A woman at Slate asks if demanding fathers’ monetary support for a pregnant woman carrying his child is compatible with pro-choice rationalizations.
Well, no, it’s not. But neither is current child support law. The pro-abortion camp demands that a woman be granted absolute power over first nine months of the life of her own offspring, to the extent of killing her offspring in her womb if she so desires. But, if she decides she wants to raise her offspring, the state steps in and demands that the father pay child support. Note that the father has no power whatsoever over the life of his offspring; he must wait, powerless, for the decision of the woman, after which he is expected to cough up the money to pay for the child if the mother decides that she wants to raise the child. Even if he didn’t want a child in the first place. He doesn’t get the right to choose – that’s the woman’s right. But he definitely has the duty to pay for the needs of the child.
So does a father have a duty to pay for medical costs associated with the pre-birth development of his offspring? Western Civilization says “yes,” and possessed social mechanisms meant to convince adults to form stable, monogamous relationships so that the duties of both the parents would be carried out. Those mechanisms lie in rusted ruins. Modern society has made very, very sure, in fact, to completely neutralize any hint of a woman’s duty towards her offspring; she can avoid the question of her duty entirely simply by killing her offspring in her womb.
It’s another example of hypocritical double standards. A woman gets all the power and all the rights, without any responsibility that can be demanded of her without her consent; but a man is stripped of any rights at all, and left only with a duty to shell out money on demand for a life he may not have had any choice at all in creating. Yes, men who have been raped have been forced to pay child support to their rapists. That’s how bad the double standard is.
So, in this context, who should be held financially responsible? Katie Roiphe says, “I think the new technologies, and the new demographic realities, in which unwed mothers need protections, demand a more imaginative, honest rhetoric.” (Emphasis mine.) No, I don’t think you get to do that, Katie – if it’s a woman’s choice to have a child out of wedlock, which it observably is, then it’s also a woman’s responsibility to protect her own self. After all, Katie is implying that married women don’t need protections. I wonder if she realizes her assumption that unmarried women are making themselves into dependent burdens incapable of supplying their own needs?
You know, we used to have a way to make sure the father paid for the costs of his lover’s pregnancy. It was called a shotgun wedding. Only now, the feminists are calling for extracting money from the man at the point of the government’s gun, without putting any kind of penalty on the woman for acting so irresponsibly as to get pregnant without lining up and locking in the dad for the child ahead of time. You think men are the only ones who need the specter of punishment to give teeth to their moral duty towards their offspring? Women need it just as much. Sex has serious consequences, but everything that feminists want is geared toward removing consequences for women to the maximum extent possible, while holding men to the exact same traditional standards of duty towards women. See how that works? Men have to stay shackled to traditional duties, while we strip all traditional duties from women. Then they claim this blatant injustice is “equality”!
So yes, let’s expect men to Do The Right Thing by their lovers. But in the spirit of just reciprocity, let’s start expecting women to Do The Right Thing by both their lovers and their offspring by not purposely conceiving children who won’t have involved fathers. And if some women choose to engage in fertile sexual relations with men they won’t marry, and end up pregnant, I think those woman and no one else should be held responsible. Let them suffer the hardship. That seems cruel, doesn’t it? But let’s look at what has actually happened in the real world: low-income women, the very women who most cannot afford single parenthood, are the ones engaging in the highest rates of single motherhood. All those wealthy women who write articles for Slate, et al., are in a position to use their money to ameliorate the negative effects of single motherhood, should they choose that route. But if you look at the statistics, it’s not those women who are abandoning their duty to provide fathers to their offspring. So here are all these (relatively) wealthy women, praising single motherhood and advocating for patently unjust laws – promoting a way of life that most of them don’t follow. Then you go down the socioeconomic ladder to the bottom, and you find ghettos filled with shiftless men, chain-boyfriend welfare-mothers, and uncivilized, barbaric children who grow up to perpetuate the teenage pregnancy, gang membership, and criminal activity that blights so many lives and traps them in poverty.
So who are the truly cruel ones? Those who promote a lifestyle that has actually proved ruinous for the most vulnerable members of society, and then proceed to do the exact opposite in their own private lives? Or those who say that all adults must take the negative consequences of their actions, and demand that the duties of parenthood fall – and fall hard and painfully, if necessary – on those who willingly engage in the activities of sexual reproduction?
We’ve come along way from the days when women didn’t have any means to keep themselves sterile, and women have celebrated that fact by going out and sleeping around as much as they like. Let’s stop pretending that “I got pregnant” is a reason to restrict a man’s freedom, since we’ve made damn sure that it doesn’t mean that the woman is legally obligated to do anything at all. If fathers have duties, mothers do as well; if mothers have no duties, then fathers should be given the equal right to walk away from a pregnancy they don’t want.
And don’t wave “for the good of the child” as a reason men should pay. If the standard is “for the good of the child,” we’re going to have to go back to the days of circumspect and prudent sexual relationships, shotgun weddings, and divorce for fault only, since “the good of the child” requires that mothers choose wisely and provide suitable fathers for their offspring; and if no suitable man is available to marry, to not have children in the first place. That’s well within women’s ability; why don’t we start holding women as accountable as we hold men, if they’re really equal?