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Who's your babydaddy?
March 9, 2006 10:36 AM   Subscribe

Roe v. Wade for Men? "The laws that protect men and women from being forced into parenthood are highly discriminatory. Women are protected by abortion and abandonment laws. But when men are lied to about birth control or fertility, paternity and child support laws can disrupt their education and force upon them a future of distress associated with the unwanted child, support payments, the stigma of illegitimacy and a gut wrenching anguish that most people can't imagine." Or so says The National Center For Men who filed a lawsuit today to give men the same reproductive rights as women.
posted by Heminator (378 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
if you can't take responsibility for where your dick's been, you might as well cut it off.
whee!
posted by carsonb at 10:42 AM on March 9, 2006


He contends that the woman knew he didn't want to have a child with her and assured him repeatedly that -- because of a physical condition -- she could not get pregnant.

gotcha!
posted by soma lkzx at 10:44 AM on March 9, 2006


Matt Dubay contends his ex-girlfriend assured him she was unable to get pregnant.

Matt Dubay believed her. Matt Dubay emptied into her.

What carsonb said.
posted by three blind mice at 10:48 AM on March 9, 2006


"if you can't take responsibility for where your dick's been, you might as well cut it off."
try telling a woman who can't control what goes into her vagina to sew it up.

do you realize how obtuse you are being?
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 10:53 AM on March 9, 2006


Busily prepares popcorn and sets up the lawnchair....
posted by echolalia67 at 10:53 AM on March 9, 2006


Matt Dubay was a fool, but I think it's about time.

Equality doesn't mean more equal for one side than the other.

Abortion (or right to life) for all, or for none.
posted by ImJustRick at 10:53 AM on March 9, 2006


echolalia67: Ha ha ha ha ha.

This oughtta be a doozie!
posted by ImJustRick at 10:54 AM on March 9, 2006


I am not telling a woman or women anything. I am talking to men when I say don't fuck around when it comes to sex and take responsibility for where your dick's been.

"But most courts say it's not about what he did or didn't do or what she did or didn't do. It's about the rights of the child."
posted by carsonb at 10:56 AM on March 9, 2006


If only there were some way for a man who doesn't want a child to reduce or eliminate the risk of pregnancy. Perhaps a bright inventor will some day develop a sort of barrier that a man could deploy during sex to prevent the transmission of sperm. It's a long ways off, to be sure, but I feel that science will eventually provide an answer.
posted by brain_drain at 10:57 AM on March 9, 2006 [1 favorite]


Hey carsonb:

How about:

"If you can't take responsibility for what goes in your Vagina, why don't you seal it up".

Jesus.
posted by countzen at 10:58 AM on March 9, 2006


Abortion (or right to life) for all, or for none.

Now this is obtuse. It ain't Matt Dubay's body.

Matt Dubay has no one to blame but himself. Condoms are cheap, easily available, and damned effective. If Matt Dubay wanted control over his reproduction, it was there for the taking. He choose not to and blames the woman.

Class act this Matt Dubay.
posted by three blind mice at 10:58 AM on March 9, 2006


Well, whatever the outcome, any girl that lies to a guy in order to become impregnated and obtain child support is incredibly stupid.

What kind of life is that kid going to have?

Besides, even though the laws say that the guy has to pay child support, if the guy is enough of a dick, he can always move to a different country or something. I doubt that most countries extradite for child support, although IANAL.
posted by Afroblanco at 10:58 AM on March 9, 2006


As I understand it, we justify abortion rights by saying a woman should be able to control her body, not her finances. The equivalent right for men would be the right to a vasectomy.

(Now, I've heard a lot of stories about doctors refusing vasectomies to young men. Maybe there needs to be a lawsuit there. But this is ridiculous. Pregnancy is a physical state, not just a financial commitment.)
posted by nebulawindphone at 10:59 AM on March 9, 2006


And brain_drain, it'd be especially neat if that invention could also reduce the rish of transmitting diseases during sex!
posted by twsf at 10:59 AM on March 9, 2006


although IANAL.

well, that's one way to avoid pregnancy.

sorry
posted by jonmc at 11:00 AM on March 9, 2006 [1 favorite]


What if, as a society, we said this:

Take some fucking responsibility.

to men AND women. I'd say not paying child support is not quite as bad as murdering the kid.
posted by b_thinky at 11:00 AM on March 9, 2006


It's called a condom. They sell them at drugstores. Using two at a time adds that all important extra level of protection.

Otherwise, guys, stfu.
posted by jokeefe at 11:00 AM on March 9, 2006


brain drain: the FAQ on the National Center for Men responds to the "condom" issue:
A: Proponents of legalizing choice for men generally support contraception, but keep in mind that condoms are unreliable. Condoms have a 16% annual failure rate [1]. After just four years you can bet on having an accidental pregnancy and after 20 years of using condoms, the chances are that a man will most likely experience not one, not two, but three accidental pregnancies!
I (heart) my vasectomy.
posted by jepler at 11:01 AM on March 9, 2006


Well, whatever the outcome, any girl that lies to a guy in order to become impregnated and obtain child support is incredibly stupid.

Did they say that she lied? Maybe she was told by a doc that she couldn't become pregnant and miraculously did anyway. That's how I was conceived...
posted by arcticwoman at 11:01 AM on March 9, 2006 [1 favorite]


jokeefe: I can't tell if you're serious or not, but the internet doesn't agree with your suggestion.
posted by jepler at 11:03 AM on March 9, 2006 [1 favorite]


What's amazing is that if you use spermicidal jelly with a condom, you approach Pill-like rates of protection.

brain drain said it best, though.
posted by jokeefe at 11:03 AM on March 9, 2006


there are female condoms, yet we allow women the option of avoiding parenthood untill well into a pregnancy.

also, "double bagging" can cause friction which will cause both to fail.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 11:04 AM on March 9, 2006


there's a story a civil rights leader told one time (I don't know which one because it's a sample in a song) about how hunters, in the winter, will put down a knife covered in blood in the snow, so that the blade is sticking up out of the snow. When wolves come by looking for food, they will smell the blood on the knife and lick it because the only way they identify "food" or "not food" is by smell. because it's cold and the blade is sharp, they don't realize that the knife is hurting them. all they know is that they are continuing to smell blood because now their own blood is taking the place of what they licked off. And so they die by bleeding to death while continually trying to satisfy their hunger on a bloody knife rather than on food. In the original speech, he draws a parallel to the existence of crack cocaine in poor and ethnic neighborhoods, but the parallel still holds here near as I see it. Right now in our society there is a tendency to see a situation like this and say "the wolf shouldn't have licked the knife in the first place." But to say this is blaming the victim.

It's easy to say "well, he should have worn a jimmy hat anyway," just as it's easy for some people to say "if she didn't want to be raped, she shouldn't have worn [x] or been in [y] neighborhood," but in both of these cases you are blaming the victim for being victimized. There is ALWAYS something a victim could have done differently if he or she had been paranoid enough or inhumanly cautious enough to have thought of it. When someone is rear-ended, we don't say "well you should have gotten out of the asshole's way," or "you shouldn't have stopped." The law is not designed, nor should it be, to force people to live in a perpetual state of assumed victimhood. The law is normally designed, as it should be, to punish those who take advantage so that people can feel safe to trust the person they love or are intimate with. In many things this is how it works. With paternity laws this is absolutely NOT how it works, and I applaud this movement (admittedly without having thoroughly read the link. I'm assuming it's not some crackpot movement underneath the reasonable exterior.) for trying to do something about it.
posted by shmegegge at 11:04 AM on March 9, 2006


jokeefe: It's called a condom. They sell them at drugstores. Using two at a time adds that all important extra level of protection.

Otherwise, guys, stfu.


Why does everyone need to bring this back up? Women have like 6 different forms of birth control, but if they want to walk away without strings, they can. It seems wrong to deny men this same ability.
posted by Mitrovarr at 11:04 AM on March 9, 2006


brain_drain...er, they have. Its called a condom This post isn't funny, but this is.
posted by sfts2 at 11:04 AM on March 9, 2006


if you can't take responsibility for where your dick's been, you might as well cut it off.

If you can't take responsibility for what goes in your vagina, you might as well sew it up, sudan style!
posted by delmoi at 11:04 AM on March 9, 2006


jepler: I'm totally serious, but I'm also willing to consider other evidence. So two isn't better than one: oh well. Condom + jelly works just fine, too.
posted by jokeefe at 11:04 AM on March 9, 2006


Equality doesn't mean more equal for one side than the other.

You can't really pull the equality card so easily in this. Abortion is based on "i control what's in my body" - that's why this isn't about men being able to force women to have abortions.

If you're in a relationship with someone who you know is pro-life and they get pregnant, should you be able to flee? Sure, abortion is an 'option,' but from a moral standpoint in her eyes it's murder, which really makes it not so much an option. The equality in that situation is that when you have sex, you entered into a contract that says you will both bear the results of this - and you should have to pay child support. You just happen to be so lucky that abortion is an option, should the women be pro-choice.

The safest way out of this situation, in my eyes, is a sexual prenup. Marriage is a relationship like any other, where you have to split things like losses and gains, but if you get a little statement signed beforehand you can save yourself a lot of headache if something goes wrong. A "should a child come out of this the man bears no responsiblity" type waiver clears the air for both people. Seem classless? That's because it is! But it's the responsible thing to do if you're dumb enough and cheap enough to be in that situation (I'm sure I'm missing some edge cases, though...).
posted by soma lkzx at 11:05 AM on March 9, 2006


I heard a rumour about the development of male hormonal birth control. I think that would be fabulous but very few of the men I know would use it.
posted by arcticwoman at 11:07 AM on March 9, 2006


I think it's totally awesome that anyone could think that in an environment where abortion is about to be made illegal, that somehow it's possible that men be given a right of refusal when it comes to responsibility for pregnancy.

For fuck's sake, we're a hair away from making shotgun marriages legally mandated. No politician or judge is giving dudes a get out of shit free card anytime soon.
posted by illovich at 11:08 AM on March 9, 2006


Tryptophan-5ht & countzen: just to be clear, again, I am not telling women anything of the sort, and I do not honor your comparison as valid.

men, if you're going to have sex for recreation and not procreation, take the necessary responsibilities. wear a condom. communicate with your partner about STDs and parenthood. if you choose to forgo the above precautions, be prepared to accept the responsibility of parenthood.

don't bitch out on that child.
posted by carsonb at 11:08 AM on March 9, 2006


if a man has a moral responsibility to the little growing ball of meat - then so does the mother. If not more so because her abdication results in the little thing's DEATH. The father's dooms the child to food stamps.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 11:09 AM on March 9, 2006


"The safest way out of this situation, in my eyes, is a sexual prenup."

Actually, what's safer is not fucking a pro-life girl if you don't want kids.
posted by illovich at 11:09 AM on March 9, 2006


I was thinking about this the other day when wondering why more men aren't involved in trying to keep abortion legal. If child support laws are in many cases unfair, and there's such a fear of fathering a 18-year financial burden, shouldn't more guys be trying to make sure women have other options?
posted by occhiblu at 11:10 AM on March 9, 2006


for the condom thing, this is ignoring the fact that there are women (who seemed perfectly sane and trustworthy in every other regard, btw) who have punctured their husband's condoms, pretended to go on birth control without actually doing so and then begged their boyfriends/husbands to go "raw dog," and who have lied about their fertility and begged for bareback sex.

it's easy to say "where a condom" when you're not being begged by someone you trust to have seemingly perfectly safe sex that feels better than protected sex. it's also easy to say it when you haven't had your condom sabotaged.

but hey, you keep saying "he was asking for it."
posted by shmegegge at 11:10 AM on March 9, 2006


"I do not honor your comparison as valid"
if you can't say why, im going to assume the worst.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 11:11 AM on March 9, 2006


« writes "I heard a rumour about the development of male hormonal birth control. I think that would be fabulous but very few of the men I know would use it.
"posted by arcticwoman at 2:07 PM EST on March 9 [!][]"


I would. I've been waiting for it to hit market for years.
posted by shmegegge at 11:13 AM on March 9, 2006


Gonads and strife?
posted by wfrgms at 11:13 AM on March 9, 2006


carsonb :
Of course you are not telling woman anything of the sort. I am. If your case stands valid, so does mine. I can say the EXACT same thing you are saying to men--just say it to women, and be just as valid.

Are you saying the women are not as responsible for this? I am talking general case here of consensual sex, not like fringe cases of rape and such.

So women out there: if you are having sex for recreation and not procreation don't get pregnant! Take responsibility!
posted by countzen at 11:13 AM on March 9, 2006


don't bitch out on that child

interesting choice of words, carsonb.
posted by Hat Maui at 11:13 AM on March 9, 2006


wear a condom. christ.
posted by shmegegge at 11:14 AM on March 9, 2006


I am not telling a woman or women anything. I am talking to men when I say don't fuck around when it comes to sex and take responsibility for where your dick's been.

That's idiotic.

Well, whatever the outcome, any girl that lies to a guy in order to become impregnated and obtain child support is incredibly stupid.

Well, it's certainly mean, but it's not that stupid. My feeling in cases like this is that the man should get custody and the woman should be forced to pay child support. Not that that would ever happen.


The law is normally designed, as it should be, to punish those who take advantage so that people can feel safe to trust the person they love or are intimate with. In many things this is how it works. With paternity laws this is absolutely NOT how it works, and I applaud this movement (admittedly without having thoroughly read the link. I'm assuming it's not some crackpot movement underneath the reasonable exterior.) for trying to do something about it.

Very well said shmegegge.

---

The fact is, if you trust a woman, you'll sleep with her. How many men here saying "wear a condom" would go without if the woman you loved told you didn't need one, or that she was on the pill, etc. Lets say she even got an AIDS test at the beginning of the relationship.

Are you really going to say to her "No, I don't trust you to take birth control, I don't trust you not to bang other dudes." How long do you think that is going to last?

Relationships are about trust, and sometimes that trust is violated. In the cases of some men, they're on the hook for years, and it's not really fair.
posted by delmoi at 11:14 AM on March 9, 2006


^the above was a correction of my typo. I'm very tired and will stop commenting for a bit, now.
posted by shmegegge at 11:14 AM on March 9, 2006


Cutting off child-support is an awful suggestion, but isn't it also bad that a male could have his whole life put on hold because a woman chooses to have a child over his objections?

Matt Dubay has no one to blame but himself. Condoms are cheap, easily available, and damned effective. If Matt Dubay wanted control over his reproduction, it was there for the taking. He choose not to and blames the woman.

Whether or not this is true in Matt's case, I don't think the entire decision for how to deal with accidental pregnancies should be the woman's. Espeacially when it affects the male's life as well as the woman's.
posted by aburd at 11:15 AM on March 9, 2006


It's easy to say "well, he should have worn a jimmy hat anyway," just as it's easy for some people to say "if she didn't want to be raped, she shouldn't have worn [x] or been in [y] neighborhood..."

Are you really comparing an unplanned pregnancy to being raped? In the case of an unplanned pregnancy, even if the woman lies or is irresponsible about protection, the male is acting voluntarily, and with the knowledge that there is a chance of pregnancy. By putting his penis where he does, he accepts responsibility for his actions. He's a voluntary participant, nonetheless.

A rape victim is not a voluntary participant, period. You simply cannot make the comparison, and frankly, this analogy makes me ill.
posted by elquien at 11:15 AM on March 9, 2006 [1 favorite]


Tryptophan-5ht & countzen: just to be clear, again, I am not telling women anything of the sort, and I do not honor your comparison as valid.

Again, are you retarded? Why is it OK to tell men that but not ok to tell women that? If men and women are equal, then the statement should apply equally to both of them. If they are not equal, it's up to you to explain why they're not.
posted by delmoi at 11:15 AM on March 9, 2006


This is why I don't date pro-life women.
posted by wfrgms at 11:20 AM on March 9, 2006


"If only there were some way for a man who doesn't want a child to reduce or eliminate the risk of pregnancy."

If only women could take something... maybe a pill... that would prevent pregnancy. Then this whole abortion issue would just go away because anyone who didn't want a child could just avoid it.

If the moral hard line here is "if you have sex then you have to accept the consequences" then thats now going to sit well for many.

This isn't an issue of what she can and can't do with her body - no one is saying a man should be able to force her to bear the child or abort it. What is being said is that in a world where the woman can choose to have the child or not on her own, then she will also bear the consequences.
posted by soulhuntre at 11:20 AM on March 9, 2006


I think it's pretty fair to say that man who accidently fathers a child, and does not want to be a parent, should have such options.

It should all be optional, for everyone, that's fair.

If the women does not want to be a parent, there's adoption if she does not want to go through abortion. It's still optional.

Currently, if the woman decides otherwise the men gets stuck. If the women is willing to sacrafice everything to have and raise a child, the law saids, man must. His future, his career, his education, etc. just so he can pay this women who just ended his future.

Wow, also what the heck kind of parent is this going to make for the child? But that's besides the point.

I feel it is a strongly religiously/socially biased stance to say otherwise.
posted by countzen at 11:20 AM on March 9, 2006


By putting his penis where he does, he accepts responsibility for his actions. He's a voluntary participant, nonetheless.

But why do his choices end there? If his responsibility extends beyond that point, if there are choices to be made his voice should be as important as hers.
posted by aburd at 11:20 AM on March 9, 2006


Anybody who says "just wear a condom" is either female, or has never had sex without one.
posted by I Love Tacos at 11:21 AM on March 9, 2006


elquien "Are you really comparing an unplanned pregnancy to being raped? In the case of an unplanned pregnancy, even if the woman lies or is irresponsible about protection, the male is acting voluntarily, and with the knowledge that there is a chance of pregnancy. By putting his penis where he does, he accepts responsibility for his actions. He's a voluntary participant, nonetheless.

"A rape victim is not a voluntary participant, period. You simply cannot make the comparison, and frankly, this analogy makes me ill."

I also compare it to a traffic ticket. Get off your high horse. The comparison is absolutely valid because they're both about blaming the victim.
posted by shmegegge at 11:22 AM on March 9, 2006


Oh, and anybody who knowingly lies about their reproductive ability ("I'm on the pill", "I had a vasectomy", whatever) or their STD status, should be sent to a Turkish prison for life.
posted by I Love Tacos at 11:23 AM on March 9, 2006


delmoi:
The answer you are looking for is as follows;
Men and women are not, nor have they every been, nor shall they ever be, equal.

Especially when it comes to sex.

Men can get off in under a minute.
Women can take days (yeah, yeah, yeah, exageration, but still, my neck gets tired after a while).

Men can impregnate multiple women within a short period of time.
A women can carry only one pregnancy at a time (once impregnated, additional fertilization and implantation is astronomically unlikely).

So no, what applies for men related to hetrosexual intercourse, is just slightly, even so teensy-weeny bit different from what applies for women. Do no look to the law or society to spell this out for you, look at the biological reality of the human animal. Work within the framework that exists naturally, do not try to arbitrarily force behavior upon something as immutable as how human procreation works. You will lose, every time.

Also, comments about female circumcision are whole inappropriate, namely because all it does is remove the outer labia and clitoris, it does not make it so the women is incapable of becoming pregnant (otherwise it'd be a moot issue as those societies that practiced it would be extinct in very short order).

Monkeys.

Now go play.
posted by daq at 11:25 AM on March 9, 2006 [1 favorite]


Alternative male birth control - although it comes with a similar psychological "ick" as hormones.
posted by PurplePorpoise at 11:26 AM on March 9, 2006


But why do his choices end there?

Because, at the end of the day, a man can't make a woman end a pregnancy. And while it might seem unfair, the woman is the one who gets to choose whether to keep the child - it's her body. Nature clearly didn't have total equality in mind when it created humans.

IMHO, this inequality is balanced out by the pain of child birth. But that's just my take on it...
posted by elquien at 11:26 AM on March 9, 2006


"if you have sex then you have to accept the consequences".

That is exactly what the situation is like. When and if a woman decides to have an abortion she IS taking responsibility (whether you agree or not with her decision is irrelevant). An abortion isn't all rollercoasters, cotton candy, and shit.
posted by ozomatli at 11:26 AM on March 9, 2006


Are you really comparing an unplanned pregnancy to being raped? In the case of an unplanned pregnancy, even if the woman lies or is irresponsible about protection, the male is acting voluntarily, and with the knowledge that there is a chance of pregnancy. By putting his penis where he does, he accepts responsibility for his actions. He's a voluntary participant, nonetheless.

Elquien: that's not the point, shmegegge wasn't comparing the scale of rape and "paternity fraud" only the fact that in both cases "She shouldn't have been wearing that" is similar to saying "He shouldn't have put his dick there". Both are cases of blaming the victim.

A couple months ago there was a story on the blue about how a woman fraudulently obtained sperm from her ex-husband in order to impregnate. She forged a release and got the sperm from a sperm bank where he had it stored. That man was still responsible for paying child support.

People were honestly saying "Well, if he didn't want his sperm stolen, he shouldn't have put it in a sperm bank" I mean, WTF?! There was even another case where a man claimed the women stole his sperm after giving her a blowjob and used it to impregnate herself (The judge ruled that sperm is a gift, and you can do whatever you want to with it, apparently)

In both of those cases, people said "You have to look at the best interests of the child" well, its in the best interests of the child to take money from everyone not just people genetically related to them, why should genetic relation be any sort of requirement?

The laws just don't make sense in an era where abortion is legal.
posted by delmoi at 11:27 AM on March 9, 2006


If the situation was reversed and it was a woman who was impregnated by a man who claimed that he was sterile or had a vasectomy, many here would openly say, "And she believed him? What an idiot!" And one way or another, she'd have to take responsibility for the consequences - either an abortion (with all of the pain and emotional trauma that choice entails), adoption (with all of the pain and emotional trauma that choice entails), or raising a child for the next 18+ years (with all of the pain and emotional trauma that choice entails). No matter what, she's going to have to pay a price for what happened.

People are not always reliable when it comes to birth control. They can lie. They can use it incorrectly, or have some unpredictable factor mess up their best efforts. If a man is adamantly opposed to caring for a child as the result of an unplanned pregnancy, then it behooves him to use a condom in addition to whatever method his partner is using. No one has a right to a complcation-free orgasm.
posted by echolalia67 at 11:28 AM on March 9, 2006 [1 favorite]


if you can't say why, im going to assume the worst.

wait, I love arguments like this. my turn:
if you can't see why, I'm going to assume the worst.

I have a very close and personal relationship with my penis, and I say that if I don't pay it close attention and think carefully when dealing with matters related to it, it will fuck me over. might as well not have it, so much trouble will come of my dick if I'm not careful. so I'm careful. that's motivation enough for me.

if you want to talk about men who are not able to control where their dick goes, I think that would be a terrible digression into what was referred to above as "edge cases".

apparently there's been some news lately (???) about Sudanese reproductive policy for women. I am not read up on it, I apologize for that. my initial comment was not intended to draw that connection. I just think dicks are trouble when they're attached to careless males, and that being careless is not good.
posted by carsonb at 11:28 AM on March 9, 2006 [1 favorite]


daq - please explain how the mechanics of making a baby effect the moral responsibility of the mother vs the father. As I said before, when the mother 86's the child, the child DIES. When the father splits, the kid gets food stamps.

if ANYTHING, it should be the other way around.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 11:28 AM on March 9, 2006 [1 favorite]


My greatest fear is pulling out, going to get a towel, and the girl takes a little from the exterior for the interior.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 11:28 AM on March 9, 2006


So no, what applies for men related to hetrosexual intercourse, is just slightly, even so teensy-weeny bit different from what applies for women. Do no look to the law or society to spell this out for you, look at the biological reality of the human animal.

Duh, from a "biological" perspective, the man can just eat the baby after it comes out. What does that have to do with anything?
posted by delmoi at 11:29 AM on March 9, 2006


"if you can't take responsibility for where your dick's been, you might as well cut it off."

You must believe abstinence only is the direction sex education should go because that statement is pretty much on the same level.
posted by 517 at 11:29 AM on March 9, 2006


Thus, I am all for this.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 11:30 AM on March 9, 2006


"wait, I love arguments like this."
i was inviting you to explain. :)

everything you said could be applied to a woman and her vagina. Are you saying women need not be careful?
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 11:30 AM on March 9, 2006


daq - please explain how the mechanics of making a baby effect the moral responsibility of the mother vs the father. As I said before, when the mother 86's the child, the child DIES. When the father splits, the kid gets food stamps.

Actually, in some states the women can just dump the baby on the state after having the child. The man doesn't have this option. This was done to reduce abortions.
posted by delmoi at 11:31 AM on March 9, 2006


Elquien: that's not the point, shmegegge wasn't comparing the scale of rape and "paternity fraud" only the fact that in both cases "She shouldn't have been wearing that" is similar to saying "He shouldn't have put his dick there". Both are cases of blaming the victim.

I understand his reasoning - I'm saying that the man is acting voluntarily on some level by having sex. He knows that there's a chance - no matter how small it is - that a pregnancy can occur, and should therefore be expected to protect himself. A rape victim, on the other hand, can't be expected to know that a rape is going to occur every time she (or he) leaves the house, and act accordingly.
posted by elquien at 11:31 AM on March 9, 2006


Also, it could be argued that this is a case of fraud, because the ex-girlfriend misrepresented to the guy her reproductive status.

But since it's a battle of he said/ she said, it becomes a moot point and both of them should be slapped for being lower primates, behaving on impulse and emotion rather than trying to acheive enlightenment and living through logic and objectivity.

That last part was a joke for those of you without a sense of obsurdist humor.
posted by daq at 11:32 AM on March 9, 2006


might as well not have it, so much trouble will come of my dick if I'm not careful. so I'm careful. that's motivation enough for me.

seems to me you've never been in love with a woman who told you that she was on the pill and offered unprotected sex resultantly. if you were, it sure as hell wouldn't seem all that irresponsible to engage in such with her. if it turned out she lied, you'd feel pretty fucking victimized, and the law would have absolutely NO recourse for you,.
posted by shmegegge at 11:33 AM on March 9, 2006


isn't all rollercoasters, cotton candy, and shit.

I used to own an amusement park featuring all three. It didn't do well.
posted by jonmc at 11:33 AM on March 9, 2006 [1 favorite]


Why do all these threads dissolve into the idea that all women are liars out to ensnare men, and that men have the god given right to stick their uncovered dicks where ever they want, and women should shut up and use birth control.

Dating pro-choice women isn't going to help you, because choice means they have the choice to either have an abortion or keep the child.

Women are not out to get you. If you come in a woman, pregnancy is going to be a result. If you do not want that result, take the personal responsibility not to fucking come. It's not an uncontrollable event.

You make the decision to let it happen or not. You don't have to say yes to barebacking. That's your choice. After you make that choice, what happens is your responsibility.

And the poking the hole in the condom thing... if you're bringing that condom to your girlfriend's house, why are you handing it over to her and her pin? Because you're a dumbass.

Try thinking with the upstairs brain, hmm?
posted by FunkyHelix at 11:33 AM on March 9, 2006 [1 favorite]


"I'm saying that the woman is acting voluntarily on some level by wearing [x] in [y] neighborhood. She knows that there's a chance - no matter how small it is - that a rape can occur, and should therefore be expected to protect herself."
</devil's advocate>
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 11:34 AM on March 9, 2006


My greatest fear is pulling out, going to get a towel, and the girl takes a little from the exterior for the interior.

Yes, because women to have your baby so badly.
posted by jonmc at 11:34 AM on March 9, 2006


Desperate women will do anything for a baby, and I don't want to be that fool.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 11:35 AM on March 9, 2006


You see, normal people who are in committed, monogamous relationships and are using other methods of birth control don't usually use condoms.

Let anyone who has never had sex without a condom cast the first stone.
posted by signalnine at 11:35 AM on March 9, 2006


I'm saying that the man is acting voluntarily on some level by having sex.

but he's not acting voluntarily in the conception of the child if he is deceived or his condom is sabotaged. that's. the. point.
posted by shmegegge at 11:35 AM on March 9, 2006


I just think dicks are trouble when they're attached to careless males, and that being careless is not good.

Well, then they should just have them cut off? Is that your point?

You can be as "careful" as you like, but ultimately people trust each other. What you're really saying is that A) edge cases don't matter, no matter how many people are in that class, and it's fine if the law fucks them over because we don't want congressional staffers to have to type to much, it makes their wrists hurt!

or B) Men should never, ever, trust any woman. Any man who ever trusts a woman is "careless" and deserves whatever consequences ensue.

Well, I say both A and B are bullshit, and B is pretty misogynist.

---

Also, you never answered: What should happen if a woman lies to a man in order to get herself pregnant? Is it just his fault for being trusting and "careless"?

What should happen to a man if a condom fails?
posted by delmoi at 11:36 AM on March 9, 2006


Yes, because women to have your baby so badly.
posted by jonmc at 11:34 AM PST on March 9


Not everyone on the internet is a loser, jonmc.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 11:36 AM on March 9, 2006


Desperate women will do anything for a baby, and I don't want to be that fool.

as several people here have already said, simple solution: no glove, no love, man.
posted by jonmc at 11:36 AM on March 9, 2006


arcticwoman : "Did they say that she lied? Maybe she was told by a doc that she couldn't become pregnant and miraculously did anyway. That's how I was conceived..."

I don't think your case applies here. If I remember well what the good priests told me about miracles when I was a child, there's not much you can do to escape from a miraculous pregnancy. Even complete abstinence will not be enough.
posted by nkyad at 11:37 AM on March 9, 2006


The point seems to be a little broader than that, shmeggage, although that is part of it. The larger point seems to be, "I don't want to pay for something I want no part of," whether the result came about via deception or accident.
posted by Gator at 11:37 AM on March 9, 2006


Why do all these threads dissolve into the idea that all women are liars out to ensnare men, and that men have the god given right to stick their uncovered dicks where ever they want, and women should shut up and use birth control.

Self-fufilling prophesy huh?
posted by ozomatli at 11:37 AM on March 9, 2006


and who called you a loser? I just think it's a statement of monumental hubris to imagine that there's hordes of woman out there just dying to be impregnated by some random dude.
posted by jonmc at 11:38 AM on March 9, 2006


The larger point seems to be, "I don't want to pay for something I want no part of," whether the result came about via deception or accident.

Translation: I want my fun and to stick my dick where ever I want, and none of the responsibility that may result.

Okay.
posted by FunkyHelix at 11:39 AM on March 9, 2006 [1 favorite]


FunkyHelix writes "And the poking the hole in the condom thing... if you're bringing that condom to your girlfriend's house, why are you handing it over to her and her pin? Because you're a dumbass."


this is officially the worst argument made against this so far. oh, that and everything funkyhelix said above it. are you serious?! you realize that condom sabotage happens to people who are living together, right?! what do you recommend, oh great genius, a steel safe for condoms so that the wives and girlfriends can't get at them? nothing you said makes any sense whatsoever. you're responding to arguments that haven't been made. no one is putting the onus for birth control on women. the argument is that, should conception happen because of deception or sabotage on the part of the woman, that there should be some legal recourse for victimized men. ass.
posted by shmegegge at 11:39 AM on March 9, 2006


OMG. FunkyHelix, you are a troll right?

'Cause starting with the first sentce you are already wrong.
posted by countzen at 11:39 AM on March 9, 2006


*sticks dick in mashed potatoes*
posted by sciurus at 11:39 AM on March 9, 2006


oops Sentence not sentce. *sigh* my dang typos.
posted by countzen at 11:40 AM on March 9, 2006


I understand his reasoning - I'm saying that the man is acting voluntarily on some level by having sex. He knows that there's a chance - no matter how small it is - that a pregnancy can occur, and should therefore be expected to protect himself. A rape victim, on the other hand, can't be expected to know that a rape is going to occur every time she (or he) leaves the house, and act accordingly.

No, but the whole point of saying "She deserved it because she wore X" is the same thing as saying "he shouldn't have put his dick in there" because both statements blame the victim. We as a society don't say the first thing, but do say the second thing, which is the whole point.

Men don't coconsciously know when a woman is misleading them about birth control in order to get pregnant

Why do all these threads dissolve into the idea that all women are liars out to ensnare men, and that men have the god given right to stick their uncovered dicks where ever they want, and women should shut up and use birth control.

It's not the idea about all women, it's the idea about some women, just like how some men, but not all men, are rapists.
posted by delmoi at 11:40 AM on March 9, 2006


elquien: A rape victim is not a voluntary participant, period. You simply cannot make the comparison, and frankly, this analogy makes me ill.
Spare us the melodrama. Prepare to be ill, because it's a valid analogy.

The comparison isn't to the act of sex- it's to the fact that post-sexual-act, the state has declared that an individual loses the right to determine if they'll be a parent. The woman should sew up her vagina if the guy should not have sex. However, once conception occurs, saying a woman has the right to end the pregnancy even for financial reasons (namely, she doesn't feel she can support the child) yet the biological father has no right to determine whether that pregnancy occurs while still being on the hook for child support if it does is fundamentally unfair.

The analogy is that he commited a minor and common act (sex- believe it or not, elquien, there are people out there who actualy have sex regularly!), and then is responsible for consequences that he could have prevented. A woman can get drunk, screw, get knocked up, and despite her irresponsible choices still choose to get a "do-over" in the form of RU486 or an abortion. Or, she can carry the child to term, and even if she doesn't tell the biological father that she was pregnant, can soak him for tens if not even hundreds of thousands of dollars over the next two decades. In some cases women have stolen the semen of a man from the condom to induce pregnancy, yet he is still tabbed with responsibility- if you can't see that as being fucked, then you're hopelessly idiotic.

All he did was wear a slinky red dress, that doesn't give her the right to stick him with fatherhood with no choice: he did not give his consent to fatherhood any more than she consented to being raped. Saying guys just shouldn't have sex is like saying women should wear burkas everywhere, so as not to tempt men. It's unrealistic, sexist, and stupid.


There's so much to say on this, but just generally: you can't give women that reproductive freedom and yet deny it to men. If you really don't think men should have reproductive freedom... you're a primitive fucktard. You can't grant women the right- which I believe in- to determine whether to be a parent, yet still keep guys as slaves to their biology. To do so is unfair and sexist, but I guess I would expect as much from a bunch of myopic children who haven't gotten past their Wesleyan-induced rage.


And the state will never remedy this, because it's financially good for the state to force random suckers to pick up the tab on demon spawn children, and in some cases men are forced to pay child support for children that aren't even theirs. In California, some men have been paying child support simply because they have a similar name to the real father, and despite the mother's testimony that it's not the father are still forced to pay by the state because the state would rather be unjust than to have to be responsible itself.
posted by hincandenza at 11:41 AM on March 9, 2006


OK, yeah, I support the idea that people should take responsibility for their actions, even their sweaty passion-driven actions. Part of being a grown-up in an actual society and all that.

But I also support the idea that some consequences are harder to forsee, plan for, and live up to than others and most of all that the information others give you matters. If a company lies about their financials, investors have a legit complaint when the stuff comes crashing down. If a woman tells a guy she's using birth control or that she can't have kids and she's intentionally deceptive, that's a different case than if they just decide to throw caution to the wind and get it on au naturale for fun.

Now, if a woman tells a guy she's on birth control but doesn't know how to use it properly, or if she doesn't correctly understand her medical condtion, that's a still different case. In each of these, there's room for the idea of different grades of responsibility, and the law and requirements for support should reflect that if they already don't. In the case of someone who's been intentionally deceptive -- of either gender ("sure, I got a vasectomy, honey" or "I had the mumps when I was 12") -- the lion's share of the financial burden should be on them.

And as for this:

if you can't take responsibility for where your dick's been, you might as well cut it off.

It's called a condom. They sell them at drugstores. Using two at a time adds that all important extra level of protection. Otherwise, guys, stfu.

Not only are these unsubtle and unilluminating examinations of the subject, they both display a complete lack of respect.
posted by namespan at 11:41 AM on March 9, 2006


Why do all these threads dissolve into the idea that all women are liars out to ensnare men, and that men have the god given right to stick their uncovered dicks where ever they want, and women should shut up and use birth control[?]
Who's saying that? I see some pretty reasonable arguments, on both sides of the issue (ok, calling someone "retarded" is, well, pretty stupid). I think you're overstating just a bit, FunkyHelix.
posted by MrMoonPie at 11:42 AM on March 9, 2006


My Fleshlight wants my baby.
posted by horsewithnoname at 11:43 AM on March 9, 2006


Translation: I want my fun and to stick my dick where ever I want, and none of the responsibility that may result.

Like it or not, women have that right. Why shouldn't men?
posted by delmoi at 11:43 AM on March 9, 2006


Gator writes "The point seems to be a little broader than that, shmeggage, although that is part of it. The larger point seems to be, 'I don't want to pay for something I want no part of,' whether the result came about via deception or accident."


is that what they say in the article? oh wait, no it's not. they're saying that men should have some say in the results of unintended pregnancy. this could be as simple as saying "men have a say in the decision to put a child up for adoption or not."
posted by shmegegge at 11:43 AM on March 9, 2006


Because, at the end of the day, a man can't make a woman end a pregnancy. And while it might seem unfair, the woman is the one who gets to choose whether to keep the child - it's her body.

This is entirely fair. She is making a choice for herself at that point. The fact that a male may end up having to pay for her choice for the rest of his life is the problem. Both of them choose to have sex. She gets the final say on whether or not to have the baby. It just isn't fair that he has to be dragged along with that decision.

And the condom argument is pretty much purely rhetorical if the thing breaks. At that point you have two people who choose to sleep together in a responsible manner. Yet one could potentially make life-changing decisions on behalf of the other after that. That problem should be addressed.
posted by aburd at 11:43 AM on March 9, 2006


If I don't want to be pregnant, I take the responsibility and use birth control. Most women do. If you as a man do not want to pay for a child, then you need to take responsibilty for your birth control.

Period.
posted by FunkyHelix at 11:44 AM on March 9, 2006


and who called you a loser? I just think it's a statement of monumental hubris to imagine that there's hordes of woman out there just dying to be impregnated by some random dude.
posted by jonmc at 11:38 AM PST on March 9


It would be shortsighted to think the throngs are ripping off their thongs for someone random. They're doing it for The Jesse.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 11:44 AM on March 9, 2006


Tryptophan-5ht: moral responsibility? What morals? Your idea of morals? His idea of morals? How about my cats idea of morals? No, I'm simply addressing the idea of equality and the crock of BS that you and delmoi seem to be trying to push upon us.
There is a reason why men are told to pay child support. To force them to be responsible for their actions vis a vi their progeny. Saying it isn't fair or trying to equate the fathers responsibility with the mothers "fault" or "trickery" is obsurd. By giving into this guys little kvetch, the state would be saying "ok, so any guy who doesn't want to pay child support can just say 'the bitch tricked me'" and they'd have to consider that and spend time and money trying to prove either side of the case. It's retarded. No, you put your dick in that vag and dumped you seed, sorry, you are resposible for the outcome, end of story. You didn't want to use a condom, or take some other kind of precaution, tough, here's your kid, name it after your lawyer.

There is a reason why it's called "Pro-choice" not "Pro-abortion".

Now, if this guy wanted to eat the baby, I'd be all for it. But he doesn't, so he's a dumbshit and not a nice cannibal. I prefer cannibals. That would at least make this interesting, rather than having to listen to people try and argue whether a guy should be able to fuck anything that moves with no responsibility after he wipes off on the curtains.
posted by daq at 11:44 AM on March 9, 2006


Isn't this argument really about financial responsibility? I.E., a woman lying to a man about birth control or sterility in order to have a baby, which winds up with the man being forced to pay out a large amount of his income for child support?

Some folks out there (not necessarily myself) consider this to be straight up fraud.

Here in California, I most recently heard that mandatory child support is a minimum of 27% of a father's gross income - which as an example in my case would be almost 40% of my net take-home pay, more than what I pay for rent. If something like this happened to me I'd be completely screwed financially, I'd have to take drastic measures to make that much of a payment.

I don't think anyone is saying a man should be able to force an adoption, but in the specific case of what could be construed as fraudulent behavior (as opposed to an accidental pregnancy), should a man be forced to pay the bill?

Isn't this argument really about money?
posted by zoogleplex at 11:46 AM on March 9, 2006


If I don't want to be pregnant, I take the responsibility and use birth control. Most women do. If you as a man do not want to pay for a child, then you need to take responsibilty for your birth control.

Period.
posted by FunkyHelix at 1:44 PM CST on March 9 [!]


OK agreed. What if birth control fails?
posted by ozomatli at 11:48 AM on March 9, 2006


daq: There is a reason why men are told to pay child support. To force them to be responsible for their actions vis a vi their progeny.

Nobody forces women to be responsible for their actions with regard to their progeny. Abortions aside, the woman can always choose to put it up for adoption, and thus escape any future obligations either moral or financial. Why should she be the only one with that option?
posted by Mitrovarr at 11:48 AM on March 9, 2006


Wow, when anti abortion types spout that "she should keep it in her pants" crap I think it underlines their backwards ass attitudes.

And while in this case the man made the mistake of not using a condom, relying on the bad information he was given, let us not forgot birth control is not 100% effective. I personally have 3 friends who have gotten pregnant while using condoms or being on the pill. In those cases the participants took reasonable steps to avoid pregnancy but sometimes it just happens.

Lets see, I think a person should be held responsible for their choices, but a man never chooses to have a child. He might choose to have sex, and thus should share equal responsibility for the pregnancy, but then he ceases to make any choices and should not be held responsible if his desires conflict with his partners.

To put it another way here is a little chart of responsibility:


Woman - Chose to have sex -> (woman gets pregnant) -> woman chooses to keep child -> (child is born) -> Woman chooses not to give child up for adoption -> (child becomes responsibility of both partners)

Man ------ Chose to have sex -> (woman gets pregnant) -> Man has no choice -> (child is born) -> Man has no choice -> (child becomes responsibility of both partners)

So right up until step two there, both parties share responsibility, but once it becomes the sole informed decision of one party and not the other I don't think it's reasonable to hold both party responsible for the choices made by one party.

A woman gets pregnant:

Woman wants to keep it, man does not = man screwed for 18 years
Woman wants to keep it, man also does = both satisfied
Woman doesn't want to keep it, man does = man loses child
woman doesn't want to keep it, man doesn't want to keep it = both satisfied

I don't think men should be able to force a woman to have an abortion, or force her to have a child she doesn't want. But I don't think she should be able to force a man into indentured servitude a 3 months a year for 18 years because the choices she made without him.

I think in the first few months pf pregnancy a man should be given the option to "abort" his responsibility. He would be legally considered a non-relative and would have zero rights as a parent, the woman should also be given the option of instituting an automatic 6 year restraining order (renewable twice) against the man on behalf of the child. And if the man ever attempts to contact the child or violate the restraining order (effectively attempting to become part of the child's life) he would be held liable for all the back child support he would have accrued for the time he was gone. Now, if the man encourages the woman to have the child he should certainly be held responsible either way.

Currently it takes two to tango, but woman isn't forced to live with her choices so I don't see why a man should. She can get an abortion without his consent or she can give it up for adoption no questions asked, and thus without his consent. And while those situations suck for the man, I think it's the only way it should be, but men need a similar level of recourse.
posted by Jezztek at 11:48 AM on March 9, 2006


I have a good friend who at a New Years Eve party soon after having some teeth pulled ended up sleeping with a woman. Worried about what could come of unprotected sex, he talked with said woman and told her that he'd do the right thing, to which she said that she "took care of it" and then moved away.

Thirteen years later he's contacted by the same woman with the news that he has a son. And she wants child support. Back child support. The laws in place treated him like he had avoided paying support and so suddenly one morning on Sept. 11, 2001 he found out that he was now several hundred thousand dollars in debt and would have a large chuck of his paycheck seized every two weeks to pay for a child that grew up calling some other guy "Dad".

So it's easy to say that you buy any pigglet that comes from the poke, but I don't think that the current laws are balanced enough to protect the male's rights. Hell, they're so unbalanced at times it feels like the guy is lucky he doesn't get punched in the groin every time he enters the courthouse.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:48 AM on March 9, 2006


i honestly, i don't think a man should have to be tricked before he's "allowed" to back out of parent hood. the mother can do this just because she's short on cash.

"To force them to be responsible for their actions" Im talking about your morals :) You've yet to explain why these noble notions don't apply to women as well.

please remember, when a woman gets pregnant and decides she doesn't want a child, it gets choped up and sucked out of her. If you are truely on a high horse of "parental responsibility" where is your outrage?
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 11:49 AM on March 9, 2006



If I don't want to be pregnant, I take the responsibility and use birth control. Most women do. If you as a man do not want to pay for a child, then you need to take responsibilty for your birth control.

Period.


Oooh. You spelled out the word "Period" that makes any previous statement absolutely and unquestionably correct.

Except the analogy is pointless, because you can always have an abortion, and the man can't.

Period.
posted by delmoi at 11:49 AM on March 9, 2006


I have a woman friend who believes that a man should be able to opt-out of responsibility for child-support during the pregnancy. If he does that, the woman can get an abortion or keep the kid and raise it using her own financial resources.

She comes to this position through a strong pro-choice sentiment. She doesn't see how it's right to burden the man if he opts out early.

In unrelated news, I know two men who are married and have children after women they were dating --- who told them that they couldn't get pregnant --- got pregnant.

One of these men was using condoms, in addition to being told by his girlfriend that she was on the pill. She still got pregnant. I have never spoken with him about it, but I believe that she was not on the pill and that she sabotaged the condoms. They were in the midst of a "break-up / get-back-together cycle." When she got pregnant, she told him she was keeping the baby, whether he wanted to be involved or not. He opted to be involved.

Now the postscript is that both of these men are happy in their lives with their spouses and children. But it still feels like they were screwed over.
posted by alms at 11:50 AM on March 9, 2006


« writes "people try and argue whether a guy should be able to fuck anything that moves with no responsibility after he wipes off on the curtains."

ah, there's the old straw man! Nobody is saying that. There isn't a single person in this thread or in the article who has said that. Who are you responding to? Nobody. The only argument put forth is that men should have a say in what happens during unintentional pregnancy, and that they shouldn't be forced by law into victimhood by women who sabotage or con their partners.

it's really a much better discussion if you respond to what people are saying.
posted by shmegegge at 11:50 AM on March 9, 2006


FunkyHelix
If I don't want to be pregnant, I take the responsibility and use birth control. Most women do. If you as a man do not want to pay for a child, then you need to take responsibility for your birth control.

Fine, that's a valid point. Man needs to take responsibility for what they were doing-birth control wise.

However, if these fails for some reason then what? It doesn't matter? if the women is on pills AND the man uses condom, and they both fail then what? Somehow the the man is more responsible? Or is the woman?

Neither are. So why do women force the men along on their choice dragging them by their dicks?
posted by countzen at 11:53 AM on March 9, 2006


"but you haven't got a womb!"
posted by Artw at 11:54 AM on March 9, 2006


You see, normal people who are in committed, monogamous relationships and are using other methods of birth control don't usually use condoms.

What? All of them? I don't think so. Me, the pill makes me deathly ill, so my husband and I used a combination of diaphragm, condom, and fertility awareness. Sure we could have just used the diaphragm, but why should I be the only one responsible for birth control? It worked out great - in our 8 years together, we've had only one pregnancy, the planned one we're going through now. Effective birth control takes the conscious effort of two people. Like I said before, no one is entitled to a complication-free orgasm.
posted by echolalia67 at 11:54 AM on March 9, 2006


"No one has a right to a complcation-free orgasm."

Sure they do.
posted by illovich at 11:54 AM on March 9, 2006


i laughed. sue me.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 11:55 AM on March 9, 2006


oops sorry... I meant "force an abortion." Uh, way up there.
posted by zoogleplex at 11:55 AM on March 9, 2006


people try and argue whether a guy should be able to fuck anything that moves with no responsibility

If you replace "guy" with "slut" in the previous sentence then that is pretty much my racist-sexist backwards-ass grandfather's objections to abortion.

Good job on becoming like one of "them".

Jeremy
posted by Jezztek at 11:56 AM on March 9, 2006


no one's asking for a complication free orgasm. they're asking for a legal recourse when complications ensue other than "you're screwed whether you deserve it or not."
posted by shmegegge at 11:56 AM on March 9, 2006


no one's asking for a complication free orgasm.

Although, if you have some, I'll take two.
posted by jonmc at 11:57 AM on March 9, 2006


In the simplest of terms, putting aside issues of consent, existing abortion laws legally favor women. This is only fair in that alternatives deny women the choice over their own bodies. Look, from conception to birth, men have no legal rights to influence the choice women make, yet men are legally bound to whatever decision women make. That is not, in the strictest sense of the word, egalitarian.

I don't propose that women's choice be eliminated or altered in any way. However, if a woman chooses to have a child against the desires of her partner, she should accept financial responsibility. Perhaps this changes inside of a marriage where there is an existing legal contract binding the two individuals financially. What's a man's recourse if a woman chooses to have an abortion against his wishes? Today, well, there's none. And there probably shouldn't be, but this lack of recourse underscores the fact that the existing law is unfair.

Legally include men in the natal decision making process or accept responsibility for the decision you make outside of a legally binding financial agreement or fess up to being in favor of laws that favor one gender over another. It's called sexism. How's the shoe fit on your foot?
posted by sequential at 11:58 AM on March 9, 2006


Like I said before, no one is entitled to a complication-free orgasm.

Well, my feeling is that everyone is entitled to a complication free orgasm, either by themselves or with a consenting partner.
posted by delmoi at 11:59 AM on March 9, 2006


i have to say, as a side note, im really pleased this community can discuss such a touchy subject without someone screaming about hilter.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 12:03 PM on March 9, 2006


no one's asking for a complication free orgasm.

Although, if you have some, I'll take two.
posted by jonmc at 1:57 PM CST on March 9 [!]


I dunno, I can always seem to find one on hand.
posted by ozomatli at 12:05 PM on March 9, 2006


Well, what I think is interesting about this story is that clearly exposes a potential line of attack on the judicial reasoning for Roe. If you make a 14th ammendment case that Roe extends privacy rights to women that men are denied in terms of not having the same reproductive rights, then Roe could look start to look mighty unconstutional. And then, if you say it's to extend reproductive rights to men you split a fair portion of the electorate that heretofore might otherwise support abortion.

Most likely the case will be laughed out of court, but there's a very small chance that this reasoning could be seized upon and end up being the silver bullet abortion opponents have been looking for.
posted by Heminator at 12:07 PM on March 9, 2006


Wow, I'm surprised- from when I first started reading this thread, it seems a solid number of posters are actually agreeing (and with me, no less!) that if we allow for women to engage in unilateral decision making to carry a child to term, they have unilateral responsibility.

Here's a little thought experiment:
Married couple, seemingly happily married. She gets pregnant, they agree to have the kid, raise it as their own, etc. Only thing is, shortly after the child is born, it is apparent the child is not the husband's, but rather the milkman (or some other stereotype), and this is proven via DNA testing, etc.

Now- which male is financially responsible for the child? The legal guardian and "father", or the stunt dick that shot the semen? Let's say he's so pissed she cheated on him, he files for divorce. Divorce is granted. Should he be charged with child support? Who should get custody?
This is why I agree with some variation of Jezztek's proposal, that a guy should have an "opt-out", whereby he renounces fatherhood and if the woman still carries the child to birth it's solely her responsibility. And again, this will never happen because the state would rather this be the financial problem of some random schmoe, and not their problem of supporting these kids.

Make no mistake- this is often purely about money. Often these guys are forced to pay, and despite being the "father" to the tune of garnishing their wages, they don't get to actually raise the child or visit with the child, but just used as a surrogate wallet. Sort of a "Handmister's Wallet". Margaret Atwood, I smell a sequel!
posted by hincandenza at 12:07 PM on March 9, 2006


is that what they say in the article? oh wait, no it's not. they're saying that men should have some say in the results of unintended pregnancy. this could be as simple as saying "men have a say in the decision to put a child up for adoption or not."

What it says in the article:

The gist of the argument: If a pregnant woman can choose among abortion, adoption or raising a child, a man involved in an unintended pregnancy should have the choice of declining the financial responsibilities of fatherhood.

Emphasis mine. So it seems to me it really is, basically, "If I decide that I want no part of this, regardless of the method by which it came about, I don't want to [be forced to] pay."
posted by Gator at 12:08 PM on March 9, 2006


The best fix would be for you to patent your own genome. Then when the woman tells you she's pregnant, You can server her with a cease and desist for infringement on your IP.
It's foolproof.
posted by Megafly at 12:08 PM on March 9, 2006


If I don't want to be pregnant, I take the responsibility and use birth control.
So, what you're saying then is that any time your birth control fails and you become pregnant, you actually wanted to become pregnant? Even if birth control is 99.9 percent accurate when including human error, one out of every thousand times the failure of birth control will be because a woman unconciously desires to be pregnant. Now it makes sense. Sorry for the confusion.
posted by sequential at 12:09 PM on March 9, 2006


I think tricking a man into impregnating you is worse than most physical violence. It's forcing an unwilling man into a lifetime emotional commitment and a long term financial commitment. The idea that men should just shrug it off and say that being tricked into being a dad for the rest of your life is part of the game is something that can happen and tough is a lot like telling women that when they dress a certain way they are just asking to be raped.

No (kids) means no (kids!).

That ranted, I think that having laws about this would create more problems than it would reconcile as it would essentially make a tort out the birth of many unwanted children. But women tricking men into having children does happen and I can't think of many actions that ruin or at least alter lives more seriously than this.
posted by I Foody at 12:10 PM on March 9, 2006


someone screaming about hilter.

or skilter.
posted by jonmc at 12:11 PM on March 9, 2006


im really pleased this community can discuss such a touchy subject without someone screaming about hilter

WHO THE FUCK IS HILTER?
posted by Hat Maui at 12:12 PM on March 9, 2006


damn.
posted by Hat Maui at 12:12 PM on March 9, 2006


...without someone screaming about hilter.

Well, he did lose that North Minehead by-election...
posted by zoogleplex at 12:13 PM on March 9, 2006


heheheh. still the fastest gun in the west.

*walks out whistling through swinging doors*
posted by jonmc at 12:13 PM on March 9, 2006


still the fastest gun in the west

but, but, you're in NYC.

i'm actually IN the west.
posted by Hat Maui at 12:15 PM on March 9, 2006


(Sorry, FunkyHelix, I should have addeed that I agree that men should make the decision to use birth control, but using birth control has nothing to do with whether or not a man should be excluded from the natal decision making process.)
posted by sequential at 12:15 PM on March 9, 2006


gator, that's the articles paraphrasing. you shouldn't put too much faith in its representation.
posted by shmegegge at 12:16 PM on March 9, 2006


but, but, you're in NYC.

yes but as of right now, I'm in the West Village. So I'll adjust.

*walks out whistling through swinging doors while wearing only a cowboy hat and black leather chaps*
posted by jonmc at 12:16 PM on March 9, 2006


HITLER!
posted by Biblio at 12:17 PM on March 9, 2006


OH ITS THE FUCKING SPELLING NAZIS NOW IS IT??
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 12:17 PM on March 9, 2006


Ouch, preview is my friend....
posted by Biblio at 12:17 PM on March 9, 2006


You should meet his buddies Ron Vibbentrop and Hank Bimmler! :)
posted by zoogleplex at 12:18 PM on March 9, 2006


I'm in the West Village

while wearing only a cowboy hat and black leather chaps

i thought that you looked familiar! you're randy jones, aren't you?
posted by Hat Maui at 12:20 PM on March 9, 2006



OH ITS THE FUCKING SPELLING NAZIS NOW IS IT


you know who else couldn't spell very well? hilter HITLER!
posted by Hat Maui at 12:22 PM on March 9, 2006


No, I'm much cuter. and you could never afford me.
posted by jonmc at 12:22 PM on March 9, 2006


Hey, maybe something men can do is that if a woman says she's incapable of getting pregnant, the man should insist that she produce a sworn and notarized affidavit from a doctor that says so before they have sex.

That might give some legal standpoint for crying foul if she gets pregnant, yes?

Wouldn't work for birth control of course, since that's not 100% effective...
posted by zoogleplex at 12:23 PM on March 9, 2006


How about this, at any point the man can opt-out of child-rearing (at which point they opt out of having any say over the kid) and if so the state pays the woman $X amount per month.
posted by delmoi at 12:23 PM on March 9, 2006


That might give some legal standpoint for crying foul if she gets pregnant, yes?

Probably not. Right now, if a woman steals your sperm from a sperm bank, and uses it to get pregnant; you still have to pay child support.
posted by delmoi at 12:24 PM on March 9, 2006


Probably not. Right now, if a woman steals your sperm from a sperm bank, and uses it to get pregnant; you still have to pay child support.
Did that case ever get resolved?
posted by sequential at 12:26 PM on March 9, 2006


No, I'm much cuter

than a village person? wow. that's some cuteness, there.
posted by Hat Maui at 12:27 PM on March 9, 2006


girl: I don't want a baby, so I'm using birth control
boy: okay. *sexes*
girl: Oops, it failed. I want to have the baby.
boy: I don't want a baby! Why did you trick me yadda yadda

why isn't he using control? Hmm?

girl: I don't want a baby, so I'm using birth control.
boy: Me too.
BC: *fails*
girl: My body. My choice. My baby.
boy: I don't want a baby! Why did you trick me yadda yadda

Once, again? Who's forcing these guys to fuck fertile women without discussion or alternative sexual practices?

Accidents happen. Doesn't dissolve your responsibility. You can take whatever care with your car, learn to drive it properly and use all the safety gadgets like blinkers, headlights, and air bags. So can the other driver. If these fail and you both have an accident, that doesn't dissolve your responsibilty just because you can prove you didn't want to or attempt to have an accident.

The men in this thread keep going on and on about how the laws favor women. They don't favor women. They favor the child. Men aren't handing over support for her to buy nail polish. Men are giving support to take care of a result from an active choice they made.

If you chose to have sex, then you deal with the results that occur. If you want to be child free, then discuss that, be responsibile for your own birth control, use alternative practices, or just don't have sex.
posted by FunkyHelix at 12:27 PM on March 9, 2006 [1 favorite]


My greatest fear is pulling out, going to get a towel, and the girl takes a little from the exterior for the interior.

So, let me get this straight. Despite the fact that the "pull and pray" method has about a 20% failure rate, if some poor woman is stupid enough to sleep with you, and stupid enough to not insist on a condom, you're going to assume that she deliberately impregnated herself by taking "a little from the exterior for the interior?"

And you call jonmc a loser?
posted by ereshkigal45 at 12:31 PM on March 9, 2006


FunkyHelix, since you appear to be still missing the point, i'll take a stab at it:

if a woman wants to end an accidental pregnancy or not end it, or give the child up for adoption, she has all these options.

if a man wants to end an accidental pregnancy, or not end it, or give the child up for adoption, he has none of these options, and yet he's still fiscally responsible for whatever the woman opts to do.

that is unfair.
posted by Hat Maui at 12:31 PM on March 9, 2006


Men aren't handing over support for her to buy nail polish.

Wanna bet?
posted by badger_flammable at 12:32 PM on March 9, 2006


"If these fail and you both have an accident, that doesn't dissolve your responsibilty just because you can prove you didn't want to or attempt to have an accident."

wait, so are you arguing against abortion rights? If responsiblity can't be dissolved, doesn't that mean mom is stuck too?
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 12:35 PM on March 9, 2006


Probably not. Right now, if a woman steals your sperm from a sperm bank, and uses it to get pregnant; you still have to pay child support.

Did that case ever get resolved?


Seems to me like he should be able to sue the living hell out of the sperm bank. He has the right to a reasonable expectation of security for his genetic material and if they screwed up, they should be the one on the financial hook. And if is is provable that the woman got access to the sperm through fraud, she should be criminally responsible. It's a shame that the kid has to be in the middle of all this, though.

The condom case, however, could easily devolve into "he said, she said". What's to stop any guy who participated in a conception the old fashioned way to claim that he had used a condom and that his partner fished his gentetic material out of the trash and stuck it up her wazoo? Unless he has some concrete proof of this, he's on the hook.
posted by echolalia67 at 12:35 PM on March 9, 2006


That's the anti-choice debate. That's a man angry that women can make choices about their body without his say.

If you don't want women to have that choice or to be finanically responsible for that choice, don't fuck one. Use your hand. Use a blow up doll. Then you can't possibly be tricked, trapped, or forced into anything.
posted by FunkyHelix at 12:35 PM on March 9, 2006


The men in this thread keep going on and on about how the laws favor women. They don't favor women. They favor the child.

Wait, ok here's a though experiment for you: Lets say one day you are visited by a some crazy space traveler, and she says there is a problem with the space time continuum and they need to do some tweaking to your past. But they are going to give you the choice of which tweak to choose, you can either A.) been killed in the womb, never to be born, or you could B.) grow up a bit poorer.

Are you telling me now, as a person you would rather that you had never been born rather then been raised poorer?

The only time a man should have a choice to opt-out would be while the woman is pregnant with a potential child, and abortion is far worse for the potential child then the father opting out of child support. So if we really cared about these potential children, then neither parent would have any choice.

Men aren't handing over support for her to buy nail polish.

I don't know where my mom's child support from my father went, but it sure never felt like it went to my clothes, supplies or other needs. Mostly just whatever my mom felt would make the house look nice.

Men are giving support to take care of a result from an active choice they made.

They both chose to have sex so he was equally responsible for the fact she became pregnant the but only she chose to have a child, only she chose to keep the child.

Once, again? Who's forcing these guys to fuck fertile women without discussion or alternative sexual practices?

So you must be anti abortion, because who's forcing these women to fuck fertile men?
posted by Jezztek at 12:40 PM on March 9, 2006


wait, so are you arguing against abortion rights? If responsiblity can't be dissolved, doesn't that mean mom is stuck too?

Since, "La, la, la pregnancy go away, come back again some other day..." is not an effective way of dealing with an unwanted pregnancy, a woman has to make one of three choices: abortion, adoption, keep and raise. None of these are a picnic and all of these are ways of taking responsibility for a pregnancy.
posted by echolalia67 at 12:40 PM on March 9, 2006


That's the anti-choice debate. That's a man angry that women can make choices about their body without his say.

So when a woman forces a man to labor 3 months a year in indentured servitude to pay for a choice she made that isn't somehow limiting the choices he makes with his body? Choices like, I'd rather my body be at home, rather then sitting in the fucking office to pay for something I had no choice in?

If you don't want women to have that choice or to be financially responsible for that choice, don't fuck one. Use your hand. Use a blow up doll. Then you can't possibly be tricked, trapped, or forced into anything.

That's only acceptable if you are also anti-abortion, and believe neither person should be able to opt out of the negative consequences of an unintended pregnancy.
posted by Jezztek at 12:43 PM on March 9, 2006


Maybe the choice should be-if you are single and give birth you either marry the father or give the child up for adoption.

THAT would be fair and in the best interest of the child.

Let the screaming commence.
posted by konolia at 12:43 PM on March 9, 2006


Since, "La, la, la pregnancy go away, come back again some other day..." is not an effective way of dealing with an unwanted pregnancy, a woman has to make one of three choices: abortion, adoption, keep and raise. None of these are a picnic and all of these are ways of taking responsibility for a pregnancy.

Um, I don't really consider abortion "taking responsibility" any more then signing away any paternal rights would be for a guy.
posted by delmoi at 12:44 PM on March 9, 2006


That's a man angry that women can make choices about their body without his say

really, that's not it, though. it's about money. and if a man has no say as to whether a child comes into being, then tell me again why "a woman's choice about her body" should result in him paying child support for 18 years?
posted by Hat Maui at 12:44 PM on March 9, 2006


"They don't favor women. They favor the child."
thats fucking silly.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 12:44 PM on March 9, 2006


FunkyHelix: The men in this thread keep going on and on about how the laws favor women. They don't favor women. They favor the child. Men aren't handing over support for her to buy nail polish. Men are giving support to take care of a result from an active choice they made.

Women aren't made to give support to take care of the result from the active choice THEY made. That's the problem. If the woman doesn't want to raise the baby, nobody makes her, and the woman isn't require to pay support except in a very few cases (usually ones involving divorce.) The men here are only asking for the same freedom, to walk away from their obligation at birth, the one women are already afforded. And the best opposition anyone seems to have offered so far basically amounts to "man up, nancy."
posted by Mitrovarr at 12:45 PM on March 9, 2006


I don't know where my mom's child support from my father went, but it sure never felt like it went to my clothes, supplies or other needs. Mostly just whatever my mom felt would make the house look nice.

Nice? Like...heat? Running water?

So, Jezztek, you didn't benefit from the house? Maybe you should figure out what percentage of the house you used, figure out the house payments (heating electric rent). What about the food you used, stuff like that. Then you can be sure your mother ripped off your dad.

Because you're displaying some deep woman hate with that comment.
posted by FunkyHelix at 12:45 PM on March 9, 2006


This argument is stupid.

You don't want kids and you're a man? Then either wear a condom or get snipped. Take a little bit of responsibility for once.
posted by bshort at 12:48 PM on March 9, 2006


The men here are only asking for the same freedom, to walk away from their obligation at birth, the one women are already afforded. And the best opposition anyone seems to have offered so far basically amounts to "man up, nancy."

Like I said about 120 comments ago: Abortion is clearly not agreed upon societally as being a clean and convenient solution. Although it [might!] be available, you can't take it for granted as being a moral option. Many women can't just 'walk away,' and if a man is dumb enough to get into a situation where he's sexing a pro-life woman and she gets pregnant he needs to pony up some responsibility as well.
posted by soma lkzx at 12:49 PM on March 9, 2006


Nice? Like...heat? Running water?

We owned the house free and clear when my parent got divorced, child support went to put new curtains in it, a new deck for my mom's gatherings etc, while I wore old ass torn to shit clothes.

Because you're displaying some deep woman hate with that comment.

Wow, you are just one ignorant fuck aren't you. My father payed child support, yet whenever I asked for clothes or anything from my mother she said "go ask your father, he's the one with the money"

Yet somehow, sharing my particular situation growing up with child support makes me a woman hater.
posted by Jezztek at 12:50 PM on March 9, 2006


so bshort, essentially, what you're saying is "man up, nancy."?
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 12:52 PM on March 9, 2006


Accidental pregnancy will never, ever have the same consequences, legally or otherwise, for the man and woman involved. It will never be "equal," or "fair." It can be made better, but never quite right. I'm surprised that some presume it could.

No matter what the law says, even if there were no laws, a woman cannot ever just walk away from an accidental pregnancy. Never will be able to. If there were no laws, men would be able to. Abortion and signing away parental rights are NOT the same thing, I don't care how pro-life you are. Signing away parental rights may be just as emotionally traumatic for some, but it will never involve a surgical procedure.

I do think that all people, male and female, should take responsibility for their actions by doing one or all of the following: Not having sex, using protection when they have sex, taking care of babies that result from having sex. But that's a moral stance, not a legal one. And that plan, while the best one, is not foolproof.

Child support? Adoption? Maybe the laws surrounding these things should be changed, made better...but they will never, ever, ever be equal for men and women.
posted by lampoil at 12:52 PM on March 9, 2006


You know, if a man were honest and said on the first date, "I want sex, and I'll use birth control. But if it fails then I don't want any responsibilty for what happens from that point on," no woman in her right mind would have sex with them.
posted by FunkyHelix at 12:52 PM on March 9, 2006


Accidents happen. Doesn't dissolve your responsibility. You can take whatever care with your car, learn to drive it properly and use all the safety gadgets like blinkers, headlights, and air bags. So can the other driver. If these fail and you both have an accident, that doesn't dissolve your responsibilty just because you can prove you didn't want to or attempt to have an accident.

Why not? Responsibility is a legal construct and can be dissolved by law at any time. Fairness is a perfectly valid reason to change a law.

The men in this thread keep going on and on about how the laws favor women. They don't favor women. They favor the child. Men aren't handing over support for her to buy nail polish. Men are giving support to take care of a result from an active choice they made.

How does an abortion favor the child?

(Sure, having a mother who doesn’t want you isn't good for the child, but nether is having a father who doesn't want you. It would be nice if children were only born by loving couples who both want them, and changing the law would make that more likely overall)

How does not requiring everyone to pay child support favor the child? If I had a child it would be better for that child if you paid me money every month, even though I've never met you. So why should a man have to make payments when you don't? Both would be better for the child.

That's the anti-choice debate. That's a man angry that women can make choices about their body without his say.
No, it's not you idiot. It's the man being upset that her choice affects him.
If you don't want women to have that choice or to be finanically responsible for that choice, don't fuck one. Use your hand. Use a blow up doll. Then you can't possibly be tricked, trapped, or forced into anything.

Right, back to the argument that men shouldn't have sex if they don't want to run the risk of getting pregnant, but the same thing could be said about women as well, so why do they get an out and men don't?

Maybe the choice should be-if you are single and give birth you either marry the father or give the child up for adoption.

Interesting, but what if the guy neither wants a wife nor to pay? I don't think forcing people who don't like each other to get married is a good idea.
posted by delmoi at 12:54 PM on March 9, 2006


Funky:

So you're saying that if a guy signals a right turn, I try to pass by the left, and he purposefully moves to the left lane at the same time, causing a crash, both have responsibility because I should have predicted he could be lying about turning right?

At least around here it's not how laws work...
posted by qvantamon at 12:55 PM on March 9, 2006


so bshort, essentially, what you're saying is "man up, nancy."?

Well, that's certainly one way to put it.
posted by bshort at 12:56 PM on March 9, 2006


funkyhelix has a HUGE paint brush.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 12:56 PM on March 9, 2006


You know, if a man were honest and said on the first date, "I want sex, and I'll use birth control. But if it fails then I don't want any responsibilty for what happens from that point on," no woman in her right mind would have sex with them.

B.S. Most women don't plan on getting pregnant in the first place, so while it might piss them off and think poorly of the man, they still might sleep with him if there were other qualities that made her want to do it.

In other words, if a woman wants to sleep with the man, and has no interest in having a child with him at the time, then there would be no reason for her not to sleep with him in this circumstance, notwithstanding the statement making the man less attractive in general.
posted by delmoi at 12:56 PM on March 9, 2006


no woman in her right mind would have sex with them.
Fortunate for men and women the world over, you do not speak for anyone other than yourself. You're misandy is incredible.
posted by sequential at 12:57 PM on March 9, 2006


You know who's really lucky? Homosexual men. Despite the mistreatment they get every day, despite the asshole politicians who deny their rights and the preachers who wish them death, they still never have to worry about this shit.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 1:00 PM on March 9, 2006


untill they actually *want* a baby :(
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 1:01 PM on March 9, 2006


Uh, I meant "Your misandy is incredible." :-/
posted by sequential at 1:01 PM on March 9, 2006


Take a little bit of responsibility for once.
Yow. Angry?

I don't think the situation can be resolved fairly. It's a fundamentally unfair situation. Of course, that doesn't mean the situation can't be made more fair, but there will be no perfect solution here, as long as we want women to have the choice to abort the child or put the child up for adoption. (which I do.)
posted by MrMoonPie at 1:02 PM on March 9, 2006


You know, if a man were honest and said on the first date, "I want sex, and I'll use birth control. But if it fails then I don't want any responsibility for what happens from that point on," no woman in her right mind would have sex with them.

Yeah, if a women sat down on the first date and said "I want sex, and I'll use birth control. But if it fails then you better fucking cough up 18 years of monthly payments to yours truly."

Then I think you'd probably make a few guys think you are some psycho and refuse a second date.
posted by Jezztek at 1:02 PM on March 9, 2006


Misandry.
posted by Gator at 1:03 PM on March 9, 2006


Damn you, Gator. :-D
posted by sequential at 1:03 PM on March 9, 2006


you funkhelix, if any man were to listen to what you're saying in this thread, then they would never agree to have sex with you. you're being narrow-minded and ignorant. you're barely even coherent. you're saying that any man that chooses to have sex automatically forgoes the right to have any say in the results of that act. you're saying that anyone who thinks men deserve more say in the legal repercussions of pregnancy is a woman hater, and you're saying that no women whatsoever have ever, in the history of manking, done anything underhanded to get pregnant. you've even accused a child of a single mother of mysogyny because he described his childhood to you.

you're either out of your mind or trolling.
posted by shmegegge at 1:04 PM on March 9, 2006


Of ocourse maybe the first sentence will cancel it out...
posted by Jezztek at 1:04 PM on March 9, 2006


Um, I don't really consider abortion "taking responsibility" any more then signing away any paternal rights would be for a guy.

No, "La, la, la, pregnancy go away... " is not taking responsibility. Deciding to end a pregnancy and deal with the emotional fallout of taking that action IS taking responsibility. You may not like that option, but it is a way for a woman to take responsibility for the situation.
posted by echolalia67 at 1:04 PM on March 9, 2006


I've never understood why there's child support anyway. And how come women almost always get custody?

If it's the woman's choice as to whether to have the child or not, shouldn't she have to support it? by herself?

Maybe I'm too young and naive to understand these things. Or too male.
posted by Jelreyn at 1:04 PM on March 9, 2006


Don't sweat it, sequential. I miss Andy too. Kaufman, that is.
posted by Gator at 1:05 PM on March 9, 2006


you know funkyhelix. dammit.
posted by shmegegge at 1:06 PM on March 9, 2006


soma lkzx: Like I said about 120 comments ago: Abortion is clearly not agreed upon societally as being a clean and convenient solution. Although it [might!] be available, you can't take it for granted as being a moral option. Many women can't just 'walk away,' and if a man is dumb enough to get into a situation where he's sexing a pro-life woman and she gets pregnant he needs to pony up some responsibility as well.

Abortion is a possibility, but since it deals with the woman's body, I don't think there can be any reasonable expectation of a male legal parallel. But a woman can abrogate her responsibility through adoption, and that is a legal mechanism; it should also exist for the man. I know adoption is not clean or easy for the woman, but it's certainly less life-ruining than having to pay child support for 18 years, which pretty much obliterates any chance the man had of going to college or making anything of himself.
posted by Mitrovarr at 1:07 PM on March 9, 2006


Men aren't handing over support for her to buy nail polish.

That's just naive, FunkyHelix.
posted by NationalKato at 1:11 PM on March 9, 2006


Yeah, if a women sat down on the first date and said "I want sex, and I'll use birth control. But if it fails then you better fucking cough up 18 years of monthly payments to yours truly."

I'd pound her in the other hole, using a condom, and wipe HER with the curtains, just to be sure.

And, of course, no chance in hell of a second date
posted by qvantamon at 1:15 PM on March 9, 2006


"How about this, at any point the man can opt-out of child-rearing (at which point they opt out of having any say over the kid) and if so the state pays the woman $X amount per month."

Communist.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 1:17 PM on March 9, 2006


I understand where both sides are coming from on this issue, and realize that both sides have valid points.

However, I do not see any real way out of the conundrum, for if the law were changed to give men an opt-out, they could opt-out even having promised their lady that they wanted the child. For the courts, it would become an evidentiary nightmare. The father would say: but she told me she was on birth control; and she would reply: he told me he wanted it, and he has since changed his mind.

As much as there are women who lie to their mates, there would be men who would lie to their mates, and in court, if necessary. The reason that the child support laws have been developed the way they have, is not because the American legal system is pro-women and out to screw men (read US constitutional history or US history in general), but because men would screw over women repeatedly (excuse the pun) and become dead-beat dads.

Men cannot be children. A man today who has sex with someone else (male or female) cannot sue someone if they are given an STD, even if the other person lied about it. Is that entirely fair? No, but there's no way that the state and the courts can police that. Sex is a risky activity. Everyone who has sex knows that. The state should not have to bail you out for taking risks, no matter how calculated you may think they are.

Someone above mentioned the possibility of a 14th Amendment action against Roe based gender discrimination because the right of privacy only extends to women. Under the present consitutional framework that cannot happen because gender gets intermediate scrutiny, not strict scrutiny (precisely because constitutional law accounts for gender differences, whereas it has ruled different treatment due to race and national origin less acceptable).
posted by Azaadistani at 1:21 PM on March 9, 2006


The fact is, every method of birth control, save abstinance, has a failure rate--even sterilization. It's pretty easy for a man to take his chances and then yell that he was tricked.

When having sex, and acknowledgement should be made that pregnancy is a possibility. If a child is had, both parties will end up with a financial responsibility. As far as the pregnancy and the childbirth goes, it is her body at stake (and she will likely also be the one doing more work towards rearing it if it is kept).
posted by kayjay at 1:28 PM on March 9, 2006


Yeah, if a women sat down on the first date and said "I want sex, and I'll use birth control. But if it fails then you better fucking cough up 18 years of monthly payments to yours truly."

Well, I said something to this effect to my now-husband when we first started dating, except I said, "getting pregnant and having an abortion would be really devastating for me, so unless you're okay with being a father you need to be responsible for birth control, too"

Does that make me a psycho? I think not.
posted by echolalia67 at 1:31 PM on March 9, 2006


Can't you sue if you are knowingly infected with an STD without your knowledge? Even if you can'r you should be able to.
posted by I Foody at 1:34 PM on March 9, 2006


A man today who has sex with someone else (male or female) cannot sue someone if they are given an STD, even if the other person lied about it.
--Azaadistani

?
posted by booksandlibretti at 1:35 PM on March 9, 2006


Does that make me a psycho? I think not.

I agree, I was more poking fun at the manner in which she posited her theory. I just think I'd be weirded out of something like that was put so bluntly on the first date, either way.

But yeah, "I'm just not ready to have kids" or "getting pregnant and having an abortion would be really devastating for me" sometime early in a relationship (though, perhaps not the first date) is a good and normal thing I think.
posted by Jezztek at 1:35 PM on March 9, 2006


it doesn't, but its not exactly to that effect is it?
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 1:36 PM on March 9, 2006


Azaadistani: The reason that the child support laws have been developed the way they have, is not because the American legal system is pro-women and out to screw men (read US constitutional history or US history in general), but because men would screw over women repeatedly (excuse the pun) and become dead-beat dads.

wow.
posted by badger_flammable at 1:39 PM on March 9, 2006


No, "La, la, la, pregnancy go away... " is not taking responsibility. Deciding to end a pregnancy and deal with the emotional fallout of taking that action IS taking responsibility.

Well, what's your point? It certainly isn't near the level of responsibility your asking for from men.

Abortion is a possibility, but since it deals with the woman's body, I don't think there can be any reasonable expectation of a male legal parallel.

Well, from a 'biological' perspective, the mans responsibility ends at ejaculation, and the woman's ends at birth. The law creates more responsibilities, and as a society it's our job to come up with the fairest laws we can. Simply saying "That's the way it is" makes no sense when discussing the law.

Well, I said something to this effect to my now-husband when we first started dating, except I said, "getting pregnant and having an abortion would be really devastating for me, so unless you're okay with being a father you need to be responsible for birth control, too"

Well there's a difference between 'being a father' and 'paying out every month'.
posted by delmoi at 1:43 PM on March 9, 2006


wow, nothin'.

I've had more friends than I can count who grew up fatherless but almost none whose mom took a powder. (and yes, I realize that my limited experience dosen't cover the known universe, but I'm willing to bet that an honest appraisal of most people's experience would be the same, and that's too large a discrepancy to ignore)
posted by jonmc at 1:43 PM on March 9, 2006


The fact is, every method of birth control, save abstinance, has a failure rate

Strangling the woman, chopping her to bits and storing her in the fridge never failed.

Er... my friend told me so.
posted by qvantamon at 1:45 PM on March 9, 2006


You know, if a man were honest and said on the first date, "I want sex, and I'll use birth control. But if it fails then I don't want any responsibility for what happens from that point on," no woman in her right mind would have sex with them.

If a woman gets pregnant from a casual sexual relationship, then this is what she would assume! Do you think this attitude is shocking to women? Wow - I guess we've all been living in a magic fairytale land where women belive men want to have children everytime they have sex.

These threads invariably turn into tales of those crazy women trying to entrap men into child support with their crazy women ways. Get a grip! Wear a condom. It isn't a perfect solution, but it is your best bet to prevent your partner from getting pregnant. So, men don't have the final say on abortions. (Well, not yet anyway.) You can't have everything.

I'm not sure if your mother ever told you but sometimes life isn't fair. You may have to pay child support when you don't want to. You may be a teenage girl without access to birth control. You might get pregnant on accident. Life isn't fair. Wear a condom.
posted by birgitte at 1:45 PM on March 9, 2006


The fact is, every method of birth control, save abstinance, has a failure rate

Strangling the woman, chopping her to bits and storing her in the fridge never failed.


...done.
posted by FunkyHelix at 1:49 PM on March 9, 2006


you've been out 'creeped'!
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 1:53 PM on March 9, 2006


Jesus. I have rarely been so disappointed by Mefi as I have been in this thread. There's a lot of child-hatin', women-loathin' going on here.

But you know, maybe ya'll are right. Nothing, but nothing, should stand in the way of male sexual satisfaction and pleasure. Children are life-ruining burdens that no man should be expected to take responsibility for. Screw the little monsters, and screw their money-grubbing, gold-digging, lying and scheming mothers, too.

Thanks for making all that clear, guys.
posted by jokeefe at 1:56 PM on March 9, 2006


"Nothing, but nothing, should stand in the way of [...] sexual satisfaction and pleasure. Children are life-ruining burdens that no [one] should be expected to take responsibility for. Screw the little monsters,"

if you wanna go that road, i think women already made that clear in the 60-70s
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 1:58 PM on March 9, 2006


In the cases of some men, they're on the hook for years, and it's not really fair.

I agree. The man is a victim here. But he isn't the biggest victim. The biggest victim is the child, who'll be born to a mother who is at best devious or stupid.

So you really want to victimize that child twice, by denying him the economic support of his father? Well, whether you do or you don't is immaterial, because as a society we say 'tough shit, your abdication of responsibility here is unacceptable'.

And rightly so.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:58 PM on March 9, 2006


I'm SO glad I'm gay.
posted by MotherTucker at 1:59 PM on March 9, 2006


"'tough shit, your abdication of responsibility here is unacceptable'."
uhhh because the child will have a harder time getting enough to eat??

if the woman abdicates, the child DIES. it gets chopped up and sucked out.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 2:00 PM on March 9, 2006


But you know, maybe ya'll are right. Nothing, but nothing, should stand in the way of male sexual satisfaction and pleasure.

Your right, people (men and women) should be able to have as much sex as they want with as little repercussions as possible. For women, that means legal abortion, and for men, that means an opt-out.

Sorry if that gets in the way of your moralizing.

Screw the little monsters, and screw their money-grubbing, gold-digging, lying and scheming mothers, too.

Oh please, no is saying anything about all women, only that some women are that way, just as some men are rapists.
posted by delmoi at 2:01 PM on March 9, 2006


So you really want to victimize that child twice, by denying him the economic support of his father? Well, whether you do or you don't is immaterial, because as a society we say 'tough shit, your abdication of responsibility here is unacceptable'.

Why are you victimizing the child yourself by not sending him a check every month, Peter? Each and every one?
posted by delmoi at 2:03 PM on March 9, 2006


The fact is, every method of birth control, save abstinance, has a failure rate.

Including oral sex, it seems. Wasn't it Bjorn Borg who got a blow job off a fan in a cubby hole in some restaurant. Then, after he'd done the deed and left, she transferred his semen from hole A to hole B, and poor Bjorn was left facing a paternity suit.

Let this be a lesson to you: always use a condom, and take it with you when you leave!
posted by PeterMcDermott at 2:04 PM on March 9, 2006


Well, what's your point? It certainly isn't near the level of responsibility your asking for from men.

As I stated, becoming pregnant when I wasn't ready and without a supportive partner, and then choosing to have an abortion would be emotionally devastating to me. So would going through labor and giving the child to strangers never to be seen again, as would having to be raise it all by myself. Any of those options would fuck up my life in a way that writing a check every month never could.

I'll admit it, I cannot understand why any woman would want to have a child by a man she decieved into fathering it. Then again, I don't understand men who promise a woman the moon and the stars in order to get laid and then bails when he finds out that she's pregnant. In both cases, I don't know how a person like that can live with themselves.
posted by echolalia67 at 2:04 PM on March 9, 2006


I'm not sure if your mother ever told you but sometimes life isn't fair. You may have to pay child support when you don't want to. You may be a teenage girl without access to birth control. You might get pregnant on accident. Life isn't fair. Wear a condom.

this is stupid. it's yet another of the arguments that ignores the actual article in discussion. the article is specifically about the rights of men after conception happens, not the rights of men not to conceive.

if it happens, the rights of men involved are literally nonexistant. the case is hoping to change that, specifically in terms of men who have fallen victim to something that should (in my opinion) be criminal.

furthermore: you can say These threads invariably turn into tales of those crazy women trying to entrap men into child support with their crazy women ways. Get a grip! Wear a condom. all you want, but just because YOU want to pretend it never happens doesn't mean that's the case. I am personally in touch with people who have admitted to doing precisely that. They have regretted it afterwards, and blamed it on things like biology fucking with their heads and disatisfaction with the relationship etc... But they still did it, and if they hadn't opted for an abortion, her partner would now be confined to 20 years of child support simply for having trusted his girlfriend of several years. there is absolutely no reason not to try to provide some recourse for a man in that situation legally.

so if "get a grip" is really your solution, then keep it to yourself.
posted by shmegegge at 2:05 PM on March 9, 2006


PeterMcDermott: So you really want to victimize that child twice, by denying him the economic support of his father? Well, whether you do or you don't is immaterial, because as a society we say 'tough shit, your abdication of responsibility here is unacceptable'.

Well, I am personally hoping that reforming this situation will stop all of the devious mothers and some of the stupid ones by encouraging them to take control of their own contraception. Also, it might redirect some of the children away from one-child families with absentee fathers to better adoptive families. I suppose that's probably excessively optimistic, though.
posted by Mitrovarr at 2:06 PM on March 9, 2006


i'll echo that i could not have predicted growing up that i would one day be quite this happy to be gay...

...and i'll note that it is a tendency amongst safety-conscious gay men never to take the word of a partner who guarantees that he does not have an STD...or, really, to automatically believe anything that is said on the route to sweet man-on-man action...
posted by troybob at 2:11 PM on March 9, 2006


I tried to diagram this argument. I really did. It's a fucking mess. I may go back and try it again, but the threads of argument have gotten awfully tangled. Here's what I've come up with, so far, but it's just the basics.

Proposal, FunkyHelix et. al.

1. A man controls with whom he has sex, if at all.
2. Any person is responsible for all the likely and foreseeable results of the sex he or she has.
3. Pregnancy is a likely and foreseeable result of sex.
4. Childbirth is a likely and foreseeable result of pregnancy.
5. Childrearing is a likely and foreseeable result of childbirth.

Therefore A man is responsible for childrearing if he has sex.

--


This has been attacked at many junctures. Some follow.

From Abortion
It is no longer the case that "responsible for the results of sex" means a continued inexorable slide down the logical ladder laid out above. It is equally (legally) responsible for a pregnancy to be aborted as it is for that pregnancy to become a raised child of majority age.

This means the "likely and foreseeable" part is off, at least under some circumstances. After all, contraception and abortion serve the very purpose of making progress from sex to pregnancy - or pregnancy to childbirth - impossible.

--


From Denial of the Consequent

If the proposal is accepted, it can yield results that would outlaw abortion. This argument proposes that result antithetical, and the proposal invalid. For example:

IF
1a. A woman controls with whom she has sex, if at all.
2. 3. 4. & 5.

THEN
A woman is responsible for childrearing if she has sex.

BUT
This prohibits abortion.

THEREFORE
The proposal does not hold.

A counter argument was made along the lines of, "Abortion isn't about the responsibility of the mother, it's about the mother's right to bodily self-control."

This was in turn countered with, "If childbirth were truly the responsibility of the mother, she would be responsibly obligated to give birth, and to use her body for that purpose. Just as she is responsibly obligated to use her body to fulfill other responsibilities, like making a wage to satisfy credit debts. Incurred responsibilities trump rights."

--


From Policy in Excess of Justification

This policy argument proposes, by example, cases in which the law overreaches the proposed justification. This includes cases where the man incurred no responsibility, and is assigned the obligation of child support payments anyway. This includes such cases as the "father" merely having a similar name to the child, mistaken paternity, and fraud. This argument attacks the very foundation of the argument at point 1 and the conclusion. If the man never had sex, the conclusion does not apply to him. If the man could not control with whom he had sex (as in the IVF theft case) he should not be responsible for the fruits of that sex.

This argument attempts to show that the proposed justification of the law is insufficient for the practice of the law, and either an expanded justification (e.g. the good of the child) is required, or the law should be curtailed to only those situations justified.

--


From Value

Several arguments here claim the justification is antithetical to values more important than the justifying proposal. For example, an appeal to fairness and egalitarian values states it is clearly unfair for a woman to have an "out" from responsibility to the child while a man does not.

Another argument claims it is essentially paternalistic and diminishing to women to give them special privileges that men to not have. To expect men to, "man it up, not bitch out, be a man," &c. but to allow women to shirk responsibility is to hold men to a higher standard than women, and thus diminishes women. The partner of the "gentler sex" is allowed to escape responsibility for her actions, while the man is forced to endure.

--


Personal Conclusion
It seems to me the sexual revolution was all about separating sexuality from reproduction; not just in cause and effect, but in moral, ethical, and responsible terms as well. Further, it seems to me that if the law is going to allow abortion (which I believe it should), the law has abandoned any pretense of the rights of the child. If you can kill it, it seems like you can do anything else you damn well please. This should probably include severing any fiscal ties to it.

As to mom? She's taken on an adult responsibility, and she can make her own decisions. She can keep the child, or not, as she sees fit.
posted by Richard Daly at 2:11 PM on March 9, 2006


From the article:

Feit's organization has been trying since the early 1990s to pursue such a lawsuit, and finally found a suitable plaintiff in Matt Dubay of Saginaw, Michigan.

It's taken them over 10 years to find a plaintiff. This is a non-issue, legally speaking. Seriously, come up with a law and explain how it could actually be enforced.

Biology just isn't fair. Sorry, but that's how it is. Without judging men (or women) who abandon their children, does anyone really think this country needs more children living in poverty? That's a likely outcome of letting parents abdicate financial responsibility for their children.

I feel bad for men who get tricked into fatherhood, but with all due respect, it's not exactly an epidemic problem. While "just wear a condom" my not seem fair, it's a hell of a lot more practical than any legal remedy to the situation.
posted by 912 Greens at 2:12 PM on March 9, 2006


The man does not have the uterus; the woman does. The woman gets pregnant. Therefore, it is the woman's right to choose. End of story.

There is NOTHING that a man can nor should do based on a woman's decision, save taking responsibility based on the woman's decision. If she wants to have the kid, then he should have considered what he was getting into. That's part of the risk of having sex.

You cannot have your cake and eat it too. You cannot say to the nation that we will withhold the dissemination of condoms and halt sex education and then encircle yourself with bullshit lawsuits like this for this nation's abysmal failure to educate youngsters on the realities of sex and pregnancy.

If Matt Dubay (curious how his last name is an anagram for "Dubya") thinks that men are "punished" for having to take responsibility, then this cretin should take a look at how easily men can run away when they learn that their partner is pregnant, the emotional, physical and financial hardships that a pregnant woman going it alone must face, and the stigma and lack of support (both emotional and financial) they may face from their families.
posted by ed at 2:14 PM on March 9, 2006


The man does not have the uterus; the woman does. The woman gets pregnant. Therefore, it is the woman's right to choose. End of story.

True that. But the woman shouldn't have the right choose what the man does.
posted by countzen at 2:16 PM on March 9, 2006


As I stated, becoming pregnant when I wasn't ready and without a supportive partner, and then choosing to have an abortion would be emotionally devastating to me. So would going through labor and giving the child to strangers never to be seen again, as would having to be raise it all by myself. Any of those options would fuck up my life in a way that writing a check every month never could.

Ohh, you mean your feelings might get hurt!?

Sorry to be so flip, but come on. You might feel 'devistated' but you would have consented to sex in the first place, just like the man. In your case, you chose not to have sex with someone who wasn't willing to share the burden. Good for you.

But stating that you're 'devastation' would be worse then a mans financial Burdon for 18 years is a bit much. Consider "Robocop_is_bleeding"'s friend in the example he posted above. Out of nowhere, it turns out that he is hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt for a child that he never knew about. What if he had plans or something? How is that not "devastating"

And anyway, I just don't think the law should be designed to protect a person's feelings at the expense of another person, sorry.
posted by delmoi at 2:17 PM on March 9, 2006


Azaadistani: The reason that the child support laws have been developed the way they have, is not because the American legal system is pro-women and out to screw men (read US constitutional history or US history in general), but because men would screw over women repeatedly (excuse the pun) and become dead-beat dads.

And since that never happens anymore, our child support laws must be the greatest EVAR!!! /sarcasm

Y'know, even when the dad is responsible, oftentimes everyone pays for these kids - in the form of WIC, welfare and other types of public assistance. I and my mom's other two children were all raised with the assistance of the State via such assistance - which means YOU (or your parents) paid for my housing, food and clothes, especially if you lived in Maine. And that's on top of what mom got from my dad for child support, which he paid like clockwork - but since it had been negotiated in the divorce at a dollar value instead of a percentage of income, the crazy inflation of the 1970s destroyed its value handily, and mom had to go on public assistance.

So thanks everyone! My half-sibs thank you too.

Anyway, this costs all of us, not just the fathers, is what I'm trying to say.
posted by zoogleplex at 2:20 PM on March 9, 2006


The man does not have the uterus; the woman does. The woman gets pregnant. Therefore, it is the woman's right to choose. End of story.

Putting the word "end of story" doesn't actually make you right. I'm all for a woman's right to chose, but men should also have a right to chose.

Biology just isn't fair. Sorry, but that's how it is. Without judging men (or women) who abandon their children, does anyone really think this country needs more children living in poverty?

Biologically speaking, the mans responsibilities end at ejaculation. What does biology have to do with this?
posted by delmoi at 2:20 PM on March 9, 2006


It seems to me that the argument of "pregnancy is a risk of sex. if you have sex, you run that risk, deal with it." could be turned around.

Deadbeat dads is a risk of sex. If you have sex with a guy, and he abandons his responsibility when a child is conceived, you've run that risk. deal with it.

now, I don't believe this, but I also don't believe the first version, either.
posted by shmegegge at 2:22 PM on March 9, 2006


or rather, i don't believe that the issue is as simple as the first version. 'scuse. I believe in accepting responsibility for one's actions, including pregnancy. I just also believe that men should have more legal protection than they do.
posted by shmegegge at 2:23 PM on March 9, 2006


In fact, now that I think about it, there are two responsibility issues here.
1) responsibility to the child.
2) responsibility to the mother.

In a culture that permits abortion, there can be no responsibility to unborn children.

Nothing about pregnancy - alone - causes a responsibility to the mother from the father, any more than the pregnancy - by itself - causes a responsibility from the mother to the father. The father can't say to the mother, just because she's pregnant, "You can't have an abortion, you have a responsibility to me. You will bare that child." The mother shouldn't say to the father, "now that the egg has implanted itself in my uterine lining, you must become my family or pay to support me as if you were."

You should become a family long before you have a kid, just as you should be married long before you say your vows. It's not the wedding that makes two people husband and wife, and it's not the child that makes two people parents.
posted by Richard Daly at 2:24 PM on March 9, 2006 [1 favorite]


Btw, I believe the desire for people to have "responsibility" for sex is the main motivating desire behind the pro-life movement. They don't give a crap about babies, they view them as a punishment for fucking.

I'm surprised how many of you, deep down, share the same belief, albeit with "A woman has a right to chose" larded on top in a thoroughly inconsistent manner.
posted by delmoi at 2:26 PM on March 9, 2006


True that. But the woman shouldn't have the right choose what the man does.

But "the woman" doesn't really do the deciding--society does. And society decides that parents are financially responsible for their children. Do you really want to change that?

What does biology have to do with this?

What biology has to do with this is that it makes it impossible to find a legal solution to this problem without fundamentally altering how we think about a parent's responsibility to their children.
posted by 912 Greens at 2:26 PM on March 9, 2006 [1 favorite]


But "the woman" doesn't really do the deciding--society does. And society decides that parents are financially responsible for their children. Do you really want to change that?

Obviously.

What biology has to do with this is that it makes it impossible to find a legal solution to this problem without fundamentally altering how we think about a parent's responsibility to their children.

Huh? While our thinking has a biological bases, that's not really what I mean when I say 'biology'

Biologically, the woman just throw the baby in the trash after she has it, or have an abortion. Biologically the man can skip town or he can murder the pregnant woman, or a host of other things. Biology is not moral; it's not biology that makes the father responsible, it's society.
posted by delmoi at 2:29 PM on March 9, 2006


Re: Male hormonal Birth Control:
shmegegge writes "I would. I've been waiting for it to hit market for years."

Me too, I'd be on it like a cop on a donut robbery. I was quite interested in this K5 submission but alas there was no follow up. It seems the male BC pill has been five years away since I've been paying attention (20+ years)
posted by Mitheral at 2:31 PM on March 9, 2006


True that. But the woman shouldn't have the right choose what the man does.

But "the woman" doesn't really do the deciding--society does. And society decides that parents are financially responsible for their children. Do you really want to change that?


So we are talking about society again. Talking about Law.

I think, you agree that this situation is unfair to the man.

And if so, society/law would be wrong. Nothing wrong with that, as long as people recognize that it is wrong. That's what we are arguing here on this thread.

And so, IMHO, yes I do want to change that. Just like other things in society is unfair or unjust. (Racism, profiling, Iraq, Echelon, etc.)
posted by countzen at 2:31 PM on March 9, 2006


ed, you should really try to get a feel for whats being said.

"Therefore, it is the woman's right to choose. End of story. "
every one here - EVERYONE agrees with this.

by all means let the woman choose to keep a child for whom there is no willing father figure. Some of are simply saying that if she wants to make that choice, the man bears no responsibility for it.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 2:31 PM on March 9, 2006


responding to booksandlibretti: my bad, i should have said non-HIV STD ... as for criminalizing HIV transmission, i wonder whether there have been any convictions in the US ... i did some digging and failed to find any. i could not find reference to any cases of HIV transmission through sexual intercourse, either. the US cases dealt with injecting someone with HIV+ tainted blood. note also, that in each case, consent will be an affirmative defense (as it is in the Iowa sample law provided in your Wiki link)--that the plaintiff had been informed; that means that the prosecution will have to prove that the defendant is lying based on the preponderance of the evidence. the criminal transmission of hiv laws are very controversial for that reason, and i do not know of any conviction in the US based on the sexual transmission of HIV.
posted by Azaadistani at 2:35 PM on March 9, 2006


"And society decides that parents are financially responsible for their children. Do you really want to change that?"

Our system of laws is in place precisely to delineate what society decides is appropriate - and that system is open to modification via legal proceedings.

Society used to think that women shouldn't work, vote, or have any rights, for example!

By changing laws, we have already fundamentally altered how we think about a parent's responsibility: we've been able to give women the right to not be responsible if they so choose (and rightly so in my opinion), and also to divorce a husband, for that matter, so she doesn't get stuck pregnant, barefoot and powerless in the kitchen.

So your assertion about biology is meaningless, from a societal and legal standpoint.
posted by zoogleplex at 2:35 PM on March 9, 2006


Ohh, you mean your feelings might get hurt!?

Sorry to be so flip, but come on.


Wow. You're a dick.

When I said, devastated, I meant just that, as in suicidal. Not getting pregnant until I was absolutely ready has been crucial to my well-being. I am absolutely thankful that my diligence has paid off. Now, if I had been unfortunate enough to be impregnated by someone who had given me every indication that he would be there for me and he then bailed, I would be totally screwed. There would have been no good outcome in that scenario and no monthly check, no matter how big, would have changed that.
posted by echolalia67 at 2:38 PM on March 9, 2006


echolalia67 - no offense, but your personal weakness shouldn't be the rubric for law. :(
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 2:42 PM on March 9, 2006


So, delmoi and countzen, how do you change society or the law to fix this? Sorry if you've already explained that, but I really can't remember what everyone has said at this point.

All I'm saying is: suppose you want a law that says a man is not responsible for a child if he was tricked into thinking the woman was using protection. How on earth would you prove he was tricked? And if you're saying that men should be able to just opt out, where do you draw the line?
posted by 912 Greens at 2:44 PM on March 9, 2006


Hi, guys. I just got here--what did I miss?

*polishes vasectomy trophy*
posted by zonkout at 2:45 PM on March 9, 2006


Tryptophan-5ht:yeah, and the fact that you think that it's unfair that you should have to pay child support because you ejaculated inside a fertile woman does not make for a just and sound law
posted by echolalia67 at 2:45 PM on March 9, 2006


*polishes vasectomy trophy*
Now, THAT's an euphemism for masturbation...
posted by qvantamon at 2:47 PM on March 9, 2006


"So, delmoi and countzen, how do you change society or the law to fix this?"

If I may be so bold as to answer, a lawsuit is the societally and legally appropriate way to start.
posted by zoogleplex at 2:50 PM on March 9, 2006


All of you who are really worried about guys getting stuck with parenting bills for kids they didn't want REALLY NEED to get on the bandwagon and start fighting to protect Roe. Cuz there is no way in hell that if women's rights to choose not to have kids start getting cut (and we're talking 13 states already passing measures to do just that), men will not start getting stuck for child support more and more often.

South Dakota's rhetoric was not "Keep women down." It was "keep families together" -- the governor's talking about shotgun weddings as a good thing, because it forces the father to step up and take responsibility.

You wanna keep your rights? Work now.
posted by occhiblu at 2:51 PM on March 9, 2006


My point about biology is just that as long as women are the ones carrying the child/giving birth, there's no way to make the situation strictly equal. It's true of a reverse situation too--suppose it's the woman who wants to abort and the man who wants her to have the child. There's no way of resolving that problem in a way that is fair to both parties. Biology gets in the way of the human construct of justice a lot of the time.
posted by 912 Greens at 2:52 PM on March 9, 2006


"my body my choice" ok fine.

explain why when you choose to have sex with a man , and when that act results in pregnancy, you have a choice, but the man does not. walk me through it.

i really would like to know. i have read this thread , and no one has explained , how a woman can rid herself of the responsibility of pregnancy , but a man has no options once pregnancy occurs.

i'm sorry i don't understand. i was under the impression , that the reason a woman has the right to end a pregnancy, is because the state , nor anyone else has the right to force her to be a mother. why then does anyone , and or the state, have the right to force me to be a father?
posted by nola at 2:52 PM on March 9, 2006


Dang it. Zoogleplex got to my first idea.

Second would be discussions and ideas, like here.
posted by countzen at 2:53 PM on March 9, 2006


Btw, I believe the desire for people to have "responsibility" for sex is the main motivating desire behind the pro-life movement. They don't give a crap about babies, they view them as a punishment for fucking.

Right to the heart of the matter. delmoi for teh win!
posted by illiad at 2:54 PM on March 9, 2006


Think about all taboos and mores society creates around sex, monogamy and marriage. Maybe casual sex has long been believed to be a really poor value proposition for both individuals and society. Maybe we'll all have to be patient while laws regulating irresponsible, loveless, meaningless fucking are written to all our satisfaction. Wow, I'm a prude.

On preview. Transference bullshit. Pro-lifers consider babies a consequence, maybe a blessing, but never a punishment.
posted by klarck at 3:06 PM on March 9, 2006


Second would be discussions and ideas, like here.

So...you have no idea. Ok, just checking.

why then does anyone , and or the state, have the right to force me to be a father?

Strictly speaking, they're not forcing you to be a father, they're forcing you to pay out. I'm not trying to be a smartass, I really think it's an important distinction. Because being a father (especially a noncustodial one) is often the bigger challenge.

But to answer your actual question: the fact is someone's got to take care of the kid, and the state certainly doesn't want to do it if they can make you do it instead. This debate and others like it might help people think of what constitutes a family in a different way. Or maybe it'll just cause people to take less responsibility for their offspring.
posted by 912 Greens at 3:07 PM on March 9, 2006


Let's propose carving out an exception for men who use a form of birth control that fails. They've made a conscious effort to avoid pregnancy; perhaps they should have some say in whether or not they will be involved in the child's life and pay child support. Okay, that exempts about 2 men a year. Now what about the millions of other men?
posted by DrAmy at 3:08 PM on March 9, 2006


Here's my solution:
If a man knows a woman is pregnant, before the child is born he has the option of choosing not to support the pregnancy. This opt-out would require legal notification to the women. If he makes the decision to opt-out, he owes the pregnant woman one of the following (depending on the woman's decision to keep the pregnancy or not):
1. Half the cost of an abortion and any related costs (travel, any followup medical costs, etc...), plus half the lost salary for any time taken from work for the procedure, followups.
2. Half the cost of carrying the pregnancy to birth.

Why this isn't perfect:
1. The man has no right to actually have the child if the woman doesn't want it. The woman's right to choose to terminate the pregnancy clearly trumps his right to father the child, and I don't see any way around this. It's an inequality that can't be avoided.
2. Some men may not know the woman is pregnant until after the child is born. This is probably a minority of the minority, and to avoid the possibility that men will try to back out of child support after the child is born, I didn't address this situation.

Alternately, I also support a law stating that no one can have a child unless they have a signed legal contract by two people (regardless of sex) stating they take full responsibility for the child. Oh, and both people must pass a test that they're not morons and will actually make decent parents.
posted by Crash at 3:15 PM on March 9, 2006


Let's propose carving out an exception for men who use a form of birth control that fails. They've made a conscious effort to avoid pregnancy; perhaps they should have some say in whether or not they will be involved in the child's life and pay child support.

Are we going to restrict abortions to women who attempted to use birth control, but birth control failed?

the fact is someone's got to take care of the kid

True that, but right now a woman, even after giving birth, can decide she ain't gonna be the one to do it and give it up for adoption. We don't have laws making it impossible for women to do so, because the state doesn't feel like paying to take care of kids up for adoption.
posted by Jezztek at 3:16 PM on March 9, 2006


When I said, devastated, I meant just that, as in suicidal.

Well, that's to bad. But I don't believe that the government should require people to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars over two decades just because it would hurt someone's feelings not too.

All I'm saying is: suppose you want a law that says a man is not responsible for a child if he was tricked into thinking the woman was using protection. How on earth would you prove he was tricked? And if you're saying that men should be able to just opt out, where do you draw the line?

Yes, I think men should just be able to opt-out. I also think that women who trick men into fathering their children should not be able to get child support. As to how to prove that? Well, that's a difficult question. On the other hand, date rape is illegal and that can be hard to prove unless the woman has visible signs of assault. Still, date rape is illegal (as it should be)

The reason I would support a universal opt-out is because then no one would have to prove anything. The mothers of children who's fathers opted out, would then receive public assistance to cover the loss.

Tryptophan-5ht:yeah, and the fact that you think that it's unfair that you should have to pay child support because you ejaculated inside a fertile woman does not make for a just and sound law

Why not? Because it would hurt your feelings otherwise? Well, guess what, being treated in a way you feel is unfair also hurts people's feelings too. Some people (like you) just believe men's feelings aren’t as important as women's feelings, so the law should just ignore them.

i really would like to know. i have read this thread , and no one has explained , how a woman can rid herself of the responsibility of pregnancy , but a man has no options once pregnancy occurs.

I think it' been made pretty clear, men and women are different, and so the law doesn't need to be fair. PERIOD END OF STORY! BIOLOGY!
posted by delmoi at 3:17 PM on March 9, 2006


“...only apply when men are lied to about birth control...”

Man...that’s so easy to prove, isn’t it?
posted by Smedleyman at 3:17 PM on March 9, 2006


Oh, and both people must pass a test that they're not morons and will actually make decent parents.

Are you trying to depopulate this planet?
posted by illiad at 3:17 PM on March 9, 2006


@ DrAmy, Er, that's hardly 2 men a year. As was stated earlier, condoms have a 16% / year failure rate. Unless only 12 men a year have sex.... (haha, suckers!)
posted by Richard Daly at 3:19 PM on March 9, 2006


I'd also like to throw in that the idea that people shouldn't have sex if they are not willing or able to take financial responsibility for any children they accidentally create may not be entirely workable in our society. Consider career that require extremely long educations, such as doctors, lawyers, and scientists. They will not be financially stable and able to afford children well into their thirties. Certainly, it is not reasonable to expect them to stay away from sex until that time. Even if it was, it'd be a bad idea to implement it; you'd dissuade most people from entering those important fields.

Yeah, I know, protection is great, but it does fail. Particularly for men; condoms don't have the kind of success rate the pill has. Even if you assume the highest quoted success rates, there are enough men and enough condoms out there to ensure that failures will occur in reasonably large numbers and society must have a means of dealing fairly with them.
posted by Mitrovarr at 3:23 PM on March 9, 2006


Here's my solution:
If a man knows a woman is pregnant, before the child is born he has the option of choosing not to support the pregnancy. This opt-out would require legal notification to the women. If he makes the decision to opt-out, he owes the pregnant woman one of the following (depending on the woman's decision to keep the pregnancy or not):
1. Half the cost of an abortion and any related costs (travel, any followup medical costs, etc...), plus half the lost salary for any time taken from work for the procedure, followups.
2. Half the cost of carrying the pregnancy to birth.


Seems reasonable to me. But I'd like to see a little more teeth put into the decision. Lets say a man knows his partner wouldn't ever consider an abortion, and he deep down wants her to have the kid, he just doesn't want to pay for it. He's free to file and get off the hook, confident his bluff wont be called. That's why I propose that if he files for this he loses all legal rights to fatherhood, and also the role of being a father. If ever attempts to re-enter the child's life, to see his first steps, watch her grow, be there for the child's first birthday, then the woman may choose to hold him liable for all the child support he would have owed as the father. Basically men need to know that if they give of rights to the child, there are really losing the child, they can't have it both ways.

2. Some men may not know the woman is pregnant until after the child is born. This is probably a minority of the minority, and to avoid the possibility that men will try to back out of child support after the child is born, I didn't address this situation.

How about the notification goes both ways. A woman can file a free notification to be sent to the father upon discovering her pregnancy (giving him the chance to respond), and only women who have filed this notice can claim child support later on.

If we made the filing process quick and easy, perhaps have the forms be dispersed at every OBGYN office, then it could become just another basic part of the process of having a child.
posted by Jezztek at 3:29 PM on March 9, 2006 [1 favorite]


"Condoms have a 16% failure rate"

First of all, that is the failure rate of people who claim to be using condoms as their method of birth control. It differs considerably from the technical failure rate which is probably in the range of 3%. The reason the actual failure rate is so high is that men who claim to be using condoms often don't use them every time, or put them on immediately before orgasm, and have intercourse for some time before using the condom.

Second, adding contraceptive foam lowers the failure rate substantially.

Third, vasectomy is the safest method of birth control, with a failure rate of less than 1%.

The reality is that true birth control failures are quite rare. So even if you carve out an exception for men who experience birth control failures, you are talking about very few people. Most unwanted pregnancies are caused by failure to use birth control at all.

My question is: what about the vast majority of men who made no effort to prevent an unwanted pregnancy, knowing full well that an unintended pregnancy could occur?
posted by DrAmy at 3:37 PM on March 9, 2006


DrArmy, vasectomy isn't a valid argument b/c we're not saying the men never want children, just that they don't want them now. And regardless how low the birth control failure rate is, unless it's full proof, the current system is unfair.

Jezztek, I'll accept your first recommendation (the man gives up all future rights as a father). It's the same as if the father is saying he's giving the child up for adoption. He shouldn't have the right to invade the family if he later changes his mind.

On the second issue, I worry that we're adding an unneccessary complication/burden & cost to women and giving men an out if they change their mind, as long as they can convince the woman it's not worth the legal expense to file (since he's clearly sticking around).
posted by Crash at 3:40 PM on March 9, 2006


Where is the disconnect here? Why is this such a touchy issue?

First, and foremost, this test case is a joke. The my girlfriend told me she couldn't get pregnant argument introduces unnecessary elements to mens rights. This is not about contraception. In fact, most here are likely to agree that if you don't want to have a child, don't have sex or have sex with reasonable precaution.

Instead, the issue that is being raised is that an unmarried coupling produced a pregnancy. What the court has to do, essentially, is determine whether or not the act of having sex outside of marriage legally binds a man to a financial obligation for the next 18 years. The problem with this case is that the woman involved already gave birth and he's already been ordered to pay child support.

The child's alive. This makes the mother's decision irreversible. This makes the court likely to side with the mother. This, however, is not what a majority of men, I presume, in this thread are arguing about. It's pretty clear that this case is not going to go very far. Once a child, out of the womb, has been introduced into this case, it was over for the man. The court generally, perhaps is even obliged by law, takes the life of the child into account.

Is it fair to the man? No. Is it fair to the woman? Given how I've seen these things turn out, I'd say no. Is it fair to the child? No. Is it an acceptable compromise given all of the circumstances? I'd say yes.

If the judge was able to decide prior to the end of the first trimester, then the judge would be less likely to consider the life of the child. If the judge finds in favor of the man, the woman would still have the option to have an abortion. After the birth of the child, the woman does not have this choice.

Inside of a marriage, this is open an shut. Men have reponsibility to the child. In cases of rape, the rapist has responsibility if the woman chooses to take the child to term. My understanding of what's being argued here only applies to unmarried couples who are not verfiably trying to have a child. And it only applies before the child is born. After birth, suddenly the tables switch and it is no longer fair to women because they can not travel back and time and have an abortion nor is it fair to the child.
posted by sequential at 3:40 PM on March 9, 2006


"The reality is that true birth control failures are quite rare."

Dr. Amy, I've heard so many stories of how women have been on the pill and gotten pregnant - literally, dozens of stories out of my various social cohorts over the years, and there's at least a couple right here in this thread.

How does this square with your presumably medically accurate statement?

Could it be that there's more lying going on than we'd like to think? Or are a lot of women really bad at reading the directions, or something?
posted by zoogleplex at 3:45 PM on March 9, 2006


When I was 20 or so, I told my girlfriend at the time that I would pay for an abortion if she got pregnant, but would rather not marry her under those circumstances (we were using condoms at the time). I also said that if she didn't agree to that we could avoid having intercourse in the future. I recognize that I was a bit of an asshole for stating things so baldly, but at the same time I was making an effort to talk about and plan for eventualities (and babies are an eventuality of sex). When I was 23 I jumped through some hoops, and got a vasectomy, and heaved a sigh of relief.

I have never felt that it is unfair of society to link fiscal responsibility to sex, merely that it is unfair of biology. If my girlfriend had gotten pregnant back then, or my wife today, I'd accept the financial burden, even though I never wanted children. It's the price of sex, which is a _choice_ that I made. It shouldn't really be surprising to those of us who've grown up that our choices sometimes have far reaching and unavoidable consequences.

I support society placing the fiscal burden of reproduction on both parents, just as I support abortion rights. The consistency in both of these positions is that it reduces the overwhelming incentives to population expansion, which I feel is a noble and necessary goal. No, this is not fair, but I support it none the less, just as I support other unfair but socially necessary constructs, such as the incarceration of criminals despite all of the edge cases and exceptions to the judicial system.
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:47 PM on March 9, 2006


Dr Amy, every one of my three children was born because my birth control-used properly-failed. Oh, and my kids are 21, almost 20 and almost 19. You do the math.

(Let the record show I wanted three children to begin with but wanted to space them properly and have them when we were financially ready...and God laughed.)
posted by konolia at 3:47 PM on March 9, 2006


I agree with Crash (and Jezztek amendments), but there should also be a provision for the case where the _mother_ opts out of child support from the father, without stripping him from normal non-custodial parent rights (2 weekends per month, or such). This opt-out could be temporary, but if she ever requested support, it shouldn't be retroactive.

Btw, that's how it's worked for my parents. My father's been through some hard years, and they just forgot about it. When I got into college, dad was in a better financial condition, so he resumed helping (and, at this time, his checks went straight into my account, not mom's)
posted by qvantamon at 3:48 PM on March 9, 2006


The mothers of children who's fathers opted out, would then receive public assistance to cover the loss.

So, even if the father could easily afford to pay to raise his own kid, it's the taxpayers' responsibility instead? I'm not a republican or anything, but that seems unfair.

I've heard so many stories of how women have been on the pill and gotten pregnant - literally, dozens of stories out of my various social cohorts over the years, and there's at least a couple right here in this thread.

Come on! Anecdotal evidence? Cite some hard numbers if you want people to believe you.
posted by 912 Greens at 3:52 PM on March 9, 2006


Stupid system error ate my response to nola. CliffNotes version: If I'm the one who has the impregnated uterus and has to bear the suffering involved in both pregnancy and abortion, then I'm the one who has to make the ultimate decision. That being said, I think most pregnant women want their partners involved in the decision-making. Unless the guy is a raging, freaking psycho, I see no reason why he shouldn't have some say in what happens. I just think that the final decision should be the woman's. If a man's really uncomfortable with the thought that his partner might make a choice that is in opposition to his life plans, he needs take an active, assertive role in birth control use.
posted by echolalia67 at 3:54 PM on March 9, 2006


Further, it seems to me that if the law is going to allow abortion (which I believe it should), the law has abandoned any pretense of the rights of the child. If you can kill it, it seems like you can do anything else you damn well please.

Unless you consider a fetus to have a seperate legal status from a child, which is implied by abortion having a seperate legal status from child murder.

Just because a distinction is arbitrarily made doesn't mean it's not an important one.
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:56 PM on March 9, 2006


i'm kinda shocked that so many people think the law can put its hands on this situation and make it better instead of worse...and in such complicated ways! people don't know how credit cards work--how are they going to grasp the three-volume code on sexual guidelines
posted by troybob at 3:58 PM on March 9, 2006


Oh, and "Man up, nancy".
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:58 PM on March 9, 2006


You don't need any complicated opt-outs or lawsuits or anything. Just make the law reflect the natural biological order, like so:

1) Biologically, the need for the father ends at the point of insemination. Therefore, the rights and responsibilities of the father also end at this point. Under my theoretical legal system, the father has no say in whether the child is born, or any responsibility to provide for the child, by default.

2) Biologically, the mother bears the burden (literally) of having or not having the child. She has the right to have the child, have an abortion, or give it up for adoption. If she chooses to have the child, she has full custody, as well as full responsibility for raising the child, by default. If she does not wish to raise the child, and the father does, the father has first rights to adoption.

3) There is a perceived social need for children to have the support of two parents. This need has traditionally been met by the institution of marriage. If the parents decide to enter into the legal contract of marriage together (before or after the woman gets pregnant), then they voluntarily share the obligations, rights, and responsibilities of raising the child. If they are not willing to enter into this legal contract, then the non-custodial parent has no legal rights or responsibilities for the child. In case of divorce, the custodial parent is solely legally responsible. Parents, are of course, entitled to come up with their own arrangements outside of marriage, but there is no inherent assumption of rights or responsibility for unmarried, non-custodial parents.

This would clearly be a big shift in our social order, but it is fair to all parties involved, takes biological realities into account, and seems to be a natural outgrowth of sexual freedoms extended to their logical conclusion. Note, too, that under this system, if people wish to go about their business like they do now (for instance, a non-married father offering child support or requesting visitation rights, or entering some kind of co-parenting contract outside of marriage), they are welcome to do so. Thoughts?
posted by designbot at 3:58 PM on March 9, 2006


(oops)...i'm more for saying this is how the world works, folks--some men lie, some women lie, sex makes babies, and babies aren't always planned...it's the way it is, and knowledge of the law is no excuse...fucker beware...
posted by troybob at 3:59 PM on March 9, 2006


as long as they can convince the woman it's not worth the legal expense to file

Oh, that part could only work if it was effortless to file the claim, basically when you check into the OBGYN's office they have you fill out the sign in forms, and background info. What if on your first visit there is an extra optional box on the form that asks for the father's name and address if you intend on involving the father in the child's upbringing. It should stress that while optional, you should always fill out the box the first time regardless of weather the man is already aware of the child, even in cases where you are living with the man. Then the doctor would be required to send a form letter to the address listed and then mail a xerox of the form the woman signed to some government records office to be filed away.

If it was like getting your drivers license, then yeah it's a pain, it costs money and all that jazz, but it should certainly be no harder then filing a change of address at the post office and hopefully even easier. Certainly it should incur no cost to the woman, to avoid just a scenario like you specified. But most importantly it needs to be treated as a basic step in having a child, like getting a birth certificate, and not like requesting a prenup where it is treated like you don't trust the other partner.
posted by Jezztek at 4:01 PM on March 9, 2006


I do support the idea of criminalizing the sabotage of birth control methods, but not that of letting men of the hook for progeny.
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:06 PM on March 9, 2006


Unless you consider a fetus to have a separate legal status from a child, which is implied by abortion having a separate legal status from child murder.

Well I think we all agree that the only time a man should be able to "opt out" is when it is merely a fetus. Clearly if a man takes responsibility for the fetus and it's born, the legal status changes and he can no longer opt out.

But for both men and women the "choice" needs to happen when we are dealing with a "potential child" rather then after it is born. So we can still keep things consistent within that framework.
posted by Jezztek at 4:07 PM on March 9, 2006


Well I think we all agree that the only time a man should be able to "opt out" is when it is merely a fetus. Clearly if a man takes responsibility for the fetus and it's born, the legal status changes and he can no longer opt out.

Actually, I did propose an idea where I disagree, at least in theory.
posted by designbot at 4:10 PM on March 9, 2006


Jezztek: Well I think we all agree that the only time a man should be able to "opt out" is when it is merely a fetus.

And if the woman keeps the pregnancy secret from the man, what then?
posted by Mitrovarr at 4:11 PM on March 9, 2006


First of all, that is the failure rate of people who claim to be using condoms as their method of birth control.
Actually, DrAmy, that is the failure rate when human error is introduced. The only way to reduce it is to remove the humans from the equation.
It differs considerably from the technical failure rate which is probably in the range of 3%.
No, the technical failure rate, with human error removed, differs with every method. Don't guess. There are facts that might back you up if you bothered to look.
The reason the actual failure rate is so high is that men who claim to be using condoms often don't use them every time, or put them on immediately before orgasm, and have intercourse for some time before using the condom.
At least your sexism is consistant, but I'm afraid your wrong again. The reason the actual failure rate is this high is that humans, of both genders, make mistakes. The pill is only as effective as the manufacturers claim based on a very specific method of taking it. There are more possible errors with the pill than with a condom.
Third, vasectomy is the safest method of birth control, with a failure rate of less than 1%.
There are numerous operations a woman can have that are equally, if not more, effective. Why is it just a man's responsibility?
The reality is that true birth control failures are quite rare.
When people start using words like true or real when defending their argument, it signals that they are not talking about something either true or real. Instead, you're making all of this up because it sounds like it's real to you.

In reality, birth control failure absent human error happens very regularly. For every 1000 condoms that are effective 99.9% of the time, one fails. When you have nearly 300,000,000 people in one country, condoms are likely to be failing hourly. Many, if not most, of these failures do not result in pregnancy. Just because the manufacturer does not measure human error does not mean the error is less real or true.
So even if you carve out an exception for men who experience birth control failures, you are talking about very few people. Most unwanted pregnancies are caused by failure to use birth control at all.
Probably quite by mistake you have unearthed something that is true. It must feel like finding a treasure. Be proud.

Most unwanted pregnancies are caused by a failure to use birth control. That's very, very true. Why do most of these people fail to use birth control? Instead of blaming the man, why don't you look at who is having the unwanted pregnancies. Let me clue you in: they are generally poorer and generally less well educated.
posted by sequential at 4:11 PM on March 9, 2006


And if the woman keeps the pregnancy secret from the man, what then?

Read my amendments to Crash's proposal as posted above.
posted by Jezztek at 4:12 PM on March 9, 2006


konolia writes "Dr Amy, every one of my three children was born because my birth control-used properly-failed. Oh, and my kids are 21, almost 20 and almost 19. You do the math."

Geez konolia what method were you using, rythym?

designbot writes "This would clearly be a big shift in our social order, but it is fair to all parties involved, takes biological realities into account, and seems to be a natural outgrowth of sexual freedoms extended to their logical conclusion."

Your method seems perfect except for the fact that it often fucks over the only person who had no choice one way or the other.
posted by Mitheral at 4:16 PM on March 9, 2006


"Come on! Anecdotal evidence? Cite some hard numbers if you want people to believe you."

Of course, I have no hard numbers. Everything I've seen and read shows very high rates of effectiveness for the pill, yet at least 40 women I've met in the last 20 years have claimed they got pregnant on the pill.

What I'm saying is that if we take these stories of getting pregnant on the pill at face value as true, then we'd judge the pill as being highly ineffective, no?

A fair portion of these women, perhaps 8 or so, are ex-girlfriends (none of whom got pregnant by me thankfully), who either said this happened before we went out (with varying outcomes) or later when we were still friends claimed it happened with whomever they were with at the time, married or otherwise.

That's out of maybe 15 ex-girlfriends. Am I to believe the pill is less than 50% effective?

(All due respect, Konolia - the pill wasn't as good 20 years ago and there were not so many choices of formulations, so I don't doubt you.)

Who's right? The hard research numbers or the anecdotes?
posted by zoogleplex at 4:21 PM on March 9, 2006


Geez konolia what method were you using, rythym?
Play nice. :-) I presume she was using the pill. It's also likely that the pill was using was less effective then. The pill also has significant room for human error, even when the user believes they are following the instructions.

(No offense, Konolia, it's really not meant as a comment about you or your contraceptive education.)

On preview, what Zoogleplex said.
posted by sequential at 4:26 PM on March 9, 2006


Megafly's proposal: We all accept equal responsibility for raising all children. Why should a human life be worth less to me if they don't share 50% of my DNA? Some people want to punish the offspring of poor people by requiring child support of their poverty level, uneducated fathers while giving huge windfalls the the thousands of children of NBA players. Equality for all unwanted children! Taxpayers, including parents of unwanted children pay into a trust fund that supports all societies bastards until adulthood.
posted by Megafly at 4:26 PM on March 9, 2006


Your method seems perfect except for the fact that it often fucks over the only person who had no choice one way or the other.

Needless to say, under the current system, there are already thousands of single parents, and single parents who don't get child support payments are already eligible to receive assistance from the state (WIC, welfare, food stamps). I'm not sure my system would change anything except making explicit in law what's already inherent in biology & human nature.

It could actually encourage birth control use, since women might be more likely to refuse to have sex without a condom (or to take birth control themselves) if they knew a child would be completely their responsibility.
posted by designbot at 4:30 PM on March 9, 2006


Taxpayers, including parents of unwanted children pay into a trust fund that supports all societies bastards until adulthood.

This is already the case. It's called welfare (and I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that).
posted by designbot at 4:33 PM on March 9, 2006


Stupid system error ate my response to nola. CliffNotes version: If I'm the one who has the impregnated uterus and has to bear the suffering involved in both pregnancy and abortion, then I'm the one who has to make the ultimate decision. That being said, I think most pregnant women want their partners involved in the decision-making. Unless the guy is a raging, freaking psycho, I see no reason why he shouldn't have some say in what happens. I just think that the final decision should be the woman's. If a man's really uncomfortable with the thought that his partner might make a choice that is in opposition to his life plans, he needs take an active, assertive role in birth control use.

First of all, if a woman considers having an abortion 'suffering' then she should not have much unprotected sex.

Secondly, no one (at least not me) says that woman shouldn't have control of their uterus', they should. I'm just claiming that in addition, men should have control of their wallets.
posted by delmoi at 4:36 PM on March 9, 2006


I find it hard to believe that one could be using birth control properly and have it fail 3 times in 3 years, resulting in 3 pregnancies. The math's just off. Using it? Sure. But properly? Not likely with that failure rate.
posted by tristeza at 4:42 PM on March 9, 2006


Taxpayers, including parents of unwanted children pay into a trust fund that supports all societies bastards until adulthood.

This is already the case. It's called welfare (and I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that).


Seeing as government continues to make cut after cut to welfare and other social service programs, states are trying to outlaw almost all abortions, and now this, it's hard not to feel like there's a big "punish the sluts" campaign going on.
posted by echolalia67 at 4:44 PM on March 9, 2006


First of all, if a woman considers having an abortion 'suffering' then she should not have much unprotected sex.

First of all, if a man considers paying child support 'suffering' then he should not have much unprotected sex.
posted by echolalia67 at 4:47 PM on March 9, 2006


if a man considers paying child support 'suffering' then he should not have much unprotected sex.
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:57 PM on March 9, 2006


echolalia67, while I respect your choices for birth control and have no problem with the way you have chosen to lead your life, I'd like you to seriously consider the idea that you're the one being selfish and insensitive, here.

there are cases of men who, forced into supporting pregnancies they wanted nothing to do with which subsequently destroyed their ability to live the life they wanted, have killed themeselves. this is no less important a situation to deal with than your own issues.

on the other hand, you have legal protections that have been created to help you in your situation. men do not.

does this mean that all child custody law is wrong? no. does there need to be some more adjustment made to even things out? yes.
posted by shmegegge at 4:59 PM on March 9, 2006


To sum up this thread:
All women are innocent victims - passive.
All men have no-one but themselves to blame - active, aggressors.

And thus, hundreds of years of sexual stereotypes live on in supposedly enlightened minds.
posted by spazzm at 5:04 PM on March 9, 2006


if a woman considers having an abortion 'suffering' then she should not have much unprotected sex.

if a man considers paying child support 'suffering' then he should not have much unprotected sex.

if a woman considers raising a child by herself 'suffering' then she should not have much unprotected sex.


This is a counterproductive and unconvincing line of argument which cuts both ways, and does nothing to further the debate.
posted by designbot at 5:04 PM on March 9, 2006


Diaphragm and sponge. You cannot take the Pill while you are fully nursing a baby.

That last child? Used protection, plus fully nursing the second infant, and husband was out of town for all but two days. And yet she was born less than a year after her sister. There's a reason the hubs calls me Bunny.
posted by konolia at 5:10 PM on March 9, 2006


First of all, if a man considers paying child support 'suffering' then he should not have much unprotected sex.

It's not just about the money, it's also about feeling trapped for 18 years. The manager where I used to work was in college pursuing a degree when his girlfriend got pregnant.

He never got to finish school because of child support payments. His believes on some fundamental level his life has been ruined because of it.

He still talks about the life he thought he was going to have, and was on track to achieve before he was forced to drop out because he wasn't earning enough to cover child support and tuition. He hates his current job, and he has to give one of his weekly checks each month to pay for a pair of twins in some other state he never wanted, born to a women he has grown to loathe.

And when he gets up each day for his soul crushing job, do you think he doesn't wish he had more control over his body? Like in the most basic sense, he would prefer his body was almost anywhere else.

He's about 12 years into his 18 year sentence, so he's past the halfway point. And recently he felt he was finally getting a little ahead with money and the first thing he's been trying to go to school on the side, part time at nights. But the 25% penalty he incurs is huge for someone who never finished enough college to get a decent job, which means he has to work a ton, doing something he hates, just to make enough to survive after dishing out such a major chunk of change.

So yeah, this isn't just a case of cutting a check and not being able to buy a new stereo. He certainly believes his chances at a decent life were lost because of one bad decision he made when he was 19. Oddly enough the biggest reaction to the situation is his total revulsion at the idea of enjoying sex for sex's sake, I've never seen a straight guy so uninterested in even looking at attractive women.

So yeah, you can be flippant if you want, but it's bullshit to assume it isn't ruining some people's lives.
posted by Jezztek at 5:13 PM on March 9, 2006


And the state will never remedy this, because it's financially good for the state to force random suckers to pick up the tab on demon spawn children, and in some cases men are forced to pay child support for children that aren't even theirs. In California, some men have been paying child support simply because they have a similar name to the real father, and despite the mother's testimony that it's not the father are still forced to pay by the state because the state would rather be unjust than to have to be responsible itself.
posted by hincandenza at 11:41 AM PST on March 9 [!] There was a case recently where a man discovered during his divorce that his three (THREE) kids weren't his at all. Yet he still is expected to pay support for all of them because they were born during the marriage and he had acknowledged them as his. I support changes in the laws surrounding fathers, but I realize that men and women are not equal when it comes to parenthood. Yes, women do trap men. Yes, men do lie to women. Yes, people who have sex should at least have a stable relationship between them. Casual booty-calls possibly raise this issue more often than long-term couples. There are plenty of people out there who should not have kids, but they do. It takes two to make a pregnancy, but since it's the woman's body, she ultimately decides whether or not to give birth. Now, if men do get a "say" in the outcome of unplanned pregnancies, will we hear of cases where a man drags a woman to court to force her to give birth? Hasn't that already happened? As I see it, you can plan, you can prevent, you can do all the "right" things, but sometimes (and I'm not talking about planned deceptions here) things happen. And since it's the woman who has to sustain the pregnancy and go through all the processes that go with it, men will have very little to say about whether or not they want to pay for that child. Fair? No, probably not. But until men can give birth, women still have the final say in the result of an "accident".
posted by annieb at 5:22 PM on March 9, 2006


Currently it takes two to tango, but woman isn't forced to live with her choices so I don't see why a man should. She can get an abortion without his consent or she can give it up for adoption no questions asked, and thus without his consent. And while those situations suck for the man, I think it's the only way it should be, but men need a similar level of recourse.
posted by Jezztek at 11:48 AM PST on March 9

posted by annieb at 5:35 PM on March 9, 2006


How many more women enter into unwanted pregnancies due to rape than men?
posted by nomad at 5:36 PM on March 9, 2006


I've got it... fine the kid.

That's right. Since the dad is going to suffer so much having to pay for the kid's upbringing, then he should get a share of the profits once the kid is of working age.

It will be deemed that the child will tithe 10% of all his earnings to his father for the rest of the father's natural life, thus compensating him for the burden of having to live his life supporting the child.

Mom gets to choose, Dad doesn't "have his life ruined," and the kid? Fuck the damn kids. Obviously none of this issue is about what they have to go through.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:39 PM on March 9, 2006


Currently it takes two to tango, but woman isn't forced to live with her choices so I don't see why a man should. She can get an abortion without his consent or she can give it up for adoption no questions asked, and thus without his consent. And while those situations suck for the man, I think it's the only way it should be, but men need a similar level of recourse.
posted by Jezztek at 11:48 AM PST on March 9


What do you mean, a woman isn't forced to live with her choices? If she gives birth, she is involved with that child until she dies. If she gives birth, and gives the child up for adoption, not only does she have to go through the whole pregnancy and birth process, then she has to hope the kid has gotten good parents, and THEN she has to wonder if and when the kid will pop up again looking to connect with it's biological mother. If she tries to give it up for adoption without the father also signing off on the kid, the whole adoption process can be reversed or stopped. And if she choses abortion, who's to say she won't be wracked with guilt? It is far fewer women who can happily walk away from the train wreck of an unplanned pregnancy than men. So what is the recourse of a man? If he wants custody, and she doesn't, then let him have the child, and she can pay support. Like I said, when a man can give birth, then he can have more say in the outcome.

posted by annieb at 5:43 PM on March 9, 2006


annieb all those are examples of emotional investment, not legal recourse. That's not the law's job to sort out.

And yes, man can get emotionally invested to. Again from my personal experience I know a guy who got his girlfriend pregnant. He wanted her to keep it, she did not. She got the abortion without his consent (as should be legal) and it fucking broke his heart. He was one of those big tough, man's man guys and it was the only time I've seen the lug cry. But he was a wreck for a long time afterwards. But it wasn't the law's job to strip the woman of her freedom to choose to avoid hurting the man.
posted by Jezztek at 5:50 PM on March 9, 2006


How many more women enter into unwanted pregnancies due to rape than men?

Obviously, this is a derail comment with no relevance at all to the discussion, but I'll bite, just to play devil's advocate.

The answer is that the numbers are basically equal. Most rapists presumably do not intend to father children, but if a victim of rape does have a child, then according to the current definition, the rapist has an unwanted child too, with all the rights and responsibilities that entails. Unless you think that the father's legal connection to that child ends at conception, of course.
posted by designbot at 5:57 PM on March 9, 2006


You cannot take the Pill while you are fully nursing a baby.

Wrong.
Studies done in the 1960s and 1970s suggested that estrogen was the hormone most responsible for this decrease in milk production. However, those studies were done with pills containing larger amounts of estrogen than are in the contnraceptive pills on the market today. Contraceptives containing only progesterone, including the long-acting injections and under-the-skin implants do not appear to be associated with a decrease in milk production if taken after six weeks after delivery, when the milk supply is established.

Neither estrogens nor progesterones have been associated with any change in the quality of breast milk. Furthermore, long-term studies have failed to find any effect on growth in children up to eight years old whose mothes took estrogen-based birth control pills while nursing. Also, no effect on growth or the onset of puberty has been found up to seventeen years of age in children whose mothers took progesterone compounds.

---The Complete Book of Breastfeeding
(I couldn't resist, having just read that section this morning.)
posted by alms at 6:09 PM on March 9, 2006


They weren't saying that 20 years ago, sport.
posted by konolia at 6:18 PM on March 9, 2006


You cannot take the Pill while you are fully nursing a baby.

Wrong.
Alms, I realize that you're simply correcting something you know to be untrue, but konolia gave birth somewhere in the range of 1985. Even if the studies cited that proved the original studies from the 1960s and 1970s wrong were done in the early 1980s, it is reasonable to expect that konolia or konolia's doctor could have honestly not known this.

On preview, what konolia said. :-)
posted by sequential at 6:22 PM on March 9, 2006



Busily prepares popcorn and sets up the lawnchair....
posted by echolalia67 at 12:53 PM CST on March 9 [!]


7.5 hours later...how you hanging in there echolalia?
posted by Jesse H Christ at 6:33 PM on March 9, 2006


It's so nice to be happily married and not have to deal with this crap.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:34 PM on March 9, 2006


First of all, if a man considers paying child support 'suffering' then he should not have much unprotected sex.

echolalia67 now were back to the begining of the debate. A woman has to at least have the abortion, it would be nice if she could some how not be pregnant without getting one, but expecting a man to pay child support for 18 years just because you think getting an abortion would hurt your feelings is stupid.
posted by delmoi at 6:38 PM on March 9, 2006


annieb:

Look, I know it can be emotionally devastating, but after all that, a woman can still dust herself off, pick up her life where she left it, and live a fairly normal life with her dreams intact. On the other hand, a guy stuck with child support for 18 years is pretty much hosed. Unless he is already established with an education and a career, he will never be able to afford one, and will be stuck in a endless misery of meaningless drudgery at the sub-poverty level. He'll basically be wasting the prime of his life to support a woman who usually doesn't want anything to do with him and a child who, much of the time, the mother talks into hating him.

I know the idea of paying out money doesn't immediately seem to compare to the emotional turmoil you describe, but seriously, it ruins lives and shatters dreams. Child support payments are ruinous. I think most guys here know someone who had their life basically destroyed by such an event... certainly, I do. There's got to be a better alternative.
posted by Mitrovarr at 6:43 PM on March 9, 2006


If she gives birth, and gives the child up for adoption, not only does she have to go through the whole pregnancy and birth process, then she has to hope the kid has gotten good parents, and THEN she has to wonder if and when the kid will pop up again looking to connect with it's biological mother ... And if she chooses abortion, who's to say she won't be wracked with guilt?

And back to this. Men should pay because not paying would hurt the girls feelings. Even if it means the man has to give up his dreams or whatever, it doesn't matter, only the girls feelings matter.

Well, I think that's stupid.
posted by delmoi at 6:46 PM on March 9, 2006


And back to this. Men should pay because not paying would hurt the girls feelings. Even if it means the man has to give up his dreams or whatever, it doesn't matter, only the girls feelings matter. Well, I think that's stupid.

Put another way, those women who revel in holding men hostage with their uterus' (uteri?) shouldn't be allowed to.

Yeah, I'd have to agree.
posted by illiad at 7:02 PM on March 9, 2006


Once again delmoi, you are missing the point of child support. It's to remove the burden of children from society as a whole, and place it squarely on the heads of those responsible. If it ruins someone's life for 18 years, that's biology's fault.
posted by BrotherCaine at 7:05 PM on March 9, 2006


BrotherCaine: It's to remove the burden of children from society as a whole, and place it squarely on the heads of those responsible.

Why do that when we have volunteers? Last I checked, we had so many couples seeking babies to adopt we were importing them from foreign countries. Society doesn't need to stuff the cost of child-rearing down the throat of unwilling people, basically forcing them into poverty.

Also, society is perfectly happy to cover the cost for both parents if the mother deems it so. It seems unreasonable that it will not do so if the father wishes it.
posted by Mitrovarr at 7:12 PM on March 9, 2006


I never realized how irresponsible it was to trust women. Thanks, Metafilter!
posted by techgnollogic at 7:21 PM on March 9, 2006


If you people think that there is a vast conspiracy of women out there who would just *love* to spend the next 18 years fighting with some asshole about child support, you are out of your minds.

Unfortunately for men, and for women, sex is fun but sex represents a risk. Because of biology, women have the ultimate say over whether or not a pregnancy continues, but both parties enter into the act with the full knowledge that if proper precautions are not taken -- precautions that BOTH people are responsible for -- a pregnancy may be the consequence. It happens to be the case that biologically speaking, men don't get to decide what happens to any "ball of meat" that may result here, but you know that going into the act. It's not a secret. We hold the cards because we have a fundamental right to not be forced into continuing a physical state that we do not wish to sustain, ie, being pregnant. Men have a similar right to terminate any other physical condition that you do not wish to continue, but one of those isn't whether or not you're pregnant, because you can't get knocked up.

I know it's a crying goddamned shame that you, poor, poor men can't bear children on your own, so let me know when science reaches that point. However, it's not "equal protection under the law" for men to be able to "abort" their financial responsibilities when it comes to any children they may father. Equal protection, in that case, is that if the male were the custodial parent, the female would be paying child support.

Yeah, he should have worn a condom. He should have done so because it's HIS RESPONSIBILITY to look after himself. If he's not going to do that, then he needs to not have sex before he's hitched, because wearing a condom is part of not being a goddamned moron. It is completely irrelevent that other people make stupid decisions -- it's STILL stupid to fuck a girl bareback because she "can't have kids." Bullshit. My mom couldn't have kids either, yet here I sit, arguing reproductive rights at a bunch of men on the internet.
posted by Medieval Maven at 7:23 PM on March 9, 2006


Whatever happened to the responsibility of both parties? If you consent to sexual relations with someone, then you consented to face the potential consequences of your actions, including pregnancy. If a woman "tricks" a man into getting her pregnant (either through lying or some other way), the woman has abdicated any potential child support unless the man chooses to pay. If not, why should the man get a "Get out of baby jail free" card and the woman made to face the responsibility on her own? It punishes her alone for a situation that both are responsible for and allows the man to walk away without consequences. Before mentioning "she can just have an abortion" or "put the baby up for adoption", abortions are getting more and more difficult to obtain and in a number of jurisdictions, if the biological father doesn't sign off on the adoption, then the adoption can't go through. Its disheartening to read through this thread and see the age old double standards have such tight grip on otherwise "enlightened" people.
posted by googlebombed at 7:26 PM on March 9, 2006


"I think most guys here know someone who had their life basically destroyed by such an event... certainly, I do."

I know at least three, including the guy my last ex-girlfriend got herself purposely knocked up by because after we broke up she decided she was ready to have a baby... and he was just the next guy.

I also had not one but two ex-girlfriends deliberately stop taking their pills when the relationships were going sour and I was starting to consider leaving. I caught the first one by sheer chance, and the second by learning from the first one.

I got lucky, plain and simple. Had either of those girls succeeded in getting pregnant, I would still be working in a warehouse somewhere, or driving deliveries - and I would have no contact with my kid, which would break my heart.

*whew*

Has my experience been unusual? I sure hope so!
posted by zoogleplex at 7:31 PM on March 9, 2006


Re: the pill's effectiveness -- it's as effective as you want it to be. You have to be very, very vigilant with the pill to be sure you're not placing yourself up shit creek without a paddle.

Another piece of advice you guys might want to note, if you're going to be having sex, education is key. You need to know about how the pill works, too. So, for example: Missing a pill will increase your chances of pregnancy, even if you remember to take it later (there are directions with every package of pills I've ever had that tells you what to do when you miss a dose); any antibiotics will negate the pill's effects (use a condom after she's been taking that z-pack!). With perfect use (taking the pill at the same time every day and assuming no ill health such as vomiting, etc) the failure rate of the pill is 1 in 1000 women per year, or about half a percent. With actual usage (because people make mistakes) the statistic is about 3% per year. Men who know this, like any of my exboyfriends who worked in health care, have condoms on hand at all times and use them. As should you all.
posted by Medieval Maven at 7:38 PM on March 9, 2006


I find that I agree with the idea that the man is responsible for child support if the potential mother decides to carry a pregnancy to term. But, looking at it from the child's perspective: what a horrible situation to be in, to be born against the father's wishes! That's a huge strike against the child right from the start.

And there's a certain inconsistency here: thanks to the pill, more reliable birth control, and abortion as a possibility if all else fails, women can enjoy sex without having to worry about raising an unwanted child. Men do not have that luxury - if a man is being truly responsible, he should avoid having sex (given that birth control can fail even when properly used).

This means that responsible women can have sex, but only with irresponsible men. Hmmm. :-)
posted by davetill at 7:40 PM on March 9, 2006


Will that fit on a t-shirt, davetill? We may have figured out how to pay all this child support...
posted by techgnollogic at 7:48 PM on March 9, 2006


The gays are obviously God's chosen people.
posted by Hildegarde at 8:02 PM on March 9, 2006


Thanks for the info Medieval Maven. Useful++

What I'd like you to address is the situation in which many men find themselves. It goes sommit like this:

- Couple decide to have sex. Prior to sex, they discuss at length the consequences of having sex. They decide to both use contraception, she the Pill, he the condom. They agree that if she gets pregnant, she'll have an abortion.
- Sex happens. Birth control fails. She gets pregnant.
- Woman changes her mind and unilaterally decides to have and keep the baby. Guy is on the hook for 18 years.

All hyperbole and insistence that everyone behave like paragons of virtue aside, where's the justice in that kind of situation?
posted by illiad at 8:16 PM on March 9, 2006


Men who know this, like any of my exboyfriends who worked in health care, have condoms on hand at all times and use them. As should you all.
Why would you need a condom at all times? Do people really have that much sex without warning? (Please excuse my monogamy for a second.)
With actual usage (because people make mistakes) the statistic is about 3% per year.
It helps your argument when you don't make up numbers to support your position.
Of every 100 women who use the pill, eight will become pregnant during the first year of typical use. Fewer than one will become pregnant with perfect use. (1)
There are numerous other methods with different rates of effectiveness, but the pill has a real life failure rate of 8% in the first year of use. The FDA lists the rate of failure for the pill at somewhere between 1% and 2%. The failure rates listed by the FDA are the also the percentage of women that become pregnant in the first year of use in a clinical trial. This is not a strict measure of perfect use of the pill, but it is understood, given the nature of clinical trials, that it's also not the best measure of actual human error.
posted by sequential at 8:19 PM on March 9, 2006


are the also the percentage
are the also the percentage
posted by sequential at 8:22 PM on March 9, 2006


- Woman changes her mind and unilaterally decides to have and keep the baby. Guy is on the hook for 18 years.

Here's the thing, she's on the hook for 18 years, too. She also is having to pay for the care of the child and most likely is performing most to all of the labor of raising it.
posted by kayjay at 8:53 PM on March 9, 2006


A woman has to at least have the abortion, it would be nice if she could some how not be pregnant without getting one, but expecting a man to pay child support for 18 years just because you think getting an abortion would hurt your feelings is stupid.

Again, with the belittling "hurting your widdle fewwlings" crap. For some people, male and female, having an abortion is more than a matter of hurt or non-hurt feelings. I grew up in a heavily pro-life environment - while a lot of the bullshit backfired and made me a stongly pro-choice adult, I'll never be able to see an abortion as a "no fuss-no muss"solution to an unwanted pregnancy.

I'm pregnant right now. It's been hell. Doing it without the love and support of my husband would be impossible. It's so bad that I think that any woman who goes out of her way to trick a guy into getting her pregnant, has to be out of her damn mind. Going through the pregnancy and the responsibility of a kid, with a monthly check as the golden ring? You'd have to be crazy to pull that kind of stunt.

But you know what? I know that people are just that crazy and fucked up.

As a woman, I've never had the luxury of assuming that a guy who says that he's sterile or had a vasectomy is telling me the truth. I get a little frustrated at the cries of outrage from the men here because as a woman I have always had to assume that there is a possibility that someone I was dating would lie to me to get sex. I have always had to have the assumption that I could get stuck with a big, nasty mess if I believed what a guy I was dating told me in the heat of the moment. Being responsible about birth control has always meant having to assume that people lie, that people are selfish and people are bug-ass nuts. Not, men necessarily...people.

And guess what? The magic ticket out of babyland you keep mentioning, abortion? Not nearly as accessible as you might think for people outside of big urban areas. The laws they keep enacting - parental notification/consent, mandatory waiting periods - are designed to make abortion less accessable. And birth control methods like the pill, or emergency contraception like Plan B - ever hear of the "Conscience Clause". So saying that "I don't want it, go get an abortion, it's not my problem, sucks to be you..." is pretty coldhearted. As a woman, it's hard not to feel like we're taking hits from all sides and it's hard not to think that the motivation for the stikes is all coming from the same place - a hatred of women and of our autonomy.
posted by echolalia67 at 8:58 PM on March 9, 2006


About the amount of rampant misandry I figured I'd find in here.
posted by HTuttle at 9:04 PM on March 9, 2006



- Couple decide to have sex. Prior to sex, they discuss at length the consequences of having sex. They decide to both use contraception, she the Pill, he the condom. They agree that if she gets pregnant, she'll have an abortion.
- Sex happens. Birth control fails. She gets pregnant.
- Woman changes her mind and unilaterally decides to have and keep the baby. Guy is on the hook for 18 years.


And here's a flipside for you:

- Couple decide to have sex. Prior to sex, they discuss at length the consequences of having sex. They decide to both use contraception, she the Pill, he the condom. They agree that if she gets pregnant, she'll have the kid and they will raise it.
- Sex happens. Birth control fails. She gets pregnant.
- Man changes his mind and says that he doesn't want to pay for it, so she'd better get an abortion or put it up for adoption.

But I'll bet that neeeeever happens.
posted by kayjay at 9:13 PM on March 9, 2006


Here's the thing, she's on the hook for 18 years, too. She also is having to pay for the care of the child and most likely is performing most to all of the labor of raising it.

No, that's the point she isn't "on the hook", she can change her mind after she conceives and decide to have an abortion, she can change her mind after it's born and give it up for adoption.

She's not "On the Hook" in the sense that men are, because she has a choice in the matter. And even if the choices may be unpleasant for her, at least she has say in the matter.
posted by Jezztek at 9:20 PM on March 9, 2006


But I'll bet that neeeeever happens.

Good heavens. Did I say that? Or even imply it? Cuz if I did, shame on me.

Oh wait, I didn't.
posted by illiad at 9:23 PM on March 9, 2006


Here's the thing, she's on the hook for 18 years, too.

No, that's not the thing. She unilaterally decided to have the baby. She chose this. I don't see that being "on the hook."

The thing here is that if the woman changes her mind, the guy is powerless. If the guy changes his mind, she can abort the fetus, or put the child up for adoption. He doesn't have those options (nor should he, really).
posted by illiad at 9:25 PM on March 9, 2006


About the amount of rampant misandry I figured I'd find in here.

It's a new experience to me. I like women. Now I have to adjust that to "women who don't seethingly paint all men as walking, talking jism dispensers."
posted by illiad at 9:28 PM on March 9, 2006


You forgot the conclusion of your "flipside", kayjay:

Guy is on the hook for 18 years.

He is regardless of what he chooses. It is entirely up to her. Sinking in yet?

There is no other area of the law that I can think of where you have to live with the legal consequences of someone else's choice -- but do tell if I'm overlooking something.

I tell you what. I'll pay for the milkman's kid so long as my spouse pays for my lover's kid. I mean, at least then, in neither case will financial responsibility be due to that person having sex at all.
posted by dreamsign at 9:33 PM on March 9, 2006


echolalia67: As a woman, it's hard not to feel like we're taking hits from all sides and it's hard not to think that the motivation for the stikes is all coming from the same place - a hatred of women and of our autonomy.

No, it's not like that at all, it's not a hatred of you or not autonomy; we merely wish to share in that autonomy ourselves, in this one way. I understand the ethical difficulties involved in considering abortion in this debate, which is why I kept referring to adoption. That should be acceptable to even pro-life women, unless they really want to raise the child themselves. Would you support the idea that if the mother doesn't want to raise the baby and the father does, he can take custody and require support payments from her? That would be the other fair possibility, but I prefer to not to try to compel anyone into this sort of situation.
posted by Mitrovarr at 9:37 PM on March 9, 2006


Jesus. I have rarely been so disappointed by Mefi as I have been in this thread. There's a lot of child-hatin', women-loathin' going on here.

Woman hating? Maybe. Maybe not, though. When women get worked up about how society treats rape or reproductive freedoms or any number of issues in a way that has genuinely made women's lives harder, is in man-hating? Or is it concern that there's aspects of gender politics that could actively damage their lives?

I'll admit I think it's likely that women have a real claim to a greater number of these kinds of problems. But they're not unique to females.

Nothing, but nothing, should stand in the way of male sexual satisfaction and pleasure. Children are life-ruining burdens that no man should be expected to take responsibility for.

Maybe that's what some posters are aggitating for. But I don't think so.

I think there are at least two decent arguments being made:

(a) As a general rule, it's fairly reasonable to posit that an individual making a unilateral decision might well be expected to take the greater share of responsibility for it. Thus, women making a unilateral decision about whether or not to keep a child might well be expected to assume the greater burder of responsibility for the child's support.

(b) A pregnancy based on deceit would fall under that in the most aggravated possible way.

If you disagree with those, that's fine, I don't know if those positions are watertight, but they're fairly reasonable, and so characterizing those arguments as mere misogyny or desire to have consequence-free sex seems wrong.

I don't think there is any easy answer to this kind of thing. Ideally, once a couple has made the joint choice to have sex together, they're at a point where they're either close enough and mature enough (or, failing that, at least one of the two) to make any decisions regarding the consequences together. If they're not, there's almost no way that one of them can make a decision that won't impact the other one negatively and quite possibly the child too.

If they can't agree, I guess the only way to deal with that is to have legal and social institutions that address the issue. But I can't see any reason why those should stricly favor the unilateral choice of either parent over the other, especially when both the obligations or losses are such high stakes.

Giving a father the ability to simply decide a child must be placed up for adoption or fully supported by the mother because they're not sure they can meet support obligations is probably not the right thing to do (you can tell this if by no other means by the fact that it's the flip side of the extreme position that without input from the father or consideration of his position, a mother can decide to keep a child and obligate the father to support). But that doesn't mean that how this issue doesn't need some revisiting in our society. Nor does it make anyone who thinks so an irresponsible monster.
posted by weston at 9:41 PM on March 9, 2006


Well said, weston.
posted by sequential at 9:46 PM on March 9, 2006


it's hard not to feel like we're taking hits from all sides and it's hard not to think that the motivation for the stikes is all coming from the same place - a hatred of women and of our autonomy.

I think you'd feel a lot better if you just acknowledged that that's not even remotely where anyone in this thread is coming from.
posted by shmegegge at 9:46 PM on March 9, 2006


The sad part of all of this is that the lawsuit spurring all of this discussion is being looked upon by anti-abortion forces as a boon.

Roe v. Wade is about a woman's control over her body. The question at the center of that case is whether the state can force a woman to act as an incubator against her will. The case we are discussing is very different. Being forced to go through pregnancy and childbirth against one's will is a different level of oppression than having your wages garnished.

This may be a stretch, but all of the discussion of "equal protection" for men reminds me of the arguments made by opponents of affirmative action. In that case, they see a "We welcome minority applicants" sign to be the same thing as a "No Irish need apply" sign -- as if the fact that they are both signs dealing with ethnicity means that they are both discriminatory.
posted by Cassford at 9:49 PM on March 9, 2006


[They weren't saying that 20 years ago, sport.

I just wanted to make sure that people didn't walk away from the thread thinking this was true now. I didn't mean to imply a judgement of K's behavior 20 years ago.]
posted by alms at 9:50 PM on March 9, 2006


Can we stipulate for the purposes of the discussion that most cases of unintended pregnancy were not the result of subterfuge or scheming? And can we set those edge cases aside as adressable by either existing or much-needed fraud laws?

It would make it a much more fruitful discussion, I think.
posted by Cassford at 10:00 PM on March 9, 2006


The question at the center of that case is whether the state can force a woman to act as an incubator against her will.

And from the man's side it's a question of whether the state can make turn a man into an indentured servant a week each month against his will.
posted by Jezztek at 10:15 PM on March 9, 2006


A woman can choose to give a kid up for adoption or not. Everything else aside, why shouldn't a man have exactly the same choice?
posted by willnot at 10:21 PM on March 9, 2006


i think george michael (of wham!, not arrested development) said it best when he said:

"and now you tell me that you're having my baby/
i'll tell you that i'm happy if you want me to.

but one step further and my back will break/
if my best isn't good enough then haaaaow can it be good enough for two?"
posted by Hat Maui at 10:22 PM on March 9, 2006


A woman can choose to give a kid up for adoption or not.

It's my understanding that they actually can't without the father also signing away rights.

At least, that's what some of my friends who had a heckuva time adopting described as the reason that some of their earlier adoption attempts didn't work out (before they finally got a lovely baby boy!).
posted by weston at 10:30 PM on March 9, 2006


I think the most realistic case -- where the choice is in conflict -- was outlined above.

They discuss it and agree they don't want kids.
Pregnancy occurs, and she changes her mind.
(yes, the reverse could happen, but then he would still be legally responsible, and have no claim if she aborted)

Not subterfuge. Completely understandable. And a total nightmare. Since we're talking about oppression, let's not forget that (lack of) choice plays a huge part in that experience. I'm glad not to know what it feels like to work hand-to-mouth to support a child I didn't decide to have and may never be permitted to see. And where I live, it may be more than 18 years. There has been serious consideration of a supported child's right to higher education -- even though you don't legally owe your *own* children that.

And yeah, serious lack of perspective regarding the "consequence" of having an abortion. What I haven't seen discussed here, however -- perhaps due to MeFi's atheist bent -- is what happens if she has religious convictions against abortion. Not just an unpleasant experience then, is it?
posted by dreamsign at 10:32 PM on March 9, 2006


dreamsign: And yeah, serious lack of perspective regarding the "consequence" of having an abortion. What I haven't seen discussed here, however -- perhaps due to MeFi's atheist bent -- is what happens if she has religious convictions against abortion. Not just an unpleasant experience then, is it?

Then you put it up for adoption after birth, as I mentioned earlier in the thread. A woman's ability to put the child up for adoption (I don't believe the father's permission is required in all jurisdictions, weston, but I could be wrong) is a much better right to draw a parallel with in this men's rights case.

Abortion has to do with a woman's body, so no male parallel right can be expected, but adoption is a purely legal construct that should be gender-symmetric. Right now the mother basically decides for both parents whether both of them will take responsibility or not.
posted by Mitrovarr at 10:43 PM on March 9, 2006


Why do that when we have volunteers? Last I checked, we had so many couples seeking babies to adopt we were importing them from foreign countries. Society doesn't need to stuff the cost of child-rearing down the throat of unwilling people, basically forcing them into poverty.

Also, society is perfectly happy to cover the cost for both parents if the mother deems it so. It seems unreasonable that it will not do so if the father wishes it


They are going overseas because they want to adopt healthy newborns. Also, the father usually has to sign off on adoption.

here's some fresh thoughts.

Thank you for a balanced opinion weston.
posted by BrotherCaine at 10:50 PM on March 9, 2006


Third, vasectomy is the safest method of birth control, with a failure rate of less than 1%

Not to pick nits, but abstinence is the safest method of birth control.

Except for Mary Christ of course.
posted by Bonzai at 10:55 PM on March 9, 2006


Also, apparently suicides go up with child support requirements. search on suicides
posted by BrotherCaine at 10:57 PM on March 9, 2006


The "tricking" thing isn't even that necessary a consideration in this conversation, if we're trying to avoid melodrama (despite the fact that, yes, it happens). I know many women my age who want a kid, lack a dad, and -- I've discussed this with two of them -- really have nothing to lose by giving a guy a shot. If he bails, no worries. She has the kid and he pays support. These aren't women who are going to sleep with just anyone (ie: they want a suitable kid), but they certainly don't seem fussed if the guy doesn't work out. I mean, the kid alone is what they're looking for. I like both of these women, but I find the ease with which they consider using the system fair or unfair a tad unsettling. And not a great way to plan for the kid, financial considerations aside.

What I see a lot of confusion here is regarding risk versus consent. Despite being an obviously loaded analogy, the rape example did have one thing in common: in the days of "she was asking for it", what was the response? It was that dressing a certain way, or inviting a guy somewhere, or making out, is not consent to have sex. And consent can be withdrawn. Well, sex certainly involves a risk of pregnancy, but it certainly isn't consent for someone else to turn that risk into fact via choice.

Also, apparently suicides go up with child support requirements.

Not really a huge surprise. That's a pretty bleak outlook for a young man.
posted by dreamsign at 11:34 PM on March 9, 2006


pretty late to the game, but then... i like to read *all* the comments before weighing in.

i must admit, though, that funkyhelix had me chomping at the bit.

i'm glad to see this discussion taking place. it's nice to know i'm not the only guy out there with serious hang-ups about sex thanks to the fact that the consequence of a child is 100% in the hands of my partner. i would never mean to insinuate that my desires should trump those of the mother, but... it's terrifying to consider the complete lack of power i have when it comes to my offspring. as others have pointed out, there are only four possibilities and they are all eerily contingent upon how the female decides:

i want, she wants: child!
i don't want, she wants: child!
i want, she doesn't want: no child!
i don't want, she doesn't want: no child!

since i obviously have no say (ultimately) in how things will pan out, the possibility that i might be a father to a child i didn't want paralyzes me. this thread contains some illuminating discussion regarding the financial burden of an undesired fatherhood, but what about the psychological burden?

i imagine funkyhelix was being hyperbolic when she mentioned a guy pre-nupping his sexual escapades with a disclaimer that he wanted nothing to do with any accidental pregnancy, but i *absolutely* have that discussion before i hop into bed. i put it out on the table that this is sex for sex's sake and not the creation of a baby's sake and that if my partner has any delusion to the contrary, thank you, but no thank you, ma'am. good night!

thing is, even that is no guarantee. it's still her *word* that should the unexpected occur, those are the rules by which we'll play...

but i'm not disclaiming our affair because i'm worried about 18 years of child-support. i'm disclaiming my desire for sex because that's all i want. i'm sorry, baby, but i love you enough to share an orgasm, not raise a child. i'd be devastated to know the product of such a loveless encounter would ever breathe air. it's a terrible thing to think, perhaps, but it's the truth. all arguments of money and morality aside: i don't want child, she doesn't want the child, i don't love the mother, she doesn't love me: how could the progeny of such a purely biological union be fit to live at all? why? and if so, if the child were carried to term, why should we be allowed to raise it? no, i think it'd be more humane to nix the poor thing's existence before it were ever born or to make sure it never had any knowledge of the wretches who brought it into existence- let it be adopted and let our loveless involvement in its life end with its birth.

obviously, i'm arguring a very specific point: that of two people engaging in consentual sex admitting that in no way do their acts of sex at all imply a desire to procreate. given such a case, though, should either the male or the female decide after the fact that, no, wait, i *do* want the child, the child becomes 100% that parent's responsibility, period. if there is to be no cake and eating, too, this is where i draw the line. you cannot enter into sexual relations claiming ambivilance and come out the other side demanding to keep the child while taxing the other parent for support as well.

meh. others have made similar points (and more lucidly). i defer to jezztek, shmeggege, delmoi, sequential, et al.

what disturbs me, is that in this realm where women truly hold every card over men (and i acknowledge that this is not commonplace), so many (at least in this thread- those of you i'm overlooking or who disagree with the more vocal, my apologies) tend to act just like any other group in power...

and on a side note: i really do wish i could get pregnant... just to take the wind from their sails. =) (kidding) maybe it's a stupid, macho, manly thing to think, but i'd love to suffer for nine months to bring my child into this world. i'd consider it an honor...
posted by narwhal at 11:57 PM on March 9, 2006


I got halfway through this thread, went out and had a cigarette, calmed down, and thought about it. Since we're all voicing our opinion here, I'll chime in too. It's a damn good thing none of us control parental rights in the US.

If you have sex, you're opening yourself up to certain consequences and responsibilities for those consequences. That's the rule for engaging in anything. Men and women alike. The law has parsed it up so that if you think you don't want to be involved in the life of an unexpected child, you can pay out every month. I think that's fair. To me, what isn't fair is the block payments. That's because I come from a family history of child support, and I've seen firsthand, in ways a child sure as shit should not have to see, how child support gets abused. My dad spent his money from mom on pot while I slept in a fucking sleeping bag in the basement. That man used it to support himself while he laid around and watched Blind Date reruns high.

I accept that a child might result if I have unprotected sex. I'll support that child. That's my responsibility. That's what I can do, because I'm 22 and still trying to get through college and make a living by travelling to distant parts of the world. I can't and just plain don't fucking want to be there all the time. And I sure as shit am not going to be happy if someone wants $500 a month to raise some kid that they decided by themselves to raise. That would be a decision they make by themselves, because it's not one I would approve of. I understand that I'm partly responsible, that's part of what comes from having sex in the grossly irresponsible way that I typically do. What I want, if that happens, is a bill. A line by line accounting of what has been purchased for said child and what has been contributed by the woman who would bear the brunt of the decision and joy of raising said child. Not a court order to hand over half my earnings for whatever she wants (or he, if the law and my sexuality ever evolve that way, and the law should, but ladies I'm single and good at what a man should do). Because what I'm paying for, and what I'm responsible for, is the child, and if you can't show me how you've been responsible, why should you expect any more from me?
posted by saysthis at 3:05 AM on March 10, 2006


This whole thread should be required reading for anyone considering engaging in premarital sex.
posted by konolia at 4:43 AM on March 10, 2006


Honestly now...the non-straight among us have already figured this out, but you don't need to stick a dick in a vagina in order to have sex. Straight people need to get a touch more imaginative with their sexual expression if they want to avoid pregnancy. You know that's what can happen if you do that in there. You know birth control isn't foolproof.

And let's face it, most men leave birth control up to the woman in the first place. Birth control is generally a woman's problem. You can do this "fringe cases" thing all you want; most people expect women to take care of it. Do you have any idea what birth control pills do to a woman's body? Is that just the sacrifice she has to make (one that isn't getting factored in to this financial equation)? How often to men offer to help pay for that birth control, by the way? How about that financial burden?
posted by Hildegarde at 4:47 AM on March 10, 2006


I didn't "make up" the stats that I quoted. Studies do vary -- which is why I said "about" and really, the point is that birth control being near-perfect relies on near-perfect use, which most people are not going to achieve. Take your 3% or your 8%, it still means that when women don't take the pill perfectly, there's a risk for pregnancy. The FDA stats are for perfect use, and line up to what I originally googled up, which I happened to pull off of the Wellesley Health site, which no, is not Planned Parenthood. Point still stands though.

One SHOULD use condoms at all times, not because they're having sex without warning, or because they're not monogamous (thanks for the dig there - married actually, myself), but because if you don't want a child, you are supposed to be looking after yourself. Period. I was never offended by a guy who felt that even though I was on the pill we needed to use a condom because 1) I took the time to understand that there is a failure rate; and 2) I understood that he didn't want to have a kid, and really, neither did I. It's really not something to be offended about -- it's actually something to thank someone for.

Now, regarding the scenario posed by kayjay - yeah, this sort of shit happens, and it's unfortunate for everyone. However, men are not the only ones that are financially on the hook -- it's not as if 100% of the mom's income is going to go to booze and cigarettes, and if it provably does, you should frankly sue the shit out of her for custody, because that's no way to raise a kid. However, this goes back to my original point -- biologically speaking, women have the last word. You can't force a girl to have or not have a baby, which is why even when you've had this conversation, I'd still be using condoms. No one knows really what they are going to do until they are faced with the situation. My understanding is that you can work out a private agreement regarding the child, and then if you stick to it, you should be okay. But this doesn't mean that either of you isn't an asshole and that you're not going to end up in court. There is no magic bandaid here.
posted by Medieval Maven at 5:01 AM on March 10, 2006


As has been stated by others, the law is what we choose to make it. I totally agree with the men who find the current system unequal. I am fortunate to be one for whom this is purely academic, being happily gay.

I think good thought has gone into proposed solutions expressed up-thread. Notification, opting-out in timely fashion. The fact of modern society is, people have sex for recreation. We don't all believe the traditional view of 'carnal knowledge'. To be sure, in modern times, even the Bible is shaky about this (since females are no longer their father's property, he has no interest in their virginity).

A couple people here have expressed outrage over the way a custodial parent may abuse funds paid for the care of a child. This is no small issue, and litigating the matter isn't the easiest thing to do.

Adoption:
Some have raised the issue that adoption can not happen without the father's consent, at least in some jurisdictions (Florida being one, IIRC). Since it is the issue of the father's financial responsibility being discussed, that clearly isn't a problem in such cases.

Adoption works. I enjoyed a nice, middle-class raising and fabulous education in a divorce-free home. But my parents were not involved in my conception. My birth mother was single, my father was not. I wish them both well.

Yes, ladies, I know too well that an abortion is nothing easy. I can accept that even giving your child up for adoption is not a casual endeavor. But some of you are spouting the rhetoric of man-eaters. Go find a girlfriend, okay? It will take you a lot less than 18 years to get over it. Cold? No colder than your regarding men as sex objects with wallets. Maybe a lot warmer, I've had some great lesbians in my life.
posted by Goofyy at 6:00 AM on March 10, 2006


I didn't "make up" the stats that I quoted.
In the future, if you're quoting stats, cite them. I'm sorry for the accusation, though. Please accept my apologies.
The FDA stats are for perfect use
From the FDA site we both linked:
Failure Rates in this chart are based on information from clinical trials submitted to the FDA during product reviews.
Clinical trials do not measure perfect use, as they use human beings, which introduces human error. The page you cited does not support your assessment.
which I happened to pull off of the Wellesley Health site
From the Wellesley Health site:
When pills are used perfectly --that means taken at the same time every day, and other considerations such as concomitant antibiotic or other dug use or vomiting and severe diarrhea are taken into account--only about 1 out of 1000 women (0.5%) over the course of a year will actually become pregnant. In actuality, with typical use--taking them erratically or failure to use a back-up method during a flu-like illness, for example--the failure rate is about 3%.
First, 1 in 1000 is 0.1%, not 0.5%. "About one" is not equal to five. That should be your first hint that there is something fishy. Furthermore, 1 in 1000 isn't even what birth control manufacturers are claiming to the FDA. From the percentages, it sounds like their "used perfectly" numbers appear to be referring to lab tests, not clinical trials or real life use of the pill. Their 3% number doesn't jibe with any research I've seen. I suppose it's possible that it's an outlier study or the measure of failure rate other than the first year of use, which typically drops. Either way, I would not cite these numbers in a research paper or in a submission to a journal.
thanks for the dig there - married actually, myself
Nice reading comprehension there - no one was taking a dig at you. Why would I carry a condom all the time if the only times I have sex are with my partner and I'm not with her all the time? Understand now? Your comment was just a little overboard, despite its good intentions.
posted by sequential at 6:19 AM on March 10, 2006


Bonzai writes "Third, vasectomy is the safest method of birth control, with a failure rate of less than 1%

"Not to pick nits, but abstinence is the safest method of birth control."


Actually a hysterectomy or castration is safer than abstinence, there is always that rape possibility with abstinence.

Honestly now...the non-straight among us have already figured this out, but you don't need to stick a dick in a vagina in order to have sex. Straight people need to get a touch more imaginative with their sexual expression if they want to avoid pregnancy. You know that's what can happen if you do that in there. You know birth control isn't foolproof.

There's a Newlywed Game joke in here somewhere.
posted by Mitheral at 7:09 AM on March 10, 2006


Forlorn advice to my teenage sons if they became deeply reluctant fathers as the law is at present - even though it would break my heart to see them pay heavily for their stupidity? "Man up, nancy. It's tough, but there it is"

Forlorn advice to my teenage sons if there was an opt-out clause, forbidding contact with the unwanted kids but sparing them the financial punishment? "By all means - consider the new option."

If I'm honest, I can even see myself coaxing them to remember how they never exactly consented to the kid. Yes, I disgust myself (slightly); just saying I can see how easily an opt-out could be abused for their own futures. And that would be very wrong on so many levels.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 7:37 AM on March 10, 2006


This means that responsible women can have sex, but only with irresponsible men.

That is a very apt, very shrewd encapsulation of the thread.

Well, sex certainly involves a risk of pregnancy, but it certainly isn't consent for someone else to turn that risk into fact via choice.

The reason anti-abortion factions are excited for this case is because the above is indefensible. I think the majority of people who support abortion don't regard it in such coolly binary terms -- the woman isn't choosing to turn that risk into fact; the "fact" happens, and society extends the woman a choice of what do it in light of that. To paint these scenarios as "She's choosing to have the baby when medicine and law provided another alternative" is no doubt a paragon of what many hope reproductive freedoms entail, but I think the comments of many of the women in this thread put the lie to that, because the choice to have an abortion is not a simple choice. I don't think it's semantics to point out that not choosing to not terminate a pregnancy is merely choosing to have a baby. The choice is whether to have sex, with all of the possible consequences that we as adults understand, and so I think it makes sense that child support attaches at the "risk" phase, because the "fact via choice" thing is a bit of a canard. And I say that with full appreciation of RichardDaly's well-written summation:

Further, it seems to me that if the law is going to allow abortion (which I believe it should), the law has abandoned any pretense of the rights of the child. If you can kill it, it seems like you can do anything else you damn well please.

I agree that the logical consequence of such an argument is that a father should be able to opt out prenatally, but it seems like sliding down a slippery slope.
posted by blueshammer at 8:18 AM on March 10, 2006


the woman isn't choosing to turn that risk into fact; the "fact" happens, and society extends the woman a choice of what do it in light of that.

Pregnancy, as a fact, happens (excepting the intentional cases). Birth does not happen merely as a fact, so long as abortion remains an open alternative. Is it a "consequence"? Sure. But hardly on the same scale.

In no other circumstance does my agreement with another human being to jointly undergo some degree of risk mean that I legally empower the person to change their mind and subject me to that result regardless. If that were the case, then every time I go downhill skiing I am consenting to random strangers breaking my legs. Intentionality is important.
posted by dreamsign at 8:53 AM on March 10, 2006


But agreeing to have an abortion does not follow from an agreement to not have procreative sex.

In criminal/fraud cases, I think there's an argument to be made against child support. But in a situation of, "We agreed it was just casual sex, we used birth control, we got pregnant anyway and she chose not to abort or adopt it," I don't think that the male can choose to be exempted from his responsibility because women have the choice to terminate a pregnancy. Not that I envy anyone a court battle based on any of these scenarios.
posted by blueshammer at 9:14 AM on March 10, 2006


But agreeing to have an abortion does not follow from an agreement to not have procreative sex.

I'm trying to wrap my head around that one. Then it's an agreement... to jointly engage in wishful thinking?
posted by dreamsign at 10:05 AM on March 10, 2006


Talk about semantics. Above, I meant to say

I don't think it's semantics to point out that not choosing to not terminate a pregnancy is not merely choosing to have a baby.

Not that it changes the whole meaning or anything.
posted by blueshammer at 10:05 AM on March 10, 2006


> But agreeing to have an abortion does not follow from an agreement to not have procreative sex.

I'm trying to wrap my head around that one. Then it's an agreement... to jointly engage in wishful thinking?


To the extent that you want to call believing that contraceptives are 100% reliable "wishful thinking," then yes. An agreement that a child is not a desireable outcome of sex and that contraception will therefore be used does not mandate that the woman abort her pregnancy should those safeguards fail.
posted by blueshammer at 10:09 AM on March 10, 2006


Men who know this, like any of my exboyfriends who worked in health care, have condoms on hand at all times and use them. As should you all. (1)
Why would you need a condom at all times? Do people really have that much sex without warning? (Please excuse my monogamy for a second.) (2)
thanks for the dig there - married actually, myself (3)
I showed my fiancee this exchange this morning and we discussed it on the way to work. Her first thought was, and excuse my paraphrasing, "Marriage does not imply monogomy."

She didn't catch the "have condoms on hand at all times", so I gave her an example of why I thought this was funny. Imagine a monogomous, heterosexual couple. The man in the relationship is going to the supermarket on an errand. Before he leaves, he says to the woman, "I'll see you in a few minutes," to which the she matter of factly replies, "Don't forget a condom."

Perhaps that's just the nonsensical conclusion reached by taking your comment literally, but that's what it read like to me. I don't disagree with you in principle: condoms should be used during all sex that is not procreational, whether or not you're in a monogomous relationship. It's not just birth control, it's also the best protection, abstinence aside, from STDs. But that's not what you said. What you said was funny. This is a serious complicated subject, in which we are, for the most part, fighting on the same side.
I don't think that the male can choose to be exempted from his responsibility because women have the choice to terminate a pregnancy.
As it stands, every case is judged independantly. There are exceptions, but the precedant generally favors the child, hence many here have said it favors the mother. That's exactly what this case, Roe v. Wade for men, is supposed to address. Given precedent, I presume that the best outcome of this case is the ability to appeal the verdict. It would take a serious lapse in judgement for a judge to find in favor of the father given current law.
posted by sequential at 10:10 AM on March 10, 2006


"In no other circumstance does my agreement with another human being to jointly undergo some degree of risk mean that I legally empower..." etc etc

Why do people keep making the "in no other circumstances" point - and then throw in a supposedly equivalent example - in this case "ski-ing" of all things - which they then proceed to wrestle with?

We know there are different circumstances here.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 10:25 AM on March 10, 2006


Birth Control can be the cause of pregnancy, you know....

A fertilized egg needs to trigger the right production of progesterone to let the body know it is pregnant. If it doesn't, the body will flush it away every time.

Now, if you take progesterone to trick your body into thinking it is pregnant, that egg has a real chance to implant and NOT get washed away. The attempt to avoid pregnancy has now made it possible.

That's why I have a 14 year old daughter.

One other point -- has anyone noticed that there is a requirement for child support, but I've not heard of any for pre-natal support. Why is that?
posted by dwivian at 11:00 AM on March 10, 2006


To the extent that you want to call believing that contraceptives are 100% reliable "wishful thinking," then yes. An agreement that a child is not a desireable outcome of sex and that contraception will therefore be used does not mandate that the woman abort her pregnancy should those safeguards fail.

Ok, I think I understand you now, so we’re in the realm of simple disagreement. Agreement to “non-procreative” sex, to me, means that both of us will avail ourselves of means on hand to make this happen. (I am thinking of “procreation” as having children, not just fertilization) That means birth control for me; morning-after pill or abortion for you, as necessary. To you this appears to mean we’ll do birth control and if that doesn’t work, then oh well, we tried. I’m guessing that more than a few surprises have resulted from this precise misunderstanding, and obviously needs clarification when it arises, not after. But like so many misunderstandings, part of the misunderstanding is thinking that there is no misunderstanding.

Plenty of opportunity there to be misleading, also, but that needn’t be the case at all. Particularly where religious values enter into it, humans constantly surprise each other by what they think is both reasonable and expected.

Different question, I guess, if this is all made explicit, she assures you that she'll take whatever steps necessary to remain childless at this stage in her life, and then changes her mind. Not "fraud", exactly, but certainly confounding to expectations, and more importantly, this leaves no non-radical option for men (complete abstinence, vasectomy, etc). In terms of due dilligence, then, what is a man to do, aside from these extreme actions?

(I'm demonstrating some MeFi faith hear that the response will not be "wear a condom")
posted by dreamsign at 11:22 AM on March 10, 2006


Sex is a loaded gun, and vaginal intercourse, even with contraceptives, is especially so if the worry is pregnancy. If you have sufficient trust in the partner to be able to "know" what will happen in the event of a pregnancy, well, that's the best you can do. I don't know that the risk can be further mitigated than that. If all options in that circumstance seem "radical," I dunno what to say. We've done our best to divorce sex from babies, and it doesn't always work.

The only other recourse is the law -- sexual prenups, etc., to the extent they can work (if they can work at all) and do so without being intrusive -- good luck on that, I guess.
posted by blueshammer at 11:42 AM on March 10, 2006


I suppose the other option is to limit your sexual activity to ploughing the choccy starfish.
posted by illiad at 12:08 PM on March 10, 2006


Why do people keep making the "in no other circumstances" point - and then throw in a supposedly equivalent example - in this case "ski-ing" of all things - which they then proceed to wrestle with?

To demonstrate what a legal oddity this is? Because people tend to answer politically charged questions by first identifying with one side or the other and aligning their arguments to match? To get through to the group privileged in this scenario what it is like to be saddled with a burden decided entirely by someone else?
posted by dreamsign at 2:13 PM on March 10, 2006


I don't know where my mom's child support from my father went, but it sure never felt like it went to my clothes, supplies or other needs. Mostly just whatever my mom felt would make the house look nice.
posted by Jezztek at 12:40 PM PST on March 9 [!]


I'm really sorry that your mom sucked so bad. My father was ordered to pay child support and never paid a dime. He was in the Air Force and they said they couldn't make him pay (this was in the 70's). I'll spare you a description of the clothes I had to wear as a result.

A friend of mine has a nephew who has three kids with three women in three states. He avoids those states so they can't get his money. A cousin of mine has avoided legitimate employment for years to avoid child support.

Most of the "some women are evil" arguments describe a nut case woman who'll do anything for a baby and a man to soak. Before you trust someone enough to have sex with them why not find out just how nuts they are?

I think there's a difference between a casual sexual encounter that results in pregnancy and the child support involved in a divorce.

BTW, I didn't read all 300+ comments. I had jury duty today and the thought of having court cases like this is not that appealing to me today.
posted by whatever at 3:06 PM on March 10, 2006


In response to whatever...I agree and understand everything you said. My father ran off to California with his girlfriend, abandoning his wife and two kids. He never paid a dime in support (the 70's and early 80's). My mom worked her butt off to get us off welfare. My best friend's husband walked out after 12 years of marriage and four kids because he "didn't want to be married anymore". He lives in another state, and works jobs where they can't get his pay, so she struggles alone. My husband pays support to his aunt who has one of his kids (the other two chose to live with us). His ex-wife has had no contact with her three kids in over seven years, pays no support, and as far as we know, re-married and had another kid. My ex pays support for our two, but I know the "cost of living" increase (even though it's only 12 dollars) is more than he can afford, so I sent a notarized letter denying the increase. So I have seen all types of angles of child support, but in all the cases I know of, the couples were married. I agree with whatever-casual sex and divorce are different. And to jezztek, yes, I was referring to the emotional upheavals a woman must live with when she makes her choices, but I was only pointing that out in response to your statement that a woman doesn't have to live with her choices. You're right, the law doesn't pertain to emotions.
posted by annieb at 4:24 PM on March 11, 2006


More on this at Salon: Roe For Men
posted by Crash at 9:31 AM on March 13, 2006


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