Should an unwanting father pay child support?

I was reading another thread about rape and child support and i thought of this.
Say a man has a one night stand with a woman, she gets pregnant and tells the man.
The man tells her he wants nothing to do with this child and she should get an abortion, she however wants to have this child.

Should the man be responsible for paying child support if he used protection, or the woman said she was using protection and she wasnt?

I guess this goes back to “if the woman makes the decision, the woman lives with (and pays for) the decision”.

So kid grows up without a farther and a much statistically higher rate of poverty. Nice. I was one of those kids. The accidental sperm donor did me a favor though. The kind of person that would do that has no business being anywhere near kids. The state of Michigan ever finds him and he’s so bankrupt though :slight_smile: I can’t wait till they do.
Look kids need parents. If you’re not ready to be a parent you need to use protection. Yes you. No matter what she says. People forget to take pills sometimes. If she does get pregnent you need to take care of your kids. Yes you. They’re your kids too if you slip one past the goalie.

As it is a woman’s right either to abort her pregnancy or carry it to term and give birth, the father has no legal say in the choice.

Once the child is born, it is a person and deserving of the support of both parents. The father can then petition for custody. Otherwise, he will be paying child support.

If a man does not want to risk the possibility of siring a child he would be required to support, and he cannot trust the woman he’s having sex with to be honest about the precautions she’s taking, he has two options: he can have a vasectomy or he can refuse to have sex with her.

Women do not have magical control over sperm. We can’t steal it. The most we can do is accept it under fraudulent terms. Men have the final say over when they deliver sperm and the circumstances under which they deliver it.

If you don’t want to support a child then it is fairly simple to avoid ejaculating into a woman’s vagina. In fact, most people have to go to some effort in order to be in a situation where they can ejaculate into a woman’s vagina. It’s a pretty easy thing to avoid, really.

There is no such thing as foolproof birth control, and there is especially no such thing as foolproof birth control when someone else (that you perhaps just met) tells you that the birth control is taken care of.

So if a man doesn’t want to support a child he can avoid doing so. While it seems as though unwanted fatherhood just happens by accident a moments thought is enough for us to realize that this sort of thing doesn’t really happen by accident, it happens on purpose. It’s not an accident that you stuck your dick in a woman and ejaculated.

You did it on purpose. You didn’t have to do it, but you did. And if one of those sperm that you carefully inserted into that woman’s vagina swims up a fallopian tube and fertillizes an egg, that’s not an accident either.

So yeah, you pay child support for your children. The purpose of child support isn’t to punish a man for 18 years because he made the wrong decision and stuck his dick in the wrong woman. the purpose of child support is to support a child. If the existance of this child which you created on purpose (since you stuck your cock into the child’s mother on purpose) is so horrific, it is sometimes possible to get your parental rights terminated. But usually this can only happen if someone else is willing to step up and pay the bills. If no one else is willing to adopt the child, then you’re stuck with caring for the child.

I think this is the issue the OP meant to put up for debate.

The reason the woman “makes the decision” is because it’s her body. Taking control away would be slavery.

Besides you both make the decision when you had fucked each other. You could have said no. So you made the decision and you must live with the decision as well.

Why is forcing someone to go through 9 months of pregnancy worse than forcing someone to cough up a large part of their income for 18 years?

They are both bad.

The woman and the man can avoid their respective predicament if they take appropriate action (she can keep her legs closed, he can keep his dick in his pants).

But if she ends up pregnant, I think they should have equal say in how to get out of their respective predicament. Why should she be more capable, legally, to erase her one night of “Ooops”, than he does? Either they should both be able to get out of it easily, or neither.

Biology says otherwise. When that is equal then the choices should be as well.

Because the former involves a state violation of a womans’ physical body and privacy, while the latter is about imposing finacial responsibilty for the consequences of a freely made choice.

It’s bad to force a man to support his own offspring? Why?

This isn’t quite correct. The man’s physical involvement begins and ends with sex, but the womans’ continues on during pregnancy. Therefore the woman’s choice extends beyond the point of the sexual act. She can still choose to terminate a pregnancy.

This is complete garbage of course. For one thing, you cannot give one human being “equal say” over another person’s physical body. For another, there would be no way to enforce it even if you could. Think about it for two seconds. If they both strongly disagree, what do you do? There has to be a tie breaker, and the tie breaker, by any decent moral standard, has to go to the person whose body is at stake.

There are other obvious problems with this as well. How do you determine who the sperm donor is? If she says. “that’s not the dude,” then what do you do?

A man is responsible for his own sperm and that’s the end of it. The choice to carry a pregnancy is entirely with the person who owns the body. Crying that it’s not fair is imamture and shallow. The BIOLOGY isn’t fair. Deal with it.

Well, we used to have a system where uninterested fathers didn’t have to support their children–they could just walk away and leave the woman to fend for both herself and the child(ren). Child support as we currently know it is a pretty recent innovation, historically speaking, and that innovation came about because we decided as a society that the old system wasn’t really working all that well. We changed things so that it’s worse for some individuals because it’s better for society as a whole, which is how living in a society works.

Is it exactly even-steven fair for guys to have to pay child support when they don’t have the option of having an abortion? No, it’s not. You know what else about reproduction isn’t even-steven fair? Every-fucking-thing.

Whether you carry to term or terminate, all the pain and inconvenience and physical risk is on one side. In the situation posited in the OP, even all the medical bills are on one side. Shit, even preventing pregnancy ain’t fair. Read the list of possible side effects on any hormonal birth control method, or for an IUD–increased risk of stroke, heart attack, or deep vein thrombosis, uterine perforation, possibly even death. Risks to the man–none.

There’s no way we can make this a straight-down-the-middle, even-steven split of rights and responsibilities. It’s just not physically possible. So instead we have to try to balance things as best we can and try to make it as reasonably equitable for everyone as we can. This is the best balance we’ve come up with so far–guys have somewhat reduced rights, but also greatly reduced risks.

I think putting in exemptions for guys who used condoms or who were told their partner was on other birth control is legally problematic. How would you prove, in a court of law, that you used a condom? Videotape every sex act, complete with closeups of your wrapped wang before and after? And how would you prove that you hadn’t had sex other times that weren’t videotaped? How would you prove that she told you she was birth control? Get her to sign a notarized statement to that effect? Without such proof, it’s just a he-said, she-said boondoggle like the ones you see on People’s Court.

We had a discussion about this some months back and I was surprised at those who thought men should be able to walk away from unwanted pregnancies if they choose to do so, without sharing any responsibility. That happens too often as it is.

Accident or not, wanted ot not, if your own choices and actions made you a father then share in the responsibility of that child , at least financially. Yes, it can be very difficult and a real burden. Consequences are like that sometimes.

Yes. The child is entitled to the father’s support irrespective of whether or not their mother and father are dolts.

Be prepared for a 700-post thread. :slight_smile:

I got into a discussion on just this question with my mother once upon a time. If we say, unilaterally, that it is a woman’s choice to carry or not to carry a pregnancy to term, then at what point can we say that a man must provide for the child? To make sound decisions, a person must be responsible for the costs as well as the benefits. But I am uncomfortable in dealing with the situation where the man wants an abortion and a woman doesn’t. There really isn’t some kind of natural compromise situation here. So even if we were to say, “It’s not strictly the woman’s choice,” there’s really nothing we can do with the leeway we’ve just given ourselves.

This argument is weird. The woman knew there was a possibility that she would get pregnant and have to take care of the child herself, so she should live with the consequences. Being uniquely in control of whether or not she can even keep the pregnancy, this is the best person to make that decision, not the man. The man is the worst person to put any responsibility on.

Men face fairly perverse incentives in sexual behavior since women bear the costs of pregnancy. This is a natural fact of existence, not a comment on men (or women). Trying to impose some of these costs on men may help, but it is not clear that this can really be effective, because it turns into a weird (and expensive) enforcement problem. Perhaps it would be cheaper to just give $10,000 to a woman who is pregnant and decides not to have an abortion or give the child up for adoption.

Human existence has sort of separated sexual behavior from reproductive behavior. We expect couples to have sex; we do not expect couples to “try to have a child.” These are distinct behaviors. The cost of unwanted reproduction is enormously out of alignment with the benefit of sexual behavior in making people happy. Forcing two people to share this burden instead of one might make us feel morally happy but it is not clear to me at all that it fixes the underlying incentive problem. Women still feel the burden disproportionately, as they must factor in the cost of unwanted pregnancy with the cost of pursuing child support (even if we make it legal to collect, it is still a cost). So we’ve slightly adjusted the cost, but in the right proportion? What is the right proportion?

Suppose, for example, that instead of child support we flipped a coin when a women became pregnant. If it is heads, the woman bears the cost (raises the child without legally compelled support); if it is tails, the man bears the cost. Even this is in the man’s favor, because the woman will always end up carrying the child to term (even if the man is forced to pay the medical bills it is still in the man’s favor). There’s just a basic biological cost that cannot be accounted for.

I do feel that men should bear the consequences of their decision, but simple logic is enough to tell me that this will not happen, even if we try to compel them through law. We’ve got to try to fix the incentive problem.

Here’s a market that can’t exist: pregnancy insurance. There’s no way anyone in their right mind would allow someone to take out a policy as a contingency against getting pregnant. The incentive to cheat is too great. This is as true of men as it is of women. Both sexes are totally uninsurable here. It gets worse. People improve the world, on average, by virtue of existing and producing and being available as a mate and tipping in restaraunts and smiling at you, making your day a little brighter. If you have a child, it improves my life. But you and yours are the only ones that bear the cost. This is a positive externality problem. (This is also why I suggested the $10,000 check. Yes, I do want to encourage reproduction. We don’t make enough kids.) So maybe it isn’t just the man we need to get to pay for pregnancy, it’s everyone else, too. In this case, it doesn’t really matter if we impact the man’s motivations; if we can help bear the cost of pregnancy as a society, we can help women’s choices be more sensible.

Pregnancy, overall, is a good thing. While we should seek to ensure the woman does not bear disproportionate costs to the best of our ability, we should not impose costs as some kind of moral punishment. Forcing fathers to pay child support may fix one side of the incentive problem, but it doesn’t solve the greater problem that we simply don’t have enough children. Women are in absolutely the best position to decide whether or not to have a child. They know far more about their own position than the guy she’s sleeping with or a legislator poised to make that man pay. There is really no one better. Once we accept that, we can find a better social policy (which I do expect to include child support).

Note: as a child who’s father left him and his mom when he was six months old, and therefore struggled our whole lives, I’m not coming at this from some position of privilege or lack of understanding. It’s a philosophical question for me.

Except if you want to throw them in jail for failing to pay child support.

The OP is 100% right. Men get absolutely hosed in the family courts in this country. Imagine the following scenario, a women who is unable to breast feed (simply to remove the biology argument) and a man have a one night stand, and end up with a baby. They are both employed, stable, no criminal history, etc. In short, they are both ideal parents. What do you think the chance of the man getting full custody of that child is? Absolutely zero. If he’s got a good lawyer, and is willing to fight, he might get lucky and get some sort of joint custody. In reality though, he is hosed and will see his child on the whim of the mother. That’s the problem in my mind. We assign equal financial responsibility to the father, but we don’t grant him

Courts do lean toward the mother but I doubt if visitation is left completely up to her whim. Visitation can be enforced legally although it’s not a simple or easy process. The courts are looking out for the welfare of the child., which should be their first concern.

The OP is about whether an unwilling father should be compelled to be financially responsible for an his child. The answer is yes, even if the courts favor mothers.

It is first and foremost a woman’s choice to expose herself to sperm. It’s misogynistic to expect men to take responsibility for women’s bodies, and what they decide to do with them. Men deserve a “trimester” to decide if they want to be a parent, starting from the time they are officially informed by the women she has elected to make them a seed-father.

No going back after you get your trimester to decide.

Isn’t it equally the man’s choice to expose the woman to sperm? :confused:

It’s his choice to expose himself to her body, which might give him crabs or gonorrhea or something. He isn’t going to “catch the kid” though. That’s her body.

I’d rather get pregnant than get HIV, but if I did get HIV, I’d have only myself to blame, and hold responsible.

And she can’t “catch a kid” without exposing herself to his body. Yeah, the kid takes up residence in her body for 9 months. That doesn’t change the basic fact that it takes two to make the kid in the first place.

I haven’t even looked at the responses. This will not work out well for you.

The general consensus on this board is:
You should wear a condom or keep your dick in your pants. (That is where your choice ends)

If you tell a woman to keep her legs shut or take birth control, you are just a male chauvinist asshole.

Why this double standard exists, I don’t know, but don’t argue…

It simply hasn’t , didn’t, and won’t work. Men avoid their responsibility already. Sometimes it’s an unwanted pregnancy, and fairly often it’s after a relationship ends and the kids are already born.

Men need only to take responsibility for their own body, what they do with it, and the clearly known possibilities and consequences.