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Sunday, June 10, 2012

Are you pro-choice?

I completely support a woman's right to choose whether to have an abortion. No woman should be forced to have a child she does not want. But what about men?

Imagine the following scenario: a woman, who happens to be pro-choice, has a one night stand with a guy she met at a soiree. Three weeks later she phones to tell him that her period is two weeks late. He begs her to get an abortion, but she refuses. After the baby is born, a court decides that he must ante up 40% of his pay to help support the baby. Where was his choice in this matter?

It does seem fairer to compel the father to pay for the child than to have the taxpayers do so. But it doesn't seem fair that it is entirely up to the woman whether or not the child will exist. If it's going to be the guy's financial responsibility, he ought to have some say as well.

If you talk to women about this, you'll find that many will say something along the lines of, well, if he didn't want to have to support a baby, he shouldn't have had sex with her. But should one orgasm really equal eighteen years of unwilling financial indenture?

The law ought to make some sort of provision for this. If a woman wants a man who is not her husband to support their child, she ought to give him some say in whether it's born. No man should have the right to force a woman to either have an abortion or to carry a child to term. But no woman should have the right to have a child and then stick her hand in the man's pocket for the next 18 years, if he has not expressed a desire to have a child himself.

It's a pretty simple principle: if it's her decision, then it should also be her responsibility. I'm not saying that an unwilling father ought to bear no financial responsibility. But in a fairer world, the amount would be adjusted based on whether he wanted to have the child.

NBA basketball players are regularly "stalked" by women who try to get impregnated by them, knowing that a judge will take into account their lavish salaries into account when allotting child support. These women will then use those payments to fund their own lifestyles. I've heard that NBA players will sometimes flush their used condoms down the toilet, since women have been known to scoop out their sperm and try to impregnate themselves with it.

Do these women deserve a lavish lifestyle based on their stalking? Do they deserve more money than less conniving women who had sex with poor men?

If you believe in choice as a matter of principle, you should believe in choice for everybody, not just one gender.

This situation is particularly galling because it's usually precisely those women who most vehemently insist on a woman's right to choose who insist that a man have no right to choose.


Brian Fradet said...

John--An excellent observation of the law, one that most people, me included, just don't think about. It's pretty amazing when you think about it. Anyway, it's actually slightly worse even than that. A lawyer just told me recently that if the kid goes to college then the father is obligated to pay child support until he graduates or if not until he's 22. Some things are not to be believed. Thanks, Brian

John Craig said...

Thank you Brian. Hadn't realized that college tuition was now part of the bill.

Jonathan Leaf said...

They do not ask men in such a position to give 40% of their income or anything close to that.

John Craig said...

Jon --
You're right, that figure is too high. But say a guy is making $45,000 a year. How much monthly child support would he be expected to contribute? I can't imagine it would be less than 1K a month, which on an after tax basis would still be close to 25%. And that would be probably be pretty much all of his discretionary income.