I’ve been arguing this point for years, but today a group made it in Federal court: laws imposing child support on fathers who didn’t want a child violate the father’s “reproductive freedom.” The group calls their cause Roe v. Wade for Men. According to their attorney, “The public is still dealing with the pre-Roe ethic when it comes to men, that if a man fathers a child, he should accept responsibility,” and they hope to change that. The article’s most
striking jaw-droppingly unbelievable quote was from Kim Gandy, abortion advocate and President of the National Organization for Women, in explaining why courts don’t protect men’s reproductive rights: “But most courts say it’s not about what he did or didn’t do or what she did or didn’t do. It’s about the rights of the child.” (“The rights of the child take precedence over the parent’s right to have sex sans parenthood?! Kim Gandy?!)
As the group explains the suit on their website, “More than three decades ago Roe vs. Wade gave women control of their reproductive lives but nothing in the law changed for men. Women can now have sexual intimacy without sacrificing reproductive choice. Women now have the freedom and security to enjoy lovemaking without the fear of forced procreation. Women now have control of their lives after an unplanned conception. But men are routinely forced to give up control, forced to be financially responsible for choices only women are permitted to make, forced to relinquish reproductive choice as the price of intimacy.
“We will ask a United States district court judge to apply the principles of reproductive choice, as articulated in Roe vs. Wade, to men. We will ask that men be granted equal protection of the laws which safeguard the right of women to make family planning decisions after sex. We will argue that, at a time of reproductive freedom for women, fatherhood must be more than a matter of DNA: A man must choose to be a father in the same way that a woman chooses to be a mother.”
As our regular readers know, I think that both mothers and fathers have affirmative duties to their children regardless of their desire to be a parent, and even if they used eight dozen forms of birth control to reduce the likelihood that they’d create a son or daughter, so long as they consented to the act and it’s residual risk of parenthood.