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Debates Forum

Debates Forum

  1. 16 Oct '12 14:39
    I have been reading about the legal history of abortion lately and I came across this case. Has anyone studied the issue of male reproduction rights? Here's the wiki link:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dubay_v._Wells. An interesting case, I think. Does the decision to have a child rest solely on the woman? If a man and woman engage in a consensual sexual relationship, does the man have responsibilities or rights if it results in pregnancy? In this case, he was informed that she was infertile and that she was using contraception. Should he be held responsible for the resulting pregnancy? The US court of appeals thought so.
  2. 16 Oct '12 19:19
    Originally posted by dryhump
    I have been reading about the legal history of abortion lately and I came across this case. Has anyone studied the issue of male reproduction rights? Here's the wiki link:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dubay_v._Wells. An interesting case, I think. Does the decision to have a child rest solely on the woman? If a man and woman engage in a consensual sexual ...[text shortened]... Should he be held responsible for the resulting pregnancy? The US court of appeals thought so.
    "Does the decision to have a child rest solely on the woman?"

    The above statement could be misleading.

    It should be clarified that he did not assert the right to force her to have an abortion. He wanted to himself to have the choice to not be a parent physically, financially, or "mentally".

    I'm not stating a debating position. I just want it to be clear that he did not want to have the right to decide whether she would "have a child."
  3. 17 Oct '12 15:51
    I guess no one's very interested. I appreciate the clarification, I'm not always the strongest communicator. Do you have an opinion on this case? Should he have been able to opt out of parenthood?
  4. 17 Oct '12 16:21 / 2 edits
    Originally posted by dryhump
    I guess no one's very interested. I appreciate the clarification, I'm not always the strongest communicator. Do you have an opinion on this case? Should he have been able to opt out of parenthood?
    It is an interesting and uncomfortable question, and I did attempt an answer but found that my communication skills were not up to the job either.

    The only thing that struck me is that if a woman, or a couple, can, post natal, relinquish responsibility for a child by opting for adoption, it is difficult to explain why a man cannot.

    But I am open to some education on this question.
  5. 17 Oct '12 16:58 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by dryhump
    I guess no one's very interested. I appreciate the clarification, I'm not always the strongest communicator. Do you have an opinion on this case? Should he have been able to opt out of parenthood?
    I think the laws should be applied and I don't know what the outcome will be. I base that on the principle that sexually active adults are responsible to understand the consequences of their actions, and existing laws are their responsibility to understand. If the law says he relinquished the right to be free of parental responsibility by not using a condom or other proactive means (I can't think of anything else but abstinence or vasectomy) then that's the law. If she is guilty of fraud (or whatever the specific charge against her might be) for the falsity of her claim to be infertile etc., then that's the law. (There were a couple of potential charges against her based on precedents but I don't remember the specific wording of what she might be guilty of and I'm not going to look at the link again right now).

    So on the principle that adult citizens are responsible to understand the consequences of their decisions, including the legal ones, that's my view. Having said that, I think the laws need to be looked at again to make sure they properly balance the responsibilities and consequences for the public good, including and prioritizing the good of the child. For example, if she really wants the child, which she apparently does, that should have some bearing on the awarded support. IOW, she should know before having sex with an uncondomed man, whether child support may be less than satisfactory, due to her willingness to have sex with him and her choice to keep the child. It's possible that the awarded support, $500/month, does take this factor into account, but I don't know that it was taken into account.

    Anyway, I am glad you brought this case up, and frankly, I am glad that the usual furor has not arisen on this forum.
  6. 17 Oct '12 18:19
    The argument that was made had to do with equality between men and women. I tend to agree that he should follow the letter of the law, but the law could be outdated. Essentially they were arguing that women in this country are free to choose parenthood. If a pregnancy is unwanted, the woman has the option of an abortion. A man has no such option if, let's say, a condom breaks and the woman decides it was divine intervention. He's on the hook whether he wanted to be or not.
  7. Standard member finnegan
    GENS UNA SUMUS
    17 Oct '12 19:05
    Originally posted by dryhump
    The argument that was made had to do with equality between men and women. I tend to agree that he should follow the letter of the law, but the law could be outdated. Essentially they were arguing that women in this country are free to choose parenthood. If a pregnancy is unwanted, the woman has the option of an abortion. A man has no such option if, let' ...[text shortened]... he woman decides it was divine intervention. He's on the hook whether he wanted to be or not.
    Surely it is a fallacy or a con trick to rely on the assumption that the responsibility for contraception lies with the woman and not the man. Whatever the woman may have said, the man is responsible for his own fertility. He gambled that she was telling the truth. How often do women have to gamble that a man is telling the truth?

    As Inspector Cluseau would often say: Trust noone, suspect everyone.
  8. 17 Oct '12 19:31 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by finnegan to dryhump
    Surely it is a fallacy or a con trick to rely on the assumption that the responsibility for contraception lies with the woman and not the man. Whatever the woman may have said, the man is responsible for his own fertility. He gambled that she was telling the truth. How often do women have to gamble that a man is telling the truth?

    As Inspector Cluseau would often say: Trust noone, suspect everyone.
    "How often do women have to gamble that a man is telling the truth?"
    --Finnegan

    Too often, and a woman rarely hits the jackpot when her gamble pays off.

    Katherine: O bon Dieu! Les langues des hommes sont pleines de tromperies.
    King Henry: What says she, fair one? That the tongues of men are full of deceits?
    ... The princess is the better Englishwoman--I'faith. Kate, my wooing is fit for
    thy understanding....
  9. 17 Oct '12 20:28 / 2 edits
    Originally posted by dryhump
    The argument that was made had to do with equality between men and women. I tend to agree that he should follow the letter of the law, but the law could be outdated. Essentially they were arguing that women in this country are free to choose parenthood. If a pregnancy is unwanted, the woman has the option of an abortion. A man has no such option if, let' ...[text shortened]... he woman decides it was divine intervention. He's on the hook whether he wanted to be or not.
    When a person is about to become sexually active, he or she should be told that condoms break, women make mistakes with their birth control, sometimes people lie, sometimes people forget, sometimes people are so sexually excited they don't care, sometimes people can be very enticing, etc. They should be told how to check for a broken condom and the other things happening and what they can do about it when one of them happens. They should be told what the laws say and what can happen to them. They should maybe read about this case and others. They should be raised to feel free and easy in talking with potential sex partners about these things. In short, sex education for the real world. This will reduce (but not eliminate) the incidence of cases like this.
  10. 17 Oct '12 21:41
    Originally posted by finnegan
    Surely it is a fallacy or a con trick to rely on the assumption that the responsibility for contraception lies with the woman and not the man. Whatever the woman may have said, the man is responsible for his own fertility. He gambled that she was telling the truth. How often do women have to gamble that a man is telling the truth?

    As Inspector Cluseau would often say: Trust noone, suspect everyone.
    They were in a relationship. It's not unreasonable for the guy to take her word for it. I never said the woman had to take responsibility for contraception. In fact I offered a scenario wherein a man had taken responsibility for contraceptives and they failed. In such a situation a woman can make a choice, independent of her partner, to terminate a pregnancy or take a morning after pill. A man has no such option. If a woman decides she wants to keep a baby, she can sue her partner for child support, even though he may not have agreed to have a baby. He may even have taken steps to prevent her from becoming pregnant.

    In this case, she actively lied to him about her fertility and the fact that she was on contraceptives (he claimed). In such a situation, is it just to force him to pay child support?
  11. 17 Oct '12 21:45
    Originally posted by JS357
    When a person is about to become sexually active, he or she should be told that condoms break, women make mistakes with their birth control, sometimes people lie, sometimes people forget, sometimes people are so sexually excited they don't care, sometimes people can be very enticing, etc. They should be told how to check for a broken condom and the other thing ...[text shortened]... tion for the real world. This will reduce (but not eliminate) the incidence of cases like this.
    They absolutely should be told all of this, no argument from me. I agree that it would reduce cases like this.
  12. 18 Oct '12 14:55
    Originally posted by dryhump
    The argument that was made had to do with equality between men and women. I tend to agree that he should follow the letter of the law, but the law could be outdated. Essentially they were arguing that women in this country are free to choose parenthood. If a pregnancy is unwanted, the woman has the option of an abortion. A man has no such option if, let' ...[text shortened]... he woman decides it was divine intervention. He's on the hook whether he wanted to be or not.
    I think if it is a question of the gestation or not gestation then it is a no brainier, for me the women's needs and wishes are paramount over the father, or the local, and federal state.

    Where I think there may be a debate is between the mans right not to be a father, and societies expectations regarding His financial responsibilities towards the support for the child.

    I posted earlier concerning the discrepancy between a single Woman, or couples options regarding the relinquishing of responsibility for a child in favour of the state, whereas a single man has no such option with regard to fatherhood.

    Clearly the father cannot instigate an odoption over the wishes of the mother, but is there a convincing reason why a father cannot sign away any parental input, and the state could make a financial commitment to the mother and child in line with the recompense that they would normally extract from the father. I realise that may I get objections from the left and right in regard to this suggestion, but I would hope for a calm and non moralistic rationale for rejecting it.
  13. 18 Oct '12 15:45
    Originally posted by kevcvs57
    I think if it is a question of the gestation or not gestation then it is a no brainier, for me the women's needs and wishes are paramount over the father, or the local, and federal state.

    Where I think there may be a debate is between the mans right not to be a father, and societies expectations regarding His financial responsibilities towards the suppor ...[text shortened]... to this suggestion, but I would hope for a calm and non moralistic rationale for rejecting it.
    Without going into the somewhat complicated issues involved in verifying paternity and setting up a documentation system for opting out of paternal responsibility, let me say that in effect, some elements of such an idea are in place now for financially strapped single mothers; they are just not so overtly stated as an opt-out program for men. We don't let mothers and babies starve, at least not if they are here in our country. Not yet, anyway.

    I will now say something that seems ludicrous but there is a reason I am saying it. I think I could support an opt-out process in the sense of a "pre-sexual agreement." If the woman signs a release of parental responsibilities document duly framed and notarized and all that, then the man can opt out. Of course she could also sign such a document at any time after pregnancy occurs. I speculate that no legislation would be needed to put this in place. Men can ask women for it now. (It seems ludicrous but the idea puts to the test, the sincerity of men who complain about having to pay after they impregnate a women.)

    But setting up a system where a man can unilaterally opt out, seems politically unlikely.
  14. 18 Oct '12 17:46
    Originally posted by JS357
    Without going into the somewhat complicated issues involved in verifying paternity and setting up a documentation system for opting out of paternal responsibility, let me say that in effect, some elements of such an idea are in place now for financially strapped single mothers; they are just not so overtly stated as an opt-out program for men. We don't let mo ...[text shortened]...

    But setting up a system where a man can unilaterally opt out, seems politically unlikely.
    Yeah it does not really work for me if it detrimentally effects the woman or the child, I was thinking more about the fathers rights of an opt out in regards to the state. I understand that it may be 'pie in the sky' in terms of getting any such provision passed austerity obsessed legislators.

    I am just curious to know what, if any the moral arguments are against a single father getting the same post natal opt out provision as single mothers, or couples, who are not ready or willing to be parents.

    Just to clarify, it is not a suggestion that the father should be able to opt out at the expense and detriment of the mother or child.