Making Child Support Optional for Men?

A fathers’ rights group says child support should be optional for men just like abortion and adoption are optional for women. Here’s an article about it from the Houston Chronicle, and here’s another from the Detroit News. The argument is simple: women who get pregnant have the option to get an abortion, to place the child up for adoption, or to carry the child to term. Men don’t have any options; the mother gets to make all the decisions. The group plans to file a lawsuit in federal court this morning, dubbed “Roe v. Wade for Men.”

Here’s a little from the Detroit News article:

“More than three decades ago, Roe v. Wade gave women control of their reproductive lives but nothing in the law changed for men. …Women now have control of their lives after an unplanned conception,” said Mel Feit, the director on the National Center for Men. “But men are routinely forced to give up control, forced to be financially responsible for choices only women are permitted to make, forced to relinquish reproductive choice as the price of intimacy.”

“This is ridiculous,” said Leslie Sorkhe, director of operations for the Association for Children for Enforcement of Support. “This is about the child, a child that needs the emotional as well as the financial support of both parents. The child is entitled to his or her equal protection under the law.”

Renee Beeker of Milford, legislative vice president for National Organization for Women’s Michigan chapter, says the lawsuit implies that the burden of pregnancy prevention is solely on the woman.

“In the event of an unintended pregnancy, the needs of the child must be met,” Beeker said.

And here’s a little from the AP:

State courts have ruled in the past that any inequity experienced by men like Dubay [the father] is outweighed by society’s interest in ensuring that children get financial support from two parents. Melanie Jacobs, a Michigan State University law professor, said the federal court might rule similarly in Dubay’s case.

“The courts are trying to say it may not be so fair that this gentleman has to support a child he didn’t want, but it’s less fair to say society has to pay the support,” she said.

Lee’s Note: I have my own thoughts about this. You can read them here.