Daddy Nobucks: When Involuntary Fathers Are Forced to Foot The Bill
A child a man agrees to have is one thing, but should a man have to pay child support when he makes it clear to a woman that he does not want one?
Jennifer Spenner for the Saginaw News and Kathy Barks Hoffman for the AP wrote about a Michigan man who recently challenged being forced to pay child support for his girlfriend's baby -- despite what he alleges were her assurances that she couldn't get pregnant because of a medical condition, and her knowledge that he didn't want a child.
He made the point to the court that if a woman can choose whether to abort, adopt out, or raise the child, a man should have the same right, and argued that Michigan's paternity law violates the Constitution's equal protection clause. Matt Dubay lost the case, which he previously acknowledged was a long shot -- but should it have been?
As I wrote in my syndicated advice column, in no other arena is a swindler rewarded with a court-ordered monthly cash settlement paid to them by the person they bilked. In an especially sick miscarriage of justice, even a man who says he was sexually victimized by an older woman from the time he was 14, has been forced to pay support for the child that resulted from underage sex with her.
While the law allows women to turn casual sex into cash flow sex, Penelope Leach, in her book %%AMAZON=0679754660 Children First %%, poses an essential question: "Why is it socially reprehensible for a man to leave a baby fatherless, but courageous, even admirable, for a woman to have a baby whom she knows will be so?"
A child shouldn't have to survive on peanut butter sandwiches sans peanut butter because he was conceived by two selfish, irresponsible jerks. Still, there's a lot more to being a father than forking over sperm and child support, yet the law, as written, encourages unscrupulous women to lure sex-dumbed men into checkbook daddyhood.
This isn't 1522. If a woman really doesn't want a kid, she can take advantage of modern advances in birth control like Depo-Provera or the IUD, combine them with backup methods (as recommended by her doctor), add an ovulation detection kit, plus insist that her partners latex up. Since it's the woman who gets a belly full of baby, maybe a woman who has casual sex and is unprepared, emotionally, financially, and logistically, to raise a child on her own, should be prepared to avail herself of the unpleasant alternatives.
It's one thing if two partners in a relationship agree to make moppets, but should a guy really get hit up for daddy fees when he's, say, one of two drunk strangers who has sex after meeting in a bar? Yes, he is biologically responsible. But, is it really "in the child's best interest" to be the product of a broken home before there's even a home to break up?
For all you boys out there, until that day there is actual male choice, don't neglect the birth control...no matter what she tells you. Unless you're a sterling judge of character, on the level of secret service agents and clinical psychologists, and unless you're absolutely sure you've got an ethical and/or infertile girlfriend, or you personally watch her get Depo Provera injections...prudent thinking is never believing her when she says she can't get knocked up, always bringing your own condom, and retaining custody over it at all times...lest it find its way to the business end of a pin.
Sound cynical? That's what a lot of guys think -- before they write to me about what they can say to persuade some girl to get an abortion, or whether there's anything they can do to get out of paying child support...short of dying.
And yes, sure, you can say a man doesn't have sex if he doesn't want a child...but let's discuss this as if we're living in the real world, 'kay?
Amy Alkon's syndicated advice column, "The Advice Goddess," runs in over 100 papers across the US and Canada. She blogs daily at AdviceGoddess.com