Sunday, November 29, 2009

Forced Fatherhood and the Equal Rights Movement

There's a man out there who is suing for his right not to be a father. He had taken every step in his mind to prevent pregnancy, (except for not having sex), but alas, that pesky child made it into the world. His argument is that, if the mother had not wanted to have the baby, she had the right to either abort or give up the child without responsibility or his permission. However, if the man under the same circumstances wishes not to be a parent, he is forced to have her consent to abort or else take financial responsibility for the child he doesn't want. He claims that this is unjust if men and women are to have equal rights. The woman made the choice to have the baby, not him. This is stated as if abortion was the default position, and her choice of action to carry the pregnancy to term was the real choice.

If you accept the premise that men and women should have equal rights, then he is absolutely right. He should be able to invoke a right of the Roe vs. Wade variety. If the woman can make the decision to abdicate responsibility, the man is looking for an identical button to push. And yet it feels so very wrong. One must either accept that this guy can walk away from his child without responsibility, or one must admit that men and women are too different to have identical rights. There is no other way.


Anonymous said...

This is quite the thought-provoking post. And this really did happen?

Jonathan Vowell said...

How the heck can he abdicate responsibility? He had sex with her, didn't he? That's his "hand in the cookie jar" (so to speak).