As much as conservatives want to bash Matt Dubay as a selfish, bad father, the 25 year old who refuses to pay child support for a child that the mother "should have" aborted, I find his argument a logical extension of pro-choice logic. Liberals who want to attack him don’t realize that it is their myopic concern for women’s rights, to the exclusion of a father’s and child’s rights, that has caused this problem.
Today, the Boston Globe has a good article on this entitled The Obligation of Unwanted Fatherhood.
A 25-year-old computer programmer in Michigan, Dubay wants to know why it is only women who have "reproductive rights." He is upset about having to pay child support for a baby he never wanted. Not only did his former girlfriend know he didn’t want children, says Dubay, she had told him she was infertile. When she got pregnant nonetheless, he asked her to get an abortion or place the baby for adoption. She decided instead to keep her child and secured a court order requiring him to pay $500 a month in support.
Not fair, Dubay complains. His ex-girlfriend chose to become a mother. It was her choice not to have an abortion, her choice to carry the baby to term, her choice not to have the child adopted. She even had the option, under the "baby safe haven" laws most states have enacted, to simply leave her newborn at a hospital or police station. Roe v. Wade gives her and all women the right – the constitutional right! – to avoid parenthood and its responsibilities. Dubay argues that he should have the same right, and has filed a federal lawsuit that his supporters are calling "Roe v. Wade for men." Drafted by the National Center for Men, it contends that as a matter of equal rights, men who don’t want a child should be permitted, early in pregnancy, to get "a financial abortion" releasing them from any future responsibility to the baby.
He is exactly right. Men can’t be held responsible if they have no rights. If they want an abortion, and the woman wants to keep the kid, then she is responsible for the kid. On the contrary, what if he wants the kid? Can he force her to have it? Do we err towards life, or do we give the woman the final say because it is "her body." And if we give her that right, does she shoulder the responsibility for the decision if she differs from the father? Yes. You have to link the responsibility with the rights.
But the reason this intractable situation exists is because the problem is not the pregnancy, it’s the fact that we have taken sex outside of the marriage covenant. We should not be having sex outside of wedlock. Pregnancy, and by extension, sex, is intended to exist within the stability and love of a marriage commitment. To try to solve the problem AFTER having sex is trying to put the genie back into the bottle – it can’t really be done without SUFFERING, because sin brings suffering. Either the baby is killed, or the mother has to bear the burden alone, or give up the child.
Secondly, we want to be able to sow without reaping the consequences. We want the privilege of sex without the responsibility of it. But in the real world, that situation does NOT exist. Dubay is not trying to shirk his responsibility any more than a woman who gets an abortion – they were both irresponsible when they had sex out of wedlock, and he is just trying to get the same right to irresponsibility that women already have.
The Boston Globe article summarizes the problem well
For men, legal choices end with the decision to have sex. If conception takes place, he can be forced to accept the abortion of a baby he wants – or to spend at least the next 18 years turning over a chunk of his income to support a child he didn’t want.
All true. But it is also true that predatory males have done enormous damage to American society, and the last thing our culture needs is one more way for men to escape accountability for the children they father. Dubay wants more than the freedom to be sexually reckless – he wants that freedom to be constitutionally guaranteed. Truly he is a child of his time, passionate on the subject of rights and eager to duck responsibility.
I have had a hard time figuring out where liberals stand on the Dubay issue, maybe a reader can chime in with some links. Conservatives rightly condemn him, but also, he is just following the lead of the pro-choice crowd and their logic. I’ll be interested to see what kind of logical gymnastics liberals will have to perform to condemn Dubay.