[Today’s guest post by Adam Peters is part of our paid blogging program.]
Ever hear that consenting to sex doesn’t mean consenting to a baby? If you’re discussing abortion, then it’s likely to come up. When women invoke that principle, they’re often lauded for defending their “right to choose.” When a man does the same?
He’s a deadbeat.
Non-custodial parents (the overwhelming majority of whom are men) are expected to pay child support. This responsibility stands regardless of if a man used a condom or even if he only had sex on the condition that his partner would abort. When you point that out, expect to hear how child support requirements don’t compare to pregnancy because they don’t limit bodily autonomy or carry physical risks. Many are adamant when they insist this.
They’re also wrong.
The money to pay child support is typically earned using one’s body, and if you don’t come up with it, your body gets put in jail. Incarceration carries a serious risk of sexual assault and other forms of violence, something Rafael Solis’ family knows all about. Solis went into custody for failing to pay child support.
He didn’t come out.
But incarceration isn’t the only consequence of not paying child support. Some states will suspend your driver’s license or revoke other certifications as well. These things clearly impact autonomy, and they last for eighteen years, not nine months. Nevertheless, most people don’t see this as unjust: they understand that helping to create a child also creates a responsibility to support said child.
What doesn’t make sense? That this principle is only applied following birth.
Now, some will respond that a fetus is actually part of her or his mother’s body. It’s a claim Neurobiologist Dr. Kawaljeet Anand’s research doesn’t support: his work suggests a fetus can feel pain at twenty weeks. Neither does the fact that a preborn girl can be observed sucking her thumb at fifteen weeks. Her fingerprints were visible at twelve weeks and her heartbeat became detectable at six. Her unique DNA profile? That goes back to conception. Saying that one person has two neural systems, two hearts, two sets of fingerprints, and two DNA profiles just doesn’t hold up.
Of course, having a baby doesn’t mean having to raise one. People hoping to adopt outnumber available infants, and they aren’t hard to find: the website Adoption.com allows those who’ve been vetted by a licensed adoption agency to create a profile, and they can be searched by location, age, religion, or other factors.
However, children do come with some expectations. The most basic? You can’t kill them to keep from providing support. That shouldn’t just start at delivery.