Ohio bill: Women need men’s permission to have abortions

Oh this is rich. A group of legislators in Ohio are pushing a bill that would give men a say in whether or not a woman can have an abortion.

“This is important because there are always two parents and fathers should have a say in the birth or the destruction of that child,” said [Rep. John] Adams, a Republican from Sidney. “I didn’t bring it up to draw attention to myself or to be controversial. In most cases, when a child is born the father has financial responsibility for that child, so he should have a say.”
As written, the bill would ban women from seeking an abortion without written consent from the father of the fetus. In cases where the identity of the father is unknown, women would be required to submit a list of possible fathers. The physician would be forced to conduct a paternity test from the provided list and then seek paternal permission to abort.

Written notes? Submitting a list of potential fathers? Sometimes I think that anti-choice folks forget that women are, you know, adults.
But seriously here’s the best part of the bill:

Claiming to not know the father’s identity is not a viable excuse, according to the proposed legislation. Simply put: no father means no abortion.

Fuck. You.
But wait, it gets even better. Women would be required to present a police report if they want to “prove” that the pregnancy was a result of rape of incest. Because women can’t be trusted, obviously.
NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio executive director Kellie Copeland says, “This extreme bill shows just how far some of our state legislators are willing to go to rally a far-right base that is frustrated with the pro-choice gains made in the last election…It is completely out of touch with Ohio’s mainstream values. This measure is a clear attack on a woman’s freedom and privacy.” Not to mention our intelligence.
The text of the bill is here. And if you want to contact Rep. Adams, who is sponsoring the bill, all of his info is here.

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349 Comments

  1. SarahMC
    Posted August 2, 2007 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    Catty, that is so true. If a guy truly, truly, doesn’t want kids, he HAS options! Men just don’t want to do the work it takes to use those options:
    Sleeping exclusively with women who’d abort;
    Getting snipped;
    Using a condom every time, along with other birth control, and never letting said condoms out of his sight (so we vindictive ladies don’t poke holes in ‘em).
    Likewise, anti-choice dudes have the option to sleep exclusively with women who’d never abort.

  2. Posted August 2, 2007 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    I think youre reading a little too much “child support” into my posts Roy. I admit its linked in many ways, but there are others things involved then just that, surely?
    I’m not sure what you mean. If a man doesn’t want to be involved in the life of the children that result from his sperm, he doesn’t have to be, outside of child support. If he makes it clear that he never wanted children, I don’t think anybody is going to say that he should have to take them on trips to the zoo or teach them how to play ball or play Candy Land with them. I think that there are a lot of people who think it’s shitty for the man not to take a more active role, but I’m not really sure what you’re talking about if you’re not talking about the child support.

  3. catty
    Posted August 2, 2007 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, I don’t understand how men think they’re not “responsible” for the child because they didn’t want one, while women are shamed for becoming single mothers, having abortions, or going through an adoption.

  4. Phlegmatic
    Posted August 2, 2007 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    It’s not a suggestion; it’s a fact. Men contribute something – sperm. Women’s bodies, however, do all the work and bear all the burden of pregnancy & childbirth.
    I see…. And with his “contribution” (intended, or in some cases perhaps, accidental) he has in effect, ejaculated onto the dotted line. What might possibly follow is either an abortion that he didnt want, so no child for him (but which Im all too ready to agree, isnt his choice to make, its hers) Or, be bundled with a responsibility because of her decision to have the child? And for a responsibility other than “meagre paymentsâ€? how about the stigma of being considered a deadbeat father for an example, off the top of my head? (And please, don’t think Im completely unaware of the far, far worse stigma’s women suffer around the issue of pregnancy/abortion etc. Not to mention so many other things.)
    But in both those cases, I cant help but feel the guy is fucked either way.
    That is of course, outside of relationships between partners who both want children.
    And in regards to mens “options”, which I have already said my piece on, I do agree. However, women get pregnant with options available (perhaps less effective, and less numerous than men though, I admit). So surely men can sometimes impregnate women even when perhaps using those options?
    I know whichever way its look at, its still worse for women, but I dont think I should just shut the fuck up about it. I think even with the big differences in severity, its still about choice around having children.

  5. azliza
    Posted August 2, 2007 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    two things-
    1) i’m sick at home today and have been watching a lot of judge shows. every single one of these shows i’ve ever seen is about paternity and how they guy will “step up and be a man” if it’s his. these shows make me so sad on so many levels.
    2) anybody who equates a wallet with a womb is painfully ignorant. likewise, anyone who equates paying child support with being a parent is sadly mistaken.

  6. Phlegmatic
    Posted August 2, 2007 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    I take it your referring to me azliza.
    Look, maybe its trivial to some, but the way I look at it is its not easy for a woman to have an abortion, there are serious things involved, I know. Still, if she does, she is not linked in any way to a child, because “a child” never existed.
    Men however, are supposed to be (though Im fully aware, not always) linked to a child it wasnt their decision to bring into this world. Do people really think its wrong of me to think only people who actually want a child to be the ones linked to, and responsible (however little that responsibilty is) for it?

  7. SarahMC
    Posted August 2, 2007 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    How is a man “bundled” with responsibility when the woman he slept with has a child he’s not interested in? Writing a check is not. that. hard. And I think a few posters have given plenty of evidence that the child-support payments required of men are nowhere near 1/2 the amount of money it costs to raise a child.
    As for social stigma – is it obvious by looking at men paying child-support that they’re not involved in their child’s life? Who’s gonna know? Don’t tell anybody if you’re embarassed. Better to be an uninvolved dad paying child-support than a dad not paying child-support. You used the word “deadbeat;” but a guy’s not a deadbeat if he IS paying child-support.

  8. Doctor Grumpus
    Posted August 2, 2007 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    I’ve seen a few comments about “equality.” I believe these come from a mistaken assumption.
    Men and women are not equal.
    They certainly should be ascribed equal human and legal rights in all respects, since those are grounded in the notion of humanity and citizenship (depending on what rights one is referring to).
    However, men and women are not equal in terms of biology. Let me be clear here: My use of the word equal is very precise, as in “functionally equivalent.” There are certainly many similarities, but especially when it comes to reproductive issues, men and women are not equal.
    To therefore suggest that men and women should be treated equally in terms of issues of reproduction is equally ludicrous, as has been pointed out.
    Men will not, and should not, have the same have to authority to determine reproductive outcomes because the assumption on which that perceived equality is based is an erroneous one.
    We (men) certainly try to exert control, over reproduction, either through law, coercion, violence, or other methods (at various levels of specific or general malevolence), but it needs to be recognized that this behavior is a fundamental component of patriarchy (as the afore stated legislation demonstrates unequivocally).
    Certainly, sometimes men will suffer because the woman makes a reproductive decision that the man doesn’t like. Tough. Get over the notion that you are the reproductive equal of a woman.

  9. Posted August 2, 2007 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    Men however, are supposed to be (though Im fully aware, not always) linked to a child it wasnt their decision to bring into this world. Do people really think its wrong of me to think only people who actually want a child to be the ones linked to, and responsible (however little that responsibilty is) for it?
    Absent a better solution? Yes, I do.
    Nobody denies that it’s unfortunate when a man doesn’t want a child and ends up with one. It’s unfortunate when a woman ends up pregnant and didn’t want to be, no matter what happens beyond that point.
    Perhaps you need to spell out more clearly what you mean by “linked to” the child, because, from what I can see, if a man doesn’t want a child, the only way he’s actually linked to it is through his wallet. And while I can agree that, from his perspective, that sucks, the alternatives right now are worse, overall. And, honestly, there are a lot of things that suck or are unfortunate. I agree that we should look for ways to minimize unfortunate situations, but I don’t see that men have a right not to have any responsibilities what-so-ever in regards to unwanted children.
    What is it that you would suggest as a viable alterantive that takes a man’s desire not to have children as well as the requirements of a child’s welfare into account?

  10. Phlegmatic
    Posted August 2, 2007 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    Tough. Get over the notion that you are the reproductive equal of a woman.
    I see, so I guess, being biologically inequal to a woman, a man shouldnt (and often doesnt) have any problem telling a woman “tough, get over it”, when she has a child he doesnt want. She has no rights over his life, so shell just have to go it alone.
    Well thats cleared that up then.

  11. SarahMC
    Posted August 2, 2007 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    Phlegmatic, somewhere upthread I described how an opt-out might look. Theoretically, I agree with you, but practically, it would be very very difficult to implement.

  12. Phlegmatic
    Posted August 2, 2007 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    Biologically should read reproductively as you said. Apologies.

  13. azliza
    Posted August 2, 2007 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    Honestly, I rarely look to see who posted what comments (especially when there’s 100+ to read through), so I don’t know what you’ve been saying.
    And yes, I do think it’s wrong that only the people who want to be linked to a child should be able to. Here’s just one scenario where I find that problematic:
    Two people do it. *unf unf* she gets preggers. He wants her to have an abortion. She is adamantly pro-life and could never live with herself for aborting. She also doesn’t have the financial means to raise a kid alone. Does that mean that she should abort? No (but thank goodness she still has that option). Does it mean that the guy gets to walk away? No. One of the consequences of being a woman is sometimes having to make a choice about pregnancy. One of the consequences of having sex with a woman is knowing that whether you say so or not, she could have a kid. Everybody knows this. Financially supporting a child, whether or not you wanted one, is peanuts compared to growing one inside of you and then squeezing it out.

  14. Phlegmatic
    Posted August 2, 2007 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    What is it that you would suggest as a viable alterantive that takes a man’s desire not to have children as well as the requirements of a child’s welfare into account?
    Erm, perhaps leave the childs welfare to the interested party. The ones who want to bring a child into the world, and worry about its welfare.

  15. azliza
    Posted August 2, 2007 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    The ones who want to bring a child into the world, and worry about its welfare.
    i think it’s very dangerous to assume that financial ability alone should dictate whether or not someone have a child.

  16. Phlegmatic
    Posted August 2, 2007 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    You know what, forget I mentioned anything. Its not like my point of view has any basis other than my own point of view. I feel like shit anyway, and Ive just spend the last couple of hours, in some way Im sure, arguing for Mens rights on a Feminist site. Something I wouldnt have imagined when I actually started to learn a little something about feminism not long ago.
    Back to the actual point of discussion, everybody here knows its bullshit to suggest a woman get a mans permission for an abortion, let alone anyone elses, male or female. Thats been said many times already, but Ill just say it once more.

  17. Doctor Grumpus
    Posted August 2, 2007 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    I see, so I guess, being biologically inequal to a woman, a man shouldnt (and often doesnt) have any problem telling a woman “tough, get over it”, when she has a child he doesn’t want. She has no rights over his life, so shell just have to go it alone.
    Well thats cleared that up then.

    Not at all. The women is entitled to nothing from the man based on her status pregnancy-wise. I am unfamiliar with any law that states such.
    However, the offspring, “wanted” or “unwanted”, has specific legally-determined property rights viz-a-viz his/her progenitors.
    It has nothing to do with the woman, and everything to do with the child.
    I don’t see where the confusion comes in.

  18. catty
    Posted August 2, 2007 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    Phlegmatic,
    One of my beefs is that many men really don’t take positive steps to ensure that they *don’t* end up with kids they don’t want.
    I have not seen men get outraged and start a letter writing campaign to big pharma calling for more male birth control options. That will be a HUGE step for men having more control over the situation. I see more men resisting it than calling for it.
    I don’t see men taking interest in the woman’s BC.
    I don’t see men supporting women regarding more birth control options. Do you go with your partner to her BC appointments? Do you OFFER to pay half?
    A lot of men actively avoid and squirm when talking about birth control, unplanned pregnancy and abortion. Do you discuss this at length until you’re both clear on where you stand? If the girl’s ambivalent, do you still screw her and cross your fingers, or do you walk away?
    Honestly… if men were a lot more conscientious about preventing pregnancy, I think would be more sympathetic. If men were more interested in reproductive justice, I would be more sympathetic.
    Men leave most of the prevention up to the woman, don’t even actively approach the woman to talk about birth control or unplanned pregnancy, etc…
    will even vote for an anti-abortion politician- then bitch and whine about having to pay child support.
    I’ve met 2 guys that actively make sure they minimize their possibility of becoming a father- and most guys think they’re nuts to not jump at every woman that wants to have sex. In fact, they get verbally jabbed for being “paranoid”, etc.
    Phleg, you’ve complained but haven’t offered any solutions.
    What do you propose?

  19. Pup, MD
    Posted August 2, 2007 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    I think the obvious answer is to make all men and women read this thread near the end of their date. They’ll be so exhausted at how tedious it’s become that they won’t be in the mood any more anyway.
    Threads with over 250 comments in them = 100% effective birth control. zzz…

  20. Phlegmatic
    Posted August 2, 2007 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    catty, seriously just forget I said anything. This whole discussion was me just speaking out of turn anyway. This should be left to people who actually are, or have been in sexual relationships, or actually want a child. I am neither.
    I am not “a lot of men”, nor anyone who could, or should, have a say on this. Odd really, that it concerned me so much. It doesnt matter anyway.

  21. Posted August 2, 2007 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    In over 70%, repeat, 70% of cases, the man ran out on the woman. Until all men stand up and take responsibility for their actions, they should get no say in what a woman decides to do about a crisis pregnancy.

    I understand that this is almost certainly not what you mean, but it has a problematic converse implication. I don’t care how responsible a man is; he shouldn’t get patria potestas over a woman just because he happened to fuck her once. If he manages to get himself pregnant, then, by the same token, he can do whatever he wants.

  22. Posted August 2, 2007 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    Sure, here are some suggestions:
    1) A woman’s right to abort should remain inviolate. It should be extended to any moment pre-conception.
    2) Adults should be allowed to contract into/out of any–and I mean any–parental link. That means that if both people agree and somehow memorialize it, you’re bound by it.
    Is a woman violently prolife, anti-parent, and poor? Does she want to make the man guarantee to be liable for all expenses of pregnancy, all expenses of adoption, and support during pregnancy if she becomes accidentally pregnant? Go nuts.
    Is a man violently opposed to becoming a parent? Does he want to make sure his partner agrees that he will not be paying child support, medical expenses, acting fatherly, etc etc? Go nuts.
    And as for the “just use better BC” and “but it’s about the child” arguments, those are whack. Many prochoice folks are pretty damn inconsistent here.
    Do you believe it’s that easy to avoid sex? Do you believe adults should avoid sex, or “pay the price” to fuck? Do you believe ANY birth control is 100% effective? Do you believe that any woman who trusts her male partner’s condom to work “deserves” what she gets? Do you condition a woman’s right to choose on the degree of support she gives to women’s birth control issues?
    I don’t, and neither should all of you. And you DON’T believe that, as far as I can tell. Nobody supports that view when arguing with prolife fundies. You can’t use the same argument against men.
    And as for the “benefit of the child” argument… it’s not a child. It’s a fetus (or a blastula, or a blob, or an unimplanted egg, or a not-yet-fertilized egg) AT THE TIME THE CONTRACT IS MADE.
    Sure, it will have interests later on. If. If it makes it to 9 months without spontaneously miscarrying or being aborted, or otherwise failing to live at birth. So why even talk about the interests now?
    If you really wanted to consider the fetus’ primary interest (which I am unwilling to do except to make this point) then the first thing you’d conclude is that a self-interested fetus is most interested in not being aborted. Ridiculous, ya? Glad you agree.
    So if it’s not “BC failure” and it’s not “interests of the child” then what is it? It seems pretty clear that this is simply a conflict of interest between the woman (who wants to have as many choices and as few consequences as possible,) and the man (who wants the exact same things.)
    The difference is that we already agree the woman SHOULD have the choices. No question. Abort, keep, adopt, it’s her call. He should not control her pregnancy. The only question, then, is whether her choice should lead to his consequences, and to what degree.
    The answer should be “no.”
    Look at it this way: voluntary pregnancy is not evil; ask any voluntarily-pregnant mother. The problem with pregnancy comes when women are forced to be pregnant (bearing the consequences of pregnancy without any control over it.) The “harms” of pregnancy itself don’t change, but they’re acceptable if you want them and horrible if you don’t.
    We all view abortion as acceptable. Changing things like child support laws wouldn’t change the life of the children, per se. They’d change the factors that go into the woman’s decision to have an abortion.
    If you are like me, you’re ALREADY trying to influence these factors. Want more abortion clinics? Check. Want more funding for abortions, or for pregnancies, or for adoptions? Check.
    Changes in things like child support or extra abortion funding or adoption procedures or parental rights don’t change the woman’s right to CHOOSE. They change what the effect is of her choice. Why is that difference so hard to accept?

  23. SarahMC
    Posted August 2, 2007 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    Oh don’t get all down on yerself, Phlegmatic. I think Sailorman actually put it quite well. I wish there was a pre-birth opt-out for men, too. Some of your language was questionable, that’s all (I hope).

  24. sojourner
    Posted August 2, 2007 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    “and “but it’s about the child” arguments, those are whack. Many prochoice folks are pretty damn inconsistent here.â€?
    Wait, so CHILD support is not about a child (i.e. actual born child)? What is it about then?

  25. Posted August 2, 2007 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    And as for the “benefit of the child” argument… it’s not a child. It’s a fetus (or a blastula, or a blob, or an unimplanted egg, or a not-yet-fertilized egg) AT THE TIME THE CONTRACT IS MADE.
    Sure, it will have interests later on. If. If it makes it to 9 months without spontaneously miscarrying or being aborted, or otherwise failing to live at birth. So why even talk about the interests now?

    Well, the last time I checked- and by all means correct me if I’m wrong- a man’s responsibility for child support happens *dun dun duuuuun* when the child is actually born. Maybe I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure that you can’t get child support prior to there actually being a child.
    Yet another reason why I’ve consistently stated that child support and abortion rights are not related issues. They’re only related in-so-far as they both involve sperm and an egg in some loose sort of way. But the issues and rights involved aren’t the same. The rights and obligations one has in regards to abortion aren’t the same as the rights and obligations one has towards an actual child.
    If you really wanted to consider the fetus’ primary interest (which I am unwilling to do except to make this point) then the first thing you’d conclude is that a self-interested fetus is most interested in not being aborted. Ridiculous, ya? Glad you agree.
    Absolutely. A fetus, however, is not the same thing as a child. I don’t see anyone arguing that women should have the right to kill children, so I’m not sure why we should argue that the child’s interests are irrelevent.
    Changing things like child support laws wouldn’t change the life of the children, per se. They’d change the factors that go into the woman’s decision to have an abortion.
    On what grounds do you think that changing child support laws wouldn’t change the lives of the children who receive that money? You don’t think that children benefit from that money? You think that children whose father’s don’t want to pay child support would have been aborted if the father had the right not to pay?

  26. oenophile
    Posted August 2, 2007 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    Is a man violently opposed to becoming a parent? Does he want to make sure his partner agrees that he will not be paying child support, medical expenses, acting fatherly, etc etc? Go nuts.
    Child support is not about the right of the custodial parent to get help paying the bills; it is about the right of the child to receive support from both biological parents to the best of their ability.
    You cannot contract away the rights of others.

  27. Posted August 2, 2007 at 5:58 pm | Permalink
  28. Posted August 2, 2007 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    I have my own take on the immediate issue here in the comments, both with the pro-choice weasel words about what an embryo or fetus is AND with the “liberal male” weaseling about how we ought to consider men pregnant as well as women. I’m heartily sick of both and I AM pro-choice. Anyway, it’s linked to my name here.

  29. Posted August 2, 2007 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

    oenophile: I am suggesting that this not be considered a “right”. I thought that it was pretty obvious that we are discussing changes in the law, not the existing law.
    We already trust the woman to make decisions relating to the child’s life. The one of most major decisions she makes is whether to HAVE the child at all.
    In doing so, there’s lots of stuff she takes into account for herself. Does she want the child? That’s got a personal-benefit aspect.
    But there are many (possibly more) considerations where the woman thinks for the child. Will the child be happy? Can she provide it the life she wants to provide for her children? I know plenty of women who have aborted because they didn’t want to parent, but (anecdotally) I know more who have aborted because thety felt that their situation/desires/etc wouldn’t be good for the CHILD. Will the child have the life she wants for it?
    The existence of a known quantity w/r/t parental responsibilities would simply be one more factor she would consider. It would only be relevant in the situations where it had been addressed in advance. And one HUGE benefit, of course, would be that she would actually know (and not have to guess) what would happen in those cases.
    Yet another reason why I’ve consistently stated that child support and abortion rights are not related issues. They’re only related in-so-far as they both involve sperm and an egg in some loose sort of way. But the issues and rights involved aren’t the same. The rights and obligations one has in regards to abortion aren’t the same as the rights and obligations one has towards an actual child.
    Consistency is fine, but you’re still incorrect. I realize you don’t WANT them to be related issues–perhaps some of the parallels make you uncomfortable? And obviously they’re not the same in terms of level of harm (forced pregnancy is way worse than forced child support.) But there are some pretty obvious similarities.
    You think that children whose father’s don’t want to pay child support would have been aborted if the father had the right not to pay?
    Posted by: roymacIII

    Perhaps, but that’s the woman’s call, not mine. If she goes into a pregnancy knowing before she gets pregnant that she won’t get child support, then she may well be more likely to abort if she gets pregnant. Or not.
    Since I assume she’s rational enough to make the big decisions regarding abortion, and rational enough to process the other 10,000 factors regarding her choice, I also assume she’s rational enough to add child support into the “is this the time I want to have a child?” question.
    Don’t you?
    I mean, I can see three avenues of protest here, none of which is really great.
    One is the “it might increase abortions, which is bad” argument. That digs too far into prolifery for my taste. Voluntary abortions are, at worst, neutral. Not bad.
    The other is the “it puts unfair pressure on the woman” argument. I’ve discussed this above.
    And the third is the “benefit the child.” You seem to be focused on this one. I’m not sure whether you’re focused on the PARENT-PAYS aspect though. Would you be happy to relieve contracted parents of all their duties so long as the kids got a minimal stipend from the government?
    Or are you–as I suspect–hiding a nagging feeling that “you should have thought of that before you had sex?” We all know who shares those views.

  30. YouCanToo
    Posted August 2, 2007 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

    I’m just going to make one last post in regards to the opt-out proposal. I realize this argument is slightly off topic.
    First, this would be fairly easy to implement. The way child-support works and the courts role in it would largely stay the same, except the non-custodial parent would be given the option the first time they’re called into court of absolving all rights to the child. The proposed idea of opting-out while the woman is still pregnant would way complicate things. Not least because of paternity issues.
    Next, I talked a lot about men being able to opt-out, but that’s just because men are largely the ones paying child support while women are raising the children. But, the opt-out law would actually work for either sex that is the non-custodial parent.
    A woman’s right to her body has nothing to do with this argument I’m making. Child support (as it is now and as I’m proposing) happens post-birth. The fact that women get pregnant and men don’t is simply biology. It may suck, but that’s the way we’re made. But to try and make the argument that because of this men must “pay” (and I mean in both senses of the word) is just ludicrous. This is kind of what EG is hinting at by saying why should men have the right to just screw with no consequences when women always have to suffer the consequences. But the fact that women get pregnant is biology. The fact that men can be forced to pay child support is a law enacted by the courts. You can’t make up for only women getting pregnant by punishing men unjustly. It just doesn’t equate.
    Here’s why forcing the non-custodial parent to pay child support is not right. A custodial parent can decide to give his/her child up for adoption. Once this occurs they are no longer legally bound to the child. So let’s say a single mother decides to give her baby up for adoption. She can do this. But, on the other hand let’s say she decides to keep the baby and decides to seek child support payments from the baby’s father. If the father desires to absolve all rights to the child why doesn’t he have this option when the mother (or the custodial parent) has this right (by choosing adoption)? It’s accepted that people can give up children for adoption so why can’t we accept that a non-custodial parent can in effect do the same thing if desired? As it is now, without this option the non-custodial parent is having his/her financial future decided at the whim of the custodial parent. If the woman decides to keep the child, then the man can be ordered to pay child support. If the woman decides the give it up for adoption the man doesn’t have to pay. Why should his (or her’s if the sexes are reversed) financial future rest on someone else’s choice?

  31. Posted August 2, 2007 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

    Why should his (or her’s if the sexes are reversed) financial future rest on someone else’s choice?

    So the man has no agency in the situation at all? His sperm just magically teleported into the woman’s egg?

  32. sojourner
    Posted August 2, 2007 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

    “We already trust the woman to make decisions relating to the child’s life. The one of most major decisions she makes is whether to HAVE the child at all.â€?
    That’s where you are wrong. It’s only a child after the woman has it. We don’t “trust the woman to make decisions relating to the child’s lifeâ€?, we trust the woman with decisions about her own body. If you don’t get that you can’t possibly be pro-choice.

  33. oenophile
    Posted August 3, 2007 at 12:19 am | Permalink

    Sailorman,
    I believe (could be wrong) that child support is the child’s constitutional right. (Don’t ask – it’s one of those “penumbra” things.)
    I do not think that you can contract away the rights of another. I’m not sure why child support would be ordered but for the right of the child. What you are really suggesting is to do away with child support entirely.
    That’ll be a rocking good time – more single mothers in poverty.
    Being pro-life, there’s a lot of things I disagree with. Despite that, I don’t think there is an equal protection issue, as the man and the woman are never similarly situated:
    1) during pregnancy, the woman is pregnant and the man is not. Not similarly situated, so EP doesn’t apply.
    2) after pregnancy, similarly situated, so EP applies, but there is no differential in rights. Both must contribute to the child’s welfare and care for it, unless they choose to give it up for adoption.

  34. Posted August 3, 2007 at 12:51 am | Permalink

    I believe (could be wrong) that child support is the child’s constitutional right. (Don’t ask – it’s one of those “penumbra” things.)

    I think any constitutional right would be foreclosed by DeShaney (the only constitutional case remotely on point), but there definitely is a statutory right, and failing that, a limited common-law right of the child to receive support.

  35. Feminist Man
    Posted August 3, 2007 at 1:12 am | Permalink

    I’m a little late in joining this discussion and am new to this site, but please allow me to offer a bit of legal perspective.
    Even if this bill passes, it will be enjoined by a federal court. This sort of requirement is unconstitutional under Planned Parenthood of Central Missouri v. Danforth.
    This is just another one of those bills like the one in South Dakota that is meant to be a challenge to erode and eventually overturn Roe v. Wade. That will not happen unless Bush gets to put one more Justice on the Supreme Court.
    Of course it’s also red meat for the troglodyte anti-choice voters.
    So take a deep breath everyone, there is almost zero chance that this actually takes effect. But we must stay ever vigilant about the attacks on women, so kudos to this site for doing so. Feminists (men and women) keep fighting!

  36. Feminist Man
    Posted August 3, 2007 at 1:15 am | Permalink

    I’m a little late in joining this discussion and am new to this site, but please allow me to offer a bit of legal perspective.
    Even if this bill passes, it will be enjoined by a federal court. This sort of requirement is unconstitutional under Planned Parenthood of Central Missouri v. Danforth.
    This is just another one of those bills like the one in South Dakota that is meant to be a challenge to erode and eventually overturn Roe v. Wade. That will not happen unless Bush gets to put one more Justice on the Supreme Court.
    Of course it’s also red meat for the troglodyte anti-choice voters.
    So take a deep breath everyone, there is almost zero chance that this actually takes effect. But we must stay ever vigilant about the attacks on women, so kudos to this site for doing so. Feminists (men and women) keep fighting!

  37. Feminist Man
    Posted August 3, 2007 at 1:17 am | Permalink

    I’m a little late in joining this discussion and am new to this site, but please allow me to offer a bit of legal perspective.
    Even if this bill passes, it will be enjoined by a federal court. This sort of requirement is unconstitutional under Planned Parenthood of Central Missouri v. Danforth.
    This is just another one of those bills like the one in South Dakota that is meant to be a challenge to erode and eventually overturn Roe v. Wade. That will not happen unless Bush gets to put one more Justice on the Supreme Court.
    Of course it’s also red meat for the troglodyte anti-choice voters.
    So take a deep breath everyone, there is almost zero chance that this actually takes effect. But we must stay ever vigilant about the attacks on women, so kudos to this site for doing so. Feminists (men and women) keep fighting!

  38. Posted August 3, 2007 at 1:35 am | Permalink

    Even if this bill passes, it will be enjoined by a federal court. This sort of requirement is unconstitutional under Planned Parenthood of Central Missouri v. Danforth.

    The Supreme Court isn’t all that big on stare decisis anymore. Only recently, they overruled the Roe-Danforth-Casey-Ayotte-etc. health exception requirement, and Samuel Alito, who stated in his dissent in Casey in the Third Circuit that a man should have as much control over his adult wife as he does over his minor daughter, has now taken the seat of Justice O’Connor, who strongly rebuked him in for that view her Casey concurrence.
    Justices Ginsburg, Stevens, and Breyer might oppose this law (if passed), and maybe even Souter would join in, but the majority is now made up of people who could care less about principle and precedent when those things get in the way of their preferred results.

  39. Posted August 3, 2007 at 1:39 am | Permalink

    It’s also worth noting that Gonzales itself overruled (admittedly sub silentio) a precedent that wasn’t even a decade old.

  40. EG
    Posted August 3, 2007 at 1:44 am | Permalink

    Samuel Alito, who stated in his dissent in Casey in the Third Circuit that a man should have as much control over his adult wife as he does over his minor daughter
    Elise, reading that just broke my heart.

  41. Feminist Man
    Posted August 3, 2007 at 1:47 am | Permalink

    I’m a little late in joining this discussion and am new to this site, but please allow me to offer a bit of legal perspective.
    Even if this bill passes, it will be enjoined by a federal court. This sort of requirement is unconstitutional under Planned Parenthood of Central Missouri v. Danforth.
    This is just another one of those bills like the one in South Dakota that is meant to be a challenge to erode and eventually overturn Roe v. Wade. That will not happen unless Bush gets to put one more Justice on the Supreme Court.
    Of course it’s also red meat for the troglodyte anti-choice voters.
    So take a deep breath everyone, there is almost zero chance that this actually takes effect. But we must stay ever vigilant about the attacks on women, so kudos to this site for doing so. Feminists (men and women) keep fighting!

  42. Posted August 3, 2007 at 1:48 am | Permalink

    Elise, reading that just broke my heart.

    Believe me, you’re not the only one.
    Makes me rethink my position on court-packing. There’s no constitutional limit on the number of justices, and the fact is that we could use some more justices on there anyway, given the pitifully small number of cases that actually get heard on cert by the Court these days. But only once Bush and his henchpersons are safely in federal custody.

  43. Posted August 3, 2007 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    Consistency is fine, but you’re still incorrect. I realize you don’t WANT them to be related issues–perhaps some of the parallels make you uncomfortable?
    Or it could be more related to the fact that abortion rights are about the rights and obligations a woman has over her body in regards to an organism growing inside of it and creating any number of medical side-effects, while the other is about men or women cutting a check once a month to go towards the costs of caring for a child.
    I think that they’re seperate issues because they are seperate issues.
    And obviously they’re not the same in terms of level of harm (forced pregnancy is way worse than forced child support.) But there are some pretty obvious similarities.
    No, there is a surface similarity, but control over your wallet is nowhere near the same as control over bodily autonomy. The difference in harms is also profound, and the rights and obligations that come into play just aren’t the same.
    Since I assume she’s rational enough to make the big decisions regarding abortion, and rational enough to process the other 10,000 factors regarding her choice, I also assume she’s rational enough to add child support into the “is this the time I want to have a child?” question.
    Don’t you?

    I never suggested otherwise. You made a claim, I’m questioning the basis for it. You’re avoiding answering. You’ve claimed that changing child support laws won’t change the lives of children. That’s a strong claim.
    And the third is the “benefit the child.” You seem to be focused on this one. I’m not sure whether you’re focused on the PARENT-PAYS aspect though. Would you be happy to relieve contracted parents of all their duties so long as the kids got a minimal stipend from the government?
    Or are you–as I suspect–hiding a nagging feeling that “you should have thought of that before you had sex?” We all know who shares those views.

    Yeah.
    You caught me, Sailorman.
    All this time, I’ve been trying to hide it. I’m secretly anti-choice. I’m a slut-shamer, and I decry anyone who has sex.
    How did you ever find me out?
    *rolls eyes*
    Your astounding “Gotcha!” moment aside:
    If you can convince this government to pick up the slack left by the abolition of child support, I’d absolutely support that. Good luck with that, though. In the meantime, child support is the best out of a bunch of bad options.

  44. SarahMC
    Posted August 3, 2007 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    You’re correct, Feminist Man; this is unlikely to pass. But I think the folks who wrote and introduced it know that. It will fail, they’ll introduce a slightly less offensive bill and call us obstinate for opposing it because wahhhh, they triiied to compromise!

  45. Voila
    Posted August 3, 2007 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    Maybe this should also be pointed out. If one or both parents can’t make enough or spare enough money for the care of THEIR child, typically the state steps in to make up the loss. This includes welfare, food stamps, or completely removing the child from the house/foster care. Regardless of how it’s accomplished, the child is still supposedly receiving basic care.
    You want to argue that the man should be able to walk away from the financial obligations of having a child, consider this. When the parents can’t or won’t meet their obligations and the state steps in, guess who pays for that. TAXPAYERS. And while I’m not opposed to my tax dollars going to those that need them, I am opposed to parents thinking they should just heap that burden on everybody else.
    I have yet to have sex that produces a child. I should have NO financial obligations toward children at this point because they aren’t mine. I make no legal or biological claim to any child. Yet my tax dollars help pay for the care of those children with dead beat parents. The child won’t disappear because a parent doesn’t want it, but someone will still have to take care of the obligations. The taxpayers don’t get to “just walk away”.

  46. Posted August 3, 2007 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    I am *not* arguing for a general parental release from child support. If you read my first post, I am arguing for the *ability to contract* out of child support.
    Those are very, very, different things.
    abortion rights are about the rights and obligations a woman has over her body in regards to an organism growing inside of it and creating any number of medical side-effects, while the other is about men or women cutting a check once a month to go towards the costs of caring for a child.
    I think that they’re separate issues because they are separate issues.

    [shrug] And I think you’re incorrect. First of all, they’re both related consequences of a pregnancy: No pregnancy, no medical side effects (or support); yes pregnancy, yes side effects (and support.) They are joined at the hip; one decision prompts the other. It is simply foolish to claim they are entirely unrelated, as you seem to be doing.
    Second:
    No, there is a surface similarity, but control over your wallet is nowhere near the same as control over bodily autonomy. The difference in harms is also profound, and the rights and obligations that come into play just aren’t the same.
    It’s also strange to completely separate physical autonomy and money. That’s not how the world works. You seem to be basing your argument on that tired claim of “anything involving bodily autonomy trumps everything else.” You’re welcome to debate that claim, but it’s simply not true.
    Money can’t buy love but it CAN buy immense changes in bodily autonomy, poverty, housing, medical care, etc. It’s even more true if you’re poor, when smaller amounts represent larger percentages of your income.
    And again, you are obligated to be consistent with the abortion debate. Do you think that it’s fair to say “hey, we provide abortions, it’s just that they cost $1,000 and are all located in Kalamazoo, where a bus ticket costs $150; don’t yell at US if you can’t get one!” I think that you would recognize that while the women affected by such an example are “only” affected by money, it results in an effect on their body.
    Guess what? This effect doesn’t only happen to women seeking abortions; it works the other way, too.
    Are they identical? Nope. NOTHING is exactly identical to having an abortion, raising a child, or giving a child up for adoption.
    But similar? Sure, in theory. I know plenty of people who have had abortions; I’ve read many more reports elsewhere. It is obviously a highly unpleasant procedure, though everyone is constantly saying how it’s not really all that bad.
    So is an abortion “better” or “worse” than paying child support for 18 (or 21) years? Depends on how poor you are, ya? Depends on whether you were going to use that money to go to Cannes…
    OR whether you wanted to use it for your gender transition. Or to avoid working so many hours at your dangerous and underpaid job. Or to get much-needed therapy. Or to buy heat, or food, or housing. Or to pay for experimental cancer drugs, or get training to try and get out of poverty, or to pay off your pre-pregnancy bookie who threatens to break your legs, or…
    I mean damn, it’s not that hard to think of situations where the effect of paying someone else money is going to have some pretty serious results. The only way to AVOID being able to see those situations is by plugging your ears and avoiding thinking about them. La-la-la-la, you can’t hear it…?
    And yes: it can have results that are in the same range of seriousness as the results of an unintended pregnancy are to the woman. Everyone’s always mentioning the risk of death, for example. It’s 17 per 100,000 deliveries, FYI. For abortion, it’s under 1 per 100,000.
    So, take 100,000 men and women. Take away some or all of their disposable income; on occasion, throw them in jail if they can’t come up with the funds. Hey, it’s only $4,000 per year, right? Everyone can afford that… right?
    How many people do you think will die because they fail to get health care; get raped or killed in jail; go homeless; etc etc?
    Zero? And if it’s not zero (which we both know would be true) would you please explain how that’s not even in the same category as other harms?
    And even with all that, it is STILL clear that the woman should retain the right to choose; that her body is hers. And it is STILL clear that the default should be child support.
    But you seem unusually, suspiciously, resistant to the existence of an exception. What’s your worry? I mean, mostly it would provide incentive to either give kids up for adoption or abort. Neither of those are bad things.

  47. Posted August 3, 2007 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    First of all, they’re both related consequences of a pregnancy: No pregnancy, no medical side effects (or support); yes pregnancy, yes side effects (and support.) They are joined at the hip; one decision prompts the other.
    That they’re related in some sense doesn’t make them the similar. They’re still two seperate conversations, and, quite frankly, discussions about child support are generally used to distract from conversations about abortion. You know, like happened in this very thread. So, no, I’m not particularly inclined to keep having the “But men pay child support!” game when abortion is the topic of discussion.
    It is simply foolish to claim they are entirely unrelated, as you seem to be doing.
    No, I said that they’re not the same. Related != the same. It doesn’t even mean “similar.” Related means exactly that: related.
    It’s also strange to completely separate physical autonomy and money. That’s not how the world works. You seem to be basing your argument on that tired claim of “anything involving bodily autonomy trumps everything else.” You’re welcome to debate that claim, but it’s simply not true.
    Actually, it is the way the world works. Last time I checked, our criminal justice system treats a fine as a lesser punishment than imprisonment. It generally treats theft of money as less of a crime than abduction. I wonder why that might be? Oh, right, it’s because we tend to view a person’s right to bodily autonomy as being more significant than that same person’s control over money. Loss of money is generally seen as less significant than loss of bodily autonomy. It’s not “strange” it’s a pretty commonly held view around here.
    Money can’t buy love but it CAN buy immense changes in bodily autonomy, poverty, housing, medical care, etc. It’s even more true if you’re poor, when smaller amounts represent larger percentages of your income.
    I’m not really sure what your point is here. Yeah, money means more to those who have less of it. No argument. And, yeah, our medical system blows. No argument. It’s the reason why you’ll see me advocating for graduated tax systems that put the burden more on those who can afford it, curbing corporate welfare, and pushing for universal health care. I’m not really sure what you’re trying to get at, though.
    And again, you are obligated to be consistent with the abortion debate. Do you think that it’s fair to say “hey, we provide abortions, it’s just that they cost $1,000 and are all located in Kalamazoo, where a bus ticket costs $150; don’t yell at US if you can’t get one!” I think that you would recognize that while the women affected by such an example are “only” affected by money, it results in an effect on their body.
    And if you can show me how cutting a child support check will cause the writer to undergo nine months of serious bodily changes and medical side-effects, I’ll totally grant that child support is somehow on the same level as being forced to give birth to an unwanted child. Otherwise, like I said, you’re comparing apples to oranges.
    Are they identical? Nope. NOTHING is exactly identical to having an abortion, raising a child, or giving a child up for adoption.
    But similar? Sure, in theory.

    *shrug*
    I’m sorry, but I don’t think that they’re particularly similar. They involve pregnancy in some sense. Other than that, no, I don’t really see that being forced to undergo nine months of unwanted pregnancy is really fairly compared to child support.
    It is obviously a highly unpleasant procedure, though everyone is constantly saying how it’s not really all that bad.
    Everyone is saying that, are they? Really?
    So is an abortion “better” or “worse” than paying child support for 18 (or 21) years?
    Or, you know, different. You might as well be asking if abortion is “better” or “worse” than getting open heart surgery. After all, a surgical abortion involves surgery, and so does a bipass. They must be similar!
    The only way to AVOID being able to see those situations is by plugging your ears and avoiding thinking about them. La-la-la-la, you can’t hear it…?
    And if I’d ever said that paying child support was pleasent you’d have a point. Excepting, of course, that I’ve never made such a claim. What I’ve rather repeatedly said was that child support is not the same as abortion and the rights and obligations surrounding each of them aren’t the same. Pointing out that someone paying child support might endure financial hardship doesn’t change that. I agree, it’s possible that someone paying child support might rather spend that money on other things- other important things. The current alternative, however, is that the child goes without those things. You’re talking about weighing the financial rights and obligations between two people. That’s not the same as weighing the bodily rights one person can claim to have an another person.
    If I hit you with my car, you can make financial claims against me. You can’t demand my organs or blood, though. Financial obligations are not the same as bodily obligations, and nowhere does the law or our society treat them as the same.
    So, take 100,000 men and women. Take away some or all of their disposable income; on occasion, throw them in jail if they can’t come up with the funds. Hey, it’s only $4,000 per year, right? Everyone can afford that… right?
    You know, the fact that I’m not jumping on the “Child Support is the same as abortion!” bandwagon doesn’t mean that I’m an idiot or that I’m arguing in bad faith- it means I don’t agree with you. The more you intentionally misrepresent what I’ve said and imply that I’m: 1. Anti-choice or 2. An idiot, the less inclined I am to engage in any sort of conversation. I’ve already said that I’d love a system where the government could step in and help provide a minimally decent standard of living for children in single-parent households. I don’t see it happening, and child support payments are currently the least bad solution to a problem that I don’t see a good solution for. I’m well aware of that different people have different financial abilities, and I absolutely agree that the courts should take a person’s actually living situation into account when they determine child support payments. I’ve been led to believe that they frequently do.
    Ultimately, though, that there are problems in application doesn’t mean that the system should be completely rejected, it means that we need to reform it and fix some of those problems. Child support payments should absolutely not break the person paying them. You’ll never see me say that they should, and I resent implications to the contrary.
    But you seem unusually, suspiciously, resistant to the existence of an exception.
    That’s what you took away from my saying “If you can convince this government to pick up the slack left by the abolition of child support, I’d absolutely support that. Good luck with that, though. In the meantime, child support is the best out of a bunch of bad options.”?
    Because, it sure looks to me like I said “Hey, if you can convince the government to pick up the slack, I’d support that.” Oh, right. Because I did.
    What’s your worry? I mean, mostly it would provide incentive to either give kids up for adoption or abort. Neither of those are bad things.
    Actually, I disagree there, too. I think that abortion and adoption are great, but I don’t think that we should be giving people incentives for either of those anymore than I think we should be giving people incentives to get sterilized.

  48. sojourner
    Posted August 3, 2007 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    What!? Pushing people into situations where they would be forced to abort a pregnancy they want to carry or give up a child they have given birth to is not a bad thing? In what universe?

  49. StarWatcher
    Posted August 3, 2007 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

    According to this news report, using figures from the US Census, August 06 –
    46.6 million people (15.9% of population) were without health insurance. For children, it was 17.6%.
    For men, median earnings were $41,386, while median earnings for women were $31,858. The difference is $9,528.
    Let’s take these two average people. They have a relationship, using birth control. It fails. Although she is pro-choice, and supports the right to an abortion, she is morally opposed to getting one for herself. So, she has the child. He wants “nothing to do with it.”
    His lifestyle hasn’t changed — he’s supporting one person only. But, she now has to support two people — food, clothing and health care for two, plus child care — on $9,500 less per year than he makes. How is this fair, in any world? (Not that life is fair, but we can try to even out the inequalities.)
    How can our society give that child the support it needs for a healthy lifestyle, to grow into a functioning adult? Shall we implement “child taxes” on all men, just because they are men, regardless of if they’re likely to have any children? (Such as homosexuals, or those living celibate.) Shall we impose the “child taxes” on only the men who are not married? (Because the ones who stay with the mother of their child are already helping to support the next generation.)
    Even if “government” institutes more child-friendly programs, the money doesn’t grow on trees; someone has to pay. Why should someone who didn’t fuck the woman be tapped? I don’t care if it was an accident, or if the man didn’t want a child. He helped to create that child, he has an obligation to help ensure its continued life, at a decent quality.
    One-half of the difference in salaries = $397 month. At anything less than that, the man is getting a bargain. Even if he pays that amount, he still has more disposable income, because he’s spending his share of the money on one person instead of two. So he should STFU.
    In reality, the man and woman frequently aren’t even that close to equal; many men prefer younger women, who haven’t had time to reach that salary level yet. All too often, a man making $35,000 per year wants to walk out on the woman and child who are trying to live on $20,000 per year. And those men are likely to complain that paying $200 – $300 per month child support “isn’t fair”. As someone above said, cry me a river. Why do you think it’s fair that a mother and child — YOUR child — should live meager lives, struggling to make ends meet?
    Yeah, the original issue was should a woman have to get “permission” to abort from the sperm-donor of her fetus, which is a stupid, stupid proposal. But the question of child-support is part of this issue because, if the woman doesn’t abort, the chances are high that a viable chid will be the result. They don’t grow on air. Two people made it; two people should support it.

  50. Garak
    Posted August 6, 2007 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    1) This bill is on the EXTREME side for a reason. I am happy to see that it is accomplishing it’s goal.
    2) Men love their children but have no automatic rights. All rights must be fought for or given at the mothers discretion.
    #1 The goal of this bill is to open up discussion about a problem that needs to be addressed. I am amazed at how many people here support an “opt out” as opposed to this extreme bill…see how it works?
    #2 Is it any wonder men are bitter about child alimony? To start with women are given automatic custody and men have to fight long, expensive battles to ATTEMPT to get equality in family court. This assures that child alimony flows mostly in ONE direction, from male to female.
    The money is not accounted for and this means that the money can be spent on anything. It would make no sense to claim that the money is spent on the child but still fight against some accountability legislation, so don’t even type that. Child alimony is a transference of wealth from man to woman with the child used as leverage.
    Child alimony is treated far more aggressively than visitation rights. How convenient is that…for the “default custodial parent”?
    Child alimony is based on a percentage instead of a flat rate thus proving…it isn’t JUST about the child. It is, in fact, why I refer to it as alimony. It ensures that the mother lives a lifestyle similar or better than the father…for the sake of the child of course.
    You guys can keep spouting off about men should stop whining but things are changing and chivalry is dying. If male reporiductive rights are such a threat to you…then I guess it really is all about the money that YOU will be losing.

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