Friday, March 17, 2006

An End To Baby Mama Drama?

I would like to take this time to widen our range of topics from those that specifically affect the African-American culture to those that affect American culture at large.

Through Roe v. Wade, American women were given the right to have an abortion for the first time. Some say this was not enough. Some say Roe v. Wade went too far. I do not wish to pose responses to these points of view. However, I do wish to pose a question: does the father of the child have a say? More specifically, if a woman decides to have a child against the father’s wishes, should the father HAVE to pay child support??

I am sure this is a sensitive issue, but I would like to know your honest opinion. As Roe v. Wade comes under close scrutiny in our Supreme Court, this specific issue could hold serious weight in the debate.

25 comments:

Brother Afrocan said...

brother spotless, I allow me if you may to push your inquiry a bit further. I hope the questions I raise do not offend any one and are not used to judge my character. But I do wonder about the male-female dynamic as concerns responsibility/decision making power when it comes to children. My queries are

- What if the man can conclusively prove he was the victim of entrapment, "Dont worry, I'm safe, I'm on the pill!". Do the woman's machinations play into the mans say in having an abortion or his child support responsibilities?

- What if the father wants to keep the child? Should he be able to force the woman to carry the pregnancy to term?

Brother Lightness said...

I don't think of this issue as one that is sensitive. To be honest, I find it to be pretty damn obtuse.

Yes, a woman's right to choose is a contentious topic. But that's because the debate has always been split between a woman's right to choose what to do with her body and the unborn child's right to live.

The man is a non-factor.

He loses all agency in the matter the moment he climaxes. Upon deciding to do the "horizontal polka" (a phrase taken from Jaleel White's character Steve Urkel in the timeless sitcom "Family Matters") he understands that he is taking a risk.

The courts have no business changing that and any man who seriously believes he doesn't have an obligation to that which he is half responsible for producing --whether or not it was planned -- is an embarassment to all the Brothers.

Brother Lightness said...

Brother Afrocan, in response to your inquiries:

1) What if the man can conclusively prove he was the victim of entrapment, "Dont worry, I'm safe, I'm on the pill!". Do the woman's machinations play into the mans say in having an abortion or his child support responsibilities?

Response: Simply, a man loses all claims to entrapment upon his decision to sleep with a woman. Her machinations are irrelevant and if he was concerned enough about potentially creating a child he would take the appropriate caution and abstain.

2) What if the father wants to keep the child? Should he be able to force the woman to carry the pregnancy to term?

Response: The same way a man can't force a woman to create a child, he can't force her to make the decision what to do with her body. Only women were blessed with that innate choice.

Is there really any wiggle room on this issue? Maybe I'm just old-fashioned and closed-minded.

Brother Afrocan said...

Brother Lightness, I too hold the same old-fashioned and closed-minded beliefs you have expressed in your post. I hold those beliefs by default, as a resignation that the world just works that way.

But I can't help but ask- 'doesn't the emperor have not clothes?', isnt there a logical inconsistency present in the dichotomy of options? If the woman keeps the child, the brother is on the hook, yet he can have no say as to whether or not she keeps it? Though I dont support this view, I think it would be more logically consistent if the decision to keep the child was taken away from both the man and the woman involved in the event that they cannot reach an agreement.

It seems like limiting the man's decision making power to whether or not he chooses engage in the "horizontal polka" for a couple of minutes is an unjust exclusion given that the repercussions can be a lifetime of decisions.

Though I agree with you brother lightness that he courts have no business in the matter, just as I believe the courts have no business determining marital, child custody or other personal matters. Unfortunately, the courts are the last resort when reasonable discussion fails.

Brother Lightness said...

Tying this issue back into Black America: considering the absence of black father's in many of our communities, what would the ramifications be if men were indeed allowed to choose?

Brother Spotless said...

Before we tie this back to Black America, let's answer a more fundamental question: if a man necessarily has to take responsibility for a baby that is 50% him, should he also be 50% responsible to answer the question of whether the woman should have an abortion? Right now, he possesses half of the decision to make the baby (the “Horizontal Polka” thing Brother Lightness gave us), but has no decision-making authority thereafter.

Brother Lightness said...

Brother Spotless, the quick answer to your question is no. A man cannot own 50% of the decision for a woman to abort because a woman carries 100% of the burden.

While men should take care of their children, all that binds them to their responsibilities is morality. Women are physically bound from the point of conception, resulting in the 100% responsibility rate.

Brother Afrocan said...

I would like to add an extra dimension to the issue, simply for the purposes of complicating the debate. I don't agree with your perception brother lightness that women carry 100% of the burden. What of the cases of surrogate mothers? it happens every day (well to be honest I do not have any statistical basis to determine the frequency of it), but couples do contribute their egg and sperm respectively and give the 'overwhelming' burden of carrying the pregnancy and conception to another woman. Going by your logic Brother Lightness, does the surrogate mother assume 100% decision making powers in such instances? Prevailing precedent says no. The surrogate mother is simply an incubator of the fertilized embryo. Likewise, a woman’s role difficult as it may be; is simply to incubate the fertilized embryo and carry it to term. Ownership of the product lies equally with the 2 individuals that donated their respective DNA.

Brother Spotless said...

Lightness, here's my point of interest: as things stand now, a woman has just as much responsibility to conceive as a man. However, a woman makes the decision of whether to abort or not. If she decides not to abort, then the child again becomes the responsibility of both. It seems fair that the man have SOME say in the matter of abortion if he will possess 50% of the responsibility of the child (assuming no abortion took place). I fully understand that it is a woman's body and decisions about her body should be made by her. However, is there more to the issue than JUST the woman's right to do with her body what she wishes? Anti-abortion retoric says that the unborn baby has rights. The men Anderson Cooper spoke to say they have rights. Are both being neglected right now? I don't know...

Of course, what I've just stated is pure logic. History suggests that if men have a say in the abortion decision, men would have the legal ability to "pressure" (physical abuse, mental abuse, etc) women into making favorable decisions. It seems as though today's men are backed into a corner based on the actions of men in the past. Is it right? Is it wrong? I don't know...

Kyle Anderson said...

I have great issue with this debate seeing as neither of you are women. This may seem dumb, but both of you are neglecting the emotional decision that women who have an abortion face. You are assuming the women simply have an abortion and that is the end of that. Not true, women who have abortions think about their decision every day, such as, what could have been and so forth. The procedure itself is invasive. I won't go into specifics, but a woman cannot have sex or use a tampon for six weeks after the procedure.

When I look back at the argument that brother afrocan and brother lightness are engaging in, it boggles my mind. Consider this argument when put into the spectrum of stds and aids. Should the person who gave the std/ aids to another person, be responsible for the unsafe behavior, especially if the passee did not know they were a carrying the virus? This situation is directly related to pregnancy and abortion because both parties are making a decision when having sex. It is the responsibilities of both parties invovled to keep themselves safe. The whole entrapment issue is bullshit because if a man believes a woman is on the pill and that will 100% keep her from getting pregnant is fooling himself. Most abortions are the result of faulty use of the pill.

I believe that this argument should not be argued about by men who know nothing about this topic. I don't argue about impotence because I know nothing of what it is like to be impotent.

Brother Afrocan said...

Kyle, thank you for your insightful points and I believe as a woman you bring a very important and unique perspective to the issue. I beg to differ with your assertion that we should not engage in a discussion that affects both men and women (it does take two to get pregnant). I believe respectful dialogue on any issue leaves everyone involved richer for it.

Kyle you raise very good points about the issues a woman going through an abortion faces. I am in no way endorsing pressuring women to get an abortion. If you remember in my initial questions, I asked about the other side of the coin,- What if the father wants to keep the child? Should he be able to force the woman to carry the pregnancy to term? I may not be a woman, but if I was involved in such a situation, I would feel I have a stake in the life of my unborn child and deserve a say in the decision. My problem lies in denying men any say in the discussion. That said, there are those that believe (perhaps legitmately) that if men were allowed a say, they would overwhelmingly vote in favor of the abortion.

qwerty said...

On some level I agree with kyle anderson. You men sitting at your computers talking about this, y'all have a limited view of this situation.

- Entrapment?... I'm gonna just say I "co-sign" with brother lightness to keep this civil. Also, drum up support for male birth control if men want to minimize the occurrence of... "entrapment."

- No, you can't force the woman to keep the child. How far does this go?

What if the woman has a history of miscarriages? Would you put her (maybe) through another one?

What if she's bed ridden? Will you pay for her to live at her pre-pregnancy lifestyle? What if your money runs out at month 8?

What if she dies in birth? Can her family sue you for wrongful death?

What if the baby is stillborn? Can she sue you for emotional trauma?

What if she gets postpartum? Are you financially and legally responsible for her acts and treatment? What if she kills herself? Again, can her family sue you?

What if the medical problems aren't as severe but... embarassing? What if pregnancy causes her to have uncontrollable flatulence? Hey, it happens. Can she sue you for emotional trauma.

Will you pay for her food? What if she says her food cravings are for 5 course meals at Chez Francois and they occur 3 times a week?

I hear men like to have "dimes" on their arms. Are y'all gonna be finacially responsible for getting the woman back to pre-baby weight shape and body? Breast lifts? Lipo?

Will you be financially responsible for the income the woman would have made had she not been pregnant if she can prove that the rest of her life she'll have diminished earnings because of it?

Will you force her to breast feed? Use a breast pump?

What if when the child is born she decides she wants to keep the child and sues you for custody. Are ready, financially and emotionally, for the legal fight?

What if any medical problems or the change of heart occurs when the kid is 3? 8? 12? When you think you're home free?

Have men seriously thought this through? You seriously want to force someone to do something like this? Now, I'm a docile person but I will ruin any man who decides to take this course of action psychologically and physically. Vindictive? Please! Satan will be my pawn at that point. And I hear hormones can do something else to you.

I don't think y'all have thought this through. I can come up with a lot more scenarios... your desire to have a genetic offspring better be worth it, 'cause the "right" woman could seriously make you consider homicide. If you just luv da kids I hear there lots of kids needing homes in forster care.

What if she decides to kill herself but instead ends up having a miscarriage or gets an abortion? Are you seriously going to bring up charges against her? HA! Do you really think you'll win such a case? Hell, she may turn around and sue you for getting her into such a desperate state!

How'd you like to be that child? Have you taken into account the bills from therapy?

There will be lots of suing! If you think there are too many lawyers now...

Men and women need to make better choices about their sexual dalliances. Forcing one party to pay for a child he doesn't want is beyond disgusting. Forcing another one to host a human in her stomach for 9 months when that is not what she wants is... just as disgusting but one that for me that just trumps men's problems.

Demand a BC pill for men. It's a step.

By the by, I thought I was the only one who remembered and used the term "horizontal polka." Some liked the Cosbys, I prefered the Winslows.

Brother Lightness said...

The poignant points Kyle and Solgenique raise are demonstrative of the power of gender roles associated with abortion.

Considering that: just as a woman's emotions are taxed in this decision-making, we cannot dismiss mens' emotions.

Kyle makes the point that a woman's "emotional decision" cannot be neglected, and I would argue that a similar point be made for a man. Clearly, men deal with a different level of emotion in comparison to women on this issue, but from direct and shared experience I can make the strong assertion that men go through a great deal of soul-searching themselves.

I don't make this point to say that men have it more difficult than woman, but just to offer the belief that it can be significantly (not necessarily equally) difficult on a man. Questions of "how will I take care of this responsibility?" and "what will the ramifications of this be for the rest of my life?" burden the male mind in a manner that only a man could fully comprehend. Simply, masculine pride and a paternal sense of responsibility magnify the issue for men.

I had to make that point on behalf of the Brothers. If you disagree please chime in.

Brother Afrocan said...

The contrast in views raised in this discussion and the passion of those holding the views brings out two points in my mind.

The first of which is the gravity surrounding the decision to engage in the "horizontal polka". Though it is often treated casually (hence the moniker casual sex) it does have the potential to have MAJOR ramifications. In response to the question raised by Kyle, I give an emphatic YES- If someone knowingly and willingly infects someone with an STD they should be responsible for the medical costs associated and I think the law should step in to enforce this. My mother's advice which unfortunately I have ignored was to only engage in sex within the bounds of marriage. Within a marriage or a relationship with a strong foundation, you are more likely to reach a harmonious, resolution that reflects the views of both the man and woman involved in the pregnancy. That said, they dont call the straight and narrow path, narrow for nothing. It is really narrow and very easy to veer off. I would also like to echo Solgenique's demand for a male BC pill (ummm....hopefully one with, minimal side effects)

Which brings me to the second point that I felt was strongly present in this discussion. This ties into the original posting which talked about the Roe V. Wade ruling, that is the role of the court system. As much as I hate the thought of courts medling in personal affairs and relationships, they are the ONLY way to resolve such disputes. I may be wrong but I would estimate around 50% of men who pay child support only do so because the courts have mandated it. As concerns the abortion decision making process, I know recently Judge Roberts was hearing a supreme court case involving mandatory notification of the father should a woman try to carry out an abortion. Proponents of men's abortion rights support the move a first step towards strengthening the rights of men in the abortion decision making process. Likewise the other side of the aisle raises good points like abusive relationships, rape or the fact that women carry the burden. Who knows given the right mix of conservative judges in the supreme court maybe the dictates of the laws on abortion might make the decision making process more balanced? On the otherhand they could also strengten womens autonomy in the process, who knows? I never thought any state would overturn Roe V. Wade, I guess South Dakota didnt get the memo. In the event that both parties involved fail to reach a compromise unfortunately what is permissible by law determines the outcome.

L. G. said...

Unwanted and unplanned pregnancy is definantly a thorn in the side of society today. Despite all our modern technical advances and the best efforts of either the man or the woman, life happens. The fact that every act of vaginal intercourse between a man and a woman, regardless of precautions taken, can result in fertilization is something that everyone knows. There are no guarantees. In light of this fact, "entrapment" looses some of its validity as reason for a man to shirk responsibility for his part in the creation of a child. If a child is not a desired result of intercourse, both parties should take action to prevent it.

The burden of contraception has long been placed soley on the woman. This is both unfair and unwise. This misappropriation of responsibility has originated becasue of the predominant assumption that it is the woman who will bear the consequences. In an era when this is not the case, legally anyway, outdated attitudes like this simply must change.

I support a woman's right to terminate a pregnancy as she sees fit to do so. The father of the child has no right to use her body against her will as an incubator for his offspring. This is not something that at present can be changed. Our biology determines this one. We can dislike it all we want, but a man's physical contribution simply isn't in the same category as a woman's.

Abortion is the primal and basic right of women to use their body as they choose. The descision is also theirs alone to make, and no conditions should be imposed that would hinder her exercise of this right. In a perfect world, this would be true 100% of the time. Unfortunately this is not a perfect world. Its not perfect for men either. If a man does not want the unplanned offspring he helps to create, should he be able to force an abortion? I would say no. It can be assumed that unless he was raped that he was a willing contributor and aware of the possible consequences. Since it is her body, the woman has absolute say, period. Abortion is not without risks. Because of potential harm to the woman, it has to be her descision. Should the man have to pay child support? Absolutely! Its just the facts of life people. You have to take responsibility for the results of your actions. If you don't want to take the risk, get a vasectomy or practice strict abstenance. Its your body, take control. Thats all I've got to say.

Anonymous said...

The prevailing emotion in this discussion seems to be a cautionary tale to men that "If you do the crime you must pay the time" and entrapment is not a valid argument. Looking at the case that is the root of this whole debate-

It is a lawsuit in which Matt Dubay, a 25-year-old from Saginaw, Michigan, is suing his ex-girlfriend, 20-year-old Lauren Wells. They had a baby girl who is now eight months old. Dubay says he told Wells up front he did not want to be a father. And he doesn't feel he should have to pay $560 per month in child support.
"During the time we were seeing each other, I made it very clear to her that I was not ready to be a father, and she made it very clear to me that she was incapable of becoming pregnant because of a condition," Dubay said.

I think women that knowingly seek to entrap men are as much of an embarrasment to all women as men that are deadbeat dads. What would happen in our society if we could never rely on promises or contracts? Especially when dealing with financial obligations. Financial contracts totally depend on the sanctity of trust and promises. Should we be warning women that if she gets pregnant and the man refuses to pay child support she has no legal help and she should not have done the crime?

There was an MTV interview sometime ago in which rapper Camron was talking about the dangers of dealing with groupies. He said the craziest thing he ever experienced was a woman taking a used condom and trying to drain the sperm out to impregnate herself, so as to land a multimillionaire baby daddy! Wake up! some of the things women do are criminal! and should not go unnoticed or be encouraged.A woman should not have carte blanche to betray an agreed trust, and yet even compel financial responsibility from her partner, just because she is a woman.

IF a man can produce rock solid proof of a woman's deliberate scheme to entrap him, the same laws that defend women against deadbeat dads should protect men against such abuses.

qwerty said...

Why couldn't he use a condom? I don't care if she showed him the scars where her uterus was removed. What about STIs? Did she look "clean"? If he was willing to gamble on that... why not a child as well? I heard about this happening to an NBA player years back on Oprah. And I think she was legit about her condition.

He may have verbally said that he didn't want to be a father but his actions prove otherwise, in my opinion. Legally, I don't know.

There's nothing that's 100% pregnancy proof except for abstinance. I learned this in 6th grade. Man or woman, the second you have intercourse you are signing up for parenthood.

Should we be warning women that if she gets pregnant and the man refuses to pay child support she has no legal help and she should not have done the crime?

Yes. I don't agree with a woman suing a man for child support unless they were married or engaged. I hope he wins the case. Not because she "tricked" him but for the above reason.

Tricked? Entrapment? He was a willing participant, not a victim. To imply anything else is insulting. Step right up and behold the bewitching power of the vagina! It has 'Tussin in it! He thought he had a sweet deal, that's what it boils down to, "sex with no condom? Hootey hoo!" Give me a break. He deceived himself.

No, she's not an embarassment to women. She's an embarassment to herself. Deadbeat dads are not an embarassment to men, they're an embarassment, period.

To brother lightness,

I will admit I never thought about it from a male's perspective. Thank you for bringing it up. Really. However, "women are the mules of the world" and like hell I would even entertain the thought of men having a say in what she can and cannot do to her body. Ejaculating in a woman does not give men the right to anything. A few idiots here and there doesn't change that. The thought of women legally being property once again is... no.

Brother Spotless said...

I must say I do enjoy this thread more so than any other.

I find the “biology” argument to be interesting. It goes something like this: Men do not have a say in birth matters because women have to deal with the birth or abortion. So, men just have to “deal” with the decision the woman makes? It is a woman’s body, but the being that was produced is the product of both the man AND the woman. Neither should have to “deal” with the other’s decision without the opportunity to have equal say, since they are equal participants.

However, this discussion gets very tricky, because the Supreme Court undoubtedly will attempt to outlaw abortions all together. Look at the court ruling Judge Samuel Alito came under fire for when he was a district judge. He decided that no abortion could be made unless both the husband and wife agree (this only effected married couples). Understanding the ramifications of this (by the way, he was overruled in this case by the other district judges), I find it necessary to figure out what is the most pressing issue: women’s rights, unborn children’s rights, or the rights of the father.

If this is predominantly a women’s rights issue, then it seems ludicrous (in my best Mike Tyson voice) to give a man any right to say what a woman does with her body. This has been the prevailing thought since Roe v. Wade was decided in the 70’s: it’s a woman’s rights issue.

I am not going to touch the question of whether the unborn child has rights, because it is not clear to me what the unborn child is: alive, non-living matter, an internal “money shot” (I’m not trying to be lewd ladies, honestly). At some point, whatever it is becomes a living being. However, what it is before that, I really don’t know.

If it is “right” that a father have a say, then what are we left with? Again, I truly fear what would happen to women if men legally had an equal say. Alas, I find it “right” that men should have an equal say since he had an equal part in making the baby. The “Brother” prefix lets you know that I am male, and therefore may be biased. It just seems fair that 50% responsibility SHOULD equate to a shared decision-making process. I also wouldn’t try to kill the mother of my unborn child, and the fact that there are men who would may be what tips the scales (rightfully so) away from what I find fair.

Brother Afrocan said...

The argument is an interesting one. The way I see it, men and women do not receive equal protection under the law.

If a woman gets pregnant she has 2 choices

a)become a mother
b)opt out of motherhood and get an abortion

If a man impregnates a woman he too has 2 choices
a)become a father and be mandated by law to pay child support ((which is actually tied to how much you make- P Diddy recieved a court order to pay $21,000 per month for one child!!!, come on man, you can't tell me a good portion of that money was not being used to support the mother too).
b) Flee to mexico and become a fugitive of justice.

The second option men face is illegal. It is obvious men don't face equal protection under the law as regards pregnancies which is the crux of the whole lawsuit the guy in Michigan filed.

The options that would rectify the situation are either what Solgenique suggested which is to no longer use the law to extract child support payments thus giving men the option to opt out of fatherhood. The second is what brother spotless is predicting, criminalizing abortion, thus compelling both the man and woman to accept the responsibilities of parenthood in the event of a pregnancy.

Unfortunately I see no elegant solution as both options seem distasteful. Allowing men to refuse the option of paying child support seems like a solution that will disproportionately punish the children involved. Likewise criminalizing abortion..........well that has too ill effects to list.

Brother Darkness said...

Wow, I jumped into this thread a little late but I am going to offer my point of view. And seeing that I was raised in a single parent household I am going to have side with the women. As men, when we are faced with the opportunity of "getting some" we think of the instant GRATIFICATION and not the FUTURE RAMIFICATIONS. Yes, I've been guilty of that many times, all men have and all men will. But that does not make us exempt from any responsibilities that come from a one night stand or a "physical" relationship.

Seeing how my sperm donor (aka my father) was never around and never really paid child support I was able to see how a strong woman can make that decision to keep her children and raise them by any means necessary. But as we all know not every woman can afford to raise a child by herself. And not every woman wants to raise a child by herself. And personally, I don't think she should have too.

Kyle mentioned a great point about the emotional attachment a woman has to her child even before he/she is born. A man that was just out to get "some" does not have an attachment. All we see is "she trapped me" or "this is going to hold me back from doing what I want to do" and the list goes on and on and on. Thats why when a woman tells us "I'm late" we immediately panic and bombard her with 21 questions.

But lets keep it real, as BLACK men (yes I'm making this a racial issue), we know the reputation we have when "responsibility" comes knocking. We run with our tails between our legs instead of manning up and facing our responsibilities. YES it should be the woman's choice and only her choice b/c we do NOT bear children. The point is simple, it is time for men, black and white, to face their responsibilities as fathers.

Anonymous said...

I think you are missing some important options in this argument brother afrocan. If a woman gets pregnant, she has the option to:

1)Have the baby and raise the baby
2)Have the baby and give it up for adoption
3)Get an abortion
4)Have the baby and give it to the father to raise
5)have the baby and rely on family members to raise it
the list goes on a bit further, but you get the picture I suspect.

The father also has options:

1)He could pay child support
2)He could seek custody of the child and raise it himself
3)He could marry or otherwise enter into a more permanent relationship with the mother if she is willing
4)He could seek a joint custody arrangement
5)he could flee the country

This sort of thing is never simple, and it is usually rotten for both parties.

While I do think that a man should have to pay child support when the situation deems it appropriate (not married to the mother or raising the child himself) I do not think that he should have to pay child support if he is legally denied visitation rights, unless this is for good reason (he is in prison, a child molestor, raped the mother etc.) This shouldn't apply if he gives up those rights, does not seek them, or has them but doesn't use them. I see no reason why the man's responsibility has to be stricly financial any more than the woman's has to be strictly child-bearing.

I find it appaling to think that the legal system would give men complete freedom from sexual consequence, yet deny women the same freedom by restricting abortion rights and child-support. The truth is, many women will still find a way to end a pregnancy they don't want, whether it is legal or not. And many men will still find a way to avoid the consequences of their sexual activities whether it is legal or not. The real seed from which this issue grows is cultural in origin. We should ask ourselves not whether something should be legal or not, but why it is that so many men don't voluntarily want to care for their offspring, no matter how they came into the world, or why so many women feel abortion is the only option when they become pregnant, or why they go to extremes to decieve men into impregnating them, or why they see this as their only way of geting ahead (in the case of high child support payments) or feeling a sense of security in a relationship. These are the hard questions, and they don't have easy answers.

All you men out there reading this, just close your eyes a moment and really imagine you are a woman in this world. Imagine your life over agin in your new skin. Imagine how different it might have turned out so far. What would you do if you got pregnant? You aren't rich, you work for a living, or you are in school or whatever. How would you feel about these same issues? Be honest with yourself. I dare you, try being a woman in america! See how you feel having your reproductive rights tossed around in the courts as if you didn't matter. See how you feel when your 99.9% effective birth-control method of choice fails and your fiance decides he didn't sign up for all that and leaves you high an dry. See how it feels to excell professionally only to have an unplanned pregnancy ruin it. Imagine having the ethical delima of choosing between an abortion or your financial security. See how you feel trying to raise a child alone in this country without child-support payments. Can you imagine this, or any other scenerio that fits your life story, as a woman? Does this change your views on the legal issues involved? If you really have a good imagination, it should.

Brother Spotless said...

There is an issue here that I believe we are dismissing: not all men are the dogs that I or others have made them (us) out to be. I can speak indirectly from experience.

My father, bullheaded as he was, loved his children...just not my mother. He paid extra attention to us, not because of any stigma attached to the irresponsible reputation of black men, but simply because he loved us. He and my mother divorced, and both sued the other for custody of the children. My father had a more stable job, made more money, and had better means to see us more often. So why did he lose custody?

I love my mother dearly, so please don't think I am writing this as an angered son (she was suprised by the ruling also). My point here is that the courts generally side with the mother anyway, based on the idea that a mother NATURALLY can care for children better than a father (not based on race). Of course, my father was pissed, and fought the ruling basically until he died (not the reason he died, don't worry). What he found was a suprising number of cases in which the father wanted custody, but was denied.

I know it is a bit late to pose questions but Imma do it anyway. First: are the courts biased against men? Second: does that matter? Specifically, if they are biased, is this proper in order to attempt to balance a male dominated society?? Speak on it!!

t.s. said...

i can answer that question for you quite easily. courts are not biased against men. family law was developed and articulated over the years to protect children and mothers, from what is and has always been the unfair ppwer dynamics that govern families. a few cases here and there do negate the need for this protection as in every other legal realm, men, fathers and sons are given preference.
i don't want to comment on your specific circumstances, but family law recognizes that there are systemic reasons why a father is often more financially stable than a mother and that the ethics of care cannot be determined by economic will.

Kyle Anderson said...

I have to comment about the whole child support issue. I was raised by my mother who struggled to give me the best childhood and adolescent I could possibly have. When I was born, my father had taken an early retirement from the postal service and was living on very little money. Thus, the amount my mother received for child support was paltry.

Fast forward seven years, my father took a much higher paying sales position, but still paid the paltry amount of child support every month. When my mother threatened to take him back to court to increase child support, my father threatened her that he would not pay her for any extras, such as helping out with my independent school tuition, if she took him back to court. He also did this knowing that she did not have sufficient funds for a lawyer to actually take him back to court.

Child support payments do not increase with inflation. They remain the same throughout the duration of a child's life up until the child turns 18 or the mother has the money to take the father back to court.

In response to the comment about P. Diddy's monthly 21,000 child support check that he pays for one child, P. Diddy makes tons of money and I believe, if he wanted his child to maintain the same lifestyle as he can afford that sum is correct. His son goes an independent school in new york city that charges a base tuition of 32,000 dollars a year. Add all of the extras in tuition, such as after school classes, music lessons, clothing and whatnot, the school bill alone adds up. Also, whoever brought this case up failed to say that P. Diddy's other children do not recieve the same amount of money every month for child support. I would argue this is the case because P. Diddy is not still seeing the mother as he is seeing Kim Porter, his companion to basically everything.

Dayna Baskette said...

I believe the parties so far have left out viable options in this conversation. Although I have male friends with children who were unplanned and see them struggle to make payments or "do the right thing" I also ask them the following: did you use a condom?

Its common for these friends to huff and puff and get upset but the answer is always: NO.

Brother afrocan posed the hypothetical situation of the poor brotha who is a victim of entrapment by "Don't worry, I'm safe, I'm on the Pill!" I ask why would that statement comfort you? In my opinion a child is the least of my worries from sex...uh ever heard of an STD?

Maybe I'm being insensitive to the man's plight but shows like Maury should have taught men to think twice before laying down with a woman. Sure the sensation is nice but 1 min.-20 mins. of pleasure are not worth the hassle of and worry associated with an unplanned pregnancy.

So I guess my soap box message is: Wrap it up! Oh for the negligible percentage of men who have experienced a condom breaking, research the laws in your state if you do become a father. A woman can raise a child on her own but there is no replacement for a father figure in a child's life