Thursday, December 24, 2009

Is Forced Pregnancy the Same as Forced Child Support?

Consider the following two scenarios:

Scenario #1: A woman named "Kathy" has consentual sex with her partner and gets pregnant. Not wanting to have a child at this phase of her life, Kathy is faced with a dilemma: should she carry the child to term, give birth, and give the child up for adoption, or should she have an abortion? Kathy decides to have an abortion, because she doesn't think she should be forced to endure nine months of pregnancy for a child she doesn't want.

Scenario #2: A man named "John" fathered a child with his wife. When the child was one year old, John decided he didn't want to be a father or a husband at this phase of his life, and decides to divorce his wife. He moves out, and leaves his wife and his child. John is faced with a dilemma: should he pay child support to his wife for the child they had together, or not? John decides to not pay his wife child support, because he doesn't think he should be forced to pay child support for a child he doesn't want.

If these scenarios took place in the United States, John would be committing a crime, but Kathy would not. In the United States it is illegal for a father to not financially support his child, but it is legal for a woman to kill her unborn child via abortion. Why is that? Why is it ok to force a man to live up to his responsibilities as a father and force him to pay child support for up to 18 years (until the child turns 18), but it's not ok to expect a mother to live up to her responsibilities and force her to remain pregnant for nine months?

I propose to you that what we have here is a massive double standard. Both Kathy and John knew what they were getting into. Kathy knew when she had sex that there was a risk that she might get pregnant, and John knew that when he decided to have a child, that he was responsible for supporting that child. Both Kathy and John are responsible for the children they conceived. If it is ok to legally force John to pay child support, it should be ok to legally force Kathy to endure 9 months of pregnancy and give birth to her child. John shouldn't be able to shirk his responsibility to his child, and Kathy shouldn't be able to shirk her responsibility to her child.

What do you think?

If you don't think Kathy should be forced through her pregnancy, but think John should be forced to pay child support (in other words, you chose answer B), please provide the reason you think that way in the comment box below.


  1. It's not a double standard, Women have to pay child support, too.

  2. Hello, straw man argument. Despite superficial similarities, the two hypothetical scenarios are not the same and cannot be argued point by point in a parallel manner. (I find it interesting that Kathy has a "partner" and John has a "wife". Yeah, I smell what you're stepping in).

    For one and as ProChoiceGal pointed out, women are court ordered to pay child support as well as men. Also, men cannot become pregnant.

    Kathy is deciding she is not prepared to carry this pregnancy to term and chooses to have an abortion. Did she and her consensual partner receive comprehensive sex education? Did they have access to affordable birth control and know how to use it correctly? Did the birth control fail, or something else? Hopefully, abortion is safe and legal for Kathy.

    As for John I do agree he's got it tough. Perhaps comprehensive sex ed should be supplemented with family law education. I'd like to point out that when child support is court ordered, the wages (monetary resources) of the non-custodial parent are the primary factor. Try quantifying all of the resources required to simply carry a pregnancy to term. Pre-natal care, post-natal care, with and without complications. Just one week not working a minimum wage job for an employer who doesn't offer benefits can send a family onto the streets. Perhaps birth & recovery should only occur & take as long as deemed appropriate by employers?

    Look, I realize you believe life begins at conception. Blastocyst, embryo, fetus, baby born; they're all the same to you. May I also presume you don't care for birth control and sex education? What you're proposing is that sex and the associated risks are only for the married segment of the population who have achieved enough to conceive.

    Get. Real.

  3. Women Have Options Ohio - Thanks for responding. I'd like to respond to this comment you made:

    "What you're proposing is that sex and the associated risks are only for the married segment of the population who have achieved enough to conceive. Get. Real."

    Yes, I am proposing that sex and the associated risks are only for married people. I think it's very "real" to expect people to wait until they're married to have sex. If people waited until marriage to have sex, you would see a serious reduction in the number of abortions performed.

  4. Mr. Schenkler.

    Even if it is real to "expect" people to wait for marriage to have sex leaves you with just that - and expectation. I can expect cherry pies to rain from the sky this afternoon, it doesn't mean it's going to happen.

    What you're can "really" do with that is anybody's guess. Make it illegal and throw people in jail? Good luck. Show me one society in the world that eliminates sex outside marriage and I'll show you either falsified evidence or an extremely oppressive autocracy.

  5. Aaron - Thank you for responding. I fully realize that our world will never get to a point where everyone waits until marriage to have sex. That is called an "ideal", not an "expectation". Even though the ideal will never be realized, it would be beneficial to society to come as close to the ideal as possible. Do you think people shouldn't even try to wait until marriage to have sex, just because the ideal of everyone waiting until marriage won't be reached? If so, I disagree wholeheartedly. Even if 25% of society would wait until marriage to have sex, we would see a substantial decrease in the number of unwanted pregnancies, STD's and abortions.


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