for real abuse) women who loved their children so much they wanted something better for their children- not women who just don’t give a shit about their kids.

          I guess I just don’t think feminism should fight for women or men to be deadbeat unloving parents just for selfish reasons or reframe that as an understandable right any man and woman should have because having sexs holdn’t mean you have to care about your own kids.

          I have nothing but respect for a person who places their child in a better situation and remains as available as they can be to their child. There is no innate right to not love your own child or look out for their well being. Yeah if the foster system disintegrated, addicts SHOULD try to raise their kids even if it’s not pretty. I’m just saying, the liability is there and absolving responsibility is only a thing parents can do if it’s in the interest of the CHILD not EVER for the interest of the parent. It’s not a thing we let parents do to make things better and easier for the parent, it’s ONLY something we let parents do if it’s going to be better for the child- and the interests of the child is to at least know the parent cared about them in some way.

          I’m trying to argue about statements that claim child abandonment is a right adults should have for the PARENTS convenience because “no one should have to love their own children.” If you have sex you are potentially creating a child and yes you should have to love that child, even if it’s hard. We expect all parents to love their children if they are raising them and I think if people don’t understand that accidents can happen even with birth control, and that parents are RESPONSIBLE for those children even if it’s an accident, we aren’t educating people about sex and human decency very well. I think people should commit to looking out for their children, even if accidental, before agreeing to have sex, that’s part of the responsibility of having sex and saying children should just suffer to make things easier for parents is bull.

          I hear a lot of people say they think they have an innate right to dump any accidental babies that could happen after having sex. It’s must less likely a woman would end up with a birth when she didn’t want the baby because abortion is available (and if a woman is too poor/mentally ill/in crisis to obtain an abortion I sympathize with the potential need for others to raise the baby if available) but it’s still on the woman to try if no one else will.

          I’m basically saying that what men are demanding, abandonment for convenience of the parent rather than the interest of the child- is not something I want any parent who consented to risking creating that child to have the right to do to a child whether a man or woman. Women shouldn’t have the right to dump the child with the dad or on the state to go party and act like an ass either. If one of the parents is ill/messed up and they both agree to full custody with one parent that’s one matter but the assumption parents who don’t feel like it shouldn’t AT LEAST TRY to “feel like” or get over themselves is a terrible cultural trend. Placements should only be allowed when they are in the interests of the child and that’s the piece of “no one should have to care about their own children” is violating at the expense of child-welfare. I oppose that statement so strongly I will keep on talking about it any time it’s brought up here as an innate “parent right” to not care about the interests of their children.

  32. The Last Selina
    The Last Selina June 18, 2013 at 5:23 pm |

    That article is a load of bull. The title of the article itself is bull, there is no such thing as “forced fatherhood.” The only thing that is forced is financial support. Is it unfair that men sometimes end up with a child they never wanted? Yes. Life is unfair. Acknowledged. Is it MORE unfair that a child lacks for financial support if a man never wanted him or her? Yes. That’s why the forced financial support is in place, to protect the needs of the child even at the expense of the biological parent. That is a choice we had to make in an unfair world, and I think it’s the right one and the moral one.

    The abortion rights argument is ridiculous. Abortion gives women* the right to control their own bodies. An embryo/non-viable fetus is not separate from the woman so no one but her can decide anything about her pregnancy at that point. After the child is born, we have a duty to protect the child. Yes, women get pregnant and men don’t, so women do have the advantage of deciding whether they want to bring a child into the world. Because they are the ones who get pregnant. Again, life is unfair. The biology is different so you deal with consequences of that. You can’t strive for parity in situations where there are true biological differences. It would be like arguing that the blood alcohol limit for for driving should be higher for women since they metabolize alcohol differently. Is it unfair that women don’t get to drink as much? One could argue that, but it’s much worse to have them drive drunk, isn’t it?

    All that said, I agree that there really should be many more reliable birth control choices for men. That is something that we could definitely make more fair.

    *I know some women don’t get pregnant so bear with me and assume I mean egg and or uterus bearer and sperm bearer in place of women and men just in the interest of less cumbersome language.

  33. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve June 18, 2013 at 6:32 pm |

    The article should be headlined “Is it unfair…”

    1. Lolagirl
      Lolagirl June 18, 2013 at 6:39 pm |

      LOL, good catch, Steve!

  34. Buttered Lilies
    Buttered Lilies June 18, 2013 at 7:48 pm |

    You really skip over the existence of Safe Haven laws, like them not being used very much and having limits on them is the same thing as them not existing at all. Couldn’t we give fathers the same option – 30 days since the birth of the child to terminate their rights, and anything after that is illegal? Or even before the mother gives birth, so that she has time to decide – say, 30 or 60 days after the father finds out he’s going to be a father to terminate his rights?

    Safe Haven laws are infrequently used, but they do exist. And by the same token, if Safe Haven laws are infrequently used, it makes sense that the number of men who actually terminate their legal rights to their offspring, permanently and forever, would be fairly low.

    1. Lolagirl
      Lolagirl June 18, 2013 at 8:27 pm |

      What you are missing wrt to Safe Haven laws is that even if a mother abandons her child properly under such a law it does not result in the the automatic termination of the father’s legal rights. After such a legal abandonment, the state must still undertake at least a pretense of locating the bio father, and he still has the legal right to custody of his child if he is identified and wants custody.

      1. Buttered Lilies
        Buttered Lilies June 19, 2013 at 7:04 pm |

        Right… So? If men still have paternal rights if they want them after the mother has terminated her’s seems entirely different from if men and women have the right to opt out of being parents equally.

  35. Lelaina Landis (Lia)
    Lelaina Landis (Lia) June 18, 2013 at 9:58 pm |

    Loaded topic.

    In an ideal world, couples would discuss, before having sex, what they would do in the case of an “oops!” pregnancy and agree to bind that decision legally. Oh, well, there’s a bucket of cold water on a moment of passion, right? Like I said, “in an ideal world.” The Last Selena makes a good point: life’s not fair. Does it suck that a man has to pay child support for 18 years just because he had a drunken one-night stand? Absolutely. The only equitable solution is to not get in that situation in the first place. You know, in that ideal world.

    Personally? I could never bind a man to me or any hypothetical child I might have with him, even financially, just because that’s my prerogative as a woman. I don’t know if this has to do with the fact that I’m childless by choice and my sensibilities are different on this matter or if I was just born with an innate sense of fair play.

  36. Donna L
    Donna L June 18, 2013 at 10:07 pm |

    Personally? I could never bind a man to me or any hypothetical child I might have with him, even financially, just because that’s my prerogative as a woman. I don’t know if this has to do with the fact that I’m childless by choice and my sensibilities are different on this matter or if I was just born with an innate sense of fair play.

    Fair play? Unless you happen to be wealthy yourself, how exactly would it be fair to your hypothetical child not to make any attempt whatsoever to obtain the financial support from hir biological father to which zie is entitled?

    1. Lelaina Landis (Lia)
      Lelaina Landis (Lia) June 18, 2013 at 10:36 pm |

      “Fair play” in the sense that I could never bring a child into this world in the first place if the biological father weren’t 100 percent on board, and both of us were enthusiastic about our joint decision.

      1. Azalea
        Azalea June 27, 2013 at 10:04 am |

        Love your comment! I am entirely with you. I couldn’t bear to make my child’s existence someone’s resentment. Most child support payments aren’t even enough to put a drop in the poverty bucket in the first place, it’s just enough to make the father hate the child he’s being forced to finance.

    2. A4
      A4 June 18, 2013 at 10:38 pm |

      Yes the comment to which you are responding was particularly inane.

      1. Donna L
        Donna L June 18, 2013 at 11:38 pm |

        To which comment are you referring? Mine?

        1. Donna L
          Donna L June 20, 2013 at 2:45 pm |

          I’d still like to know what you meant, A4.

    3. Azalea
      Azalea June 27, 2013 at 11:17 am |

      Biology doesn’t make a parent or abortion is murder and adoption is abuse. You can’t have it both ways. Either biology binds you to a child and once you are pregnant or give birth you’re a parent without any way out or there is an opt out option for either parent. Either parenthood is a choice or it is a consequence of sex and dodging that consequence makes you an absentee parent.

  37. Nanani
    Nanani June 19, 2013 at 12:56 am |

    These arguments make sense in a universe that is not the one we live in.

    To summarise:
    Financial abortions for non-pregnant parents make perfect sense as a matter of equality IF AND ONLY IF actual abortions, birth control, and bodily integrity rights are secure for pregnant parents.
    Otherwise, no dice.

    Seriously I read all of these arguments back when I first found out what an MRA was, like 4 years ago (only then it was more RAGE and CAPS and INVECTIVE). Nothing new to see.

    1. Azalea
      Azalea June 27, 2013 at 10:15 am |

      A woman can dodge motherhood with condoms, birth control, the morning after pill, abortion, adoption, safe haven laws.

      A man has: condoms.

      Equality where? There is none. I despise the idea of child support UNLESS the person agreed to be a parent. Parental responsibilities should NEVER EVER be a punishment of having specific reproductive organs. That is wholeheartedly a pro-life argument and disgusting that so many feminists use it.

      1. macavitykitsune
        macavitykitsune June 27, 2013 at 10:31 am |

        birth control, the morning after pill, abortion, adoption, safe haven laws.

        All of which are at various levels of inaccessible to most women in most places, and nearly all can be compromised by penis-having partners in most of those places. (See also: forced abortions and pregnancies in, oh, everywhere in the world.)

        A man has: condoms.

        Also vasectomies. Moving on.

        Also, if this were reeeeeeeally such a huge issue, where’s the male outcry for long-term birth control? Oh, there isn’t one? Oh, the one attempt I know of is stuck in Development Hell? Nobody cares?

        Ah right.

        Equality where? There is none.

        Correct statement; wrong side of the fence.

        1. Azalea
          Azalea June 27, 2013 at 11:26 am |

          In the U.S. it is largely available. I will be more specific. I live in the DC area. All of this is accessible to the vast majority of women in this area.

          So forced abortions make forced parenthood ok? Again where do we stop PUNISHING people for being fertile? It’s a spit in the face of reproductive justice to strong arm a person into parental responsibility they never wanted in the first place.

          Seriously??? Vasectomies? If a man doesn’t want to have a baby with a woman right now he should lose his fertility altogether? DISGUSTING. Seriously disgusting. This is the bullshit people say to women, why get an abortion when you can get your tubes tied? GROSS!

          There is a male outcry for long term birth control but there is also huge female skepticism about how well it would work or whether or not they would trust it. Women want to be in charge of birth control. Many women don’t like condom use, many women question the necessity of condoms if they are on birth control (condoms are important for reasons that supersede pregnancy).

          How could reproductive justice be either the man doesn’t have sex or get a vasectomy? If he doesn’t have sex, who are straight women having sex with?

          Like I said, this reads as child support being the punishment for being a fertile cisman. I am the mother to sons and I don’t hate them for being boys so I can’t agree with this at all.

        2. Kierra
          Kierra June 27, 2013 at 11:37 am |

          There is a male outcry for long term birth control but there is also huge female skepticism about how well it would work or whether or not they would trust it. Women want to be in charge of birth control.

          Could of fooled me. What does female skepticism have to do with it? If women are skeptical that their boyfriend/husband is really using his birth control correctly, then she can use her own method. That shouldn’t have any affect on whether there is a market for more male birth control options. The only opposition I’ve seen about male reversible prescription/surgical birth control is men worrying that it would negatively affect their long-term fertility or that there will be other negative side effects related to lower testosterone levels. Because men are used to having women shoulder those issues.

        3. Kierra
          Kierra June 27, 2013 at 11:45 am |

          Sorry for the double post

          Again where do we stop PUNISHING people for being fertile?

          What you are really asking for is that we make sure that men never, ever, ever have any consequences for being fertile. Women, by design, are always going to have to deal with physical consequences of being fertile. Assuming these women don’t want children, they either have to deal with some sort of medical birth control, or deal with the fact that they’re going to have occasional pregnancies (condoms being only 85% effective every year with typical use, so if relied on exclusively are almost certainly going to fail at some point) that are going to require medical or surgical intervention. Men never have physical consequences for being fertile.

        4. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune June 27, 2013 at 12:04 pm |

          In the U.S. it is largely available.

          Have you been following the news at all? Left the house in the last couple of years? Turned on your computer?

          I will be more specific. I live in the DC area.

          Oh, I see. So in the capital of a country, services are available. I guess that means I can take my wife home to India now, consequence-free, since Delhi decriminalised homosexuality.

          So forced abortions make forced parenthood ok?

          Well, I don’t know. Why don’t you ask those cis men you’re championing? They’re the ones ensuring uterus-havers are forced into both abortions (because of lack of birth control/men who won’t wrap their dicks) and pregnancies (because of lack of abortion facilities that WHITE STRAIGHT CIS MEN have overwhelmingly been behind legislating out of existence).

          Again where do we stop PUNISHING people for being fertile?

          I don’t think I’m punishing anyone for being fertile. Certainly not cis men, who have 0% risk from pregnancy. Like, if you can’t wrap your condom AND fail to make sure your partner’s on birth control AND fail to discuss whether or not they’re going to abort any pregnancies, you are officially too fucking stupid to be allowed to whine about OH TEH NOES A BABBY I DIN WANNA. and when you weigh some paltry couple of hundred bucks a month against the raising of a child (see Chataya’s cost breakdown before), plus the health risks of pregnancy and birth… you know, yeah, I’m not overflowing with empathy.

          If a man doesn’t want to have a baby with a woman right now he should lose his fertility altogether?

          …you can reverse them, you know.

          Like I said, this reads as child support being the punishment for being a fertile cisman.

          Those poor cismen, how sad and abused their lot is. It’s exactly like slavery, but with cute babies!

          How could reproductive justice be either the man doesn’t have sex or get a vasectomy?

          Or, you know, he could carry condoms, or have exclusively non-procreative sex (kinda hard to get pregnant via 2/3 holes/hands/thighs/nose/armpits/whatever, just saying), or ensure his partner is on stable birth control, or carry female condoms, or only have sex with women who are infertile/have had their tubes tied, or have a morning-after pill at hand to give to his partner in case all of the above fail. Cry me a fucking river, lady.

          If he doesn’t have sex, who are straight women having sex with?

          Presumably, penis-havers who aren’t whiny little shits who won’t make the slightest effort to prevent a pregnancy but expect to be let off the hook for it while someone else gives up health, time, energy, resources, employment opportunities, educational opportunities, etc, etc in order to raise a child that they didn’t have an option about giving birth to, probably thanks to that very whiny little shit, who also voted for forced-birther assholes who took her ability to abort that baby and/or have access to birth control away.

        5. Azalea
          Azalea June 30, 2013 at 6:12 pm |

          And the flip side to what you’re suggesting of men, ways to prevent pregnancy is the same shit spewed to women in favor of anti-abortion sentiments.

          Or, you know, (s)he could carry condoms, or have exclusively non-procreative sex (kinda hard to get pregnant via 2/3 holes/hands/thighs/nose/armpits/whatever, just saying), or ensure his partner(herself) is on stable birth control, or carry female condoms, or only have sex with (men)women who are infertile/have had (vasectomies)their tubes tied, or have a morning-after pill at hand to (take)give to his partner in case all of the above fail.

          Hmmm sounds like a DAMN good argument to get rid of elective abortions because ya know…whining about getting pregnant after doing what you think a responsible adult who doesn’t want to parent should do is just pathetic right?

          Ideally: a man suspected of being the biological father would get the option of opting out of parenthood altogether before birth. The decision is as final as giving up a child for adoption. He would have no parental responsibility or rights just as the mother wouldn’t had she aborted, abandoned or given the child up for adoption.

          However, if the man signs the birth certificate is there for the child and agrees to fatherhood, regardless of what happens in the relationship later he has to CONTINUE supporting his child.

          I also disagree with your idea that being in a relationship with a person with children entitles that child to support if the relationship ends after a while. Unless I specifically sign up to be a parent, I am not choosing to parent.

          Child support is a financial punishment for not voluntarily signing up for parenthood.

        6. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune June 30, 2013 at 7:17 pm |

          Ideally: a man suspected of being the biological father would get the option of opting out of parenthood altogether before birth. The decision is as final as giving up a child for adoption. He would have no parental responsibility or rights just as the mother wouldn’t had she aborted, abandoned or given the child up for adoption.

          Hooray. That’s exactly what I said upthread in an Ideal World scenario. Unfortunately, with gender dynamics being the way they are, I think that the gender more likely to a) engage in reproductive coercion, b) be financially better off due to systemic pressures, c) impregnate through rape, d) be under much less pressure to financially support a child, e) be less affected by abandoning a child wrt social consequences, f) be able to dodge court-ordered child payments due to sympathetic MRA Lites like you… really should be on the hook for child support payments. Particularly since they’re also the gender in power, and literally all the legislation currently curtailing women’s reproductive rights was created and is maintained in a male-dominated environment.

          Unless I specifically sign up to be a parent, I am not choosing to parent.

          Being in a long-term relationship with a primary custodial parent isn’t signing up to parent?

          I’m going to be charitable and assume you’ve never lived with anyone with kids, because otherwise that’s probably the stupidest fucking thing I’ve ever heard from you, and I remember your spew on marriage equality.

          Personally, my take on dating responsibilities is so – if you’re dating a custodial parent, living with them and their child, and you have been doing so for multiple years, you are in a de facto parental position. Don’t want to be? Don’t date people with kids. You can’t have your cake, eat your cake, sell the crumbs, and then cry about not having more cake.

        7. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune June 30, 2013 at 7:24 pm |

          Child support is a financial punishment for not voluntarily signing up for parenthood.

          Also, seriously, fuck that and fuck you. The vast majority of people who pay child support (even, I suspect, a decent chunk of people who are unable to pay child support) signed up for that parenthood (sometimes by raping the uterus haver! Yay!). The ones being coerced into parenthood are overwhelmingly cis women/trans men – who, by the way, are way more likely to be primary caregivers, and thus be on the receiving end of any bullshit the non-custodial parent feels like giving out.

          Or, conversely, are you suggesting that if someone doesn’t have primary custody and is asked to pay child support, their hand in creating that child is retroactively removed? I’ll have to call my wife’s ex and let him know he was magically retro-raped by Val. He’s a nice guy, I’m sure he deserves to know these important truths about his life.

        8. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune July 1, 2013 at 12:35 am |

          Urk, misremembered; your statements on That Thread were about whether believing homosexuality is a sin is homophobic or not.

          But Azalea, to give context to my statement, it was specifically re: Douglas’ question about whether same-sex partners could be conferred some rights/responsibilities via caregiving. Given that in the vast majority of the world, same-sex parents are not likely to be married to each other, I think that the ideological position that (some) parental rights/responsibilities should be given to the same-sex partner of a parent is pretty logical.

  38. Calioak
    Calioak June 19, 2013 at 2:39 am |

    In most states safe haven laws apply to both parents.

    1. Azalea
      Azalea June 27, 2013 at 10:08 am |

      So if the father suspects he’ll be taken for child support he could just drop the baby off at a firehouse and never have to worry about paying? That seems a lot easier than the multitude of men who have murdered women pregnant with their child out of fear for child support.

  39. Athenia
    Athenia June 19, 2013 at 4:15 pm |

    In a world where men didn’t feel entitled to sex, where mothers earned the same amount of money as men do–nay, more cuz they’re moms, then I’d say, yeah, the fathers don’t have to pay. But until then, they should celebrate that they have the *right* to take care of their own children.

    1. Azalea
      Azalea June 27, 2013 at 10:09 am |

      Who celebrates the *right* to take care of someone you never even wanted to exist in the first place? This is coming off as child support = the price men pay for not having a fertile uterus.

  40. pillowinhell
    pillowinhell June 19, 2013 at 11:22 pm |

    Rox, you can take your “giving up a child and not regretting it is abuse” and stick it in your ear.

    I’m a mother who gave up my first born child for a variety of very good reasons. It broke my heart to do, but I’ve never regretted the decision. I’ve watched the fallout in my family of children being raised by parents who did not love or want them. It will take generations to undo the damage suffered by those now grown children, who had kids of their own while trying to deal with their own trauma and warped view of what love is, as well as poor parenting skills. I’m sure that adoptees who find their parents want nothing to do with them suffer enormously. So too do children raised in unloving environments.

    Do the parents truly not give a shit? Or is it that the child they love was frozen in time, trapped in the final day on the last goodbye? Because if that’s the the case, then its the infant they love but they can’t reconcile it with the strange grownup standing before them. Or maybe they don’t care, or maybe they’ve spent years convincing themselves they don’t care.

    In canada, fewer than one percent of women give their children up at birth. Most kids in foster care are there because of the death of their parents. Others are placed in foster care because their parents abused them, rather than accept the shame you’re trying to dump on birth parents for saying they want to give their kids up.

  41. Azalea
    Azalea June 27, 2013 at 9:26 am |

    Those “ads” that make pregnant women feel like shit are for the “child”, those people urging a poor woman no to raise a child in poverty are doing so for the child. Honestly it is within the best interest of every child to have access to financial help. Should we compel stay at home mothers to work? She needs to support that child! Women can autonomously decide to give a baby up for adoption, she doesn’t even have to tell the person she believes is the biological father that she is pregnant. Parenthood, on ANY level should never be a punishment. Because I tell you right now; ask ANY birth mother should the adoptive parents be able to come after her ass for child support and say “well you should have kept your legs closed because this kid needs to eat!” my question would be wtf would you volunteer to raise a child I do not want on MY dime? That’s fucked up, no nice way to cut it. It’s a selfish ass decision. Children cost, period. If YOU decide to be a parent then YOU have to bear the brunt of the responsibility. Saying having a penis means being a reproductive victim to the uterus having person’s whims is fucked up. Don’t say “the child needs” because the mother CAN and SHOULD provide. Granted she didn’t get herself pregnant, therefore shared costs of the pregnancy all the way. But shared cost of a child that is literally being FORCED on you for the rest of your life? That’s a prison sentence. You can’t do that then wonder why there are people on the pro-life side who think so little of women who get abortions or give their child up for adoptions. Because clearly an abortion isn’t about what’s best for the child and neither is adoption its about what’s best for the pregnant woman. Men should have the right to opt out of parental responsibility, sign over his paternal rights entirely to the person who wants to be a parent; whether that be the birth mother or another family.

    1. Hina
      Hina June 27, 2013 at 1:33 pm |

      So many things wrong with your argument

      Because I tell you right now; ask ANY birth mother should the adoptive parents be able to come after her ass for child support and say “well you should have kept your legs closed because this kid needs to eat!

      Adoptive parents willingly take full responsibility for the child after the biological parent/s give up their parental rights. In a case with two biological parents, If it is decided the mother gets full custody and the father gives up all his rights to the child the mother can’t go after the father for child support later either. In both cases there has to be a mutual agreement that one parent/new parents will be responsible and have all physical, emotional and financial rights and responsibilities to that child and the other parent/bio parents will give up all parental access, responsibility and rights.

      Children cost, period.

      Yes you’re absolutely right!
      If you had the best interest of the child, you would’ve stopped right there. How do you expect a woman to support her child when she can’t work because she has to take care of her child and doesn’t have access to any form of alternative childcare. Or she would have to leave her baby at home so she can work which would be considered neglecting the child. So if you had the best interest of the child at heart you would not be against child support. This isn’t about the mother or the father its about the child who is a completely dependent being.

      What you’re asking for is women to either give up their rights over their own body or allow for men to sign a paper that allows them to give up all parental rights. That’s not fair! Maybe if women could pop out an egg that only took a few seconds or minutes and didn’t cause any changes to their body, only then it would be fair to allow a man who doesn’t want to be a parent to sign off all his parental responsibilities before the egg is hatched.

      Alara Rogers already said everything else I wanted to say in this post

      Abortion is not, in fact, the last line of defense against motherhood. That’s adoption. Abortion is the last line of defense against *pregnancy*. If women could pop out an egg like they were taking a particularly large poop, without ever showing any sign they were pregnant, and hand it over to adoptive parents who want to sit on it, abortion wouldn’t even be an issue most likely. But pregnancy is physically destructive to a human body and socially stigmatized for anyone who isn’t married (to the father of the child), considered an acceptable age, and considered to be in socially acceptable physical and mental health. (I have a blind lawyer friend who got shit on for being pregnant while being a middle class married woman.) It can also destroy your career even if you are an appropriately-aged, appropriately-healthy-looking married woman. So there are myriad excellent reasons to not be pregnant that have nothing to do with the cost of raising a child.

      Once a child is born and a woman has *not* surrendered it for adoption, she is just as much on the hook for child support as the father is. Letting men get out of child support gives men special privileges that women don’t have; if a man has been identified as a father (necessary for child support to be served on him), he has the right to prevent the mother from giving up the child for adoption, so it’s not like women have unilateral rights to not pay for the kid either. All men or women get is the right to control their own bodies, and it’s 99% to men’s advantage that that means they don’t have to deal with 9 months of gestation; let’s not get rid of the 1% of a disadvantage it grants.

      (Although I do have a bit of schadenfreude at the thought of a screaming, placard-waving crowd of protesters surrounding a courthouse yelling “DEADBEAT” and “DON’T ABANDON YOUR BABY” at men going in to sign 27 papers in triplicate to terminate their paternal rights, after a 24 hour waiting period and a mandatory parenting video full of cute babies and dads playing with little kids and a mandatory interview with an asshole counselor who tries to make them feel like shit… but no. I’d rather live in a world where women don’t have to deal with that crap than where men do too.)

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  44. Joan Bennett
    Joan Bennett August 15, 2013 at 8:54 pm |

    I suppose if a man doesn’t want children, he could always have the snip. It is reversible if he changes his mind later and plans to have a child. If they can’t be bothered, it seems silly to make the state pay for their irresponsibility/laziness.

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