Roe v. Wade for Men

Do men have a responsibility to provide financially for their biological children even if they do not want them? Does a man have a right to choose to decline fatherhood, and all the duties fatherhood entails? Though the answers to these questions seem straightforward (of course he should take care of his children!), the common-sense response fails to take into account one very important fact: We live in a post-Roe v. Wade era where moral absurdity reigns.

The lawsuit filed by Matt Dubay and the National Center for Men last week is a perfect example of the vast moral confusion created by Roe v. Wade. The case, which has been nicknamed "Roe v. Wade for Men," claims that Dubay is not responsible to pay child support for his 8-month-old daughter because his former girlfriend assured him that she was both on birth control and physically incapable of becoming pregnant.

Dubay says he repeatedly told his ex-girlfriend that he did not want to have a child with her. The National Center for Men argues that women have a range of options available to them if they become unexpectedly pregnant: abortion, adoption, or raising the child. The Center says it is not fair (in fact, they argue it violates the Constitution’s equal protection clause) that women have so many options, but men have no choice in these life-changing decisions.

Mel Feit, director of the men’s center, has argued his case using logic consistent with Roe v. Wade. According to Feit, "Roe says a woman can choose to have intimacy and still have control over subsequent consequences. No one has ever asked a federal court if that means men should have some similar say. … The problem is this is so politically incorrect. The public is still dealing with the pre-Roe ethic when it comes to men, that if a man fathers a child, he should accept responsibility." Apparently, a post-Roe ethic is one where anybody can abdicate responsibility for anything whenever they want.

The response coming from feminists is surprising and incoherent. Kim Gandy of the National Organization for Women has responded to the case by saying, "None of these are easy questions. But most courts say it’s not about what he did or didn’t do or what she did or didn’t do. It’s about the rights of the child." Is Gandy actually saying that, even if a man is seriously inconvenienced, the rights of the child trump his wishes? Finally NOW understands: It’s about the rights of the child!

Jennifer Brown of a group called Legal Momentum offers another feminist perspective. She says, "Roe is based on an extreme intrusion by the government literally to force a woman to continue a pregnancy she doesn’t want. There’s nothing equivalent for men. They have the same ability as women to use contraception, to get sterilized." Even leaving aside her first sentence (which is silly), her reasoning here is inconsistent. Apparently she believes that men ought to practice responsible sex, and if they don’t, if a pregnancy occurs, that’s too bad. Children are a "risk" (some might say a blessing) inherent in having sex. Why can’t this be said for women, too? Sexual behavior has a predictable consequence, and if pregnancy results, well, at that point "it’s about the rights of the child" who, by the way, has no "choice" in the matter.

This case not only exemplifies the shallow logic of the pro-choice position, but it also reminds us of a terrible problem in America: irresponsible men. In the pro-life movement we must never forget that for every woman who chooses abortion there is a man who fathered a child. Sometimes the men involved are heartbroken, sometimes they desperately want to keep the baby, but all too often these men are either entirely indifferent, or they pressure the mother to have an abortion.

How many babies would have been saved from abortion if their fathers actually took responsibility, helped the mother through the pregnancy, or even offered to marry her? Here’s a news flash: it takes both a man and a woman to create a baby. Over the last thirty-three years since Roe v. Wade legalized abortion men have been all too quick to abdicate their parental responsibilities. In a just society real men take responsibility for their actions… and their children.