Thursday, March 16, 2006
Debating 'Roe vs. Wade for Men'
When I blog for this show, I'm always curious to know if the subject will actually motivate people to engage in a debate. Turns out my original story about the case they're calling "Roe vs. Wade for Men" generated a lot of interest.

It's about a lawsuit arguing men should have the right to reject the responsibilities of fatherhood -- including getting out of paying child support. A national men's rights group backing the suit argues a woman gets to decide if she wants to have a child, give it up for adoption, or have an abortion, while the man has no control.

In the lawsuit, 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. Here's a sample of your responses:

He was intimate with her and is responsible. Can you imagine the financial impact of allowing men to avoid child support! It is already a problem. He needs to pay.
Posted By Ted, Dallas, Texas

The main question is whether or not the man has a right to any say in the outcome. What if the woman wanted an abortion and the man wanted the child? Would the man have a say in that circumstance? Or would the woman have all the choices without any regard to the wishes of the man?
Posted By Frank, Columbus, Ohio

He says it's about trying to extend to men the freedom of choice the Supreme Court decision gave to women. Really? What statement fails to realize is that women must deal with the situation because of biology. Hence, the choice to make a decision, because they cannot walk away from this reality. When men have the ability to become pregnant, then the same choices should be extended. If men currently are extended the same choices, then it is assuming that they will have choices which will affect a women's body. Where is the equal justice in that?
Posted By Margaret, Orlando, Florida

This is really a matter of "equal justice under law" and needs to be sent to the Supreme Court. Look at it this way -- if a woman becomes pregnant she has the following options open to her:
(1) Abort; or,
(2) Rear child; or,
(3) Place for adoption
The man, in the case of pregnancy, has the following options:
(1) Pay support; or,
(2) Marriage and support; or, if this lawsuit is successful,
(3) Flee or otherwise refuse
As it stands now, the only options open to men are #1 and #2; and #3 is right-out illegal in most places. What this lawsuit does is open up equity for men in this matter -- since men cannot become pregnant themselves, this gives the man a similar "opt-out" option that the woman currently has. Regardless of personal morals, this is an intensely important issue, and may well drive legal doctrine in this country for decades.
Posted By Phil, Waterloo, Iowa

You can watch my full report on this story tonight on the show. It will be followed by a debate on this subject. And you can read my original blog post here. Feel free to leave more of your thoughts in the space below.
Posted By Jonathan Freed, CNN Correspondent: 4:37 PM ET
My best friend, a devout Catholic, got his girlfried fiance pregnant. He wanted the baby, she didn't. She had an abortion without his knowledge and againt both his personal and religeous beliefs. The child that could have been is now gone and there's no bringing it back. It took two of them to make the baby in the first place, but the woman had the deciding factor in its disposition. Where's equality, and justice under the law?
Posted By Anonymous Mark H, Concord, NC : 5:08 PM ET
The woman should know how her "partner" feels before they become "active", or she should be ready to face the music alone if she hasn't taken the necessary precautions. I'm a woman who was brought up to take care of herself first. Wake up women! It's not a perfect world, don't act like it should be just because you get yourself into a jam.
Posted By Anonymous Kris, Memphis TN : 5:13 PM ET
How about that you don't have sex if you don't want to be a parent! That makes sence to me.
Posted By Anonymous Susie Siverts, Culver City, CA : 5:14 PM ET
She told him when they met that she was physically unable to get pregnant. She lied to him. He was under the impression that while they slept together he would not get her pregnant. So, he should not have to pay her a dime. It is her fault she got pregnant. I bet if he knew she could get pregnant, knowing he did not want to be a father, he would have made sure he was using protection. She lied; She gets nothing.
Posted By Anonymous Bridgett, Houston, Texas : 5:15 PM ET
Allowing a man to go to court and claim that he did not want the child in the first place would literally gut the child support system that is currently in place. The number of deadbeats out there is astonishing, and the things that they will try to avoid taking responsibility for the children that they father are disgusting. I have a personal interest in this, as one of my daughters is trying to collect some support for her daughter. So far, the bum sends roughly $30 a week through the state's AG office. Until she went to the AG, she didn't get a dime. He would file a petition to dump his responsibilities in a heartbeat if it were legal. Making it easy for men to avoid taking responsibility for the children they father is really bad public policy. The state contributes too much to the support of single mothers and their children already. Letting the fathers off the hook by saying that "I wanted her to get an abortion." will just make it ten times worse.
Posted By Anonymous Tom, Lubbock, TX : 5:15 PM ET
If the man does not want be responsible for a child then he needs to responsible for birth control as should the female.

Becoming pregnant is not an accident.
Posted By Anonymous B. Perez Tucson AZ : 5:18 PM ET
This debate seem rather odd. Once a man donates his sperm in anyway it's the women's. If the man doesn't want to have kids don't make such a donation. If this kind of idea ever went anywhere no man would want to pay child support. Keep it in your pants and avoid the problem.
Posted By Anonymous Wayne Alan Law Bible Hill, Nova Scotia : 5:18 PM ET
While I am sure the "liberals" will all cry at this expression of free speech.... Here it goes,
If a woman gets pregnant, it is always the guy's fault. Regardless of how she became pregnant, it is the overbearing, hedonistic male that somehow is to blame that she be came pregnant. It has nothing to do with the 20 year old woman with 5 kids with 4 dads. After all, only men are allowed to demand that a condom be worn. Why should men not have the same rights as women? If she wants to abort, the man is powerless to save the child. If she wants to keep it, he better pay up. I am shocked to hear the Female rights groups opposing this. It seems to say that they need the support of men to make it. The choice need not be 100% on the female. If she got pregnant it as much her fault as it is his. She should learn from her mistakes. Forcing a father to pay isn;t the answer. In this regard a man should be able to get the support he would have been owed for 18yrs, if he wanted the child for himself.
Posted By Anonymous Doug, Ada, Ohio : 5:18 PM ET
I have to agree primarily with Margaret from Florida. Men who want a baby can't exactly offer or otherwise be required to carry it if the mother does not. If Mr. Dubay did not want to be a father he should have had a vasectomy, or at least used a condom (along with her using a diaphragm, in addition to any other birth control medications she might have been on). Ultimately, if a man refuses to support his child he loses all parental rights. The only 'equal right' issue is if a woman abandons her child to the father, will her loss of parental rights be as absolute? In this case that is a moot point.
Posted By Anonymous James, Brunswick ME : 5:19 PM ET
I can appreciate that if a woman decides that she is not ready to be a mother, a man should be able to decide that he is not ready to be a father. The tricky part comes where the man wants the child and the woman does not - especially in cases of rape. This is going to be an interesting battle which will hopefully focus on affording equal rights instead of pushing personal political agendas.
Posted By Anonymous Kate, Los Angeles, CA : 5:21 PM ET
The man all ready has a choice in the matter. He could choose to not have unprotected sex. Once that choice has been made, if a baby is concieved and born, the man must take financial responsibility.
Posted By Anonymous Brian, Runnemede NJ : 5:24 PM ET
I saw some really interesting points raised in this blog, however, I think guys are a little misguided on the issue. No doubt, if I were placed in a circumstance of having a child I may think differently, however, opting out of child support is not comparable to abortion. Abortion is about a woman's right to choose what happens with her body. If a lady chooses to abort a baby, that baby no longer exists, there is no material burden on society. In the case of a law entitling male's to free themselves from child support, the baby still exists, thus the two are not comparable.

I also believe some of the points raised about what a man and woman get to choose are misguided. Adoption is a choice both that both sexes can decide. I also highly doubt that child support payments are the sole means of providing for the child. A law of this caliber could provide loopholes for irresponsible fathers to bail out of their basic duties.

In addition, let's think ahead. If a father gets out of paying, who's going to pick up the slack? The mom? What if she can't, will the government pick up the tab? Money doesn't grow on trees, it has to come from somewhere. This issue needs to be played like chess...several steps ahead.
Posted By Anonymous Adam, Urbana, Illinois : 5:25 PM ET
Not enough is being done to educate people about the consequences of sexual intercourse. The fact is they had sex and she got pregnant. Sure, she might thought it was impossible, but if he really didn't want to be a father he should have used protection or better still not have sex if he wouldn't support a child. You cannot have sex without some possbility of pregnancy so even if you are doing all you can to prevent it, a couple should agree what THEY would should she get pregnant.
Posted By Anonymous Jean Szinger, Mount Vernon, NY : 5:26 PM ET
I had to pay for an abortion I didn't want. I suppose I technically didn't "have to" pay for it. I could have walked away. But men in America have been conditioned to "do the right thing" on this issue. And that's wrong. I'm not a father, but I wanted to be one, and I do feel my chance was robbed from me. If I had the chance to to even raise that child on my own, I would have opted for that instead of an abortion. This case has implications that someday, perhaps another man won't be in the position of regret I'm in today.
Posted By Anonymous Patrick, West Chicago, IL : 5:27 PM ET
I find it funny that in the examples of comments that were chosen, they were within the first dozen or so entries.

Yet they were not amoung the most common opinion which was "He had more than one choice, which were to choose to have sex and to choose not to use protection. His 'choices' stop where his body ends and hers begins.

Men need to get it through their heads (the one on their shoulders) that there is no constitutional guarantee that they can have sex with out responsibility.

It's simple, really. If you don't want to have a child with someone, keep your pants zipped! End of story!
Posted By Anonymous Chris, Endwell, NY : 5:28 PM ET
In the old days, you know, they would call this "Roe for (pretend) Men" a cad, a bounder, and any other kind of name. You father a child, at the very least, you pay. Simple. The issue is not the woman, it's the kid. The kid has its right to your money.

Now, some are saying that, if they have no power over the woman to decide if she has an abortion or not, then they won't pay, as if that's equivalent. It's not.

If your girlfriend has a miscarriage, you have no say, either. The man is not the one who carries the child inside and then goes through that painful and dangerous process called childbirth.

If the baby's there, and its DNA match yours, you either take care of that baby or forget about calling yourself a man.
Posted By Anonymous Jim, Glendale, CA : 5:29 PM ET
Margaret needs to actually read the position of the organization. It has nothing to do with a woman's body. It only has to do with child support. As of right now, men have zero say in basically ANY matter concerning a pregnancy. This would give them at least some power to protect the outcome of their lives. But men have all the power in this world, right? Women are always the oppressed victims, right? All men are deadbeats, right? NOW who's the sexist one.
Posted By Anonymous James, San Diego, CA : 5:29 PM ET
I can not believe there is even a debate about this. Women are given those alternatives because they can get pregnant. That is not a choice, that is just plain anatomy! I am a single mother who has never received a dime from the father (donor) because he is a dead beat. Now that is fine for me, because in my opinion, "No father is better than a bad father". If you do not want to be involved in the childs life that is your choice and honestly, that child is probably better off. However, you still have a financial responsibility to that child, since it wasn't that childs decision to be born in the first place. So give up your parental right, no problem! But send the mother her child support, because he still had a choice and so did the mother, when they decided to have sex! The responsibility (financial or raising of the child), is shared whether he likes it or not, whether he wants to be involved in our not! That child shouldn't be without new clothes, food, education or healthcare, just because you made a bad choice and believed someone you probably shouldn't of! In the end, Hind Sight is always 20/20! I believe my ex also lied to me when he said he would always take care of his child! My son is now seven and his father hasn't seen my son since he was 3 months old. I had a 4 year relationship! I didn't give up my rights, or abandon my responsibility! You apparently can't trust everything that people say, regardless of how much you trust them.
Posted By Anonymous Melinda, Chicago, Illinos : 5:29 PM ET
I was in the exact situation as this person is. I was 26 living the good life of bachelorhood and my girlfriend at the time was unable to get pregnant because of a pre-existing condition. Well she got pregnant and I had to make a decision. Well we are now married with three beautiful children and I wouldn't change it for the world. He needs to man up and at least help with the tremendous expense of raising children these days.
Posted By Anonymous Greg, Cupertino, CA : 5:42 PM ET
A man does have a choice about fatherhood. He makes that choice when he decides where he puts his business or when he leaves the matter of contraception as a responsibility of the woman. These men are arguing with biology here. Grow up! Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness doesn't come with a free pass. It takes responsibility.
Posted By Anonymous Craig, Los Angeles, CA : 5:43 PM ET
The man made a choice when he had sexual intercourse with the woman. If he didn't want a child, no matter what she said, he should have taken matters into his own hands...
Posted By Anonymous Tami Carew, San Diego, CA : 5:43 PM ET
There is no sure method of birth control. Both partners should ask themselves before they have sex if they are ready to be a parent. If the answer is no, that is the time they actually have "control" of the situation. The man in this case may be angry if he was lied to, but that does not excuse him from his responsibility to the child. His anger over the woman having all the choices is, in practical terms, ridiculous. Once pregnancy occurs, there may be no good or easy choice for the woman. Both people are responsible.

In these times when women are worried about losing the right to choose abortion - for example, take a look at the new law in South Dakota which prohibits abortion even in cases of rape or incest - it would be painfully ironic if women were forced to bear children, but the fathers could "choose" not to be legally responsible for them.
Posted By Anonymous C. Quinn, Little Rock, AR : 5:43 PM ET
What I find most curious, in the CNN article about the lawsuit on behalf of all men wishing to become negligent fathers, is that Kim Gandy of NOW appears to approve of a judicial logic based on the "rights of the child," which is surely a first for that organizational bastion of pro-choice America. If the "rights" of the mother trump those of the child, based on a Roe-created "right to privacy" that does not discriminate between men and women in its language, then it is difficult to see how men can can be denied their right to engage in "private" irresponsibility towards the next generation, as women are currently permitted to do under Roe. As morally reprehensible as the idea is, one is tempted to cheer on "Roe versus Wade for Men" by invoking V.I. Lenin's doctrine of "the worse the better," in the hopes that if moral conscience has failed to wake up the public to the ongoing shame of our treatment of the next generation, then maybe the increasing absurdity of the discussion will succeed in its stead.
Posted By Anonymous Aaron Weinacht, Las Vegas, NV : 5:44 PM ET
This is a very tricky case because its circumstances make things murky. As one person who has commented said, she lied to him up front by saying she had a condition preventing her from getting pregnant. In this sort of situation where he was lied to and had no way of finding out otherwise, I find it difficult to hold him culpable.

However, I am very skeptical of the idea of extending this case to create "equality" for men. Those men who believe things are not equal are correct; we have a natural advantage in the sense that we will never have to make choices such as "should the baby be aborted?" Our bodies are not vulnerable to pregnancy, and the fact is that the law should be bent in favor of women. We should stop complaining about having to pay child support when the woman receiving it has already had her life changed in potentially far worse ways.
Posted By Anonymous Peter, Bayside, NY : 5:44 PM ET
I believe it is a valid assertion that the biological responsibility of child bearing leaves women with a choice that has no equivalent in males. But I also think it is obtuse to claim that a socially complex problem boils down to x and y chromosomes. It is a constitutional axiom that a woman decides what to do with her own body. If she wants to raise a child without the fathers support, then so be it. It may strike many as an oxymoron, but responsible men would like a say in where their emotional and financial support ends up.
Posted By Anonymous David, Los Angeles, CA : 5:47 PM ET
Once the man's sperm changes possession, if you will, the man loses his choices. It's that simple. If men want to retain control of their reproductive freedom then they certainly have the means to do so. The question is, do they have the will?
Posted By Anonymous Steven Davidson, Eagan, MN : 5:47 PM ET
It seems so many people are ignoring the situation this case is designd for.

If a woman leads a man into having sex with her believing she is infertile, the man should not be held responsible for any pregnancy (vise versa). There is an implied contract going on here: "I will only have sex with you under the condition you are infertile, so that I will not have the financial/emotional burdon of a child".

There is no excuse for defrauding a mate like this for any purpose (financial gain as with child support payments, sexual gratification, or otherwise). Although this situation is uncommon, people should be protected from this (like they are from other types of fraud).
Posted By Anonymous Garrett, International Falls, MN : 5:47 PM ET
Here's a thought-maybe both the man and woman should communicate to each other and discuss whether or not they want children BEFORE engaging in sex. Then if one do not desire to become a parent, use birth control. It is a shame when any man (or woman in many instances)dodge responsibility when it concerns their own child(ren), but to use the courts is a new low .
Posted By Anonymous Angie, St.Louis, MO : 5:48 PM ET
Though the Constitutional concerns here as to equal rights are complex, the individual situations are even more so. The furthest extents of these arguments will have divorcing dads not required to pay child support because they can argue retroactively that they never wanted the children in the first place- not quite the same as a "one night stand" pregnancy is it?

Regardless of the individual rights of both "parents," the main issue when it comes to the matter of support is the well-being of the child- who had no choice about how they were conceived or what greedy people brought them into the world.

This is not Roe v. Wade for men. Period. Without contraception and abortion as options, the state and/or her partner controls a woman's body. This is all about power of the almighty dollar. Which as anyone in the middle of tax season can tell you: the state already controls the wallet. Men should be ashamed for arguing that their money is equally or more important than the right of bodily integrity and choice for women.

Finally, I sincerely hope that men who hope to avoid their fiscal responsibilities to unwanted children are equally willing to permanantly terminate all their parental rights to the child, including having their names stripped from the birth certificate. No pay, no play.
Posted By Anonymous Amy, Washington, DC : 5:48 PM ET
If men want the right to reject the responsibilities of parenthood, then they need to exercise their RESPONSIBILITY TO USE EFFECTIVE BIRTH CONTROL. Don't leave that responsibilty to the woman if you are quite certain you don't want kids.
Posted By Anonymous Murphy, Columbia MD. : 5:48 PM ET
As far as I'm concerned this person that says he doesn't want to pay, is NO MAN in my eyes. What a disgrace to the human race...
Posted By Anonymous Shasta, San Diego, CA : 5:48 PM ET
Regardless of the veracity of the claim, this is an issue that needs to be heard by the court. This strikes at the very heart of equal rights. Honestly, if Federal courts have nothing better to do than hear cases about how much responsibility a fast-food chain has for the mental capacity of its customers, this case could offer something more than a meaningful distraction.
Posted By Anonymous Daniel, Charlotte, NC : 5:48 PM ET
The real crux of the issue here is: If women have the ultimate right to choose all outcomes in regards to their body, do they not also ultimately bear the responsibility for those outcomes?

A woman has the right to allow (or refuse) a situation where fertilization might occur. As the law currently stands, personal responsibility is trumped by the future needs of the child. Men are obligated not due to a responsibility to the woman, but strictly to that of the child. A child ultimately makes the law balanced in favor of a woman only. This is not equal treatment under the law.

Example: Man states he does not wish to ever reproduce. Woman tells man that she is infertile, yet is lying about it. Pregnancy occurs (woman hoping for marriage, relationship longevity, etc?). Woman could have prevented the situation where pregnancy occurred, yet is ultimately rewarded for her misdeed. There is no seperating the financial benefit of future support between the woman and the child. Man has been defrauded by the woman yet currently has no legal recourse. A wealthy man will be required to ultimately share his wealth with the woman who defruaded him, as current law requires that support is determined by a percentage of total available financial respources between the two parents. The woman has little incentive to increase earnings, as the man will always be responsible to share a percentage of his wealth (sound a bit like the welfare system?).

With rights, come additional responsibilities.
Posted By Anonymous Patrick, Glenadale Az : 5:48 PM ET
If you are grown up enough to have sex and have a baby, you should not be fighting in court to escape your ultimate responsibility. No one pointed a gun at your head to have sex. Bottom line--if you don't want to have a child, don't have sex.
Posted By Anonymous Joe, Reno, NV : 5:49 PM ET
If a man does not want to be a father, he should either: (1) refrain from engaging in sex; or, (2) get himself "fixed" so that he cannot impregnate a woman. It's real simple - it's not rocket science! But if a man won't take responsibility for his actions, i.e., as in the above examples, then crying about having to pay child support for a child he "helped" create is not valid! Remember: this getting pregnant takes TWO PEOPLE!
Posted By Anonymous Donna Ripley, Long Beach, CA : 5:50 PM ET
It is a moral issue! Accept the responsibility for actions. Do not dodge, blame others, or pass the buck.
Certainly, it is not the baby's fault! The logical and responsible action would have been not to have had intercourse. Who would want such a mother or father?
Posted By Anonymous Roland, Midland, TX : 5:51 PM ET
If a man does not wish to be a father, there is a further option open: surgery. The cost of sterilization would be far less than child support over any reasonable period, and in any case is covered by many insurance plans. This situation need then never arise.
Posted By Anonymous Mary, Boston, Ma : 5:52 PM ET
What ever happened to abstinance. If the man has consentinual sex, he needs to practice safe sex. Vasectomy, condoms these are also male options. The man can walk away and this is obvious due to the amount of single women raising families alone. It takes two. The biggest reason so many relationships fail is lack of commitment. To many experiences make the male jadded for a relationship and due to failure. Wait until marriage, not after the second child to think about it.
Posted By Anonymous Ron Orlando, Fl : 5:52 PM ET
It seems sadly and frighteningly ironic to me that we are debating this "Roe v Wade for men" when the reproductive rights women gained from the original Roe v Wade are being whittled down to nothing all over the country. To call this case "Roe v Wade for men" is also an egregious fallacy. The main arguments brought out by the original Roe v Wade were 1)that a women's right to abort was a private, medical decision between her and her doctor, and 2) states could impose whatever restrictions they wish on this right once the fetus passes the point of viability- that is, could have a chance of surviving outside the womb. Parental rights really don't figure into this.
While I philosophically may support some aspects of the unwilling fathers' argument, I don't see anyway there case could realistically be won. How do you prove that a father didn't want the baby? A negative can't be proven. How many times do we hear of these deadbeat dads that are supportive at first, but then change their minds as the pregnancy goes on? Or of men who become abusive when their significant other becomes pregnant? There are countless stories of how fathers change during a pregnancy, for better or for worse. Logistically, proving all these cases would be a nightmare for a legal system that is already overburdened; too many unscrupulous men would take advantage of this decision to shirk their responsibility, and ultimately, it is the children and society who pays.
Posted By Anonymous Dibs, McLean VA : 5:52 PM ET
Every time you have sex with someone there is the possibility that a child might come out of that union. The man's choice is in that moment for sex and the spreading of his seed. After that his feelings should perhaps be considered, but really the choice is all hers. It's her body it's her choice - if Mr. Dubay really didn't want kids there are surgeries, condoms, and his freedom of choice to "Just say No to Sex."
Posted By Anonymous Catherine Bowman - Iowa City, IA : 5:54 PM ET
This debate is downright silly. And Mr Dubay's lawsuit is just as silly. If Mr. Dubay didn't want to father a child, why did he have unprotected sex with this woman? It seems to me that men all over the world that don't want to have children learn how to use a condom. Apparantly Mr. Dubay doesn't feel that he is required to be responsible for his own choices and actions. And to those that would say men should have the right to not pay child support for a child they didn't want in the first place, I say he did, in fact, have a right. He had a right to protect himself by wearing a condom. He had a right to protect himself by abstaining from sex with this woman altogether. But he chose to not apply those rights, and in turn got this young woman pregnant, and now wants to cry about how unfair it is that he must pay child support. Poor baby!! Get over it and be a man and do the right thing.
Posted By Anonymous Matt Cooper Ann Arbor, Michigan : 5:55 PM ET
There are alot of women out there who "lie" and "trap" the man for the money they can get from him for support & or more welfare by getting pregnant. They don't want him or even the child, just the money.
Men SHOULD have the right to walk away. And then the woman should not be able to get one cent either.
Posted By Anonymous Teresa Midland, MI : 5:56 PM ET
The men supporting this inane idea are way off base, and I will tell you why.

Women who are forced to bear a child have their body changed forever, and risk death just to deliver the child.
(Do not think this is made up. I am an RN and know of what I speak, do your research on Maternal death). Men do not have this risk. Abortion rights-oh please, the religious right is eroding those every day as has this presidency, whose record on women and child services is the worst ever.

There is one simple solution to this "problem". Men have been exercising their right to increased pleasure by not exercising their responsibility to wear a condom. It's fairly simple-spray your seed and become a biological parent against your will, or always wear a condom and have outside sex when you want not to.

I taught my son there are women who will lie about birth control, but even an honest woman only has to miss one pill, one time, to become pregnant.
Want the love-wear the glove!
Be responsible and stop whining!
Posted By Anonymous Bev, Detroit, MI : 5:56 PM ET
Accidental pregnancies happen.

I'll agree that it may be unfair for a man to take all reasonable precautions agianst fathering a child and yet still wind up paying child support.

However, it's equally unfair for a woman to take all reasonable precautions against pregnancy, and yet still wind up dealing with the physical and finnancial consequences of accidentally getting pregnant. And no law can save her from dealing with those consequences--they are unavoidable. If we create a law that allows men to skirt the repercussions of their actions while women are biologically unable to, how is that fair?

It wouldn't be. But "fairness" --toward men or women--isn't even close to the most important issue here. Most important is the wellfare of the child. I'm willing to put up with a little unfairness toward the parents if it means the child is well cared for.
Posted By Anonymous Jane, San Jose, California : 5:56 PM ET
He doesn't owe the mother anything. He owes the child the minimal support required my law.
Posted By Anonymous Leslie, Flagstaff AZ : 5:57 PM ET
This is absolutely ridiculous. Some men spend half their time trying to get women in bed, ignoring any potential responsibility included in becoming intimate with a woman. A woman usually doesn't become pregnant by herself. If a woman does become pregnant, no matter what the outcome (and yes protection is her responsibility to) she must deal with costs (emotional and fiscal)associated with being pregnant, having the child, and either raising it, aborting it, or giving it up for adoption. I am apalled that any man would suggest it is his right to walk away from something he was so clearly the cause of forming. And what does that do to the child? It will grow up and realize his father completely walked away, and there are plenty of men that do that anyway. Men, if you REALLY don't want to ever have to deal with child support, invest a little money yourself for a vasectomy. That will save you a LOT in the long run from some "accident" that you don't want to claim responsibility for. its a child you helped create, not a dog you can leave with another owner or pass along. Seriously, has this men's group reached maturity?
Posted By Anonymous Anna, Dallas, TX : 5:58 PM ET
How and to what extent should people be held responsible for the procreative consequences of consenting to sex? What is the equilibrium between a man's sperm and a woman's body? No law (including religious law) should permit "hijacking" a man's sperm for a paycheck anymore than it should it permit "hijacking" a woman's body for moral credit. If women truely have an opt-out choice (which few do due to timing, location, religion, socio-economics) then the men can have an opt-out. I see a new field of law: the presextual agreement.
Posted By Anonymous carolyn kay, new york city : 5:58 PM ET
YES it true that it takes two people to created a baby but it's entirely on a woman weather to keep it, abort it or adoption. Men has no say in this matter.

Besides to men there are only TWO types of contraceptives available; condom and vasectomy. Condom has its flaws and vasectomy is bit extreme unless you're very certain. Women have 11 forms of birth control available to them yet there is always some execuse for not taking anything.
Posted By Anonymous KD, Winston-Salem NC : 5:58 PM ET
I have conflicting opinions on this issue. This man had several options available to him if he didn't want to be a father. I understand that the woman told him she was uanble to get pregnant, but he could have taken several steps to guarantee that. One possibility would have been for him to preserve a sperm sample and have a vasectomy. That way, he could have prevented himself from fathering any unwanted children and still have the option to have his own offspring if his attitude changed. That being said, I have never felt that the attitude that all pregnancy decisions should be left up to the woman was in any way fair. Granted, a woman does have to go through 9 months of pregnancy and the risks it involves, but she generally wasn't alone in making the baby, so the other party involved should have some say in the outcome. I especially don't feel that a married woman should be able to have an abortion against the husband's wishes. Children are a natural result of marriage, and if one doesn't want a child, one shouldn't get married unless the issue is clear from the start.

I don't believe abortion is right in just about any circumstances. If a woman doesn't want the responsiblity of a child, she should make sure she can't conceive before she engages in a sexual relationship. The same holds true for a man. If, however, pregnancy results from such activity, the wishes of both parties should be considered. I personally believe that if a woman was unable to automatically obtain child support from the man she has sex with should a child result, there would be a lot less unplanned and teenage pregnancies in this country.
Posted By Anonymous Julie Davey, Plainview, Texas : 5:58 PM ET
The problem is that there is an option to abort. If that option did not exist then both would have to either agree to give up for adoption or each be half economically responsible. Both man and woman would have the same rights.
Posted By Anonymous Richard, Lihue, HI : 5:58 PM ET
Men have long been disadvantaged, treated second class when it comes to family court matters, etal. The National Organization of Women has been very instrumental in getting equal rights for women in the U.S., yet have steadfastly fought to preserved/ maintain the old outdated characterization/perception of woman and their treament by the court as the victim. All at the expense of reality and of course the fair treatment/equal rights of men. My ex.wife is on her fourth birth control pregnancy, it was never a fix for a broken marriage, but it didn't stop her from trying and doing it again to ensure support for her rather then the children. Every body knows some gal who used pregnancy to hook her "dream man".
Posted By Anonymous J. Barrett, Bloomsbury, NJ : 5:58 PM ET
When he chose to have unprotected sex, he made his choice in the matter. If he didn't trust the woman to make the right decision, he should have protected himself.
Posted By Anonymous Natalie, Oklahoma CIty, OK : 5:59 PM ET
Men are required by most States to provide 70% or more of the Child care needed for a child to survive.Then the Fathers are only allowed to have partial/minimal visitation unless they can "prove" the Mother is a drug/alcohol abuser or worse.This makes it very difficult for most Fathers to have relationships or have a fair amount of time with their children.The laws must be changed so that each parent shares in all aspects of custody and financial burdens.Fathers are fed up with the system and unfortunately are reacting poorly by supporting anything like rejecting Fatherhood.Note for thought:My ex-wife (34 years old and in good health with a degree in Cosmotology) hasn't worked for the last 4 years and is living off child support and welfare.I work over-time to make ends meet.The over taxed people of Washington State provide her with welfare that aids her making trips to Disneyland and Las Vegas each year.Lets fix the real problem AND MAKE DEAD BEAT MOM'S ACCOUNTABLE FOR THEIR ACTIONS.Children need both parents in their lives.
Posted By Anonymous Rob, Moses Lake,Wa : 5:59 PM ET
Both of them had a choice. When they chose to have sex, they chose to take on the responsibility for any life that may result from that union. Both a choice for an abortion and a choice to choose to neglect to pay child support are choices to neglect this responsibility. Neither party should have had sex if they were unwilling to support a child.
Posted By Anonymous Erick Wallman, San Angelo, TX : 6:00 PM ET
Pro-abortionists believe in equal rights for all women, except those yet to be born. With that said, women should not "play God" with what is alive within them anyway and men should definitely take responsibility for their actions. This is, essentially, a debate between "Selfish women who may be inconvenienced" vs. "Selfish men who may be inconvenienced."
Posted By Anonymous Rich, Dallas, Texas : 6:02 PM ET
I can't believe this guy! Who does he think he is? This is no longer a fetus we are talking about here, this is a human being with rights and feelings and so forth. I would be sooo embarrassed if this guy was my "donor."

He is a great example of how spoiled rotten the newest generation of young adults really are. I am a part of this generation, and everywhere I look I see my peers taking hissy fits whenever life doesn't go their way. They think the world should be ouch-proof like the homes and lives they had when they lived at home with mommy and daddy, who thought they were raising perfection.

I don't know how many times I have heard someone say that they were not ready to be a parent when they became one. I know I wasn't. But you deal with it and you don't look back. Because it's no longer about "YOU" anymore, it's about the child. Most of the time, I see no regrets, and I feel the same way.

I don't think this suit will go anywhere. These people want to hide behind the Roe v. Wade decision, but in reality they are going completely against it. Roe v. Wade made it to where the gov't could not force a woman to carry a child. This suit, if passed into law, will in some ways force a lot of women to terminate a pregnancy they don't want to end, just because ol' baby daddy doesn't want to be a man. So the gauntlet gets passed from the gov't to the party guy. I hope people will recognize this.
Posted By Anonymous Lisa Y. Florence, KY : 6:02 PM ET
I'm surprised that during these sorts of discussions, no one raises the obvious issues. Perhaps because the public is ignorant about how the actual Child Support system works. Currently, the Non-Custodial parent (usually the father) pays directly to the mother. After that, the mother can do anything she wants to do with the money. There is no accountability or requirement to use the money for the child. It's basically free money for the mother to do as she pleases with it. How making both parents put an equal share into a trust instead? The laws need to be changed to make both parents accountable and responsible, not just the father.
Posted By Anonymous Jake, Chicago, IL : 6:02 PM ET
What keeps bothering me about this case is his contention that the woman told him she couldnt get pregnant. What if a man were to tell his girlfriend that he had gone to a clinic and found out he was infertile and she couldnt get pregnant, and that he was otherwise clean sexually. She thinks and makes the choice to have unprotected sex. She then gets pregnant, how would she feel? Duped? Angry? She now has to make a choice, have an abortion and bear any psychological weight that may bring or allow her body to go through pregnancy. Not a great position to be in I would think.

In the same way I think this is a special and rare case where a guy got duped into believing he was safe. Is this a case of a woman tricking a man into getting her pregnant so she will receive another source of income, especially knowing there is nothing men can do in the current state of law?However, I dont think this should be used to allow men to arbitrarily wave responsibility of thier children.
Posted By Anonymous John, Columbus, OH : 6:02 PM ET
He should pay. Having sex with someone means there is a risk of disease and pregnancy. It is irrelevant that she didn't think she could get pregnant or she lied to him that she couldn't. There was a risk of pregnancy. If he didn't want to take the risk then he shouldn't have had sex with the woman.

The child shouldn't be the loser in this instance. The child is an innocent bystander.
Posted By Anonymous jim,Portland, Oregon : 6:02 PM ET
In reference to Adam from Urbana IL statement "Adoption is a choice both that both sexes can decide"


A man cannot force a woman to give a child up for adoption. And if the couple is unmarried, she can put the child up for adoption. Both sexes may be allowed to decide, but in the end, the woman makes the decision - the man can only "hope" she gives up the baby - and if she doesn't, he pays.
Posted By Anonymous Marko, Rantoul IL : 6:03 PM ET
Seems like a simple solution to all the people who feel men have to bear responcibility for sex but women don't (pro-choice). Give the father the right to terminate the pregnancy. Women "choose" to carry through dangerous pregnancys all the time where the man wouldn't want her to risk her health. If a woman is in school and doesnt want the finantual and social burden of a child she can abort, the man should have that choice also. Personal responcibility is on BOTH parents and thus both should have some say in their future not just the woman.
Posted By Anonymous Kyle, Hattiesburg MS : 6:13 PM ET
It appears that many are missing the point of the suit and the argument. It is not about women's bodies or biology (Margaret from Orlando). The suit addresses the issue that, as it stands, the woman involved has the right to impose a huge financial burden upon the man who has no desire to be a father. The woman should absolutely have the right to choose whether she would like to be a mother or not, however this decision should not give her the right to place this financial burden on the man. He should be able to choose (legally) whether he wants to give financial support for this child or not.
Posted By Anonymous Michael, Dallas, TX : 6:13 PM ET
I am a grandmother of 5 amazingly wonderful children. Unfortunately one of the children, my grandson, is a product two consenting adults and a one night stand -- no promises were made and no future was discussed. The mother is a bright college graduate who received counseling from many sources and fully understood her rights and options. She chose to have the baby. The father is a college student and understands his responsibilities under a moral code and the legal system.
The problems are two fold: first, they are not a couple and never were. So, while the mother of this now 3 year old made a choice and a committment nurture, the father is simply obliged and is financially committed for many years to come. Second, the mother continues to wish for a kind of traditional father figure for the child and is profoundly disappointed and conflicted. Her disappointment includes a measure of anger both wanting the father to be a part of the child's life and too upset to let him be a part of the child's life. The father suffers from an equally profound sense of frustration and guilt as he realizes the relationship with his son may always be troubled.

As the grandmother, I watch with great saddness as neither parent acted responsibly and they all suffer greatly -- my grandson most of all.

This issue is not about Roe V. Wade (which I stongly support), it is about equality and choices. If a child is planned with promises and committments made, both parents clearly need to be responsible. Absent that planning and committment, should't both adults have a choice? Would't that give clarity to all 3 people involved?
Posted By Anonymous Jane McCoy, Spokane, Washington : 6:14 PM ET
Re:"Roe v. Wade For Men". I don't know what the solution is (except maybe keep it in your pants) but as a man I can honestly see both sides. If a woman I were with was to become pregnant, I know I'd want to be responsible but at the same time I don't get the choice she does. Perhaps there should be some sort of legal "opt-out". A one-time payment of some kind? I don't know.
Posted By Anonymous Mchael,Pasadena, TX : 6:15 PM ET
Okay, Phil from Waterloo Iowa, you forgot two options men and women both have that would prevent an unwanted pregnancy, abstinence or condoms. Keep the lizard zippered or be prepared to accept the consequences.
Posted By Anonymous Paula, Tulsa Oklahoma : 6:16 PM ET
To quote an old social worker friend of mine - you lay, you pay.

Additionally, as a law student, I will add that there are public policy issues at stake here.

It is not in the best interest of society at large to have a parent - male or female - reject support of their childr(ren) and the law has developed to force parents (both men and women) to contribute to the support of their children.

While men's groups complain about child support, they had a choice not to have sex or to have protected sex. They chose not to do that and they are as responsible for the child as the mother.

$500 a month child support (plus or minus a few bucks) is nothing close to what it comes to paying for the rearing of a child. Additionally, imagine how the child will feel when she realizes her biological parent not only does not want her but is so unconcerned about her health, welfare, and safety that he does not want to provide for her.

This is not about the woman's choice, it is about the welfare of the child and society says that the welfare of the child is furthered by child support.

It is time that non-custodial parents stopped whining about what they want and consider the life and welfare of the child that was created through their sexual conduct.

I find it difficult to empathize when there is a procedure known as a vasectomy which is readily available to men who do not want to be parents.
Posted By Anonymous Marsha, N. Andover, MA : 6:17 PM ET
People get all caught up in this emotionally. Stop. Let's look at this using very simple logic - boil it down to what it is.

A man has no say (zero, zip, nil, none) in what happens when a woman becomes pregnant; therefore he should have the same amount of LEGAL RESPONSIBILITY for her choice.

If her choice is to kill the baby, he should not be forced LEGALLY to pay for the procedure.

If her choice is to keep the baby, he should not be forced LEGALLY to pay the child.

If her choice is to give the baby away, he should not have any LEGAL rights to raise the baby.

Let's set aside instances of rape and times when the pregnancy is endangering the life of the mother, since those account for so few of the millions of aborted pregnancies each year. Not including those times, women have choices BEFORE they get pregnant. If you do not want to get pregnant, go on the pill AND have your partner wear a condom. With the reliability of birth control and the risk of STDs, there is no reason to get pregnant. If the pill is 99.9% effective ALONE and then you add a condom - and maybe even pull out - problem solved.

It takes TWO to raise a child. The child needs everything a woman AND a man can provide to her/him. It takes TWO to make the child -- and the child is 1/2 of the father's DNA -- so the father should have 1/2 of the LEGAL say as to the outcome of the pregnancy.

For the people who have used terms similar to "if he's a real man he'll take responsibility." Sure. But that's a personal choice - not a LEGAL enforcement. I am a man, and that is what I would do. But these are different times. You're thinking of the kind of "man" that existed during a time when it would be thought inhuman to kill a baby.

Since we have come to the point where it is not only legal but acceptable to kill human babies (because that's what they are - humans), then why care so much if a man doesn't want to pay for the few that women deem acceptable to keep alive?
Posted By Anonymous Rich, New York, NY : 6:18 PM ET
I support the lawsuit 100%. I don't think that men should be forced into paying for a child they didn't want. First of all, as adults, the situation should be discussed before becoming intimate and both parties should decide what they will do if an accident happens. Keep in mind, if the man wants the baby and the woman doesn't, he doesn't have any choices. So why should the man suffer if he doesn't want the baby and the woman does? It shouldn't be a two way street!
Posted By Anonymous Jill, Orange County, CA : 6:18 PM ET
This isn't about giving men equal reproductive rights, it's about giving them superior ones. Signing a piece of paper is not equal to undergoing a medical procedure. Sharing the cost of raising a child is not the same thing as sharing the cost of raising a child plus giving birth to the child.
Women don't have the luxury of making choices they have the obligation to do so.
Roe vs. Wade for men? The day that biology allows men to become pregnant Roe vs. Wade will apply to them equally. In the meantime, giving up the last vestige of reproductive responsibility shouldn't be considered a victory for equality.
Posted By Anonymous T.J.,Tulsa,OK : 6:18 PM ET
What is interesting about the debate is the issue of responsibility. Tell a woman that wants to have an abortion that she cannot because she "chose" to have unprotected sex and now must take responsbility for the consequences of her decision (a baby) and you will quickly be told that you have no right to tell a woman what to do with her body. The end result being that a woman can have an abortion and thus take no responsibility for her decision.

Now, argue that a man should be able to disavow any financial responsibility for a baby that is his, and you will hear that he must take responsibility for his actions; namely, choosing to have sex.

Why is it that men and women can do the same act but only one must take responsibility for his actions?

Additionally, the response surely cannot be that woman are the only ones that get pregnant and you cannot control their bodies. Child support payments are nothing more than a form of indentured servitude whereby a woman controls the body of a man by requiring him to work for the child (she choose to have over the objection of the father) for a certain percentage of each day.
Posted By Anonymous Eric, Kansas City MO : 6:20 PM ET
This is embarrassing! He's giving real men like me a bad reputation. If he doesn't want children here is what I suggest:

A. Don't have sex until he is ready to pay child support.

B. Make every woman sign a statement before he has sex with them of his "rights" (if he can't wait until marriage).

C. Get a life, and take full responsibility for the "good" feeling he experienced during sex that produced a child.

This is a prime example of lawsuits that clog up our system for no reason at all.
Posted By Anonymous Thomas Dale, Atlanta, GA : 6:23 PM ET
There are several great points posted on this board that I would love to expound upon. However, I would like mention one that has yet to be posted. MEN NEED MORE BIRTH CONTROL OPTIONS! As a female, I have a countless birth control options. Men basically only have 2 options: condoms & vasectomies. I beleive if both sexes had equal resources for birth control, minimize this issue currenlty debated. P.S. -- I love my Norplant! I bet men would love it too if it were available to them.
Posted By Anonymous Ann, El Cerrito, CA : 6:24 PM ET
The lack of thought by some people here is baffling.

Here is a real life scenario:

My aunt was married for several years to a man who had always told her, ALWAYS, that he never wanted children. She decided that she did, went of the pill without telling him and got pregnant.

He left her and remarried and has never had any children subsequently and has nothing to do with the child she forced on him.

So to all the people who say "he shouldn't have sex with her if he isn't prepared to be a father" I saw even if that person happens to be his wife?

I'd like to know how many of the people saying that very thing only have sex for the purpose of having a child.

In relationships we enter into verbal understandings with one another in which we communicate or goals and ambitions. How do you fault someone for not being suspicious of someone society says we should trust completely?

Women have choices available because they are the ones who can get pregnant. And with that comes the ultimate ability to control if she does or does not become pregnant. A man cannot take a pill, or have an implant, or take a shot, or force her to use a contraceptive. He can use a condom or be sterilized or simply never have sex. Which rules out any man who may someday want to be a father, but is not ready yet. Which includes married men and men in otherwise serious relationships, in which their signifigant other holds all the the most reliable cards in not becoming pregnant.

Sorry, if you're a woman, and you know he does not want children and have one anyone. You're on your own.

And for every person out there that says you shouldn't have sex if you don't want kids. I would like to suggest every married person who doesn't want MORE kids or doesn't want kids period to go ahead and not have sex till their wife hits menopause.
Posted By Anonymous Laurie, Seattle, WA : 7:22 PM ET
It's important to note that if the law is willing to release fathers from their oligations to pay child support, then the law must also release fathers from their right to child custody, etc. It is the same biological relationship that creates both the obligation and the rights. If we are willing to allow a man to escape his obligation in this case, then by the same logic, another man can be denied his legal rights to his biological child in another case.
Posted By Anonymous Ilene, New York, NY : 10:49 PM ET
the main problem i see here is the fact that we are speaking plainly with women versus men. the decision should be made together, on whether or not to keep the child, and thus, the father should have some say, but if the child is kept, hey must care for the very child he was the major part in creating.
Posted By Anonymous Tom DeCook Cedar Falls, Iowa : 8:39 PM ET
This is in response to Phil in Iowa. Men do not have a limit of three choices. You are forgetting condoms and abstinence. They both took the risk, and unlike the women, the biological ramifications are not there only the financial. The man makes his choice when he willingly participates in unprotected sex. He chose to pay.
Posted By Anonymous Megan, Shaw AFB, SC : 5:16 AM ET
There are so many issues to this discussion that it makes me laugh to hear people simplify the problem to "If he chose to have sex he should pay". I am the parent of a child (that was conceived during marriage) that I pay child support on after divorce. I willingly do this because it was a child that we agreed to have together when we were married. This little girl is the love of my life and always will be. However, my ex-wife moved from a city that I loved to a city that I'm not particularly fond of. Guess what...I had very few rights in that decision either and I had to move just to be close to my little girl. I know many fathers who have had to suffer in similar circumstances so you deadbeat father alarmists can take a flying leap. The percentage of fathers in that are truly deadbeat is much lower than our lovely media would have us believe.

This situation is completely different. She told him she was incapable of having children. What are you supposed to do as a man - assume she is lying and still use a condom? What if she was on the pill (which is not 100% effective - but close) and she still got pregnant? Was he then still supposed to use a condom just to make sure? What if he was using a condom and it broke heaven forbid? Does he still lose all his rights even though he was being responsible? C'mon people, let's have a little bit more intelligence and look at this with a little more depth than a normal US news soundbite broadcast. If she chooses to have the baby in this situation - that's her choice but he shouldn't be held accountable for her actions - period.
Posted By Anonymous Steve (Houston) : 12:32 PM ET
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