T Nation

Roe v. Wade...For Men


#1

The man behind 'Roe vs. Wade for Men'
When I walked up to a modest home in Saginaw, Michigan, yesterday morning and knocked on the door, I expected a loud and emotional greeting from the man inside. After all, he's launched a lawsuit that's grabbing headlines and could have national implications. As it turns out, I met a soft-spoken man, but what he has to say could impact how men are held accountable when they father a child.

Matt Dubay is 25 years old. He's single. And for now, he wants to keep it that way. But Dubay is also the father of an eight-month-old girl named Elisabeth. And that's the problem. Dubay is suing his ex-girlfriend, 20-year-old Lauren Wells, because he believes he shouldn't be forced to pay $560 a month in child support.

"During the time we were seeing each other, I made it very clear to her that I was not ready to be a father, and she made it very clear to me that she was incapable of becoming pregnant because of a condition," Dubay told me.

The ex-couple's battle here in Saginaw has become the centerpiece of a national campaign to allow men to reject the responsibilities of fatherhood. A rights group called The National Center for Men is backing the lawsuit, calling its legal crusade "Roe vs. Wade for Men," after the landmark Supreme Court decision that gives women the legal right to an abortion.

Dubay told me that he feels he was shut out. "She was given the right to have an abortion, keep the child, put the child up for adoption, and whatever she chooses, I have to go along with....Under our laws, our constitution, that doesn't seem right to me."

Women's rights groups insist men like Dubay are not being forced into parenthood. They say child support payments are a fair, and modest, alternative to the lifetime commitment of being a father. But when I met with Dubay's lawyer, Jeff Cojocar, at his office near Detroit, he insisted the lawsuit isn't trying to create an easy way out for men. He says it's about trying to extend to men the freedom of choice the Supreme Court decision gave to women.
Posted By Jonathan Freed, CNN Correspondent


#2

Like Steve Martin says in Parenthood:

Women have choices, and men have responsibilities.


#3

I've often thought about that topic - and my only answer is that men should take responsibility when it comes to contraception: Use a condom - whatever your partner tells you, and minimise the risk of an unwanted pregnancy.

I may be able to sympathise with him personally, but that's just the risk he took when entering a partnership; including being cheated.

Given the fact that it is normally the woman who has to face the hardships of raising a child alone (and it ain't fun), I think it's only fair that the men should pay their share - and many don't even do that. Changing the law is not warranted imo.

Makkun


#4

The fact that he was lied to bothers me. I think a father should take care of their own kid, but since we are suing someone anyway, shouldn't the woman be held accountable for lying when she said she couldn't get pregnant? If a guy has AIDs and he lies about it, isn't he guilty of a crime if he continues to sleep around?


#5

This is an interesting argument. I posted a section from the tiggerhawk blog that I thought seemed relevant to the discussion.

"As we are constantly reminded, the abortion debate is all about something called reproductive choice. Of what does this reproductive choice consist? If a man and a woman, married or unmarried, conceive a child together, both are on the hook financially to support that child until he or she is grown. But there are rules. If the woman decides to rid herself of a fetus that she does not want, but the man does, she may kill it and this is perfectly legal. If the man decides to rid herself of a fetus that he does not want (perhaps by slipping her an abortifact that does not otherwise harm her), but the woman does, this is murder and he will go to jail.

Thus, two utterly contradictory things occur at the moment of conception:

Legally, from the point of view of a woman: the fetus is a lump of tissue which may be excised at will if she subsequently regrets having conceived a child. It imposes no obligation or legal duty unless she chooses to accept it.

Legally, from the point of view of the man: the fetus is a human being which must be allowed to live, even if he subsequently regrets having conceived a child. It imposes an absolute and irrevocable legal duty, regardless of his wishes in the matter."


#6

Sums it up nicely.


#7

I am not sure what to think about this, as a non custodial father, I feel VERY strongly about fathers that don't pay child support, and don't get involved in their childrens lives. I hope this lawsuit brings much needed attention to the issue of fathers rights.

On the other hand, I think that way to many good fathers get lumped in with the bad ones. If I am married, and I get laid off, the family all has to spend less, and everyone makes sacrifices. If I am a non custodial father, I am the only one who makes the sacrifice, and I get to go to jail if I don't figure something out quick.


#8

As far as the abortion issue goes, as long as its legal for the fetus to be aborted, there should be no way anyone else could be charged with murder for killing the fetus. Its either a child or its not. I am refering to laws that charge people with two counts of manslaughter should they cause a car accident, and kill a prengant woman.


#9

Someone please explain the complications here.

If the facts are right, the woman lied to the man saying she cannot get pregnant while the man clearly stated "I am not ready for parenthood." Whether this meant emotionally or financially or whatever, it doesn't matter, he stated he didn't want a child, and in trusting his partner, was absolved of responsibility when having sex regarding conception. He is cheated out of money if he now has to pay for a child.

Yes, perhaps the man was stupid in trusting his partner with such a serious issue (but then again, relationships are about trust), but the bitch lied to him. The fault lies with her.

Someone please explain how there is any question about this case.


#10

Basically all that the courts consider in these cases is what is best for the child, they are not even remotly concerned about either parent, especially the father.


#11

I have to agree with you. The only thing that clouds the issue is the fact that there is a kid who needs things to live that has now popped up in this situation regardless of what happened. Women basically have it way too easy in most court cases involving marriage, dispersement of property and children. I think much of it needs to change. I wouldn't drop one tear if some judge made a stand and decided that this guy didn't owe anything.


#12

There was a court case a while ago where a lesbian couple wanted a male friend to inseminate one of them so that they could have a child.

Later, he was sued for child support. The plaintiff won.

There have been men who have had SIGNED documents that said they had no responsibility for a child, that they were basically being used as a sperm donor, and have still had to pay child support. Generally those are cases where the man has sex with the woman... apparently such contracts don't hold up when the men actually get something in return.

I think the basic rule to follow is that if you are a woman, you get to do anything. If you are a man, watch your step.


#13

I don't even know what to say. I think I'm too stunned to even rant.

To take my mind off of this, I ask Professor X, why do you say "I have to agree with you?" Do you usually not? =P


#14

This was the story from the City Journal. Happenend in Sweden.

http://www.city-journal.org/html/eon_10_25_05td.html

The Expense of Spirit
A lesbian?s sperm donor is hoist with his own petard. | 25 October 2005

We can usually sympathize with one or another party to a dispute: one is usually more in the right?or less in the wrong?than the other. But with the breakdown of accepted conventions, it increasingly happens that neither side arouses our sympathies.

Take a recent case in Sweden, where a lesbian couple wished to have children. An understanding and liberal-minded male friend agreed to donate his sperm, and three children were born to one of the two women between 1992 and 1996. But then relations between the two women deteriorated, and they split up.

The mother of the children found herself alone and in difficult straits. Who would support her, in her?and her children?s?time of need? Her former lover was unwilling, because?after all?she was no relation of the children. The sperm donor had made it clear from the first that he had no wish to be a father in any but the most literal biological sense; he thought he was merely doing the couple a favor. He therefore felt no moral obligation to support the children, and his conscience was clear.

Nevertheless, the government?s department of social security?the potential surrogate parent of every child?sued to force the sperm donor to pay. After a case lasting four years, he found himself obliged henceforth to support the mother and children financially.

The president of the Swedish Federation for Sexual Equality declared the legal decision an outrage. ?It is scandalous,? he said. ?The man has been condemned to be a father even though he did not take the decision to have the children. Above all, one of the women who took part in that decision has been absolved of all responsibility. If one desires equality of rights for lesbians, it is anomalous that it should not be she who was obliged to support the children financially.?

It would take considerable space to elucidate all the errors in the president?s statement. But I think that the language of rights, and above all of equal rights, is what leads us into this sordid legal and moral swamp. If women have a ?right? to children, in the sense that not having them if they want them is an infringement of their rights, then of course lesbian women can no longer accept childlessness as the natural consequence of their condition. Let it not be said that new medical technology is responsible for this change in attitude, incidentally: the kind of artificial insemination offered in a domestic setting by the sperm donor has been possible for a very long time. No, the culprit here is the idea that the fulfilment of our desires, no matter what our condition, is a right. As for the well-being of the children in this case?beyond the provision of sufficient financial support for them?that seems to have entered into no one?s thnking.

A plague on all their houses, then: the idea that one ?condemns? a man to support children is in itself both revealing and chilling.


#15

the guy should sue the woman...
the lying cunt should go to jail...
the child should be put up for adoption...

this will never happen of course...because just like the steve martin quote says "women have choices, men have responsibilities"...


#16

Mr. Dubey and his representatives' arguments have some valid points. I do feel that the current laws are a bit unfair toward men; but mostly the unfairness is toward the children. And the current laws enable some women to avoid some measure of personal responsibility and the best interests of the children.

Allowing yourself to get pregnant and have a child from a man you know from the beginning does not want to be a father, is irresponsible and not in the best interests of children.

I'll use this case as an example. Mr. Dubay clearly stated that he was not ready to become a father. Yet, the woman DECIDED (because yes, as intelligent creatures, we do make a DECISION weather or not to be astute about birth control, abstaining, etc...) to become pregnant and bring a child into this world. How responsible is this of the mother, to become pregnant and have a child knowing the child would be the product of a broken home and a father who wasn't ready for parenthood???

TO KNOWINGLY BRING A CHILD INTO AN ESSENTIALLY FATHERLESS SITUATION IS IRRESPONSIBLE TOWARD THE CHILD AND NOT IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF CHILDREN.

The argument that many women use that it was a "mistake" or an "accident" that they have become pregnant by a man who didn't want them to become pregnant brings women's empowerment, accomplishments and status back to the old days when women were not allowed to vote and were considered second class citizens next to men.

We can't as women spout from one side of our mouths "Women's Equality, Women's Empowerment", while on the other side of our mouths say "We're Helpless, Hapless and Hopeless" about getting pregnant. This is an insult to many strong, intelligent, responsible women everywhere. TO LEAVE PREGNANCY TO HAPPENSTANCE AND TO BE HELPLESS, HAPLESS AND HOPELESS ABOUT YOUR REPRODUCTIVE ACTIVITIES IS A POOR EXCUSE, AND IS NOT FAIR TO NOR IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF ANY CHILDREN THAT MAY BE BORN INTO YOUR SITUATION.

There's no excuse. Technology is such that there are so many Birth Control choices or the choice to abstain...or, GASP!, the choice to find a sexual partner who is ready to raise a child if a pregnancy should occur. Millions of women in westernized countries successfully prevent pregnancy by using birth control methods or abstaining.

For a woman to make that choice to prevent an unwanted pregnancy by using birth control methods or abstaining is called TAKING PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY, and more people, women and men, should adopt the belief in TAKING PERSONAL RESPONSIBILTY. There are even free or very low cost clinics that will provide gynecological screenings, birth control and counseling.

WITH ALL THE EDUCATION AND RESOURCES OUT THERE, UNLESS YOU'RE A RAPE VICTIM OR A DEVELOPMENTALLY DELAYED ADULT MAN OR WOMAN, THERE'S NO EXCUSE FOR UNWANTED PREGNANCIES. (Although there are many developmentally delayed men and women out there who successfully and consciously prevent unwanted pregnancies).

For a woman to DECIDE to have a child from a man who is honest about not being ready for parenthood by DECIDING to become sexually involved with him, by DECIDING not to abstain, or by DECIDING not to use birth control, is not only foolish, but is downright irresponsible and not in the best interests of any child or children that should result from this behavior.

DON'T BE SELFISH ENOUGH TO GET PREGNANT FROM A MAN WHO TELLS YOU HE DOESN'T WANT TO BE A FATHER, KNOWING THE IMPLICATIONS THIS WILL HAVE UPON A CHILD....THIS IS NOT FAIR TO THE CHILD.

So then the issue of child support payments and financing of single parenthood. I'm referring to women who have children knowing from the beginning that the father wants no part of it. We are being naieve if we say that child support, as well as supplemental government assistance, does not offer financial incentives for many women. Think about it.

Think about the impact that revision of child support laws could have upon single parenthood.... MORE WOMEN WOULD THINK TWICE ABOUT HAVING CHILDREN FROM MEN WHO ARE OPEN ABOUT NOT WANTING TO BE PARENTS IF THEY KNEW THAT THERE WASN'T CHILD SUPPORT/WELFARE/GOVERMENT ASSISTANCE TO FALL BACK UPON; ULTIMATELY, THIS WOULD BENEFIT CHILDREN, WHO WOULD NOT BE BROUGHT INTO BAD SITUAIONS, AND ALSO BENEFIT THE WHOLE OF SOCIETY.

And the argument that child support and supplemental government assistance is only enough to keep these single parent families just above poverty....that again is a "helpless, hapless, hopeless" argument...why knowingly bring children into this world who are not wanted by their fathers, when you yourself are not financially ready to provide for the child, then place the financial burden upon other people-- the unwilling father and the already overburdened taxpayers?

And to do this to a child? That is irresponsibility at its finest! TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOURSELVES AND YOUR REPRODUCTIVE ABILLITIES!! IF YOU'RE A MAN OR A WOMAN, IF YOUR SITUATION IS SUCH THAT HAVING A CHILD WILL PLACE YOUR SOCIOECONOMIC STATUS AROUND THE POVERTY LEVEL, THEN YOU ARE NOT READY TO HAVE A CHILD, AND YOU HAVE THE RESPONSIBILITY TO USE BIRTH CONTROL OR ABSTAIN UNTIL SUCH TIME THAT YOU ARE ABLE TO PROPERLY CARE FOR AND PROVIDE FOR A CHILD.


#17

Talk about inequality, if a man has a child he cannot support, he goes to jail, if a woman does the same thing, she gets tax payer money. The fact of the matter is women and men BOTH need to be held accountable. There are many good couples that want to adopt out there, so in a case like this I think that would be in the childs best interest.


#18

I was just wondering if a man was raped by a woman, forced to penetrate, and then got her pregnant would he have a right to force her to get an abortion. The thought sounds odd but CSC laws are supposed to be gender equal, even though they are often not prosecuted that way. Has there ever been a case like this?


#19

First of all -- we don't know the all the circumstances in the case . All we know is that hesays she lied to him. Maybe she thought she couldn't get pregnant, so what? If he was smart, he would have requested that she get a fertility test just to make sure.

Ridiculous! He is not ready to be a father, but he was all to ready to screw his girlfriend. The problem lies in the disconnectbetween sex and procreation. We feel that we have "a right" to sex, without having the responsibility for the consequences of sex. Stop saying that he was lied to -- we really don't know that. What we do know is that he was ready, willing, and able to have sex with her -- and that produced a child for which he, as the father, is financially responsible to and for.

The child is being cheated out of a father -- you want him or her to be cheated out of proper support as well?

Do we really need to explain to you the mutual responsibilities of sex?

Let's say, the girl says she is on the pill and there is no way she can get pregnant. Let's also say that she forgets to take a pill or two at a critical moment in her cycle. He comes home that night and has sex and she gets pregnant. You would say that he is not responsible for the child?
You've got to be kidding, right?

Bottom line: The guy's responsibility begins when the zipper comes down. You don't want the responsibility -- then leave your pants on and your brain awake.

Guys (or women) cannot have it both ways!


#20

HORRAH!! I agree with this wholeheartedly. One should not engage in sexual intercouse without being ready for the consequences. This applies to BOTH men AND women!!

May I point out that in the case where a man is honest about not wanting to become a parent, the fact that a child is "being cheated out of a father" is not entirely the man's fault-- as thinking, intelligent people, women need to make the CHOICE not to bear children from these men, rather than play that helpless, hapless and hopeless role of "I accidentally became pregnant, oh well"...that serves no one and only brings a child into a bad situation....women as intelligent beings need to be more responsible for ourselves that way and make more responsible choices FOR THE SAKE OF OUR POTENTIAL CHILDREN. We are just as much able to control our destinies as men are.

Yes, women and men are mutually responsible. I'm thinking birth control, abstinance or choosing a partner with compatible procreation desires. And in this case, I feel it is irresponsible to become pregnant from a man who weather or not he was honest about not wanting to become a parent, the woman didn't know him well enough to know for sure that he'd stick around. Having a child is not like buying a car or something to be left to happenstance-- it's a major life decision that will permanently impact many people and potentially could harm a child.

Girl thinks to herself, "Oops, I forgot to take my pill for two days...oh well, keep my fingers crossed!" and has sexual intercouse with a partner who is honest about not wanting to become a parent, and then becomes pregnant. NOT responsible.

True! Hoorah!!

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