Should a man be forced to become a father and pay child support, even though he says he doesn’t want to be a Dad? If a woman finds herself pregnant and wants an abortion, but the father desires to keep and raise the child himself, should a woman be forced to carry the child to term? What would make such a situation fair and equitable for both parties?
The desire to have a voice in the decision of whether or not a child is born, and whether an unwilling father can be forced to support the child is at the forefront of debate amongst African Americans. With an estimated 50-60% of the Black children in the U.S. residing in [single parent homes] (http://www.familyfacts.org/charts/171/one-in-two-african-american-children-lives-in-a-single-parent-home), the issues surrounding the rights and obligations of both parents to their unborn offspring is an important one. Emotions run high on both sides of the “right to choose” argument.
Men Are Angry: Why Should Women Have All The Power and Control?
Some men feel they are powerless in cases of unwanted pregnancy, and that women have all the control. From their perspective, women have exclusive power to decide if there is going to be a baby or not, which means if he becomes a father that it’s all HER fault. Most of these men believe that if a man doesn’t want to become a father and the woman he impregnated decides to keep the child, she should be obligated to raise the baby with no financial assistance from either him or the government.
On the other side of the fence are men that point to the power that women have to abort their child, even in the face of his stated desire to keep and raise his child.
Men and women who support financial abortions believe that there should be equality in the birthing process. They feel that a father should have an opportunity equal to that of a mother to choose to walk away from any obligations or responsibilities to a child that the father does not want, in spite of the decision the mother might make to keep the baby anyway.
Yvette Carnell Says: In our society women have the right to choose and men do not
In spite of this author’s proclamations to the contrary, the reality is that men have a great deal of power and as many if not more choices than women do. Men have the choice of sleeping with a woman or not, and the choice of using a condom or not. Therefore, men have the ultimate and exclusive right to choose.
In her recent article on this site, Ms. Carnell also stated: “I’ve always believed that the divvying up of reproductive rights, and by that I mean men having none, is the main reason that some men feel no responsibility toward their kids. In their minds, the mother chose – on her own, usually without or against his input – to have the child so she bears the sole responsibility of caring for it.”
This statement is curious to me. There has yet to be a child born on the planet (even those produced in a laboratory environment), created without spermatozoa from a male and a fertile ovum from a female. With that fact in mind, it is utterly impossible for a woman to “choose on her own, without or against his input… to have a child.”
Before a child can be conceived, some man somewhere chose to supply the requisite sperm to effect conception.
Though a man may feel resentment at being forced to take on the adult responsibilities of fathering a child after performing an adult sexual act for pleasure, I believe the two go hand in hand.
Don’t do the crime if you aren’t prepared to do the time.
Birds and the Bees 101: How Children Are Created
Perhaps we should have a short refresher course, addressing the sequence of biological events which create a child. Though I learned these facts at six years of age, it appears there are thousands of Black adults that don’t understand the basic science of human reproduction.
Men have testicles which produce sperm; that sperm is transported through the vas deferens tubes into the urethra of the penis. Sperm is mixed with seminal fluid, produced by the prostate gland. The urethra opens at the tip of the penis, and is the exit pathway through which the sperm and seminal fluid are jettisoned into the woman’s body. When a man is sexually excited for a long period of time, he will inevitably excrete sperm-laden seminal fluid even before he begins the sex act, orgasms and ejaculates.
Women have ovaries which produce millions of tiny ovum, or eggs. The ovaries are connected to a woman’s uterus via the fallopian tubes. The vagina is the entry way to the woman’s body and her uterus. Every month a woman releases one or more eggs from her ovaries, which travel down the fallopian tubes and lodge in the lining of the uterus. This process is called ovulation. Now, left alone, these unfertilized eggs wash out as part of a woman’s monthly menstrual cycle.
However, if a man has sex with a fertile, ovulating woman and her egg is fertilized by one of the millions of sperm excreted with every ejaculation a man has into her vagina, the woman may become pregnant. Once that sperm swims up into her uterus and hits pay dirt, the sperm donor is pretty much guaranteed to be looking into his child’s face nine months later. Unless the woman he impregnates has a miscarriage, the sex he so thoroughly enjoyed is going to make him somebody’s Daddy.
So when a guy says “I’m not ready to be a father!” or “I didn’t want a baby,” we must negate his assertions with a reality check by saying YES YOU DID! Why? Because even though your mouth is saying you didn’t want to be a father, sir, your behavior clearly shows otherwise. You did the one thing Mother Nature designed men and women do to create new life… which is having sex. You did what it takes for a child to get here, so obviously some part of you wanted to be a father.
Furthermore, when a man has sex with a woman, whether she is on birth control or not and whether he uses protection or not - once he ejaculates he transfers his sperm to her body. Since possession is 9/10ths of the law, that transference of property means that she now owns that sperm, and is free to do whatever she pleases with it. Any man that does not want to assume the risk and responsibility of the child that could be borne of the sex act should avoid transferring his sperm to a woman, as set out above.
The Responsibilities and Risks of Sex
Let me give you an analogy of the risks of sex. Let’s say one night you were feeling pretty good so you took a walk on the train tracks. Now everyone has told you it’s dangerous to walk on the train tracks, and that lots of men have been hit by trains by doing so. But you decide to take a chance and walk on the tracks anyway because you’re special.
And later, when you are lying in the hospital broken and bandaged, you tell everyone that you didn’t want to get hit by a train. Sure, you heard a train coming, but you didn’t think it was really going to HIT YOU! Okay, you may say that you didn’t want to get hit by a train, but your BEHAVIOR shows that you did. You wanted to be hit by the train. You knew the train had hit lots of other folks but you walked on the tracks anyway. If you didn’t want to get hit by a train, why would you have been walking on the train tracks instead of on the road where it was safe?
Walking on the train tracks was a risk you were willing to take in spite of warnings. These are the same risks you assume when you lay down with a fertile woman of child bearing age and you have sex with her. See, when you were busy hitting on her and getting her number, grinning in her face, driving over to her house, and then pulling off your clothes to get in her bed and have sex, you weren’t thinking about 18 years of child support then! You weren’t thinking about someone with your genetic lineage running around the planet looking like you but living without you. You weren’t thinking about anything but the booty you were going to get.
Then you want to get an attitude and say she should have kept her legs closed. No fool! You should have kept your dipper behind the zipper. If you keep your sperm away from any eggs, you will never, ever have this problem and the issue of financial abortion will never be one that you have to discuss.
I don’t care how many condoms you use or how much birth control she claims she is taking or how many claims of tubal ligations or infertility she makes. Bottom line is sex is how babies are made. Sex is what will get you on the hook for child support. Sex will get you hit by the baby train.
Decision Making Equality Will Not and Cannot Exist
Though some men believe an economic abortion places them on a par with the termination of a pregnancy, in reality, there can be no equality in these two issues. The physical act of aborting a fetus is in no way comparable to a financial abortion. When a woman aborts a pregnancy, the potential life of that fetus comes to an end. Once she leaves her doctor’s office, there is no child to worry about feeding, clothing, and caring for the next 18 years. On the other hand, when a male decides that a financial abortion is his best option, he leaves behind a child who must still be loved, sheltered and cared for.
Men that desire a financial abortion believe that the mother of the child should and will assume all responsibility to meet his child’s needs. However, if she is unwilling or unable to do so by herself (due to her health or financial reasons), and needs support, responsibility transfers to a third party - someone who had no involvement in the fun of creating the child.
Black men seeking financial abortions proclaim loudly that it is not their fault if the woman is pregnant and “she should have kept her legs closed” or “she should have made me use a condom!” They believe it is not their fault if she decides to birth the child they created inside her body. They also believe it is not their responsibility to take care of the child, be involved with the child, help raise the child, nothing.
But is this battle for who is responsible fair to the child?
The Realities of Child Support
Many fathers refuse to pay child support, using the excuse that “their money” is used by “that woman” (the mother) for irrelevant things which do not pertain to the child. It amazes me that they are so petty, silly and ignorant of the true costs of raising a child. If these men were required to pay half or more of the true cost of raising that child, most would be poverty stricken.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture 2010 estimates “the lifetime cost of raising a child is now well over $200,000 -- and that doesn't even include the cost of a college education.” Even if a father is paying $600 a month in child support (which most do not), and paying it each and every month on schedule, he is still only covering half of the estimated non-inflationary financial costs to raise that child, and not a dime of the sweat equity.
This figure also varies considerably depending upon the region of the country the child resides in. In major metropolitan areas like the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles and New York, daycare costs for young children are more than $1200 per month; we’re not even talking about the costs of food, diapers, clothing, medical care and housing for the child.
Some fathers insist they should have the right to closely monitor where their child support goes, forcing the mother to provide receipts for each cash expenditure. The only way you can get receipts fellas, is to take custody of your child. Not everything can be quantified or monitored. Raising children is not just about food and diapers.
What about the roof over the child’s head that must be provided? The electricity, gas and water used to take care of the child? Sleepless nights and missed work days caring for sick children? Field trips, lunch money, school supplies? Gifts for friends having a birthday party? After school care for school aged children so Mom can finish her work day? Computers and toner and educational software programs? Haircuts, socks, shoes and clothes? Health insurance? Doctor visit copayments, eyeglasses, dental cleanings and braces? Fees for school? Varsity jackets, school rings, jock straps, prom dresses, and driving lessons? Basketball or soccer equipment and uniforms? Music, art or dance lessons? How about tutors? All of those things need to be paid for and child support is just a drop in the bucket unless you are Puffy or somebody. Your average Brotha ain’t ballin’ like that.
Protecting Your Wallet is Your Responsibility
Stop complaining that you have no power or control, because you have 100% of the power and control. No woman can have your baby without your consent and participation. Therefore, protecting yourself from paternity claims and child support payments is solely your responsibility. This is all on you.
So, if you don’t want to have a baby with a woman that you want to call crazy, ugly, stupid, trifling, or a skank – the wise choice would be for you not to sleep with her. Keeping it in perspective, every woman you lay up with should be looked at as the potential mother of your child.
Condom use is unfortunately not widely popular amongst Black men. If you make the choice to go up in her bare, or to take the condom off because it doesn’t feel the same, or to put the condom on only AFTER you got a little taste of what it was like bare, or you don’t want to use a condom because you think she’s cool and hasn’t slept around much, or because she said she can’t get pregnant or is on birth control pills, remember that’s still your choice. All these weak excuses you guys have for not taking responsibility for your sperm is ridiculous.
The manifestation of responsibility resides in the consciousness of a man to use condoms and practice the ancient art of keeping one’s organ in his trousers to avoid unwanted pregnancies in the future and in the first place. - [Krusher Kronkite] http://thefreshxpress.com/2010/07/financial-abortion-a-white-womans-answer-to-child-support/
Should Men Have the Power to Force an Abortion?
More states every year are passing laws requiring pregnant women to receive pre-abortion counseling. Part of that counseling involves informing women of available options to keep their child, which includes legal obligations of the baby's father to pay child support. These laws were developed in response to the results of [studies] (http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/journals/3711005.pdf) which reported that the overwhelming number of women who get abortions do so for social and economic rather than medical reasons. The pro-lifer lobbyists hope that by educating pregnant women about the legal and financial support systems available to them and the unborn child, setting out in detail the father's obligations to his child, they could impact the number of women that opt for termination.
There may be great emotional and mental ramifications for her decision to abort or keep the developing child; certainly such decisions are not made easily. Religious beliefs, morals, or a belief that life begins at conception would impact a woman’s willingness to seek an abortion. Most women agonize over their possible choices, weighing each before deciding upon abortion as the best solution. Or not.
If the woman you sleep with does get pregnant and decides to get an abortion in spite of the fact that you don’t want her to, it’s really too bad. You have no rights to force her to carry and deliver a baby that she doesn’t want to have for whatever reason she doesn’t want to have it.
Remember, once you ejaculated the sperm into her body it became HER sperm; thus, she can do whatever she wants with it because it’s hers now. You transferred the sperm to her body and relinquished control of it. You apparently didn’t want it anymore; otherwise you would have kept it to yourself.
However, under the law the responsibilities that come from that sperm are definitely going to be yours. Your DNA is associated with any child that comes from said sperm, which means you have to pay. Since you transferred your sperm to her body with full knowledge of the reproductive process, and you enjoyed every moment of the sexual exchange with her body, be a big boy. Accept that you wrote a check with your sperm that your ass now has to cash.
Black men must stop thinking that you can bounce from woman to woman with impunity and no repercussions for their actions. Such thinking is extremely immature and childish. If you are old enough to have sex you should be old enough to handle yourself and your sperm responsibility.
Choose wisely who you select as the mother of your children. If the woman you are considering sleeping with deemed unqualified to be the mother of any baby you have, your best bet is to be smart… do not have sex with her.
Sex and Fatherhood Are Solely Your Choice
I believe the following quote from Roland C. Warren, President of the National Fatherhood Initiative, eloquently states what Black men most need to hear.
“The notion of financial abortion is not empowering for men; rather, it's degrading and insulting because it's based on the premise that men don't have equal control or choices like women do when it comes to sex. It presumes that a man is no different than a cocker spaniel -- just driven by urges and instincts. But men have an equal choice. They can choose not to have sex.
Look, actions have consequences, and although a person can choose his actions, he cannot choose the consequences of his actions. When it comes to sex, one of the consequences can be a child. So if a guy wants to keep his wallet closed, I suggest that he keep his zipper closed, too.”