Some people may wonder where these two subjects could possibly intersect. I sympathize with their confusion and will labor to alleviate it as much as my meager ability will allow. There are, I’m sure, many other people who need no explanation at all about the relationship between these two topics, but I invite them to continue reading in the hope they might find a whetstone for the mind.
According to the US Census Bureau over a quarter of all American children under the age of 21 live in single parent households, amounting to about 20 million kids. This number alone implies a serious series of systemic and cultural problems within American society that I will save for another day. Of those 20m, 83% or roughly 17 million live with their mother, leaving 17%, or 3 million, living with their dad.
These numbers indicate, rather starkly, an obvious preference on part of our system for a child’s mother over their father. A valid explanation for some of the difference is that one would expect a higher percentage of children to remain with their mother after the parents separate. Some children might prefer one parent over the other, and amiable parents would consider the child’s preference. Many fathers, believing the child would be better off, might willingly support the child staying with the mother, and some people just should never have kids period. There are many valid reasons to expect a disparity in the numbers favoring the mother.
However, anyone who believes that a chasm as wide as these numbers represent is due to only those valid reasons and nothing else, might consider not reading any further. There is no argument or logical appeal that can transform an idiot into an intellectual, or a liar into a philosopher. If this applies to you, pick a category, because you are either one, or the other.
The only other possible explanation is ignorance. You may be a product of the American Public Education system and if that’s the case, you have my apology and my sympathy. It’s time to educate yourself, because those responsible for your education have failed you, purposefully, because ignorant people are easier to control. In fact, calling it ignorance is being generous. It would be more accurate to say indoctrinated. Too harsh a word? Been to a college campus lately? Another topic to untangle at another time.
My argument proceeds understanding that this bias in favor of women in American Domestic Courts is firmly established. There is ample opportunity to do independent research on the facts for yourselves, but here is one example from Science Daily.
The vast majority of these fathers are required to pay child support or face incarceration. No, I am not arguing that father’s shouldn’t pay child support. What I am arguing for is inscribed in stone above the door to The US Supreme Court.
Equal Justice Under The Law
This is where a woman’s right to choose comes into the frame. Roe v Wade is the law of the land and has been for almost half a century. And no matter what your opinion on that may be, the fact is that the decision of whether or not to bring a child into this world belongs solely to women. Although as far as I know, conception still requires some participation from a man, at some point.
The child, if not aborted, will have half it’s DNA from the man. And yet, still, he is allowed no power to determine, once an egg has been fertilized, whether he’ll be a father or not. That decision, whether or not he will be made responsible for the care of a child for at least the next 18 years, is made for him, by the woman, and the state. Furthermore, If a man earnestly desires to lay down this responsibility, he must first get the approval of both the mother and the court. The woman may unilaterally lay down this responsibility if she chooses, with no meaningful obstacle to stop her. But the man cannot even choose to relinquish his parental rights and maintain his autonomy without the consent of the woman.
Equal Justice Under The Law
Therefore, it would be reasonable to envision a scenario whereby a man who may or may not want to be a father is;
A. Forbidden from exercising any agency or right to self-determination in his becoming a father to begin with, and…
B. Further denied the ability to decide for himself if he will or will not become financially liable for the next 2 decades.
There is one final obvious contradiction that must be addressed. In a free society governed by the rule of law, rights are, and must needs be, irrevocably wedded to their corresponding responsibilities and consequences. This is an immutable truth in a free society. Without this connection, rights loose all meaning and would soon be meaningfully lost. For example, we have the right to keep and bear arms, and if we leave our weapon unattended and someone is injured or killed, we are held responsible for our negligence. This is a cornerstone principle in any democratic system.
The woman has the sole right to choose what happens with her body. Therefore she must, by precedent in the law, by logic and by simple common sense, be held solely responsible for all the decisions she makes for her body and the consequences of those decisions. Including the decision to use birth control, or to have sex, or have an abortion and yes, whether to make a financial obligation on the magnitude of becoming a parent, and she must do this… alone.
If the man had the same right of self determination the woman has, then the responsibility would justly fall on them both. The simple, unavoidable truth, however, is that he doesn’t. It is inequitable, it is unfair and it is unjust, and a unjust law, is no law at all. (Aquinas)
My call to action is not to relieve men of the duty owed to their children. I have 6 of my own and yes, I have been paying court ordered support for 25 years. There have been times I have fallen behind and had to catch up, not because I don’t love my kids, but because life is difficult, and becoming increasingly so. My call is for parity.
The system is unequal, and incentivizes divorce and separation and it’s the kids that suffer the most. Another topic I’m familiar with. I come from a broken home myself.
If women had to face the possibility of raising and supporting a child alone, which too many already do, then perhaps that might serve to increase the use of birth control and decrease the number of abortions. I don’t believe any sane person would argue that if we could reduce the number of abortions without touching Roe v Wade, that we shouldn’t try. Perhaps it would motivate parents to work harder at their relationships, rather than give up. Maybe there would be less divorce, less single parent homes, and fewer heartbroken and forever incomplete kids out there, angry at the world, angry all the time, but too young to understand why.
p.s. Deadbeat moms have a higher percentage of unpaid child support. Google it if you don’t believe me. Maybe we stop using that term. After all, people fail at life for lots of different reasons. Shouldn’t judge others, it’s not nice.