Is "Financial Abortion" for Men Viable or Legal?
Should men be able to refuse to pay child support if they tell the woman they don't want children before they have sex? Advocates say this is only fair because the woman can get an abortion, but the man can't force her to have one. Other advocates argue that women shouldn't be allowed to get an abortion without the man's permission. Placing the decisions on abortion in women's hands is unfair to men, according to these advocates.
But is it? Pregnancy is based on biology. If biology was fair, both men and women would share equally in the burden of pregnancy and childbirth. They don't, and we can't change that reality, so how is it unfair if a woman is the only person in control of her body? Would it be fair if women could force men to remove something from their body via a medical procedure that carries risks? Would it be fair if women could force men to comply with their beliefs?
How would notification that the man doesn't want children work?
Would the couple have to sign a formal contract in front of a notary before they have sex? While requiring this would definitely force a couple to discuss children before they hopped in bed, would it be practical? How many couples would want to explain their sexual agreements to a complete stranger? Should both have to take a sobriety test before they sign?
The other option would be a verbal agreement. Would just a verbal comment suffice? Would he have to make if before the first kiss? If not, exactly when? Should it be binding if she wasn't sober? Should we take his word for it after she's pregnant? What if she denies he told her? Who would decide which one was telling the truth?
It really doesn't matter because the courts aren't likely to accept it either way.
Child support is paid on behalf of the child and is required by the courts. A woman who files for divorce cannot refuse a child support order nor can she sign away the right of her child to receive support. Back in the 1970s, taxpayers became fed up with supporting other people's children via public assistance. A large part of the problem were dead beat parents who simply walked away from their responsibilities. Laws were passed that made it mandatory for children on public assistance to have support orders. Enforcement was turned over to the district attorneys.
Non-paying fathers didn't worry about it much until the 1990s, when computer systems improved enough to find them wherever they resided and their wages were easy to find. By then, simply denying paternity no longer worked. Paternity tests were accurate and could be court-ordered. Courts began to enforce the orders with the threat of jail time. This meant new strategies were needed to evade child support even as casual sex became more common.
"Financial abortion" is one of these proposed evasions. But it begs the question: why shouldn't men be responsible for the results of their sexual choices? They could choose to only have sex within a committed relationship where they already know their partners well enough to know whether or not they agree about children. Adults can choose surgical sterilization if they don't want children. It is easier for men both as a medical procedure and finding a doctor who will perform the operation for them. Doctors still want to treat women as children and make that decision for them. Men can also choose to be proactive with birth control measures. They can offer to pay for her birth control and help her get to the doctor. They can opt to use condoms. They can help her obtain the morning after pill if they are still worried.
The bottom line on this question should be: who does "financial abortion" help? Is it just a ruse for irresponsible men, or would others benefit? It would be a rare child whose mother didn't struggle financially without child support. Shouldn't the welfare of the child be our primary concern?
Do You Believe A man Should Be Able to Opt Out of Child Support?
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© 2010 Loretta Kemsley