Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Checkbook Daddyhood

Should involuntary fathers have to foot the bill? Advice Goddess Amy Alkon says no:

Men who make it clear they don’t want kids shouldn’t be forced to pay child support, writes Amy Alkon, who has no patience for unscrupulous women luring unwitting partners into checkbook daddyhood.

Read the whole thing here.

Update: You can see more about this debate on men's reproductive rights at an old post of mine on the same topic here.


Blogger Cut It said...

He said he told her he didn't want kids. He says she swore she couldn't get pregnant. I suspect she has a whole different story. And the only proof one way or another (besides their conflicting testimony) is the fact that a baby exists.

If you sincerely don't want a baby, wear a condom for god's sake. Every time. It's simply really hard to sell to anybody that you were adamant about this issue if you couldn't be bothered to do such a simple thing.

8:30 AM, November 14, 2007  
Blogger Jonathan said...

This one always amuses me. Where's "my body, my choice" now, eh?

8:53 AM, November 14, 2007  
Blogger El Duderino said...

Men do have choices, starting with who you choose to have sex with. It seems to me that if you knock up some gold digger, you have only yourself to blame for being so indiscriminate with the people you choose to be intimate with.
Assuming Boris Becker type scenarios are the rare exception and without getting into excruciating detail, there are many ways of having sex that will not end up in pregnancy. Then it’s only prudent for many reasons to faithfully employ latex evening wear and if you're dead set on never having kids, you can get snipped.
While I’m sure there are women who see child support as the winning the lottery the hard and sure way, there are also many, many men who are just plain irresponsible.

9:27 AM, November 14, 2007  
Blogger Connie du Toit said...

Agree 100%. If a woman has a choice then so does a man... and since we have decided (as a society) that she has the choice to bring the child to term (with no say at all by the father), then the financial obligations of that decision go with it.

That's the not so cool side of liberation. You either have complete choice and all the associated risks/responsibilities, or your choices are limited in deference to another person's choices.

If she's shopping for a father for her children, then get married first. Only through marriage is the support of children no longer optional.

9:29 AM, November 14, 2007  
Blogger TullimoreDu said...

connie & dude:

This a bulls**t argument for one very simple reason: it results in fundamental bias against men in their freedom to have sex. On the one hand, women are free to have sex with whomsoever they please, to use or to not a multitude of brith control means (way beyond the ineffective condom), and place the burden (economic and social) on the father without his consent.

On the other hand, men do not have anywhere near the same means for contraception independent of their partner, and until they do, then your philosophy discriminates against men and puts them in a vulnerable position whereby they can be mislead and defrauded by women without recourse.

It needs to stop. Now.

11:35 AM, November 14, 2007  
Blogger John Doe said...

I find myself split on the issue - yes, there are irresponsible men and unscrupulous women, but there are also genuine accidents, how to tell the difference?

That said, what I do know is that if a father is made to pay, he should have a fair whack at custody, the mother should be required to allow access without recourse to court, and she should be required to account for how the money is spent and to consult with the father on any and all issues associated with raising the child. At the moment, none of this holds so is it any surprise that men can be irresponsible and women unscrupulous?

11:39 AM, November 14, 2007  
Blogger theo said...

I've expressed this opinion before, and many people hate it, but oh well.

Yes, it takes two to make a baby. Both xx and xy chose to engage in sexual relations that ultimately cause a child to be created. Sadly, our laws and their application provide a gross inequity of parental rights.

A woman has rights over her body. I respect that. I believe that she should have the choice to abort or carry the child to term as she believes she must. However, a woman can decide that she's not ready to carry a child to term, and choose to abort. The responsible man is given no say in the matter. If she chooses to abort he loses the right to his child. If she chooses to carry it, he is forced to care for it, even if he's not ready.

Equal responsibility needs to mean Equal rights. In order to get child support two things need to happen (imnsho).

1) The woman needs to notify the father immediately upon realizing that she is pregnant.

2) If the father wants the child aborted, and she refuses, he can not be asked to pay child support. The second the father asks for an abortion, the mother has taken the authority to produce and raise that child upon herself.

Yes, this situation would be largely alleviated if people wore condoms. Unless you're TRYING to produce a baby, you should be wearing a condom. Birth control doesn't protect against STD's.

However, children happen accidentally, and it's a great injustice to provide one person with an escape clause, and make the other person responsible for that choice.

12:20 PM, November 14, 2007  
Blogger Unknown said...

Theo, I think you hit the nail on the head.

Abortion is allowed, not because it's a good way to control when you become a parent, but because the supreme court agreed that a woman can do what she wants with her body. The consequence, however, of a woman having complete control over her body is that she can avoid becoming a parent if she chooses.

There is no law that attempts to give this same degree of reproductive liberty to men however. Consider the act of sex itself under the current law. A woman engages in the act knowing full well that she has the right to an abortion, and can't be forced into parenthood, even if accidentally impregnated or her partner wishes that she have the baby. A man engages in the act, and even if he takes all precautionary measures, can not be guaranteed that the act will not lead him into involuntary parenthood because his future is ultimately determined by what the woman choses to do if she becomes pregnant, willfully or not.

In my opinion, this is a clear example of equal actions, but unequal consequences for men and women. There's no reason why a man should be bound to any future, or financial obligation, just because his semen enters a woman's body when at the same time a woman is bound to no obligation at all. Once a man's semen fertilizes her eggs, she has the power by law to choose both their futures.

The difference between control over one's body and control over one's life is slim, if any. Legal abortions for men are absolutely necessary if men are to have the same degree of reproductive control over their life that women have, as well as independence from women. Women's choices should not be men's responsibilities.

12:57 PM, November 14, 2007  
Blogger DADvocate said...

It's amazing how few are willing to extend the same rights to men as women.

cut it - I suspect she has a whole different story.


If men had the same rights as women, it wouldn't matter what her story was. Is a man's story considered when a woman wants an abortion?

el duderino - Men do have choices, starting with who you choose to have sex with.

Women have the same choice plus a lot more. How far do you think your logic would fly with NOW if applied women?

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?

Excellent point.

Unless you’re a sterling judge of character, on the level of secret service agents and clinical psychologists,...

As the son of a clinical psychologist (my father) and having known plenty of others, I would not say they are sterling judges of character. I've known plenty who got the shaft by trusting the wrong person.

2:22 PM, November 14, 2007  
Blogger Dragon Hawk said...

I feel bad that men are not treated equally in this situation, however, since the alternative to his supporting the child is *my* supporting it (as a taxpayer) I'm afraid I am not on his side one teensy little bit.

And yes, I realize it's not fair that women can abort or not abort as they see fit, but the man has no say in that issue. I just have no idea what else can be done as long as abortions are legal. It's certainly not fair that the tax payer who didn't even get to have the orgasm has to pay for the child.

Personally, I am teaching my son the ugly realities of life, and that whenever he has sex, he has to understand that he loses his reproductive rights as soon as he has sex. It's all up to the woman.

Though making custody and child support themselves more equal would certainly help in situations like this.

2:36 PM, November 14, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was trying to find this study I read about a few months ago that was done at a university that revealed that at least half of all young women polled admitted they would be willing to lie to a man about being on birth control in order to trick him into fatherhood against his will becuase the woman felt 'he was father material.' Can someone help me here? Does anyone remember that study and the link to it? Please provide if you know where to find it.

Have you ever wondered why it is that we have had birth control pills since the 1960's and still massive amounts of abortions? With birth control pills, abortion shouldn't even be an issue today! But of course it is, and the average woman's amorality is the reason why. It's easy to figure out- the man flips out hard enough, she'll get the abortion- still crying and wanting sympathy even though she decieved him (?!?)

One thing is clear to me though.. today, except for a handful of women like the author of this article, we as men have virtually nothing in common with the average woman and how she thinks. Our standards of right and wrong are as different as chalk and cheese. Women are living in their own world, and so is our legal system.

2:52 PM, November 14, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Yes, this situation would be largely alleviated if people wore condoms. Unless you're TRYING to produce a baby, you should be wearing a condom. Birth control doesn't protect against STD's."

I will bet $1,000,000,000,000 that you don't wear a condom yourself. There is a reason birth control pills were invented. Here on planet Earth, wearing a condom is like wearing a shower cap while trying to wash your hair.

I'm sick of people preaching about condoms when you know they you KNOW they don't wear them themselves.

2:59 PM, November 14, 2007  
Blogger theo said...

@ reality2007: If I thought for a second you had it, I'd take you up on that bet.

I'm gay, you crazy bigot. I've seen the damage that unsafe sex has done to my community. I have friends and family members who struggle every day to live with their mistakes, and each and every one of us has to live with those mistakes as well, supporting them, watching them get sick and die, or just deal with the results of their mistakes.

Cover your peckers boys, it's more than baby-making that's at risk. Sex is a beautiful thing, it's wonderful, special, and should be shared whenever you can. But it has a great deal of risks, and birth-control only addresses one of them.

3:11 PM, November 14, 2007  
Blogger LZ said...

The whole system is screwed up, starting with individual behavior by men and women and finishing with the State. It's absolutely unfair to men, but morally speaking we are way past one side being "right". It's like a crack dealer sentenced to 5 years in prison complaining that the coke dealer was senetenced to 3 years in jail.

3:55 PM, November 14, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I'm gay, you crazy bigot"

(?) You're crazy AND an idiot. I didn't say anything about gays.

And as for your ad nauseum preachy, preachy speech on condoms.. keep it to yourself. We'll let you know when we need your approval.

4:26 PM, November 14, 2007  
Blogger Peregrine John said...

So all the dodging and whatnot around the issue boils down to applying differing standards of behavior, differing levels of rights, and entirely separate arguments to the sexes, any or all of which would cause endless caterwauling should the genders be switched for a moment.

Look, boys and girls, it really is as simple as this: If you make a decision (dare I say, choice) you must live with it. You don't get to force other people into the consequences of your choice. Anything else is, at best, bad law.

4:53 PM, November 14, 2007  
Blogger TullimoreDu said...

"You don't get to force other people into the consequences of your choice."

That's exactly the point, pj: women get to do this all the time because the law allows it.

5:04 PM, November 14, 2007  
Blogger Peregrine John said...

Well... yeah. That's what I meant. Bad law. Worse logic. And yet a common problem, somehow.

5:06 PM, November 14, 2007  
Blogger Derek said...

Arguing that what's good for the goose is good for the gander just doesn't seem to have much merit in this discussion. The gander doesn't lay. Until such time as men gestate, women will have greater responsibilities and associated rights than men. Is it equitable? No. But much in life that isn't immoral also isn't equitable.

That's not to say that men don't get short shrift from the legal system. For example, requiring men to be financially responsible for kids proven not to be theirs is simply the legal system placing the burden of child support enforcement on an innocent party, in my opinion. There's need for change.

But those who argue that men are held hostage by a woman's choice are forgetting that she wouldn't be able to make that choice if he hadn't contributed. The legal system doesn't hold men responsible for the consequences of a woman's choice to carry a child to term. It holds him responsible for his choice to have sex with her in the first place.

The problem arises when people believe that you can divorce sex from all consequences. You can't. Making love is a beautiful thing, but even roses have thorns. Sex has risk, e.g. unplanned pregnancies or STIs. If you engage in the act, you should be mature enough to face the consequences.

And that's something that neither "abstinence only" nor "traditional" sex ed programs typically teach our children, unfortunately.

6:39 PM, November 14, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"..the issue boils down to applying differing standards of behavior, differing levels of rights, and entirely separate arguments to the sexes.."

Exactly. This is why anytime I hear a woman making any kind of judgment about anyone I just laugh out loud. Of course they can never understand why no matter how much you explain. That's another problem- men and women cannot have an intelligent conversation about this and 100 hundred other issues involving relationships, marriage and family because women simply are not intelligent enough.

The funniest part of all is how women present themselves as 'experts' on relationships, children, and family, but in reality they are simply obsessed with these topics. Why? Because they're horrible at realtionships- ask any marriage counselor who can be candid with you, or just pay attention to what women say, especially when your in a relationship with one.

6:41 PM, November 14, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, I forgot.. it's another victory for womens' FRAUD. YAAAAAY!!!

Fraud is 'empowering' to a woman. Everyone knows it's a woman's no.1

God forbid that women would actually pro-actively do something constructive to actually contribute something more than another future prison inmate into an already over populated nanny state.

7:41 PM, November 14, 2007  
Blogger TMink said...

There is a type of fishing called noodling. What you do is walk along a steep bank, feeling around under water till you find a hole. Then you stick your hand in the hole and feel around, looking for a large catfish. Reports differ here, but you either grab the fish by the gill or stick your hand down the fish's mouth and then pull it out. I have seen it on tv, and sat slack jawed wondering who would put their hand in a hole that might contain a large snapping turtle or water moccasin.

And then I read about people who have unprotected sex with people that they do not know well and completely.

It boggles my mind.

Yes the laws are insane. But the bottom line is that the law is just another reason to not noodle with your kanoodle.


8:11 PM, November 14, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It may be as simple as the old statement that the deeper pocket pays.

A woman is allowed to force a man to pay for a child that is not even his own, provided he is unaware of the truth (it has been hidden from him) for a certain amount of time.

That's truly crazy, totally off the charts, and infuriating. How can this be? Yet it stands.

9:22 PM, November 14, 2007  
Blogger El Duderino said...

There is no freedom from responsibility. One can have sex as often and with as many people as one pleases, I guess you can call that freedom. But no accord struck here or elsewhere will shield you from the consequences of that behavior: unwanted pregnancies, abortions of your child, child support, having your children raised by someone you hate, being a shitty absentee dad, STDs, crazy ass Wellesley coeds stabbing you in your dorm room, etc...
NOW and logic are like a necropolis of vampires and a garland of garlic, not only are the repulsed by it, they’d attack you for it while screeching and beating you about the head with their leathery wings. Sorry, but I couldn’t care less what a group of people who believe that abortion on demand serves the interests of women think.

9:26 PM, November 14, 2007  
Blogger Freeman Hunt said...

Instead of further degrading the value of human life by giving men the right to go around spawning children they need not support, why not just take away the right of women to kill their children? Then we're all equal. :)

10:57 PM, November 14, 2007  
Blogger Suzie Nolen Bennett said...

Save sex practices notwithstanding, shouldn't a man who doesn't want children have a vasectomy? or a woman, a tubal ligation?

11:43 PM, November 14, 2007  
Blogger Unknown said...

I start looking at this by looking at the men who have ZERO choice: The survivors of female offender rapes where a pregnancy occurs. These men have ZERO choice and MUST, by force of law, support the baby and the rapist.

Now, step down one, she steals a sperm sample, from a condom. He has no choice still and still must support the baby and the thief.

OK? So, if our society says men who have ZERO choice must still be a biological cash machine, how much more does our society demand of men who have a tiny choice?

Think about it ...

4:21 AM, November 15, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm willing to bet that should men eventually decide to avoid marrying, even having sex so that women don't get pregnant, all single men will eventually get taxed for staying that way. The proceeds will be split between all single women.

It sort of happens already. Singles get taxed more than married people, via no deductions for children. Depending on your point of view, it is being penalized for not having children, or not getting married, and rewarded for having them, or getting married.

6:37 AM, November 15, 2007  
Blogger Peregrine John said...

Though likely inadvertent, I suppose I should thank derek for providing a perfect example of the sort of shifting standards I was describing.

10:28 AM, November 15, 2007  
Blogger TMink said...

Suzie, I think that is a reasonable idea. Vascetomies are reversible too, in case someone has a change of heart.


10:54 AM, November 15, 2007  
Blogger BobH said...

Well, that certainly raises my opinion of the "Advice Goddess". I just wonder how much she'll press the issue. Probably not hard enough.

12:29 PM, November 15, 2007  
Blogger Derek said...

@Peregrine John: While it was inadvertent, it's not an unreasonable connection.

But things do shift. After all, it wasn't that long ago that "child support enforcement" didn't exist and men could (and would) simply skip town if they got a woman pregnant.

Laws that often made sense 100 years ago seem silly today. Although, I still can't see why Minnesotan's can't enter Wisconsin with chickens on their head.

2:17 PM, November 15, 2007  
Blogger # 56 said...

Duderino, "crazy ass Wellesley coeds stabbing you in your dorm room" is a logical consequence of sexual behavior. That's some screwed up world you live in.

3:42 PM, November 15, 2007  
Blogger El Duderino said...

#56 Who said anything about logic?

9:42 PM, November 15, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A man who makes it clear he doesn't want kids should keep his pants on.

While the woman may be behaving despicably, it was entirely avoidable on his part.

9:40 PM, November 16, 2007  
Blogger BobH said...

To allison:

Yep, when a woman injures a man, it's the man's fault. When a man injures a woman, it's the man's fault. Notice a pattern? A very large percentage of women are just prostitutes trying to be expensive prostitutes - self-righteous, hypocritical, petty, vindictive, manipulative and treacherous to the core! Certainly that appears to describe you.

10:04 PM, November 16, 2007  
Blogger Helen said...


Women who don't want kids don't have to keep their pants on--they have a number of options. Sex is as important as eating, drinking, or sleeping for some. As the Advice Goddess said, let's try to live in the real world. Sex is important to men and women --we should strive for equity in the reproductive area, not give unrealistic platitudes as solutions.

5:39 AM, November 17, 2007  
Blogger Cham said...

There is a difference, helen. Eating, drinking and sleeping are a necessity to remain alive. Sex might be fun, but nobody will die from lack of sex.

8:10 AM, November 17, 2007  
Blogger Helen said...


"...nobody will die from lack of sex."

I don't know about that--many would wish they were dead.

8:22 AM, November 17, 2007  
Blogger Ali said...

Oh my.... I don't know how to respond to this one.... Dr. Helen gets it right sometimes. Men are subject to reverse discrimination these days. But in her quest to acknowledge this, Dr. H seems to be a reverse - reverse discriminator. I don't even have the energy to fisk this absurd and biased "daddy checkbook" argument. I just feel sad that dr. H, in her support of men, seem unable to look at things from a woman's perspective as much as she can a man's.

12:17 PM, November 17, 2007  
Blogger Unknown said...


Through my eyes it seems obvious that men need the same equal protection under the law that women receive. The current laws are a breeding ground for fraud and extortion -- that's women committing fraud against men and extorting men -- There is no place in an equal society for such laws. Women do not own men once they poses their sperm. Have the baby if you want it, but the man should have no obligation to you or the baby if he doesn't want it. Get an abortion if you can't raise it on your own, I'm sure he'd pay for it.

The equivalent would be men being able to control women once they impregnate them.

Isn't a man's right to choose when he reproduces akin to a woman's right to have an abortion? Shouldn't the two go hand and hand? Where is the distinction between the right to choose for your body and the right to choose for your life?

11:52 PM, November 18, 2007  
Blogger Unknown said...


The term "reverse discrimination" is pointless. Discrimination is discrimination is discrimination. Just because the group that is normally discriminated against is able to discriminate back, does not make it "reverse". Calling it "reverse discrimination" implies that it is somehow different.

For example: When a man and a woman both commit statutory rape and the man goes to jail for 10 years and the women gets house arrest, that's discrimination. There's nothing "reverse" about it, it's plain old ugly double standards and discrimination.

12:01 AM, November 19, 2007  
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