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Sunday, March 19, 2006

Roe V Wade For Men: The Debate

In a prior post, I confronted some of the implications of the Roe V Wade for Men case. I can't escape from the idea that we have wandered off to a fantasy world when we can construct a debate over the "rights" of the man and the woman without recognizing that a child has rights as well. The contention:
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.
As the law now stands, it does recognize the claim of the child to the financial support of the father once the child is born. This inevitably results in a situation in which a woman has more legal choices than a man after she becomes inadvertently pregnant. Of course, she also has a lot more on the table than a man. She will either miscarry (not a gentle process at all), undergo a surgical or chemical procedure to terminate the pregnancy (not without some risk), or give birth, not without risk. In the process she will rack up some very impressive medical bills and have to take time off work. Her body and her psyche will be irrevocably changed regardless of what she does. Depending on where you live, giving birth costs anywhere from $4,000 to over $10,000. Problem pregnancies can cost much more. Abortions are cheaper, of course, and if men are allowed to totally walk away, there will be a lot more of them.

In seeking individual freedom, we seem to be constructing a new tyranny. (Florida Cracker made a very trenchant observation that the real "rights" argument for men ought to be related to paternity fraud. I agree.) Most of the suggestions involved to address the injustice to the male either ignore the rights of the child if born, or involve shifting the obligation to support the child away from the parent to society as a whole. That leaves the woman with the same rights and choices, and society with the obligation to pay for them. Now, if we say that the primary responsibility is society's, we are recognizing the economic rights of the child. But what of the child's human needs? Fausta writes about the flipside of the idea that bearing a child is a personal-fulfillment choice. She describes women hunting for sperm donors:
That might look fine on paper, but, as any CEO can tell you, nothing beats being there in person.

The Times article says about the unmarried shopping-mothers-to-be that "this radical social change feels strangely inevitable", as if we were talking about day following night.

So I'm proposing a revolutionary and innovative concept: If you want to be a parent, find a person you can marry and stay married to. Be of the mentality that once you have children, except in cases of abuse, you will stay married: Children need two parents.
There is no question that the idea of consequenceless sex is deeply rooted in our society and that along with it has come the doctrine of the uselessness of that outmoded societal role - the father. Okay, it has nothing to do with reality, but it is something a lot of people advocate passionately. As our society has constructed this, there is a huge "rights" inequity to men, as Dymphna from Gates of Vienna writes:
At the moment, we have the troublesome knot of Mr. Dubay, his former girlfriend, and his miracle child. Miraculous and inconvenient, and not a St. Joseph in sight to relieve him of his burden.
My hope is that this suit blows the whole stinking mess sky high, with the sanctimonious “better-than-men-girls-rule” agitprop finally reduced to smithereens. Confetti. Were hardcoore feminists not so obviously anti-male, men like Mr. Dubay would not be in the position they’re in now. But the man-bashing, cultic women’s studies culture has brought this on themselves. Now their partial-birth, easy out abortions have hit a great big logical snag. For if a woman becomes pregnant, then her partner deserves some say in the outcome of her pregnancy. And that definitely complicates the equation geometrically. The rules are going to change before Mr. Dubay and his ilk are done.
The implicit corollary is that it is generally better for the child if the father has as much invested psychically in the child as the mother. Simply tagging him with the economic responsibility hasn't created a very favorable environment for bringing up children. It also seems to result in huge costs to society overall. Fatherless children are generally economically and socially disadvantaged. Statistics such as this one (read the whole article) are ignored:
The Wisconsin Department of Health and Social Services, in a 1994 report entitled “Family Status of Delinquents in Juvenile Correctional Facilities in Wisconsin,” found that only 13 percent came from families in which the biological mother and father were married to each other. By contrast, 33 percent had parents who were either divorced or separated, and 44 percent had parents who had never married. The 1987 Survey of Youth in Custody, published by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, found that 70 percent of youth in state reform institutions across the U.S. had grown up in single- or no-parent situations.
The truth is that we all pay for the bad behavior of others. What the lawsuit is arguing for is a lessening of the individual reluctant father's responsibility along with the concommitent increase in society's responsibility. I don't think the village thing is working all that well.

Lex Fori of Exact Approximations posed this hypothetical:
How about a limited right - like recognizing contracts entered into between men and women that state that the man does not wish to procreate, both agree that abortion is the way in the event of a pregnancy, and if the woman changes her mind then no paternal rights and obligations may attach? Also, let's take Casey into the future.... there will undoubtedly come a day when it will be medically possible to remove an embryo, within days of conception, and maintain and incubate it for the gestational period. When that happens, will men be granted the right to demand the product of the female removing the potential child from her body be handed over to the fathering male (assume, arguendo, that the procedure is exactly the same in terms of what the woman experiences, complications, etc)? Will the man have the right to elect that the embryo be removed, rather than destroyed, and maintained for the man if he wants to keep the child? If so, would men equally be permitted to demand child support? Should they?
My answer to that is yes. Absolutely. We may well reach this pass. We are already there in some cases of in-vitro fertilization, and in general the courts have conceded some paternal rights over those embryos. Worldmag.blog has a post up on this one with a lot of interesting comments, including number 49:
women have access to preventive measures to avoid unwanted pregnancy.
men have access to preventive measures to avoid unwanted pregnancy.
women have remedial options to resolve unwanted pregnancy.
men have only obligations from the moment of conception.

it seems to me that the problem stems from the legal availability of remedial options, specifically abortion.

it is illogical to allow a woman to consider a pregnancy a "tissue mass" if she decides that a child is inconvenient for her, but then claim human and citizen's rights for the same tissue mass if she chooses. this seems to resolve the question of when life begins..it begins when a woman says it begins.

i have no real interest in this argument, as i am a male well beyond child-producing age. but i would like to see the female advantage in this issue resolved fairly.
Hahahahaaa! I have news for Tim - many men can impregnate women in their 70's and 80's. You're lifelong sperm factories. Women do eventually get beyond it, although I knew a woman who had never conceived, had been to many doctors over the years with her husband, and had been told that there was absolutely no hope. She got pregnant by her husband at the age of 48, and was still surprised nearly beyond speech nearly a year after giving birth. The last time I saw her. She was walking with her baby in a stroller and commented "I feel like I'm this child's grandmother!" Biology is uncontrollable and unpredictable.

Tim's argument is clearly a fallacy. Once the child has been born, the law doesn't consider it a "tissue mass", the law does not allow either the mother or the father to designate it as a tissue mass. Unless, of course, the child is severely disabled. But that's another issue. Women do have the right to give the child up for adoption, although I doubt many men who have never been involved in this can possibly understand the wrenching nature of the decision involved. No matter how we slice it and dice it, the fact remains that unless a man is in a committed relationship with the mother of his child, he has a level of biologically induced emotional detachment that does not exist for the huge majority of prospective mothers.

All I can really say about this is that I think the way we are conducting this debate is the strongest argument to turn Catholic that I have ever run across. Ultimately, societies that insist upon ignoring realities do not prosper. The Catholic position is that sex between a man and a woman is inherently unpredictable. It may result in life. That life has an independent value that cannot be denied, and we all owe a duty (whether parental or charitable) to that life. The Catholic argument recognizes the essentially uncontrollable nature of relations between a man or a woman and demands that the decision to marry recognize that biological fact. In so doing, it places the issue squarely in front of the two persons involved.

In all of this I find the light of human reason I find lacking in our current mores. If one does accept Catholic (or orthodox Jewish, or Buddhist) doctrine, it seems that the man and the woman have the greatest possible human freedom, and the child has the greatest possible human protection.

From the Catholic Catechism:
1704 The human person participates in the light and power of the divine Spirit. By his reason, he is capable of understanding the order of things established by the Creator. By free will, he is capable of directing himself toward his true good. He finds his perfection "in seeking and loving what is true and good."7

1705 By virtue of his soul and his spiritual powers of intellect and will, man is endowed with freedom, an "outstanding manifestation of the divine image."8

1706 By his reason, man recognizes the voice of God which urges him "to do what is good and avoid what is evil."9 Everyone is obliged to follow this law, which makes itself heard in conscience and is fulfilled in the love of God and of neighbor. Living a moral life bears witness to the dignity of the person.
The abandonment of reason and the denial of reality can't serve for a basis for workable law. There is something in the way that this debate is being conducted that absolutely terrifies me. We can never declare inconvenient lives null under the law without throwing ourselves into the furnace along with them. There has never yet been a convenient human being - and yet we all rely upon those inconvenient others for our day-to-day existence.

"Living a moral life bears witness to the dignity of the person." Can there be a more realistic proposition than that? True, the precept expressed is common to many religions. That's because it appears to be a fact of human life. Catechism again:
1723 The beatitude we are promised confronts us with decisive moral choices. ...
1724 The Decalogue, the Sermon on the Mount, and the apostolic catechesis describe for us the paths that lead to the Kingdom of heaven. Sustained by the grace of the Holy Spirit, we tread them, step by step, by everyday acts. By the working of the Word of Christ, we slowly bear fruit in the Church to the glory of God.
The ironical thing about faith is that it is about man. That Which Is does not need us, it is we who need That Which Is. Sufficient unto itself, it calls us out of our limitations, selfishness and allows us to transcend our errant need to restructure the world into our own fantasy.

Matt Dubay will hopefully live a long life. The child he did not want may prove to be more of a blessing to him than a burden. But, regardless, that child exists, and nothing Matt Dubay or the law can do will change that. Can a law which ignores the child's independent existence and therefore independent rights be just? I cannot see how it can.

Express your opinions thru polls:

Should Roe V. Wade be overturned?

It would have to be more than Roe V Wade - it would also have to be Casey.
Here is a case of first impression to you to consider....it is about the rights of sperm and egg donors, etc.
California (community property state)Family code states that marital property requires consent by both spouses to transfer or gift marital property to a 3rd (Known) person outside of the marriage.
Should sperm/eggs therefore be deemed quasi-marital property, requiring such consent, when it is gifted to a known 3rd party (not anonymously) through a sperm bank (which makes money off the transaction/storage) ?
In egg donation, invasive privacy questions are asked of the female donor as policy, as paternity laws would require the male partner or spouse to sign away his rights to such a transation.
In the reverse situation...therefore, has not the wife the right to know of (interests) and should her consent to such a use of her husband's sperm outside of the marriage, be required??.... If the child or OW tried to demand support, one day, it would affect the assets and interests of both parties of the marriage, not just the man...because a judge can consider the spouses income in awarding support. Sperm donors are not considered to be liable...but no case in Ca. has tested the escape clause of using a known donor vs anonymous sperm donor. Ca. Family code 3617.
It boils down to procedure...should sperm banks be invading the privacy of a known sperm donor to get the consent of a relevant marital partner...or can a man do what he wants to do with his sperm...(THe sperm Bank's view)...when in reverse...women are required to get consent of their man?
FYI.. this dirty little practice is going on behind closed doors in sperm banks.
See what Pandora's box has opened by condoning single parenting thru reproductive technology and feminist law to allow a woman to have a right to procreate at the cost of eveyone else's interests!
Roe vs Wade is a very flawed precendent which has been exploited to the utmost.Check out a ruling called Gomez vs Perez it was decided that a man who maintains a definable relationship with a woman, even outside the institution of marriage, must be required to support children born within that relationship. Women now use this to win a financial lottery with men. This ruling goes against the 14th amendment. The Supreme Court pulled a dirty trick with Roe V Wade. Roe V Wade was decided before Gomez vs Perez yet Wade vs Gomez was published first, why? Because Roe vs Wade set a precedent in choice that meant The Supreme Court couldn't have taken choice away from men. So they delayed publishing Roe vs Wade until they first have published Gomez vs Perez. The Courts have refused to hear this case because they know embarassement will ensue and with the 14th amendment argument, a ruling could undue Roe v Wade. So clearly you can't have Roe v Wade and Gomez v Perez. The 14th amendment won't allow it.
A Woman’s right to choice. Roe vs. Wade - Promoting irresponsibility.

Plain and simple, negates a man’s feelings, constitutional rights and desires completely. Ultimately affecting and directing a man’s life and even worse a child at the expense of what a woman wants.

Yes, it is true. Equal rights have gone by the wayside. Rights have tipped to the woman when it comes to matters of responsibility. The say, everyone has the right to move on, but not so. Financial support and separate custody require a relationship.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not in favor of a man’s right to control a woman’s body, completely to the contrary. But how can a 50/50 decision be decided by one person, ultimately affecting a child and another’s life. The decision is about what is best for the woman, without regard to the feelings or effects on the child or the partner.

Men do not have many choices when it comes to birth control other than abstinence and condoms. In every situation, a condom is not readily available, and abstinence falls to the wayside in the heat of the moment when rational decision making can be impaired by many factors.

Take my story (with a grain of salt please):
I am a thirty eight year old male that has been around the sun a few times and have seen a lot in my life. I was raised by a single mother. Around the age of 6 my mother married, and her new husband adopted me as his own child. He provided a great life for me in both environment and stability. I still will not forget the sacrifice my mother made when it was just the two of us though, she never took in child support and just moved on and took me with her. My best friend since childhood came from a broken home, and my best friends all throughout school were twins (full) adopted at birth. So, to some extent I have an idea of what social dynamics do to a child and have vivid memories of growing up.

I married later in life and settled into a good relationship with my best friend of over twelve years. During this time, she researched and found her birth parents. She was (full) adopted at birth. Turns out her parents were still together, married and she had a full brother. It was very emotional reunion for all involved. Well in the end the relationship with my ex was a friendship and the passion was just not there and we went our separate ways (even though now in retrospect it was one of the best relationships I have ever had). Separation with someone like that is very difficult emotionally and left me somewhat vulnerable.

Within a couple of weeks I was sitting in a restaurant in San Francisco over looking the bay while on business, and am seated next to the future mother of my child. She was an older, attractive and a very successful international business woman. Well, we discussed the finer details of carnal knowledge and kept in touch. The calls and visits became more frequent and started becoming a long distance relationship. Several months after our initial meeting, she tells me that she has herpes and was sorry for not telling me before we… This was a blow to me, and a character issue on several fronts, thankfully no signs.. We continue on our paths but end up discussing way too many politics at the dinner table and realize that the difference between democrat and republican points of view can be relevant. Don’t get me wrong, politics are not my passion.

Well, one argument leads to another and we hang up on each other and do not talk for weeks before a paid for and planned trip to see each other out of the country for my birthday. The night before the scheduled trip, a call confirms maybe another chance and why let the vacation go to waste?

I am picked up at the airport in Oakland and am whisked to Napa valley for a nice dinner and a very expensive bottle of wine for my birthday. After many bottles of wine we go back to the hotel room to pass out, except she was ready to give me my present. The last thing I remember is saying condom that night. Well, the male is not always on top, and sex is not always consensual. Funny when it is the male that seduces the female, everyone has a different reaction and feelings on the matter?

We leave out of the country the next morning. I am bothered by the evening considering the shakiness of the situation and abstain and resist more presents as I knew the timing of the month was a little close to what we scheduled around on our visits. A couple of days later while having dinner and margaritas she blurts out I am pregnant. Just Joking…. Whoa… We go on with the week and head back to our own states.

I realize this relationship is just not right, and would not be a good environment for a family - I did get a drink thrown in my face the week before for goodness sake. So, we do not really talk, and I decide that it is time to call it off. We were not happy around each other. We had previously setup to see each other the next week in Dallas while she was there on business. Before I could blurt out that it is time to call it quits, she drops her next bomb on me. I am pregnant and being laid off.

I just broke up with my best friend and was determined to not settle for less than something that was as great or better a chance at a happy family as that I had lost. And there are so many feelings concerning the right thing for the child, the real victim in a situation like this, I have seen it on many fronts first hand. So many thoughts run through my head, from child hood to my deathbed.

What are my options, the last thing I want to do is leave a child without a father and I do not want to create an environment that is a volatile hotbed of negativity. I have such strong feelings on the matter that it materialized right in front of me.

I ask for abortion or adoption, neither are illegal and are a topic of an entirely different discussion and set of issues. She tells me her prompt catholic upbringing could not allow it, it was not a decision for her and tough for me.

Hmm, “tough” I think to myself in response to her “it takes two to tango” attitude.
I think…..
It takes one to plan a birthday surprise…
It takes one to wine and dine another…
It takes one to know that the time of month is not right…
It takes one to know that you are about to be laid off…
It takes one to know that the relationship is obviously slipping
It takes one to disregard a request for a condom with someone passing out
It takes one to watch “An Officer and a Gentleman”

I realize at this point, I no longer have any voice or authority in the matter. My right to happiness, contributing voice, or at least a say in the matter is pretty much non existent. Have I terminated my rights somehow? How does this happen in our day and age?

I ask for a DNA test and am told she could not afford it and did not want to. What do I do, what do I do?

Before the first trimester is over, I get a call to let me know she was having the fetus tested for genetic defects like downs, or some other hardship. She tells me that if it does have a defect, she will terminate the pregnancy. This is reminiscent of Aryan supremacy and a choice for her maybe? This would indicate that the choice is made for her by man. As catholic views on abortion are church edicts (we now there are not many women decision makers in the catholic church), not one from God.

Well, before nine months is up I get the call that he was here prematurely.

I ask for DNA again and we get nowhere again. Five years later I get a letter in the mail from the county of Los Angeles. A DNA test is finally performed, and the accuracy is 99.99-something. It still just does not make sense to me, but what can I say. I have no idea there are so many increasing false positives coming up in DNA testing, and research tells me that today’s DNA testing only qualifies at best it was mine, or she likes men that look like me.

A few days later, on the same day I get an automated approval for a mortgage, my employer starts taking $1850 dollars a month out of my paycheck and I owe $23,000 in arrears without warning or my day in court – in order to be granted a telephonic hearing you have to sign your rights away to representation (read the fine print and between the lines.) The mortgage company tells me, “do let the door hit you on the way out”. I can not afford to see my child now – he is 2,500 miles away, I will really struggle to keep from losing my residence, my vehicle and subsequently my job, forced into bankruptcy. So, jobless, homeless, and a true deadbeat, a child goes without a father and financial support. But justice is served in the best interest of the child.


The system is positioned to give the female a right to choice, but not a male. We send a message that it is OK for the female to make their choices for what they want, act on them, and know they will be protected by the law, at the expense of another’s basic constitutional rights. The best interest of the child.

This promotes social irresponsibility, not social responsibility. Education promotes social responsibility, not favoring one parent or sex over another to make life changing decisions for the other and a child.

This is a quote from the L.A. County website:
“Paying court-ordered child support is among the most basic and important responsibilities of a non-custodial parent.”

This implies that the love, presence and teachings of a father are second to money, even if the mother is able to provide a comfortable living for the child.

Do not get me wrong, I am all for a woman’s choice in the matter, but I believe it has to be the responsible choice that is consensual and healthy for the child and the other partner. To give indiscriminate authority over such a life changing issue to the disregard of another’s basic constitutional rights is irresponsible.

You need a license to drive a car, but not have a child. What has bigger impact on our future?

So, Now I will fight to see my child and ability to provide.

Can a law which ignores the child's independent existence and therefore independent rights be just? I cannot see how it can.

It's a simple premise. Either people should receive equality under the law, or they shouldn't.

If you believe that people shouldn't be systematically discriminated against by the government due to uncontrollable [to them] genetic factors such as: Race, Gender, Disability, etc. Then men and women should be afforded the same protections in the event of an unintended pregnancy.

That means that either men should be able to unilaterally surrender their parental rights after a pregnancy has already occurred; the same way women can by: abortion, adoption, or abandonment laws. Or we should outlaw abortion, repeal abandonment laws, and charge women who put their children up for adoption child support for 18-22 years.

If you don't believe that people should be treated equally then it's time to stop being a hypocrite and start lobbying to repeal the 14th amendment. In which case at least I'll be able to buy a slave for Africa on e-bay to do my yard work. I kid.

Most of the suggestions involved to address the injustice to the male either ignore the rights of the child if born, or involve shifting the obligation to support the child away from the parent to society as a whole.

HELLLOOOO?!?!?! Isn't that what we're doing right now when a woman puts her child up for adoption, and they end up as wards of the state?

I guess its only ok to shift the burden of child support to society, if; the one who you're doing the shifting for is a women.
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