Stef (firecat) wrote,

Stef's rants: number 1 of a series

In this entry I invited people to suggest topics for me to rant or blather about. Here is the first rant, suggested by snippy, who wrote:
What is your opinion on giving men an option to disclaim their rights and obligations to a fetus before birth, a kind of abortion of legal relationship? Any other thoughts on reproductive responsibility?

It seems reasonable for men to have the option not to support a child they had no intention of creating, as long as they didn't force or coerce the sex that caused the pregnancy. But it's also imperative that women have the choice whether to bear a child if they get pregnant. That leaves the question "what about the child, if a child is born?" Currently society has it that children are financially provided for by parents or guardians, and the government steps in only if there are no parents or guardians available (or if a parent/guardian applies for assistance). This puts single-parent children at a disadvantage, and gives the government a stake in making sure that children have two guardians. If the government or some other entity guaranteed a certain amount of financial support to every individual (or every child), then it would not perceive one-parent children as an extra financial drain and wouldn't need to legally coerce unwilling biological fathers to pay up. In practice, of course, some women don't name a father on a child's birth certificate, thus absolving/depriving the father of rights/responsibilities; also some fathers avoid their financial responsibilities. That's not a good solution because it leaves the father at the mercy of the mother and leaves the mother with fewer options if the father isn't helping financially. From this angle, I think allowing men to legally absolve themselves of paternity rights/responsibilities would only work if there were some changes to how society views its responsibility toward children, so that children born in such situations had a better chance of doing well.

Other thoughts on reproductive responsibility: There should be better birth control measures for everyone, they should be free because providing birth control is cheaper than providing abortion or helping a person who's financially insolvent to raise a child, and there should be as-close-to-mandatory-as-we-can-make-it sex education.

My more fascistic side says there should be temporary sterilization of all people at the age of puberty, to be unlocked only when they are deemed financially and emotionally ready to be a parent. In other words, "If you need a license to drive a car, you should jolly well need one to raise a child." Of course that's impossible given the level of prejudice in our current society.
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