Friday, March 10, 2006

Short and Sweet

I have to keep it short and sweet today...Maya has homework that she forgot about last night, so I have to wake her up soon to do it. I have a deadline at work. And, most importantly, my friend Rosemary is coming into town from Pennsylvania! HOORRRAY! So I'll be hanging with her and her family this afternoon and tonight, before she departs for Lake Tahoe. Sigh. Nice weekend ahead.

So, in the political turn that this blog has taken in the last two days or so, I'll bring this up. Then maybe no politics for awhile, OK? OK. There's a law suit that has beenn filed by the National Center for Men, which they are calling (it's trademarked, actually) Roe vs. Wade...for men. The argument goes like this: If women can choose whether to have a child or not, the father should have the equal right to choose whether to support the child, if she decides to have it against his wishes. I'm sure that sounds fair, and it WOULD be fair...but fair doesn't always work. After all, it's not fair to the baby if a woman decides to get an abortion, right? But it has been decided that the woman's right to privacy, to decide what happens to her own body, takes precidence over the rights of the unborn child. Not fair, but the best we can do. Biology isn't fair, and it won't let a fetus jump out and find a woman who WANTS a child, and it won't jump out and into a man, or anything like that. So, we do the best with what we have. Similarly, it is in the best interest of society that children have financial support from two parents. That way, society isn't made to bear that burdon as often. So, even though it is unfair to the man who didn't want a child to begin with, if he gets a woman pregnant, and she has the child, he has to pay support for that child.

Fair? No. But that's the way it is, and in my opinion, the way it has to be, whether we like it or not.


Autumn's Mom said...

Have a wonderful visit with Rosemary :)

Cherry said...

Fair? Whats Fair?

Have a lovely day and weekend!

Pony Storm's Ride said...

You have laid out both sides of this argument much more reasonably and articulately than the advocates of either side were doing, on the cable news channels, last night.
Actually, ol' maverick Bill O'Reilly of Fox News made a salient point, something to the effect, "I don't care about 'fair'. It is simply the man's obligation to support the kid. If he didn't, he would be less than a man. That's just how it is, and how it always has been."

hellomelissa said...

pretty soon men and women are going to be carrying around legal papers..."before i sleep with you, i'll need you to sign this document stating that you will/ will not be legally responsible if a pregnancy should occur." thanks for the spirited discussion, j!

Piece of Work said...

I actually think it would be a pretty good thing if people had enough forethought to draw up papers before they slept together! Though not very romantic, I know. I'm not sure where I fall on this argument, it's the first I've heard of it.

L. said...

I have a friend who went away to a dude ranch for a vacation, had a wild fling with a cowboy, and took home an embyonic souvenir.

She was already a divorced mother of a baby boy, struggling to get by. But she really didn`t want to have an abortion. She called the cowboy to let him know, and he had nothing to say and stopped answering his phone.

She had a baby girl, and sent the cowboy a bith announcement, to which he never replied.

And that was it -- she said, "I gave him a chance to be involved, and he wasn`t interested."

We all thought she was nuts. Why not call the DA and go after him for some child support? But she said, "Neither of us asked for a baby. We just had a fling. I`m the one who decided after the fact to have the baby, and now I`m going to raise her."

It`s a complicated issue, and you can`t base public policy on a single anecdote. But I`ve come to ultimately view my friend`s decision as an act of feminist empowerment: my body, my choice; my baby, my responsibility.

J said...

L, I agree 100% with your analysis, and with what your friend did. However, had shee been poor and the child was going to go on public assistance without child support, then perhaps the man should have been just as responsible as the woman for not wearing a condom.

Nancy said...

Wow, I hadn't heard about this. Interesting. I guess my opinion would basically be based on circumstances -- I like the way L's friend handled her pregnancy, but I do think that if two individuals consent to having sex, there should be some consequence if an accidental pregnancy results. In an ideal world, the parties would have discussed at least basically the different aspects of the intimate activity and what could result (i.e., AT LEAST whether or not one/both uses birth control and if there is the potential for disease). Maybe people *do* need to have papers drawn up prior to intimate relations?

L. said...

J, my friend was indeed on different forms of public assistance -- after her second baby came, she got section 8 housing and moved to the projects, and foodstamps and AFDC aid, too (though she continued to work). She still refused to go after the biological dad, while we all told her she was nuts. She insisted she could pull everything together herself.

And she did -- she went back to school, graduated summa cum laude, and today she has her own graphics studio, and employs people. She proved us all wrong. And she has no regrets about not getting cash from the guy.

But I know that for every story like hers, there are others with less happy endings, and every situation is different.

J said...

L, this begs the question: Should the public have had to pay for the support of her child, or should the man have been held responsible? I think that's the justification that is being held up for child support laws...that men who father children should be financially responsible for them, whether that child comes from a relationship or from a one-nighter. And that's what's not fair to the men, because beyond the birth control that goes into it, they don't have a choice about what happens. About whether to get an abortion, or raise the child, or give it up for adoption. Some would say your friend had character, for making it her decision and hers alone, and being responsible for that. Others would say she lacked character, for taking money from society at large rather than the father of the child.

I am not trying to judge specific situations, I just thought it was an interesting law suit, and could have unintended consequences. Of course, maybe what it would do would be to start people talking about these things BEFORE they have sex, which would be a good thing.