Tuesday, June 19, 2012

What role, fathers?

Our society has come to accept a dichotomous argument with regards to the rights of potential parents.  Either it is the woman's unilateral and inalienable right to choose to become a parent, or that woman has absolutely no right to choose to become a parent.

The father has no role in that choice after the point of conception.  He is a mere bystander.

Let's just say, for argument's sake, that a couple of kids have some of the sex and the girl gets pregnant (as girls tend to do much more frequently than boys).

Under the current cultural understanding, the girl can decide, unilaterally, to have the child and then compel the boy to support that child for the next 18 years.

So, let's flip the argument.  Let's say, just for argument's sake, that the boy wanted to have the child and be a father, even a single father, but the girl did not.  Does this boy have a unilateral right to compel the girl to bear the child and pay support for the next 18 years?  Why, then is it OK for the girl to do the same to the boy?

Or, to look at the alternative scenario, what if the boy doesn't want to be a father and decides, unilaterally, that this pregnancy will be aborted without the input or consent from the mother?  Under the current cultural (and legal) understanding, this boy can be brought up on charges of murder in many states.

How is this equal protection under the laws?

The answer, of course, is that it isn't equal protection.  It's a clear double standard and a cultural blind spot.  And I suggest that the current dichotomous argument, and generally accepted norm that it is the woman's unilateral right to choose, is morally and logically incorrect.

Of COURSE the father should have input.  That's his child.  It is as much his flesh as it is hers, and assuming the child was conceived in a legal manner (not rape, of course) and not anonymously (as with in vitro), then that father has as much right to the child as the mother.  But if you take away the input, the responsibility for the decision, the right to be a party to the delivery and the birth, then you also take away the responsibility and expectation of fatherhood.  If he is to be relegated to bystander status in the decision to bring the child into the world, then there is no reason to expect him to be anything more than a bystander thereafter.

And that's bad for society.


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