• Tue, Sep 10 - 2:27 pm ET

Man Tricks GF Into Taking Pill To Miscarry, Surprisingly Leads To Valid Discussion On Fathers’ Rights

ScreenHunter_144 Sep. 10 13.39What happened to Remee Lee might just be every pregnant woman’s nightmare. After telling her boyfriend, John Welden, that she was pregnant, he was less than thrilled. He begged her to get an abortion, but she was adamant about keeping the baby. Reluctantly Weldon went along with it, until a few weeks into her pregnancy when he allegedly tricked her into taking Cytotec, causing her to miscarry. Most people who hear about this case are horrified, but some men’s rights activists, see a deeper issue at hand, and for once I am inclined to agree.

This week 28-year-old Weldon (from Pinellas County, Florida, where else?) pleaded guilty to killing his girlfriend’s unborn child under the rarely used and highly controversial federal Unborn Victims of Violence Act. A murder charge under this act carried a maximum life sentence, but since Weldon pleaded guilty under a plea deal, he faces only 13.

When they suspected she was pregnant, Lee and Weldon reportedly went to have a sonogram and pregnancy test done at Weldon’s father’s clinic, located in Tampa, Florida, where they were told she was about six weeks along. A few days later Weldon told Lee that his father’s office had called and told him Lee has a minor infection and needed to take amoxicillin, an antibiotic. But instead of bringing her antibiotics, he brought her Cytotec, a drug that causes contractions. He instructed Lee to take three pills a day, but after just one pill she was rushed to the ER with abdominal pain and bleeding. She quickly lost the baby. When Lee showed the doctors at the hospital the bottle of “antibiotics” she was on they were shocked to discover abortion pills instead.

Remee Lee was betrayed in one of the most horrible ways ever. As you can imagine, these events have caused an outcry on the internet. Most of the comments have been supportive, and of course a few crass and awful (this IS the internet of course) but one caught my eye because I believe it brings up a good point:

ScreenHunter_144 Sep. 10 12.02

This might not be a popular opinion, but I get John’s argument. Should there be a window of time where a man can give up his rights and responsibilities too? Where he can agree never to see the child in exchange for not being liable for support? These are questions that have been brought up numerous times by MRAs (which John does NOT claim to be), and as trollish as they often are, I see this particular point.

I am NOT taking sides with the MRA trolls who bitch about how terrible child support is and believe no man should have to pay. I want to make that clear. I simply think the issue isn’t as black and white as culturally we would like to believe. Obviously pregnancy is a woman’s choice, whether she wants to continue or abort, and no one should be able to tell her what to do. I believe this wholeheartedly.

Some commenters argue that a man’s time for choice was BEFORE having sex, but isn’t that the same argument anti-abortion proponents use against women? Is it fair for us to use that same argument against a man, especially since we don’t always know all of the circumstances? If a condom breaks, or a woman doesn’t use birth control correctly (or lies about using it completely), is it fair that the man is on the hook for 18 years when the woman has the right to choose to abort?

Would more choices in the matter have caused Weldon to make a different decision? Probably not because he sounds like a stone cold sociopath. But this situation certainly brings up some compelling issues.

(Photo: YouTube)

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  • Meg

    I have believed for a long time that men should have more rights when it comes to reproduction then they do. It simply isn’t fair as it currently stands.

  • Alex

    A huge roadblock with establishing prenatal parental rights is first establishing prenatal paternity, which is a pretty goddamn invasive procedure from what I’ve heard. I also read about a developing non-invasive technique that apparently just needs a blood sample from the mother and father (not a clue how reliable it would turn out to be, but it costs upwards of $1k).

    And even then, you would have cases where the potential father either isn’t found or can’t be informed within the time allowed for a legal abortion.

    • keelhaulrose

      It’s an unfortunate risk, but there’s always a risk with the mother not knowing she was pregnant until it’s too late to get an abortion (especially in states where the ‘deadline’ is ridiculously low and getting lower).
      People take chances when they live that kind of lifestyle. It’s easy to say to a woman “you shouldn’t have slept around with men you didn’t plan on being with long-term”, but we should say the same to the man.

  • http://www.twitter.com/ohladyjayne allisonjayne

    Ugh. This is one of those things where I totally get that point of view….but there really isn’t a good solution because of biology. I don’t think that the argument around ‘well, he should’ve thought of that before he had sex’ is a good one to use (for the reasons you said)….but on the other hand, even a woman who terminates a pregnancy still has to actually go through the physical (and likely emotional) process of termination, whereas a dude who could theoretically sign away his rights would be ‘getting away’ with absolutely no consequences. It always has to be the choice of the person who is pregnant. And the problem with MRAs who go on about child support being unfair act as if single mothers accessing child support are floating in money….child support is meant to support the child, because the child obviously didn’t ask to be conceived either.

    I remember this scene in Six Feet Under (here be spoilers, if spoiling a show from like 10 years ago counts as a spoiler) when Claire tells Russell about how she was pregnant and had an abortion, and he starts crying, and she gets defensive about him crying, and he says something like, “you need to let me be sad about it”. It was such a great moment in TV.

    • Talija

      But why should there be consequences for the man? If we are supporting a woman’s right to abortion because “Sex has concequences” is controlling and slut shaming, why do men have to have consequences we do not?

    • Sundaydrive00

      What consequences does a man have that a woman does not?

    • Talija

      They don’t, I was replying to allisonjayne’s statement of

      “… a
      dude who could theoretically sign away his rights would be ‘getting
      away’ with absolutely no consequences”

      I was asking why men need to have the consequence of you play, you pay, when we fight so hard for the exact opposite for women.

    • Sundaydrive00

      So… you think women are able to have no consequences when they get pregnant? That is far from being the truth.

    • http://www.twitter.com/ohladyjayne allisonjayne

      Yeah…it definitely sucks. The only alternative really would be if men could legally sign away parental rights (without consent of the woman) and then the woman would get child support from the state.

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      That’s the only alternative I can think of too, and it’s certainly not a great one. This subject is really hard, but I think it’s an important one.

    • Cee

      Yea…this is definately difficult. I think allisonjayne has brought up a good alternative, but everything feels soo…grey

    • http://www.twitter.com/ohladyjayne allisonjayne

      I’m not saying there *should* be consequences…I’m saying that when sex results in a pregnancy, there *will* be consequences. I mean, there just will be.

    • shel

      But no matter which decision a woman makes, she still faces consequences- Abortion and adoption have consequences, even if they are different from keeping and raising a child.

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      “This is one of those things where I totally get that point of view….but there really isn’t a good solution because of biology.”

      This is exactly what I struggle with.

  • Cee

    Hmm…this is a bit grey, I think.
    It seems like for men, parenthood begins at or before conception where a woman can choose when parenthood begins, whether at conception or simply not to be a parent. We fight for the right for a woman to have this choice, to not be burdened by having to have a child she does not want to have for her personal reasons. But, if a man feels burdened by this…we tell him “too bad” because he chose to have sex? Isn’t that what we hear from judgey anti choice people? I don’t know…I don’t know, it raises a good point, but it has a potential to be abused, I think.

    • alice

      I don’t feel that it’s gray.

      I see what you and the author are saying, but i disagree that the argument is comparable to the anti-abortion argument. One is stating facts and the other is stating opinions.

      To a man – “well, you knew when you had sex that pregnancy was a risk, and you would be responsible for child support” – - Fact

      To a woman – “well, you knew when you had sex that pregnancy was a risk, therefore, you have to have that baby” – - Opinion

      Now a group of people might try to change the law by arguing: “Because a woman doesn’t *HAVE* to have the baby, a man shouldn’t *HAVE* to pay child support for the baby.” But that’s still an illogical comparison. One is a choice and one is a legal responsibility. Personal choices are always subjective, and can be based on innumerable factors. A legal responsibility is never subjective.

      It would only be comparable if both were legal responsibilities, and the law became “Because a woman is forced to have the baby, a man is forced to pay child support for the baby” Until that happens, I think men are $hit out of luck.

      ^^ that’s the way I see it.

    • Allen

      I agree with you that it’s not really a perfect comparison. A legal responsibility isn’t the same thing as a choice, and that complicates things a lot.

      However, I also think that part of the logic behind child support is the (often true) assumption that both biological parents play a major role in making a child beyond just providing sperm or an egg. A lot of people receive child support after a divorce, for example, and people who have a child with a spouse or other serious partner often assume that they’re going to be raising the child with that person. A woman who decides to have a baby with her husband might not have made the same choice if she knew that they would be getting a divorce in a few years. That’s why I think a lot of people are obligated to pay child support. It’s not fair to start a family with someone and then completely back out on your end of the deal.

      But in some situations, there’s no reasonable assumption that the biological father is going to be involved in any way, and I think that’s when it’s a lot grayer. When a woman knows that the biological father isn’t going to be involved, she’s able to make an informed choice. And there’s no social contract between the biological mother and father that they’re going to be having the baby together.

      I think child support is good because it protects people, especially women, who unexpectedly find themselves solely responsible for a child. I’m not as comfortable seeing it as a legal responsibility in cases where someone decides to become a single parent from the start and knows that the other biological parent won’t be involved.

    • Cals

      i am a more liberal woman (who is also pregnant) but I do think that woman in theory DO have the better end of the deal when i comes to childrearing. They have much more choice in the matter. (Taking the fact that if you don’t want a kid you should be using some birth control out of the equation – since millions of people ignore this fact and end up with unplanned pregnancies) A man may not want the baby but too bad, he can’t abort. And then he has to pay monthly for the child too. So after a baby is conceived, it really is all in the woman’s hands for what to do with a child and the man has to just go along with it.

      Regarding child support, I believe that BOTH parents should have to pay into a fund, a percentage of their income. Regardless of who has whatever type of custody. And that money needed for the child is drawn from there first. That would obviously be fairer (since both have to legally show support) but I know it’s just a random idea and would never happen lol

    • Tinyfaeri

      No, women do not have it “better” when it comes to childbearing. They just have the right to ultimately decide what happens in their own body. That’s a basic right, not a privilege or a prize. As others have stated, men’s reproductive rights will never be equal to women’s simply because they are not the ones who have to carry the baby to term, and no amount of financial support is necessarily going to make that easier for the woman who does. And not every woman who has a child is getting support from the child’s father – it’s not like you get handed your first check in the delivery room automatically.

  • Cee

    I forgot to add…but perhaps we need to brace ourselves on what could be a potentially disastrous comment section.

    • LiteBrite

      Yeah, I’m envisioning a major shit storm coming our way. I hope I’m wrong though.

  • Rachel Sea

    Men can already voluntarily terminate their parental rights at birth.

    • Alex

      Unilaterally, along with their parental responsibilities?

    • Paul White

      They can’t unilaterally renounce responsibilities, just rights. It’s an important distinction to make since they’d still be on the hook for child support.

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      They can terminate their rights, but they will still be responsible for child support payments.

    • Lindsey

      Only for past payments. If they are able to terminate their rights, then they no longer have any connections to the child, including child support. However, it is rare that men who are currently paying child support would be granted termination of parental rights.

    • guest

      The courts do not allow this. 50K men are in jail tonight for failure to pay child support. Their only crime being poor. CS is a new concept for out of wedlock kids decided at the same time or Roe V Wade … Perez v Gomez. The out of wedlock rate at that time was in the single digits. This out of wedlock rate is destroying the inner fabric of this country. If we would get rid of CS and welfare for out of wedlock kids the rate would drop back to the single digits… Think money doesn’t matter??

  • Magrat

    I know I’ve heard of men signing away paternal rights. Does that still leave them responsible for child support?

    Ideally, there should be a way for men to abdicate their responsibility within good time for the woman to decide how to go forward without his support. Before week X of the pregnancy or something.

    • Alex

      Yes, you can still be responsible for child support but retain no visitation/custodial rights. Most family courts won’t do that, but it is possible.

    • Paul White

      I *think* it can but it has to be by mutual consent between the two parties. But I’m not a lawyer.

    • Sundaydrive00

      I wouldn’t think anyone would force a woman to take child support payments she does not want. If both parties agree that the mother will be 100% financially responsible then that would be allowed. Otherwise, if the mother didn’t want the money, what would stop her from just giving it back each month?

    • keelhaulrose

      There are states that can and will use any child support payments you receive into account when it comes to any help they give you, so if even if you turn down the help, the state will say “you were supposed to get X amount from the father, therefore you’re not eligible for medicaid or whatever”.

    • Sundaydrive00

      But then the mother shouldn’t be telling the person who helped create the child that she will be 100% financially responsible for the child if she can’t. Government assistance should not be used in place of child support.

    • keelhaulrose

      No, government assistance shouldn’t be used in lieu of child support. But this whole discussion stems from the idea that a man should be able to completely disavow any responsibility to his children before they’re even born. As the law is written, this isn’t an option for low-income women. States expect some sort of financial responsibility on the part of the father, or proof he cannot provide any monetary support. Getting aid without listing a father is very difficult.

    • http://www.twitter.com/ohladyjayne allisonjayne

      It likely varies state to state, country to country, but from what I understand, that is correct. The biological father can sign away legal rights WITH consent of the biological mother. Usually it applies to cases of adoption, or like where two women conceived a kid with help from a known donor, who then signs away his parental rights so that the other mother can adopt the kid.

    • Nikki

      It also depends on the financial situation of all parties, there was a recent case where a lesbian couple had concieved their daughter through a donor who was a friend. They fell on hard times and needed help from the state, the state then went after the donor to recoup costs claiming since he was the childs bio father he owed child support. It was a mess and kind of ridiculous. They were still appealing in court last I heard.

    • http://www.twitter.com/ohladyjayne allisonjayne

      Ah yeah I remember hearing about that.

  • keelhaulrose

    There is no good solution here, because if the woman continues the pregnancy, the product is a living, breathing child who has needs.

    I tend to agree with the comment. Men should be able to sign something by 20 weeks or so disavowing any rights and responsibilities to the child if they so desire, but that really is unfair to the child. I’m not saying that children of single parents can’t thrive, but I know children of these relationships have a natural curiosity as to where the got the second half of their genetic makeup. It’s hard to say to them, “No, your father signed a paper saying he wanted nothing to do with you before you were even born”, even if that’s the truth.
    However, I think children do have the right to something like the medical history of their father. And, if a father does give up all rights and responsibilities, he doesn’t get to change his mind if it turns out he sired the next Justin Bieber, who is pulling down millions before they’re 18.

  • shel

    The difficult thing with this issue (well, one of the many billion difficult things) is that women don’t have free choice at the moment. We like to think they do, but given all of the recent legislation etc. and the voice of the pro-life camp, women can’t easily say- no thank you, I would not like to be a parent.
    If this where a world where contraception was easily accessible to the general public (along with a lot of education so it gets used properly), and abortions were also readily available to women who want them, without all of the guilt and shame and threats, then it would be more reasonable to say that a man could terminate his parental rights and responsibilities. But it is still a tricky proposition because the reverse isn’t really attainable. Aside from getting an abortion, a woman can’t just sign away all responsibility. Even in giving up a child for adoption, or say giving it to the father to take full responsibility, the woman still has to go through the 9 months of gestation which takes a toll on the body and finances, and is a still a large health risk.
    Like someone else said, it’s just a fact of biology that this situation can’t be completely equal.

  • Tinyfaeri

    Maybe men should provide women with legally binding contracts to sign that remove any responsibility on their parts should a pregnancy occur before having consensual sex. Otherwise, it’s impossible to prove either fraud or lack of fraud – did the birth control just fail, was it just within the accepted failure rate, or did she intentionally stop taking it? Did the condom just break on its own, is it within the accepted failure rate, or did she stab it with a pin (before it was on)? I don’t think a law can be written to encompass all of those nuances because it’s impossible to get proof. Men would be better off swearing off responsibility before any pregnancy occurs…and see if the woman will still sleep with him knowing that he won’t help her if she does get pregnant, even by accident.

    • Angela

      This was my idea as well. It’s not a perfect solution but it does give men who want to remain childfree an option.

    • shel

      That’s a good idea :)
      It’s hard to prove intent… especially with an issue that doesn’t necessarily get thought about until it happens. Too many people think “that won’t happen to me” so they don’t discuss it and then it happens. And telling someone, No, I will not help you financially with this child we both created, so you need to carry the full burden if you don’t believe in abortion.
      That is sort of taking away choice in the other direction. Have the baby and you have to bear full financial responsibility, cause I’m out of here! Here’s my form… Or get an abortion to solve this problem and you can deal with your own mental fall out and I still am out of here! Whee!!
      All around it sucks… Better contraception and more education sounds like a better plan to me.

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      This is an excellent point.

  • Chris Clark

    Simply put, the system has enabled the woman to be able to put the man in a hostage situation. What would be the verdict if the woman tricked the man into getting her pregnant (i.e. poking holes in condoms, saving sperm, etc). Sounds funny, but it could happen. What would happen? Nothing. Absolutely nothing, and then on top of that she could corner him into 40% of his pay for 18 years when he was not in agreement to begin with. Something isn’t right here. The problems started when the tilted this in favor of women and has now came with an adverse affect. Look at any active warrant list, and you will see a slew of what they would have you believe are “deadbeat” parents. This is wrong. These women, can live there lives in any which way they please – using child support for everything other than their children – and have absolutely no consequences. I know, because it happens to me. The reason this is happening, in vindictive behavior. The women know, that you have to pay up – or go to jail. Take away that ability to blackmail and control, and you will see a whole lot less of these cases going on – because people will actually have to think about their actions.

    • keelhaulrose

      Unless you’re going to get thousands of dollars a month from the father, being a baby factory for child support isn’t a lucrative career option.
      Kids are expensive. They cost in food, clothing, higher utility bills, medical insurance, child care, time off in the event of emergencies… it can be close to a grand a month or more.

      Of all the single mothers I’ve spoken with (and I’ve worked in schools and daycares with a lot of single mothers) about 75% of them were not getting half of the cost of raising their child a month.

    • Paul White

      That’s true but it doesn’t alter the issues about males that get a reduction in income not being able to get a timely reduction in child support.

    • keelhaulrose

      That’s a court issue. One father I knew was able to get a reduction in a week because he had an excellent lawyer with connections, and it took his ex wife six months to get it back up when he got an even higher paying job for the same reason.
      Some courts are fast, some take forever.

    • Paul White

      Just dismissing it as a court issue doesn’t actually fix it though. I’ve seen it screw enough people up–particularly lower income people without connected lawyers–that I really want that worked on.

    • keelhaulrose

      You’re trying to inject fairness into a system that is unfair and has been played by both mothers and fathers. For every man who has had a delay in support reductions, I can point to a woman who hasn’t gotten anything added to their child support when the father gets a raise/higher paying job.
      I’ve worked with a mother who was getting $75 per month for both her kids (that’s $75 full stop, not $75 each) because child support was figured in when the father was working part-time in retail. When the father finished school and landed a job making $2,500 a month she tried to get it adjusted, and a year and a half later is still waiting.
      Life isn’t fair. The only ones who it should be fair for in this situation are the children.

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      This recently happened to a female friend of mine, so it’s not just dudes too. The child support system in general needs to be looked at and improved, IMO.

    • Sundaydrive00

      I had this discussion with someone the other day. They said their payments were too much because they were paying $250 a month. In 18 years that would be almost $50,000 they had to pay, one year’s salary!

      I tried explaining that the cost to raise a child is so much more then $250 each month, and the mother was mostly likely paying 2-3x as much to keep her kids clothed, fed, and in a safe living environment.

      Children cannot live on child support alone, mothers are not having these babies in order to live a lavish lifestyle. Its hard work, and it is a burden on both parents. Nothing in life is ever going to be fair to every person, so its about making the most of a situation and being an adult who is responsible for their actions.

    • keelhaulrose

      I actually looked at a friend once and said “You are going to pay roughly $75,000 in your child’s 18 years if you’re paying the same amount each month. It takes about $240,000 to raise a child from birth until they’re 18. Who is paying the other $165,000?”
      That doesn’t even take into account that most mothers don’t kick their kids out at 18 and wish them luck.

    • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

      When my mom died, my dad had to take in my brother and I, aged 16 and 14. He was accustomed to paying a couple hundred a month. When he suddenly had to cover ALL our expenses he sued my mom’s estate for a monthly allowance, took our survivor benefits ($180 each) and this is on top of the pension he got because they never legally divorced in 11 years.

      He was then clearing an extra thousand a month, when he’d already been earning more than my mom, and got a raise shortly thereafter. But he was so, I don’t know, confused (?) over the concept of paying for our food, shelter, utilities and transportation out of pocket rather than having it “covered” by a couple hundred a month that even though he was turning a profit, he was convinced he had a bum deal. Used to bang on the door of the bathroom when my showers were longer than 6 minutes because of the cost of water.

      This is the sort of man who complains about child support, which he did.

    • Emmali Lucia

      That hurts my heart. I’m sorry you had such a shitty deal

    • Dr. Apothecary

      I think if it can be proven that a woman tricks a man into fathering a child by truly tricky means, i.e. poking holes in condoms or saving sperm, she should have that child taken away from her. Birth control failure, even from forgetting to take it, is a different issue. How you’d prove that would be tricky, and it is rare that it happens, but I wish there were laws that dealt with this.

      It would be nice if there were a faster way to resolve support with changing income levels, too, that would be fairer to both parental units.

      My father didn’t pay much in child support directly to my mother, but instead, he contributed to my college fun and paid for a lot of my support directly (clothes, health insurance, medical care, etc.). It worked out for my parents, although my dad did track how much he spent just in case my mom asked for more, and my mom did get helped out when she got the money but I was staying with my dad over the summer. Still, it’s not like she didn’t have to pay less rent just because I wasn’t there.

      Gripping about paying $75 a month, as some describe below, is annoying and should deserve a slap upside the head, unless a man is truly with no income. Gripping about paying over a small percentage of your income, even if you make a lot, also deserves a slap upside the head, as long as the mother is not raising the children on rags while buying herself designer bags. But if you have a cut in income and are still being expected to contribute the same, that is an issue that deserves sympathy and support and a change by the courts. Children in a 2 parent family have to deal when there’s a change in income; so should divorced families. There really should be changes in how all of this is handled.

  • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

    Biology isn’t fair. Pregnancy is ass. Childbirth, even more so. It’s a massive burden, one that enough women consider a pleasure or a privilege, but at its core it is a massive expending of physical resources, coupled with reduced ability to provide for oneself and opportunities for career advancement.
    And let’s be serious, financial reasons are one of the biggest reasons women abort. Remove the man from his legal responsibilities (if he speaks up soon enough in the pregnancy) and one of three things will happen to women who are not financially stable:
    1. Woman will abort when she does not want to.
    2. Woman will give away a baby she wants.
    3. Woman will fall into poverty supporting a baby she cannot afford, going on public assistance while the man goes on with life.

    This does not make things fair for the man. It makes things more unfair for the women, particularly poor women. It gives the man more power and privilege than he already has in this world.

    Men sometimes cannot accept unfairness in life because life so often favours them for so many things. In this instance they do not come out on top in the choice category. I didn’t choose to have a working uterus any more than a man may have chosen to conceive a child. Life sucks and shit happens. Adults understand this.

    • Elle

      I love love love this comment. So much.

    • Paul White

      This is one of those cases were “fairness” isn’t possible at all. I’m not at all opposed to men still being on the hook for child support although I have some major issues with how it works.

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      This is exactly how I feel. I’m not saying all men should have an out, or shouldn’t pay anything, but the current system is extremely flawed and could be improved.

    • Psych Student

      I agree, it’s not fair for either party to be able to make such concrete decisions and something needs to be changed.

    • Cee

      “Pregnancy is ass”

    • Simone

      I think this is the most comprehensive and sensible reply to the matter so far (and there have been lots of really good points raised in the whole thing).

      Of course men should have an equal say in whether or not they wish to take responsibility for a child they would not have chosen to create. However, having to undergo an abortion for an accidental pregnancy is traumatic, and we would never know how this might affect men because, as is pointed out, biology is not an equal-opportunity thing.

      My partner has long said that he feels he should have an equal say in whether or not to undergo an abortion in our relationship if there was an accident, and this blows my mind.

    • Sarah

      It sounds to me like you’re saying women should be entitled to make their family planning decisions without any regard to what they can afford, and the fairest thing is to mandate the father to provide whatever funds are needed for that to happen, regardless of his own wishes. I don’t think I would agree with that.

    • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

      No, that is an extreme interpretation of what I’m saying. I believe the word to describe your response would be hyperbole.
      Nowhere did I say a woman should plan a pregnancy her partner does not want and then plan around him covering all the necessary expenses. What a ludicrous suggestion, and one I never made.
      Family planning decisions? What an out-of-touch way to describe the difficult situation of an unwanted or unplanned pregnancy. Not so cut and dried as whether to use condoms or an IUD. Women in this boat face real life or death choices, life-changing choices, health-changing choices.
      Men face life-changing choices if they want to parent. If not, they face financial change. It’s the nature of the beast that is biology.
      Women can’t opt out of their biological situation. Abortion requires a procedure and potential heartache or trauma. Adoption requires a pregnancy, birth and potential heartache or trauma. Raising a child alone without adequate resources requires pregnancy, childbirth and then a life of hardship. All suck terribly.
      The solution of letting men walk away from this undesirable situation only further burdens women. I think we’re burdened enough. Men don’t need life to be even less biologically risky than it already is. No one has the right to walk away from problems of their own creation.
      Women have to face one of three crappy choices. Men don’t get a choice. Both suck. In the suckiness lies the only semblance of fairness possible.

    • Psych Student

      But it’s not fair for men who (are stupid) have sex with a woman who claims to be on birth control (again, stupid men should be wearing condoms anway) so she can get pregnant and then she requires him to pay child support, even if he wants nothing to do with the child because he didn’t want to get her pregnant (which is why he should have worn a condom). Women who want to have babies with a man who doesn’t want to have babies should go to a sperm bank and get sperm. And I realize that buying sperm can be expensive, but if you can’t afford the sperm, you probably can’t afford a baby.

    • neo77

      IOW, women/feminists are using their vagina, sex, relationships and babies as a tool of gender class warfare, to extract resources from men and take revenge on them for alleged injustices. I would argue that women have never been oppressed, but instead entitled and protected, and have always controlled most of men’s money and status via their vaginas. Feminism is simply a continuation of this golddigging mentality, and has nothing to do with equality.

      As Warren Farrell outlines in The Myth of Male Power, men’s lives are FAR more biologically dangerous than womens. Men are the production gender, whose lives, bodies and minds have created the entire “house of civilization” you live in for free, with the same rights, while having done very little to build, defend or maintain that house.

      Women can indeed choose to walk away from “problems of their own creation” (obligations of parenthood), and men must have this same right.

      You are not entitled to a man’s money just because you had sex with him. Sex is only consent for sex and nothing else.

      Your body, your choice – your responsiblity. If your choices become my responsiblity, then I must have control over your body and choices, as men historically (and rightly) did. Anyone with obligations for someone else’s choices must have control over those choices, as a parent has control over a child.

    • http://twitter.com/mariaguido Maria Guido

      I’d like to upvote this like 400 times.

    • neo77

      NO WAY. This is a male rights issue that I will fight to the death. Parental choice is a fundamental human right. Sex is not consent to parenthood, and women are NOT entitled to enslave me financialy for 18+ years just because I had sex.

      Please. Women are narcissists who overplay how “difficult” everything is. Nine months of labor (which you can choose to avoid via many methods) is far less than 18+ years of financial slavery, not to mention the emotional and mental life-changing toll of having a child/human in your life and a connection to a woman you don’t want. You DON’T get to alter the direction of my life just because you want to control me financially and otherwise.

      If you want to force parenthood obligations on me – then we’ll just have to outlaw abortion and birth control so that you also get forced into parenthood as well. (I’m starting why the conservative men like to control women, because women also want to control men – its a zero sum game).

      The problem for golddigging leftists and feminists such as yourself is that men, society and the government are relationship objects through which you’re attempting to extract resources, status, time, etc. It has nothing to do with equality and everything to do with hypergamy. You want the power to abort or not, so that if you happen to have sex with a man you want a relationship with (or if he has money, status, or for revenge) then you can use the pregnancy/child as a tool. Or if you have sex with a man you don’t want a relationship with and he does want the baby, you can abort to hurt him. It’s all about objectification of men as relationship/status objects, control of our money and our resources, and about giving yourself status relative to other women.

      Sex is NOT consent to anyting BUT Sex. It’s not a consent for parenthood, for relationships, for money, for nothing. If a man doesn’t WANT to have a relationship with you .. WANT to have children with and you and support them then that should be his CHOICE. That you can’t attract such a man is your problem, not men’s.

  • Meg

    I have a male relative who got his girlfriend pregnant. He wanted the baby, she did not. He begged her to birth the baby. He is well off so he offered to raise the baby solo, even help with the medical bills leadi g to delivery. She aborted the baby, and he was left heartbroken over a child he never had a chance to know.

    • Cee

      But, see, its not a matter of money. She would have had to carry it for nine months and deal with the physical, mental and emotional issues that can arise while being pregnant. For nine months she would have to carry something that she does not want in her body, could bring her difficulties at work, difficulties in her personal life and just the mental and emotional toll it would take to carry your child, mulling over giving it away to someone she had a relationship with and the possible repercussions that may come with that for the rest of her life. It is a lot to ask of someone to do when they do not want to do it.
      If he has that type of disposable money, he could have looked for a surrogate.

    • G.S.

      Yeah, but at the end of the day, that’s still his unborn child in there. Shit happens, people get pregnant, and that’s still his child. It just comes across as incredibly hypocritical to me that everyone screams for blood whenever a man goes and sabotages his girlfriend’s pregnancy (which I totally understand why one would scream for blood, don’t get me wrong), but whenever a woman goes and gets an abortion behind their boyfriend’s back (when he desperately wanted the child and would have done everything he had to), everyone just sort of sighs and goes, “Hey, well, should have wrapped it up.” I get that the woman is the one who carries the fetus for nine months and everything, but that’s still his baby/fetus/whatever as much as it is hers.

    • meteor_echo

      It is, but she’s the carrier for the little parasite. She gets the physical brunt of carrying it, she gets the privilege of terminating it regardless of the wishes of the father.

    • G.S.

      But it’s still his baby. He should have an equal say (as long as everything that led to conception was consensual. If it was a rape baby, yeah, no). As well as do everything financially and physically he can to make the pregnant girlfriend’s life easier (paying for doctor bills, being at every doctor’s appointment, etc).

    • Cee

      Its not a baby…its a zygote, or a fetus. It is in her body, so she has all the say. Life is not easier when a person is forced to carry a child they do not want.

    • once upon a time

      To quote everyone else, pregnancy isn’t fair because of biology. And you’re right, it’s absolutely not fair, but when the choice has an enormous impact on one member of the party, the other member doesn’t get a say.

      This is why I think it is *so* important to have the, ‘Do you want kids/what would you do if we got pregnant right now’ conversation as early in the relationship as possible.

    • meteor_echo

      He gets an equal say only if he gets to carry it in his abdominal cavity and then have it rip out of him. Otherwise – nope, because as someone above said, biology isn’t fair.
      Oh and – before it’s born and breathes on its own, it’s not a baby.

    • G.S.

      “Oh, and – before it’s born and breathes on its own, it’s not a baby.”

      Still his fetus, then. Since his sperm helped make it in the first place. And the point of a fetus is that an eventual baby will come from it. And if it doesn’t count or matter if it’s only a fetus, then why are cases like the above Florida one so upsetting?

    • meteor_echo

      The above case is so upsetting because you can kill a person with a wrong dosage of Cytotec. He nearly killed his girlfriend. Also, because she lost something she wanted due to her boyfriend deciding that he could stomp over her bodily autonomy.

    • Dr. Apothecary

      Not all fetuses make it. Miscarriages happen often.

      And I don’t like the particular law, nor his punishment. As a scientist, a healthcare professional, and a future mother, I am less concerned about his achievement of an abortion than I am in him potentially poisoning his girlfriend, getting the dose wrong, and harming her. She could have had a ton of complications and even died. That’s what he should face criminal charges for.

      She did lose her bodily autonomy and lose the chance of possibly having a child (and possibly of ever carrying a child), and that is something that I feel he should face civil liability for.

      What I want to know is where he got this medication from, who prescribed it, and how she didn’t know what it was. It sounds like maybe his father? If so, whomever was involved should lose their license for being involved in a poisoning, if they were a professional.

    • Dr. Apothecary

      I should clarify that 13 years for a poisoning and potential murder of an adult female sounds reasonable, but I don’t like that he was prosecuted for killing an unborn fetus vs. almost killing a human being.

    • Tinyfaeri

      It’s assault to do something to a woman’s body against her will, be that ending a pregnancy she wanted or forcing her to carry a baby to term.

    • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

      I don’t know if you’ve ever been pregnant, or if you have and it was excellent. But I have been pregnant. It was terrible. I had heartburn for nine months straight. I developed acid reflux. I had sinus problems and a chronic cough, and due to acid reflux I would vomit my meals up when I coughed. I also couldn’t lie down without vomiting, so I slept at a 90 degree angle.

      I then had to be induced because I went way overdue. It was traumatic and lasted two days. I had to have a C section. I then developed hives. Five days later I had to go back to the ER and was admitted to the hospital for two days away from my son due to a uterine infection.

      My point? Bodily fucking autonomy. My story could happen to anyone, or worse. Pregnancy and childbirth can be so painful and disruptive and detrimental to health and wellbeing that it cannot be chosen for another person against their will. Carrying the genetic material of another does not grant them rights to your body to use as a vessel for their offspring.

      There is no such thing as equal say. When two parties disagree, one has to win. Who should that be? The one who owns the body or the one who does not own the body?

    • OhHeyDelilah

      I want to upvote this a million times. I’m pregnant with my first and while I’m excited at the idea of having a baby, I am beyond surprised at how much I loathe being pregnant and how effing hard it is – the endless nausea, the exhaustion, the sore boobs, the mood swings … sometimes I feel like I don’t know I’m going to get to the end of it. I’ve been really intrigued by this article and the subsequent comments because I’m really torn on the issue – I’m extremely pro-choice and believe very strongly in the idea of bodily autonomy and that nobody else has the right to make a decision about what a woman does/doesn’t do with her body, and at the same time I’m somewhat sympathetic to the idea that men often get very little say in the decision to continue or terminate a pregnancy. Your response above really nailed it for me. Spot on.

    • neo77

      Exactly, biology is not fair- women get pregnant and men do not, thus women alone should be responsible (financially and otherwise) for what they choose to do with their own bodies, and men should have a choice as to whether or not they want to support that choice financially or otherwise. IOW, parenthood and its obligations should be a choice for everyone.

      Men cannot have a say, but neither should men have obligations. Once the man ejaculates, the sperm legally belongs to her, and she can choose to get pregnant or not (use birth control or not), choose to birth the child or not (morning after pill, abortion), give it up for adoption or not, etc.

      Women are the reproduction gender – but men are the production gender. Men should not be entitled to women’s reproduction – but neither should women be entitled to men’s production (relationships, time, money, etc). Money is the output of one’s physical/mental labor, and if one doesn’t control this, then one is a slave by definition.

    • Dr. Apothecary

      If he wants a child so much, he can pay a woman to be a surrogate, using his sperm and a donor egg. Yes, it’s sad that he doesn’t get to have a child. But pregnancy is very, very difficult on a woman. I’m 22 weeks pregnant and have an extremely supportive husband. This does not change the fact that I hate pregnancy and cannot wait to get my body back. I went through severe nausea for most of the first trimester. I’ve had to deal with acne, constipation, dizziness, severe pain in my abdomen, moodiness, being tired beyond belief, and missing several days of work due to being ill. I’ve had the frustrations of not being able to find clothing to wear, which is a pain when needing professional clothing, and my relationships with some of my friends have changed, as I don’t exactly go to many happy hours these days. Most women give up alcohol, and there’s a slew of medications you should not be using (some that I would really like when I can’t sleep at night). I’m a little over half-way through, and there are many more unpleasant symptoms that will likely come. I have to go through labor, and it will likely take anywhere from 3 to 9 months for my body to come back as much as it ever will.

      So, no, your male relative does not get to dictate for his girlfriend to become a living incubator for over at least a year of her life, a decision that impacts her entire life for that year. Plus, a woman cannot be attached at earlier times to an embryo, but as it becomes a fetus, it’s almost inevitable to grow attached to your future child. The girlfriend likely knew this and knew that she would not only be giving up that year of her life but then have to either care for a child she would have had conflicting feelings for or give up a child she had an attachment to.

      Money does not buy you everything. If she was the one with the money and chose to have the child, she could not pay your male relative to want to be a loving father if he didn’t.

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      I agree with you 100%. I am pro-choice and I firmly believe that a woman is well within her rights legally and morally to have an abortion within the legal limits. I actually wanted to touch on this in this post, about how prosecuting in a case like the one I described can be a slippery slope when you consider the legal standing of the fetus, but I felt it should be left for another, separate article.

    • keelhaulrose

      It sucks, but it isn’t like signing over a car. A pregnancy is a severe disruption of your life, especially with complications (I was put on bed rest for two months with the threat of hospitalization if I didn’t comply because of health issues in my pregnancy). Birth itself is not an easy process, and requires recovery, especially if you’ve had a c-sect. Yes, wanted babies have been aborted, but some women can’t deal with the nine months you’re required to severely alter your life in order to carry a child to term.

  • meteor_echo

    Someone needs to invent an artificial uterus already. It would solve so many problems.
    And I do think there should be a way for a man to give away his parental rights if he can prove that he had been coerced into reproducing.

    Also: a life sentence for obliterating a fetus?! While, if you kill an adult, you can walk away scot-free in some cases? This is disgusting.

    • Emmali Lucia

      They’re actually making one!

      And my sister (The midwife) freaked out and called them evil. I had to point out that my best friend has type 1 diabetes and having a child would kill her, and there are tons of women suffering from infertility who have great eggs, but either their fallopian tubes or uterus just doesn’t work right.

      She was like “But we don’t understand the psychological and health impacts of this!”

      Never mind the fact that fetuses in the artificial womb get non-stop healthy nutrients given to them, unlike whatever the mother has a craving for (Which I get it, the cravings aren’t always unhealthy. But Good God if I ever got an excuse to eat whatever I wanted I would have like a triple chocolate cheesecake an hour)

    • Paul White

      if they figure out a way to make a 0 calorie triple chocolate4 cheesecake that taste right, I’ll join you.

    • Dr. Apothecary

      Does your best friend have other problems? I’m just asking because my mom had type 1 diabetes and was able to carry me just fine.

      As for artificial wombs, I think we have a long, long way to go. Even test tube babies, we’re figuring out now that these kids have certain risks that a naturally conceived kid does not have. The media the embryos are grown is is proprietary, so we can’t even study it. And test tube babies have nothing on the idea of an artificial womb.

      We don’t understand labor completely and what induces labor. We still have only a general idea of what nutrients a kid actually needs. Who knows what effects being in a womb gives a kid? There’s evidence that if a woman starves while pregnant, her kid has a higher risk of metabolic syndrome and obesity as an adult. The music, movement, sounds, and smells in the womb are thought to affect a child after birth, even affecting his or her bond with the mother.

      I don’t think we need to call artificial wombs evil. But they aren’t coming anytime soon!

    • Emmali Lucia

      I’ll be perfectly honest, I don’t really know what all is wrong with her. I know she has bi-polar disorder and diabetes, I know a lot of people with diabetes can have children and happy healthy lives, but many can’t. For whatever reason they’re diabetes is worse(?) I don’t know a thing about diabetes so take everything in that paragraph with a grain of salt.

      I agree, artificial wombs probably won’t be coming out in our lifetimes. Luckily we have surrogate mothers and other means of procuring a baby or babies for people who want them.

    • Véronique Houde

      I see Gattica (sp?) developing here!!!

  • Cals

    Women have choices, men have responsibilities. That’s why women have a choice to have a child, and men are just responsible (or not) for a child. No, it’s not really fair. And I don’t think this guy should be charged for “unborn victims of violence” against an embryo that had the mother aborted, would have been perfectly legal to do. He is incredibly messed up though and should be charged with something.

    • Emmali Lucia

      Yeah, farther down in the comment section people were talking about how easy it is to mess up the dose and seriously harm the woman and how irresponsible that is.

    • aliceblue

      Call me crazy, but I consider both undergoing an abortion or going through a pregnancy taking responsibility for a situation.

  • March

    Another point which I think is important is contraception. I know a 100% fail-safe contraception doesn’t exist (yet), but why the hell isn’t there more choice for men in methods of contraception? If you want sex without babies, you need to take your measures. There is absolutely no reason whatsoever why that should go more for women than for men.

  • BubbleyToes

    I agree with that man’s comment. I do think it is unfair that a woman can force a man into being responsible (at least financially) for a child he may not have wanted. I DO realize that it takes two to conceive and (barring rape) both parties willingly took part knowing that pregnancy was a possible consequence. That doesn’t make it fair that the woman has all the deicison making rights. I agree that she should never ever be forced to have an abortion in any way, but if the father is willing to go on record and say that he would have had the abortion if it were his decision and his body, then he shouldn’t have to pay child support. He also doesn’t get to keep any rights or visitation, though. Just my opinions.

    • Lindsey

      You can terminate parental rights. That means all of what you said.

    • aliceblue

      Ideally both parents will be involved in the decision but 50/50 can’t work when the two have different opinions. Since it is the woman who must either undergo the abortion OR the pregnancy, yes it is fair that she gets to decide. Either way she does something that is unplanned and unpleasant even if she doe get to choose. How would it be more fair to let the man make the decision?

      If, as you say the man can just say “I don’t want it” the mother must decide between abortion and a huge financial blow for an act that both took part. And no Lindsey, you cannot just terminate parental rights simply because you don’t like the outcome of your actions. Termination of rights must either be agreed upon by both parties OR is done on an involuntary basis, often when there is abuse. In the latter financial obligation skill attaches, and in both situations a court must permit the termination. If there is a child the court will NOT permit termination unless it is in the best interest of the CHILD, not of either parent. It is not often that a court is willing to find that a single parent’s support is best (when the do it is usually a surrogacy agreement or the custodial parent marry/remarrying and wanting the new spouse to adopt the child.

      Must say that I’m surprised that on a list with a heavy focus on child rearing not one seems to see anything wrong with sentencing a kid to a life of poverty.

    • neo77

      It takes one person legally to make a baby – the woman, who assumes legal ownership of the man’s sperm after ejaculation, thru which she may or may not become pregant (her choice to use birth control or not), thru which she may or may not choose (her choice to use morning after pill or abort or not) to take it to term or not.

      It is the woman alone, with sperm that she owns, who can make a choice whether the fetus becomes a human, thus it is the woman alone who must bear parental (financial and otherwise) obligations for the child. Whether or not the man assumes the obligations (financial or otherwise) of fatherhood should be his choice alone.

  • AlexMMR

    Sorry, no. A financial burden is not the same as a physical burden. That’s the difference. That’s why she gets a choice, and he doesn’t. She can back out of the commitment she made (by having sex and therefore one could argue consenting to a potential pregnancy) because it’s a physical burden and we can change our minds about the choices we make for our bodies at any time. But he also made the commitment (much like a financial contract) by consenting to sex and since it’s only his wallet that would be burdened, he can not back out of that commitment.

    It’s not fair. But if things were fair, a couple could choose which partner would carry a baby to term. Yeah, the law isn’t exactly fair, but neither is biology so the law does it’s best to even the playing field within the parameters defined by mother nature.

    • Véronique Houde

      I don’t think only his wallet would be burdened… it’s not only the pregancy that is problematic but also what comes after – the responsibility of raising a psychologically, emotionally, and physically healthy member of society. After the pregnancy, both parents are legally and morally equally responsible for this.

      HOWEVER, I see the sticky issue as being that you cannot force a woman to be OKAY with abortion. You also cannot force someone to be okay with adoption when there can already be strong emotional bonds for both parents (a mother cannot put a child up for adoption without the father’s consent, let us remember).

    • neo77

      We could also say that the fact that women alone get pregnant is “not fair”, a “natural condition”, and they just have to deal with it. It is only artificial reproductive technology (birth control, abortion, etc) and political-legal constructs which allow otherwise.

      If sex was consent to parenthood, then there would be no need for abortion rights.

      In a civilized society, sex cannot be consent to parenthood, there are too many pathways that are vulnerable to abuse and control of the other person, while using children as the weapon.

      A financial burden is a physical burden, as money is simply the output of labor. The definition of a slave is someone who does not have control over the financial output of one’s labor.

      Ultimately this is about control of men and their resources by women, who are using sex and manipulation to extract relationships, money, status, babies etc that men did not freely consent to. Sex is not consent to parenthood.

    • gurdy

      great posts neo CS cost me over 1.5 million for an out of wedlock kid (a windfall profit for my ex GF) that I have never seen or ever wanted. I was threatened with jail and contempt of court numerous times. After that episode I never got married or never went out again It was too emotionally traumatizing. I begged her to have an abortion. She refused and took me to court. This was 30 years ago and I still have nightmares from this. Call me an arrogant ass or as my ex GF told me an avaricious arrogant piece of sewage. I can see where Weldon slipped his GF cytotec.. Some of my friends tell me they always slip the morning after pill in GF OJ for breakfast if they have sex Me I just refuse to go out. It is not worth the trauma or financial expense.

  • neo77

    This is a male rights issue, and there is no grey area. Both were having casual sex, neither should be forced into parenthood. Women have morning after pill, abortion, birth control, can give it up for adoption, etc – many ways to get out of the obligations of motherhood while men just have .. condoms, zip-up or pay-up ? Men must have the right to abort all legal/financial obligations of fatherhood if they so choose… they must have a post-conception choice just as women do. Equal protection under the law dictates that they must.

    He was just a naive young guy wanting to have fun, and she pretended like she was also about fun, but really had alterior motives, knowing he was from a rich family and wanted to become a doctor. IOW, he was a relationship object to her, and she strategized to connect herself to him to extract support, time, money, status etc – that he did not freely choose or consent to give to her. She’s the abuser, who would use a child as a tool of control and power – he was simply a young guy who freaked out and resented being controlled, manipulated and exploited. If he can be charged with murder for “violence against the unborn” – then women everyday who choose to have abortions should be charged with the same crime.

    The fact is, women are the reproduction gender. Your body, your choice – your responsiblity. Once a man has sex with a woman, the sperm becomes her property to do with it as she chooses. Child support and other legal/financial obligations of fatherhood should be a man’s choice, not an obligation, as he has no say in whether a child is born or not.

    In a modern society that respects individual rights, sex cannot be consent to parenthood. Sex can only result in a fetus, which the woman chooses to take to term or not, to give up for adoption or not, etc.

    Any belief (including feminism) which stands against male reproductive and parental rights is an enemy of freedom. There is no grey area.

  • Talia Gamble

    The burden of birth control should NOT fall entirely on a woman. If a man truly doesn’t want to become a father he should insist on using a condom EVERYTIME and if she won’t use it, no sex, simple as that. He should also take partial responsibility for ensuring she is on birth control and taking to correctly. Again, if he doesn’t want a child, he is responsible for the choices he makes.

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