originally published on Newsbreak
I knew man a few years ago that lived in his car. Wonderful guy, worked hard, but the Child Support he paid took most of his money and he was unable to afford a place to live. A brief relationship that produced a child that was never discussed, and by his words, he never wanted, at least not one with this woman. But alas, she became pregnant and after their eventual breakup, a year after the child’s birth, she put him on child support.
Barely able to scrape by, he lost his car, and eventually his home. Desperate and with help from friends and family, he was able to get a lawyer and have his child support reduced. It was small amount, but allowed him to save money to buy his car and hopefully the ability to get a place. The worse part is as he has struggled , his daughters mother has refused him seeing his daughter until his child support is paid up. Whenever he is late, or there is problem with payment, she plays the dirty card and dangles his daughter over his head like a carrot leading him into financial ruin.
His story is sung by as many as 13.6 million parents living in the U.S. 87.9% of those have some form of child support agreements are formal agreements financially.
There are many sides to these discussions “he shouldn’t have gotten her pregnant”, “that’s what he gets”, barely any sympathy for the men. Not all men willfully dismiss their children, but the courts, the government, make it hard to be a dad when they are only seen as a wallet.
In the 90’s, states were given the power to prosecute parents that refused to pay court-ordered child support in the Child Support Recovery Act of 1992. and in ’98 the hammer dropped with the Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act with penalties in some states facing up to $10,000 in fines and two years in prison under this law. Although there are many people benefiting from child support and yes the initial construct was a benefit to women and children, its evolved into an ugly strong arm of the government and paycheck posturing by others.
So is it right, If he didn’t want to be a father, or chose not be in the Childs life that he can simply opt out? The idea of financial abortion is from Frances K Goldscheider, a sociology professor at Brown University, who states “that men should be given the opportunity to decide whether or not to accept the rights and responsibilities of fatherhood”
A financial abortion would essentially enable men to cut all financial and emotional ties with a child in the early stages of pregnancy
Lets look at a new world. Where men have the right to financially abort themselves from an expectant child.
This could mean many things:
- Some would say the number of unwanted pregnancies will go down due to women, not having the ability to get child support. Especially those women that just want to have a baby for the paycheck (and don’t get mad, we all know these women)
- This could strengthen and empower women, as they would have the choice in becoming a single parent knowing that support would not come from the father.
- It will give the choice to the men. So that many may choose to be in the childs life, with the ability to assist and both agreeing not to seek the court. (child support is also a choice)
- Some say the rights of the child is not taken under consideration
- The difference is that a financial abortion would still allow men to separate themselves from parenthood in ways women still cannot.
- It also overestimates how many births that we might assume are unplanned actually are planned. Allowing men in long term relationships to simply walk away, as the mother chooses to keep the child and labor the responsibilities.
No matter, your thoughts on it. We all know a women who just wants a paycheck, a man that just makes babies, a great single mom, a great single dad, a good mother struggling, a good father struggling.
But the person that is affected the most in any decision is the child. I suppose if any decision is made without thinking of the ramifications of the voiceless, then any choice could be a bad one in the long term