Thursday, March 23, 2006

Men's Roe v Wade

I saw this last week on CNN, and I thought, “Oh, no.  There goes male parental responsibility.”  Really.  This guy Matt Dubay is suing  his ex-girlfriend because she is trying to get him to make child support payments for a child he plainly said he never wanted.

Jeff Jacoby states the issue pretty well.

      A 25-year-old computer programmer in Michigan, Dubay wants to know why it is only women who have "reproductive rights." He is upset about having to pay child support for a baby he never wanted. Not only did his former girlfriend know he didn't want children, says Dubay, she had told him she was infertile. When she got pregnant nonetheless, he asked her to get an abortion or place the baby for adoption. She decided instead to keep her child and secured a court order requiring him to pay $500 a month in support.

      Not fair, Dubay complains. His ex-girlfriend chose to become a mother. It was her choice not to have an abortion, her choice to carry the baby to term, her choice not to have the child adopted. She even had the option, under the "baby safe haven" laws most states have enacted, to simply leave her newborn at a hospital or police station. Roe v. Wade gives her and all women the right - the constitutional right! - to avoid parenthood and its responsibilities. Dubay argues that he should have the same right, and has filed a federal lawsuit that his supporters are calling "Roe v. Wade for men." Drafted by the National Center for Men, it contends that as a matter of equal rights, men who don't want a child should be permitted, early in pregnancy, to get "a financial abortion" releasing them from any future responsibility to the baby.

      Does Dubay have a point? Of course. Contemporary American society does send very mixed messages about sex and the sexes. For women, the decision to have sex is the first of a series of choices, including the choice to abort a pregnancy - or, if she prefers, to give birth and collect child support from the father. For men, legal choices end with the decision to have sex. If conception takes place, he can be forced to accept the abortion of a baby he wants - or to spend at least the next 18 years turning over a chunk of his income to support a child he didn't want.

      All true. But it is also true that predatory males have done enormous damage to American society, and the last thing our culture needs is one more way for men to escape accountability for the children they father. Dubay wants more than the freedom to be sexually reckless - he wants that freedom to be constitutionally guaranteed. Truly he is a child of his time, passionate on the subject of rights and eager to duck responsibility.

Truly this is just a natural extension of the legal precedents that women’s rights groups have been asking for all these years.   Instead of their choice ending with the decision to have sex, the woman is afforded all sorts of options after that fact, and the men are not. 

But if I’m indignant about that situation it’s because I’m being consistent about the issue.  Having sex comes with the risk of consequences, and considering the result of there being a new and completely unique human being growing inside the mother, the choice should be over the moment that happens.  For both participants in the sexual act.

Will pro-abortion (pro-choice if you must) groups look hypocritical unless they fully support what Dubay is fighting for?

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