Katherine Coble has an interesting post today, which I feel like I should disagree with in some way, but I’m tired and one of my eyes is filled with gunk, and so I can’t figure out what bugs me about it.
You’re off the hook this time, Missy (or Mrs.y or Ms.y, whichever)!
But she mentions something in passing that I actually think a great deal about, having, as I do, a brother who, at this rate, is probably the father of at least one of the kids you are raising*.
If you contribute half the DNA for the makeup of a human being, you are responsible for that human being’s welfare until they turn 18. Period. End of story. You can deal with this responsibility by being there, paying others to be there or electing to relinquish your rights through adoption. If you don’t then you’re pond scum.
I think I almost agree with this.
But here’s what bothers me. I firmly believe that a woman has a right to say what goes on in her own body. If she discovers that she’s pregnant and doesn’t want to be, tough shit for anyone who has other ideas about what she should do. And, as you know, since we’ve fought about it before, I think this includes the father of the child.
A man doesn’t automatically get some say over what a woman does with her body just because he ejaculated in her**.
That being said, I think there’s a true level of fucked-up-ed-ness to the fact that the reverse often doesn’t hold true. Often women get a lot of say over what men do with their bodies just because those men ejaculated in them.
In a perfect world, ever child would be wanted and well-cared for by a large group of adults who were ready to support it.
But I keep coming back to the idea that children are not the proper punishment for sex and that it’s fucked up for us as a society to continue to insist that they are.
If a woman and a man have sex and the man doesn’t want to have children, why should he be punished with having to support one?
I don’t see how some kind of “opt in” to parenthood will ever work in a way that doesn’t oppress women. A man cannot choose to be a parent to a child a woman is unwilling to carry to term; there’s just no way that such a strategy doesn’t work to the detriment of the woman.
But there ought to be an easy way for either or both parties to “opt out” of parenthood.
If I honestly believe that a woman has a right to choose not to be a parent, then I have to believe that a man has that same right.
A man who wants to be a father to his offspring should have to help with the expenses of raising said offspring as well as being there for the emotional well-being of said offspring. But if he doesn’t want to be a father, he shouldn’t be forced to be.
*I hope you’re lucky enough to actually know which ones are his, but if not, oops, sorry you had to find out this way.
**Yes, I know many of you disagree with me.