Forced Fatherhood?

There’s an essay on the NYT website today that raises some interesting questions, though I think the picture it paints is incomplete.   It’s an excellent and provocative title:  Is Forced Fatherhood Fair?     I guess the idea is that Father’s Day is a good time to think about this.   And perhaps that is true.

To begin with you have to understand what Laurie Shrage (the author) means by forced fatherhood.   She’s concerned about instances where “dad’s role was not freely assumed, but legally mandated.”   I think what’s she’s principally worried about are cases where a man and a woman who are not married to each other engage in intercourse and an unplanned pregnancy results.   At that point, the decision about whether to proceed with the pregnancy or not is not the man’s.   If the woman does not wish to have an abortion but instead wants to give birth, she can choose that route.   And if she then wants to raise the child as a legal parent, then she can do that, too.   In many cases, the man will be the legal father of the child and have obligations and responsibilities as well as rights thrust upon him.  He is, in Shrage’s terminology, a forced father.  

Shrage finds the idea of forced fatherhood problematic for a number of reasons that are explored in her essay.    A couple of things strike me particularly.

The legal basis for forced fatherhood is the genetic linkage between man and child.   Thus Shrage’s concern leads her in the direction I’d choose to go myself–genetic linkage shouldn’t make the man a legal parent.  It’s also quite clearly the opposite direction from those who support DNA-based legal parenthood would go.    In that context, what is striking to me is that her arguments aren’t the ones I have made here and I’m not sure I particularly agree with them.   I suppose all this shows is there are many ways to skin cats or more than one road to Rome or something like that.   Still, I think it’s a good thing to consider her arguments.

Shrage seems to be motivated in large part by questions of whether men are being treated fairly here.   After all, look at the description above–the critical decision-making power (to have a child or not) is vested in the woman alone.   This is true, of course, once there is a pregnancy.    It’s not at all true if you expand the frame of reference to include the time before the pregnancy.  This is not a concern with men being forced to engage in sex in order to impregnate women.   (I have never seen statistics on this, but I have to assume this is rather an infrequent occurrence.)  These are instances where men elect to engage in sex  and pregnancy follows as a consequence of that choice.

Shrage suggests that we should view the rules that establish men as forced  fathers as akin to efforts to control women’s sexuality.

Do our policies now aim to punish and shame men for their sexual promiscuity?

Many of my male students (in Miami where I teach), who come from low-income immigrant communities, believe that our punitive paternity policies are aimed at controlling their sexual behavior.

But I wonder if this is really a fair description.   Couldn’t I say instead that these are rules that ought to make men take contraception seriously?   That if only women bear the risk of conception (because the man can walk away), that will create its own problems?

There’s much else to think about here, but I want to jump to one last point.  Though I am inclined to disagree with the fairness rationale, I’m not unsympathetic to at least part of the conclusion reached here.   I do think forcing unwilling men to be fathers will typically create less than ideal situations for children.   Indeed, this is a big part of the reason why I think legal fatherhood ought not to be based simply on genetics.    Let the child have a chance to find a man who will embrace the role of parent willingly.

But, as you may recall, I am willing to consider splitting the financial obligation of child support from the role of legal parent.   Thus, I would force child support upon men even if I didn’t force fatherhood upon them.  (I know this is controversial and we’ve talked about it some.  It’s just here as a reminder.)   To my mind, child support and legal fatherhood need not be an indivisible pair.

And one last note:   Shrage is really only focused on one set of circumstances and, as regular readers know, there are many.   So for example, we’ve had long discussions here recently about cases where the unmarried woman places the child for adoption.  That’s all well and good if the man is in the “forced father” category, but what about cases where the man wants to be a father?   This, too, can be understood as a dynamic where the critical questions are about who has power.

 

 

 

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33 responses to “Forced Fatherhood?

  1. It says something pretty significant about our modern era that this is the only time in history humans have had effective contraception that works most of the time (if you use it properly), and now it’s so completely taken for granted, that some people feel entitled to not get pregnant after sex.

    If you go skydiving or do any dangerous sport, you sign a waiver or otherwise indicate that you accept that there might be some pretty unpleasant consequences in the unlikely event that things go wrong. And if things do go wrong, that’s harsh, but you are supposed to know, have considered the risk, and take responsibility for what you’re getting into.

    Pregnancy is a well-known occupational hazard of sex, even if you’re using contraception assiduously. You may not ‘consent’ to become a parent, you may do what you can to avoid it if you don’t want kids, but it is one of the possible outcomes of sex.

    Assuming this was an unplanned pregnancy, then she’s effectively a forced mother, since this wasn’t something either of them chose. Choosing childbirth is choosing from a few not so great options, in the event the man who got her pregnant wants nothing more to do with her, and none of those choices should be forced on her.

    Plenty of women are bullied into abortion by a partner who says he doesn’t want to be a father, threatens to leave, or otherwise emotionally blackmails her. The idea that women always have a free choice and total control is pretty dubious. For some couples there is no single outcome that’s acceptable to both and inevitably one of them is going to be unhappy and both will live with the consequences for life, whether that’s abortion, adoption or keeping the baby.

    One definition of father is a man who has a particular type of ongoing supportive relationship with a child; you can’t force that, no. You can’t force love or caring, nor should you try. Financial support is the only thing that can be mandated… and what’s wrong with that. It already is possible for man to adopt someone else’s biological child and permanently become the father-who-is-a-dad. I am not sure what other solutions she might be proposing.

    As an aside, a sperm donor donates on the understanding that other people will take care of the child properly, be the legal parents and fulfil their financial responsibilities. I realise a lot of people reading this think gamete donation is irresponsible, full stop, no matter how it is handled. But I haven’t yet met or spoken to a donor who’s had no thoughts or feelings about the offspring at all. Financial support is such a key part of being a dad: most men think about that aspect pretty hard before they donate. It really, really p***es me off when sperm donors are compared to men who have got someone pregnant in a relationship (however brief) and then don’t want to deal with the consequences of their choice.

    • I’m generally inclined to agree with you and I think your first observation is particularly important. Pregnancy is a risk of intercourse. I understand there are instances where people do not know that and perhaps there are also instances where men are tricked by women. (Even in the latter case men could insist on using condoms and doing all in their power to avoid conception, of course.) The reason women have more control over the pregnancy is that the pregnancy has an immediate physical impact on them that is quite different from that it has on their male partner. But they may well be as traumatized and while they may (and I do mean “may”) have options, the do not have the option of not ever having become pregnant.

      All of this is to say that I am not terribly sympathetic to the men here. I am, however, sympathetic to the children and that’s why it might make sense (in my view) to let someone else be the legal father. But in terms of helping to pay the costs of rearing a child? It’s just requiring people to own up to the foreseeable consequences.

      • This concept has been around for quite a while and as far as I can tell was originally proposed by legal academics, ie the idea of fragmented fatherhood where due to family breakdown, different men take on social, bio, legal aspects of the father’s relationship with and responsibility towards the child.

        I’m really struggling to understand what her suggestion means in practice given there already are ways for a man who doesn’t want to be a father to hand over some or all of his responsibilities to another person. Is she suggesting adoption by step-parents should be easier?

        (My ref is Sheldon, S., 2005. Fragmenting Fatherhood: the Regulation of Reproductive Technologies. Modern Law Review, 68, pp.523–553 but I’m sure you’re familiar with this idea already.)

        • There is a circumstance under which it may not be easy for the man to get out from under his obligations: If the woman is unmarried, chooses to raise the child and there isn’t anyone else who will be adopting/step-adopting the child. The man may then be stuck with a liability for child support that he cannot just walk away from. Particularly if the woman seeks any sort of state-support money, in which case the state will come after him for child support. Of course, he will also have the right to act as a legal parent, which may be something neither he nor the woman wants.

          One question, it is seems to me, is whether we want to change the result in this scenario. Shrage does.

  2. Maybe it’s not fair, but biology isn’t exactly fair. Having to choose between an abortion, adoption (if the guy doesn’t want the kid), or unplanned motherhood isn’t exactly easy either, I imagine.

    • I wonder if part of what drives this impulse (not yours–the original authors) is some desire to have everyone treated “the same.” This is one of those instances where men and women are not similarly situated and so it’s much harder to say what “fair” looks like.

  3. The answer is simple – we just make it so that all minors can only have one legal parent. Nobody gets two parents ever, at all, nada not zip. Only the woman that gives birth then. No other person will ever be financially obligated to support the child, no other person will ever have authority to make decisions on behalf of the child, only the woman who gives birth or an adoptive parent. When people adopt only one of them would get to be the child’s adoptive parent. Fathers would still be named on birth records for public health and safety reasons for vital statistical reasons but that would be it. No legal kinship for paternal relatives either. No ability to get birth marriage and death certificates on paternal relatives, no claiming paternal relatives on medical insurance no disbursement of death benefits to paternal relatives. Never Nada Zip Nothing. The mother could not assign a second parent she likes better because that would give a child two parents when others are only legally allowed to have one.

    You may be thinking that the law can say a child has a right to two parents but they don’t all get two parents, the world is unfair sometimes the second parent is unkown. Not every kid will have two wealthy loving parents either that is unfair should we withhold it from those that have that just to make it fair for those that dont? Well youre wrong because the law and the government has a responsibility for making laws fair, for obligating people equally and for giving people equal rights. Everyone has two parents that is a given an absolute unwaivering fact. Everyone is born a dependent minor, on this earth because their parents reproduced themselves regardless of how or why or what their intentions are – their offspring exists and is going to require care for the next 18 years minimum. All law is built around the concept of responsibility for our own actions and reproduction is an action. Nobody else can be held accountable for the actions of your body. Possibly liable for damages for influencing your actions but not directly responsible. The law cannot control whether a person’s two parents are wealthy or loving or smart or interesting – people are on their on in that regard and some kids will get the short end of the stick – law cannot manage that kind of unfair. The law can however say that since all people have two parents that those two parents are to be responsible for their offspring until their offspring is old enough to take care of themselves. That is as fair as the law can get. The obligation of the parents can be law but the fulfilment of that obligation will differ from parent to parent The governments job is to make laws that are based on the common denominator for all individuals. So if your going to say that men are not fathers based on biology fine – but see that through to its logical conclusion. See it all the way through so that no person has unequal obligations or unequal rights.

    I know full well that the current state of affairs creates unequal obligations and unequal rights. You can point them out all day long until you’re blue in the face and I’ll say you are correct and those crappy laws need to change as well.

    This person’s proposal prevents some children from exercising their right to support from both genetic parents. The DNA clause in the UPA says it applies to both genders of parent equally. Which is why the whole naming surrogates as mothers when they are not the medical source of the child pisses me off so much especially given the maternity fraud cases for citizenship of women impersonating the mothers they delivered in forign countries whose Mom’s are actually forign egg donors.

    • I don’t think the law does give all children a right to two legal parents. Neither does the law recognize a right for children to gain support from both genetic parents in all cases. (I mean these statements to be purely descriptive–as in, I am describing the current law, not advocating for/against it.)

      That said, I’ve given a lot of thought to the “you start with one legal parent” option. It would, as you say, put everyone on an equal footing. Additional legal parents could then opt in.

      The problem I always run into is that there are many instances where this isn’t what people want. Often two people intended to be legal co-parents and want to establish those legal relationships as soon as possible. That’s what the spousal presumption accomplishes.

      Of course, you could say the fact that people might want it doesn’t mean that the law has to do it. And that would be true. But I don’t think I’ve ever successfully sold anyone on the “starting from one parent” approach–not even myself, really.

      • “I’ve given a lot of thought to the “you start with one legal parent” option. It would, as you say, put everyone on an equal footing. Additional legal parents could then opt in.”

        Why let extra people opt in? If she’s married the child will have a step parent responsible for the child only because they are responsible for the support of their spouse while married. They can claim the step child as a dependent and their ss death benefits would be disbursed but only if they die while married to the mother. That way the authority is solely hers and nobody can assert a claim of parenthood to the child she gave birth to but her. No child would be entitled to support from anyone but her. So even genetic fathers when divorced would no longer have a support obligation. Why give anyone the right to opt in Julie that would put kids on unequal footing. Life may be unfair in its distribution of benefits but the law should not be. No child should have a claim of rights that others cannot also claim.

        The law is very uneven now. Or actually all children have the right to both parents but inaccurate record keeping and fraud make it impossible for many people to exercise their rights. I’d like to see all instances of inequity rectified.

        • I’d let other people opt in because the reality of many children’s lives is that they do have to functioning actual parents and I think the law should reflect and protect that reality. There are countless situations where it will matter that both people have full legal rights-if there is only one holding right and that one dies, for example. Or if we’re thinking of a couple and the couple splits up, the child’s relationship with each parent should be protected, not just that with one of them. (These are all the bad lesbian cases.)

          My general goal here is to protect children and the relationships (and here I mean social/psychological relationships) that they rely on. That means the law has to be flexible enough to reflect the fact that there are children of single parents, children with two parents and even children with three functioning parents. Is that reality–that some children have more functioning and engaged psychological parents than others–unfair? I’m not sure it is, but whether it is or not, it isn’t a reality created by law and I don’t think the law can “fix” it by not recognizing existing social relationships.

          Another way to think about this might be that one of the rights the woman who gives birth has is the right to decide that she will fully co-parent with someone else. Once she has exercised that right and created this reality for the child, there is no going back. (I’m not wedded to this approach–just trying it out.)

          • why are we trying so hard to revolutionize the definition of parenthood, just to accomodate deadbeat dads?

            • Me? Accommodate dead beat dads? What are you talking about? And by the way a person who has a dead beat for a father – that is still their father THEIR father their ONLY father they will ever have. He is the only man responsible for his own offspring’s existence and he owes it to them to take care of them while they are young because it is not anyone else’s responsiblility to take care of the people he puts on this earth. He owes his children his physical and financial support, his military death benefits, his social security death benefits, his medical insurance, his inheritance. Because their relationship to him is real, unwavering and absolute his offspring should be owed recognition of reality an identity that reflects where they actually originated from and who should have been taking care of them. The law should owe his children legal recognition of the parent child relationship in order that their other kinship relationships will have legal force. What if he’s a deadbeat and does not take care of them or their siblings from another relationship and later the siblings reunite and grow old together and one takes the other into their home when they are old and ailing? Did you know that they cannot claim their own blood sibling as a relative dependent but they could claim a step sibling if their parent and step parent never divorced? How unfair is that? So much more is at stake than just the parent child relationship when parents are not named as such on their children’s birth records. I can’t believe you think I want to protect dead beat fathers. I want to protect people’s right to the truth and legal recognition of their relationships no matter how crappy those relationships may be its reality.

      • So what to do about the fact that your idea grants some kids rights that others will not have? Tough titties, children that are wanted by more people have a right to more? Unwanted children deserve less? Surely there is a default whereby even if they are unwanted by their mothers they are still owed a duty of care by her….right all children have a right to at least that in your mind because she gave birth.

        Of course people have no conscious recollection of womb time because their brains are too undeveloped to interact cognitively. The point at which they are born is the point at which they are able to begin interacting with others in a meaningful way. So from a born persons perspective they are equally related to two individuals and there is no reason not to hold them equally accountable for their support while young. Men are not responsible for their own reproductive action because the woman failed to stop the ball they got rolling?

        She is responsible for her reproductive behavior and he is responsible for his. He started it and he can’t expect not to be responsible for the outcome if she does not stop the process that he started. Its perfectly fair, people are not responsible for their offspring unless they are born. So there are ways he can prevent his offspring from being born – that is his responsibility. There are ways she can prevent her offspring from being born, that is her responsibility. The window of opportunity is smaller for him maybe in fairness because he does not have to use his body to develp a fetus. Maybe she gets a little more time to act preventatively.

        • I think it is about the level on which you articulate rights. All children should have the right to have their crucial social/psychological relationships recognized and protected. On that level all are treated the same. But this will mean different things for different children. It will play out in different ways–because circumstances on the ground are different.

          I think it is often true that claims about equal treatment will look different depending whether you want equal results or equal application of law.

          • I’m sorry? One more time. The whole point the whole definition of equal rights is that they are not different depending upon what situation your in fundamentally just because you are human or just because your a citizen. Not because of things substantially outside your control or things that are largely irrelevant to the topic at hand.

            Like how marriage does not have to be a couple that are not the same gender that is discrimination based on something maybe within the requester’s control but it is not necessary to the function of civil marriage and from the states point of view it really should make no difference.

            We all have a right to rely upon the medical accuracy of our birth records at least to the same extent that the government does as it collects that data and does use it as the basis for medical research on heritable diseases. Now the government knows that birth records revised upon adoption are fake, worthless documents – it does not collect those ones, does not use them to count the number of kids born does not use that information as the basis for medical research. So if the information on the real birth certificate is wrong then its a lie or at best an innocent mistake. The fact that

            • The problem of defining what it means to provide equal rights is always a difficult one and there are two levels of response to what you say here, I think.

              On the concrete level, if some people had a right to medically accurate birth certificates and others did not, then you might well have an equal rights problem. But in fact no one has a right to medically accurate birth certificates. I know you don’t like this and I know you think there should be such a right, but there isn’t–not for anyone. So there’s really no issue about equal treatment on that score. (The assertion that there should be a right to a medically accurate birth certificate isn’t equal protection at all.

              There is an equal protection issue lurking in the birth certificate field but it isn’t the one you mention. Most people have a right to a birth certificate that accurately lists their legal parents. Some people–people with two parents of the same sex who were born in Louisiana, say–don’t have that right. I think they are in a position to complain about lack of equal protection–they are deprived of something that is generally given to everyone else.

              On the more abstract level, figuring out what constitutes equal treatment is tricky, especially in areas around parentage where there are actually some “real” biological differences between men and women. It depends a great deal on starting assumptions about what is important. You could make an argument that what is important is genetic connection and so all those with a genetic connection should be treated the same without regard to actual social relationship to the child. Or you could make an argument that what is most important is the actual social relationship to the child and so that all those with similar relationships should be treated the same, without regard to genetics. There’s no obvious reason to choose one thing or the other here, except for an initial assertion about what we think matters. You look at what I do and see equality issues and I look at what you do and see the same. (In your analysis, two people with similar social/psychological relationships with the child are treated differently based on something I think largely irrelevant–whether they are genetically connected to the child.)

              • I;m well aware that the rights I’m about to point out are at odds with the practices you embrace and the laws that have allowed those practices to go unchecked. It is an injustice to anyone attempting to get through life with an incomplete or falsified birth record. They are prevented from exercising their right, to to accurate medical records which is only one of the many rights they are denied when peoople and or the government falsifies their birth records. I always support my statements with real stuff and you just shoot it down with fluff and razmataz and exceptions to the rule made to sustain social relationships achieved circuitously. Show me something that says the people claiming to be parents on the birth record are not expected to be genetically related to the child. That’s why adoption exists – for people who are not biologically related to the children they wish to have control and title over.
                The right to accurate medical records:
                From the department of Health and Human Services website:
                “Correcting information
                If you think the information in your medical record is incorrect, you can request that the health care provider or health plan amend the record. The health care provider or health plan must respond to your request. If it created the information, it must amend the information if it is inaccurate or incomplete. If the provider or plan does not agree to your request, you have the right to submit a statement of disagreement that the provider or plan must add to your record.

                For further information on this topic, please refer to 45 C.F.R. §§ 164.508, 164.524 and 164.526, and OCR’s ”

                I want every adopted person, every stepped on person and everyone with an estranged parent who donated gametes to go to the hospital where they were born and file a complaint to correct their birth records that are incomplete and or inaccurate that the information provided at the time of their birth was incorrect and falsified to circumvent the adoption process which is intended to protect their personsal relationships to their own family. Complain. They’ve got the rights they’re just obviated.

                For other government sources of information about the importance of genetically accurate records of people at birth try Good Laboratory Practices for Biochemical Genetic Testing and Newborn Screening for Inherited Metabolic Disorders
                http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr6102a1.hm

                There are millions of reasons why naming just any old unrelated person on a birth record is a bad idea. It’s totally useless to the person named on the certificate – it ensures they have a permanent relationship with someone their mother happens to be screwing when they are born. I’m sorry but we need to stop praying at the alter of marital relationships they do not create children nor do they protect children frankly. We need a law that says women do not have the right to just pick a person to be the other parent of their child because the child already has another parent and it’s not her place to decide that relationship is unnecessary. It’s criminal or it should be criminal. Any woman that wants her child’s father to disappear so that she can have someone else opt in instead is truly cruel viscous and ego maniacal. Actions like that are just shy of making a person unfit to raise their own kid as far as I’m concerned – if it were not for the fact that I think it’s nobody’s place to interfere with a child’s family relationships I’d say women like that should loose their kids, but that would not be fair to the kid. Their partners should never be named as parents outside a court approved adoption process. Step parenthood has legal force. People need to not be such spoiled babies about the title step parent. Get over it already.

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  4. Since parenthood is a particular kin relationship and not a punishment, the whole idea of fairness and whether someone deserves it or not, is irrelevant. We do not get to choose whether we want to be someone’s parent any more than we get to choose whether we want to be someone’s daughter, sister or cousin.

    • Yes and no? Doesn’t a woman choose to be a genetic parent if she chooses to go through with a pregnancy? And if a person comes along while she is pregnant and they decide they’ll raise that child together and so the couples marries (which will often make the new spouse a legal parent to that child), can’t we say that person has chosen to be a parent?

      Yet there is something important to what you say, I think. I just cannot figure out quite what it is.

      There is a real asymmetry here. Children do not choose to be born but many times people do choose to have children. Maybe that’s something we need to talk about–I don’t believe we ever have done so on the blog.

      • Both biological parents create a life when conception happens, which is true whether or not the woman chooses to have an abortion. The choice is what to do with the life next, not whether you have created it.

        Sure, choices are made every step of the way, but none of them would have been possible without that very first step — that very first step that involved two people.

      • I’m not sure, IMO, that the choice to continue with a pregnancy you didn’t plan because you have deeply held beliefs about abortion is really a choice to have a child. It’s more of a choice not to have abortion, and the outcome is that you end up with a baby.

        That’s not the same as actively choosing to have a child before you get pregnant, and that’s what I mean above about it not being so much of a choice. Once you’re in that situation, your options are limited to the ones that are feasible and palatable.

  5. This issue hits especially close to home for me. Frankly, I find it hard to understand that the linked essay was written by a woman — I expect this type of opinion to come only from a man, specifically one who personally would like to avoid his own responsibilities.

    Unplanned pregnancy is tricky. A planned pregnancy in which the bio father changes his mind about wanting to have a child is even trickier. In both cases, two people had sex and two people should have at least thought about the possibility that pregnancy could occur, even if contraceptives were used. Not having sex unless you accept the possibility that you are going to create a child with your (sex) partner seems like an extremely logical step that not enough people take.

    The claim that fathers who have children they’d rather not have were coerced is ridiculous, and the idea that abortion somehow undoes the situation is even worse. Sex comes with responsibility.

  6. If all men and women are to be equal before the law:

    Women possess a recognized right to (a) deprive an unborn person of life; (b) deprive a child of a natural mother via adoption or baby safe havens; and, (c) incur no financial liability for children deprived of a natural mother whose citizenship condition derives from a mothers status.

    Therefore:

    Men must also possess a right to (a) deny an unborn person life or no man could perform any act of abortion for a woman; (b) deprive a child in his custody of a natural father via adoption or baby safe havens; and, (c) incur no financial liability to children deprived of a natural father whose citizenship condition derives from a fathers status.

    Your “First Middle Last” is privately owned title property. Just because administrative family courts exercise “in rem” jurisdictions over private title property designated as a United States citizen named “FIRST MIDDLE LAST” so an estate can be tainted by taking or converting it to a public use without just compensation in order to satisfy an alleged child support liability which is penal in nature … doesn’t make it right or lawful.

    • Emus
      Can you dumb down your statement for me I want to understand the point you are trying to get across.

      Starting from the end working backward I’m getting that you think that sometimes the law as it stands is unjust. I agree that lots of laws are unjust and need to change. So which law is it that is unfair? The one about men having to support their offspring whether they had planned on having offspring or not?

      Are you pointing out that a pregnant woman can opt not to continue the pregnancy but men don’t have that option and if he would have opted to terminate the pregnancy but she opted to continue it therefore the child should be her sole responsibility? There is some plain logic to your point (if that is your point). So are you basically saying that the law should change to be that every person born has a mother recorded who is responsible for their support solely and that no child should be entitled to two sources of support or be entitled to have their father’s name recorded on their birth record except if the father intended to raise the child he created? Essentially eliminating the right of a minor to both parent’s support. They’d have the right to their mother’s support and then their father’s support would not be a right but rather a bonus?

      Interesting idea. You just bankrupted every state in North America by tapping the welfare coffers dry, but interesting idea none the less.

      • To dumb down my point would require writing at length to cover a lot of ground because the source of things is that which is most important. The 16th Amendment reads from whatever source derived for good reason. Source is everything in law. I am more than up for the task to cover the topic from beginning to end but this comment format is not an appropriate venue for any serious exchange of quality.

        I will however briefly respond to something you asserted:
        “the right of a minor to both parent’s support”

        To claim the existence of such a right requires defining what constitutes a right, minor, and parent. Since the labor of future citizens benefit society, not parents in the same fundamental way Bill Gates inventing Windows benefited society or Henry Ford inventing the automobile benefited society the only logical way a minor can derive any right to something a minor does not inherently possess or has no right to possess which can be observed in nature is for a parent to simultaneously have an obligation to a minor which derives from benefiting in some way by the existence of a minor.

        A biological mother or father can be a parent but a parent does not necessarily have to be a biological mother or father. That very statement illustrates precisely why its called forced father hood. It is a legal act using color of law to coerce an alleged biological father to be a parent possessing a support obligation.

        Economic implications for government have no place in any civilized conversation about what is just or unjust because government coffers derive solely from a love of money even if the intentions of how money taken from taxpayers ought to be spent is allegedly good. Apply your economic arguments to women’s rights. Women’s rights reduced the economic value of men by increasing competition in the labor market. Should the same economic arguments be made for reversing civil rights? In the same way it would be absurd to argue against slavery or the sufferage of women based on economic utility it is equally absurd to argue the justness of parent hood using economic utility.

        • You talk about how economic implications for government have no place in a discussion about justice, yet you appear to be arguing that economic implications for MEN, FATHERS have every place in that same discussion?

          How about the rights of the child? How about taking responsibility for actions engaged in with consent?

          Yes, pregnancy happens within a woman’s body and can end there if she chooses to do so. There are problems (philosophical problems) with this, but men are quite aware that this is the situation. Incidentally, I would be quite interested in seeing statistics on how many abortions occur because the pregnant woman feels she has no means to raise a child by herself without the man’s support, or because the man bullies her into an abortion.

          • such a statistic would be rather hard to obtain with any form of accuracy as its not something that people so readily share with the public

            • I am aware of that, of course, but I wanted to point out that abortion is less about a woman’s rights than doing what she feels she had no alternative to. How many pregnant women who abort do so because they really want to? How many women who have an abortion because they feel they have no choice would continue their pregnancy if they felt supported by the person who got them pregnant?

        • Darn it I really want to understand what you are saying but you are talking way over my head. There are parts of what you say that I think I agree with but there is a broad abstractness to your sentences that leaves me unsure of specifically what point you are trying to make.

          The things you said about depriving people of their lives through abortion lead me to believe that you are against legal abortion. Which is fine. I’d like to ask you questions about your views with regard to how people are treated after they are born.

          Most people agree in theory with the idea of equal legal obligations and equal rights in any area of life. Then nobody can whine about being treated unfairly because ultimately reducing whining is a good thing.

          So my questions to you are only dealing whether the government is treating all people equally in terms of their rights and their obligations once they are born.

          I’m trying to understand whether or not you believe it is appropriate for society to hold people accountable for the financial implications of their own actions, because doing so creates a positive right for minors to support and care by those individuals who caused them to exist and be in a state of dependency for 18 years. The law currently operates on the premise that people be accountable for supporting their own offspring. When parents fail then the minors have a right to various legal protections and support alternatives. There loopholes and tricks used that result in some minors not being protected to the same extent as their peers and the result is a significant loss of rights for them. That is my concern generally. Especially when it is not mere negligence but deliberate contrived loss to satisfy the whims of adults with decision making power. Also on the surface a support obligation can be taken care of by a non parent so it has the false appearance of being just as good for the minor but in fact is not equal at all and much is lost when the wrong person tries to satisfy the debt of the actual parent.

          I was trying to understand if you felt that a father should only be required to support his children if he was in agreement with the mother that she go through with the pregnancy. Maybe I am misreading your statements. Do you believe minors should only have the support of their mothers and then supplementally have the support of their fathers if the father was on board with the idea of the kid being born? Its all fine by me but I just want to know if that is your position. Do you think a minor’s right to parental support should be limited to maternal support? Then there would be no right to paternal support, it would be something you either get or you don’t get but not something the state would chase down and garnish wages for.

          My comment about bankrupting welfare coffers was meant only to describe the economic impact of saying that some people with offspring (in this case men with offspring) would no longer be required to support their own offspring. How would you go about developing a policy that outlined the rights of people while minors to financial support and care if you were charged with the task of making it absolutely equal. Individual exceptions would be handled in court cases. Your job would be to make sure the rights of all minors with regard to physical care and support were equal. Like who in the world would be responsible for their care starting on day 1 at birth? Why? Stay away from what people were thinking and doing prior to the birth of the person because those things happened before they were born. So if the father does not want the kid when the kid is born, it should not matter if he felt that way during the pregnancy or whether he was happy during the pregnancy – if you base your law on parental feelings just start at birth and go from there.

  7. May i remind you that a womans right to terminate a pregnancy and not a mans has everything to do with her bodily autonomy and not any title to the fetus. Thus there is no comparison between men and women here.

    • Exactly. If men could also become pregnant, men would also be allowed to have abortions of their own pregnancies. It is about a person being able to control their body.

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