Last week there was a news article about a man in New Mexico who took out a billboard accusing his ex-girlfriend of having an abortion without his knowledge (pictured above). Let us agree to ignore the fact that this is a strange looking fellow and, judging by his means of announcing this to the world, doesn’t seem particularly bright. No. Let’s focus on the issues at hand, such as: 1) When a woman gets pregnant, is she obligated to tell the man? 2) Once informed, does the man’s opinion matter in her decision to keep the baby or not?
This billboard has also sparked a new debate about the limits of “free speech” and privacy rights. Actually, his girlfriend sued him, but I believe he will win because the billboard does not name the ex-girlfriend. In fact, had she not sued him no one outside of their friends would even know who she is. Furthermore, I think the Supreme Court’s
dumb decision earlier this year to allow the Westboro Baptist Church to protest at military funerals under the protection of Free Speech set the kind of precedent that will allow this type of billboard (and worse) to exist under the protection of law.
Specific to the questions I asked above, my opinion is that if a woman gets pregnant – and she knows who the father is – she should tell him. I say this because if a woman were pregnant by me, I would want to know. However, in real life, I have had more than one woman tell me that if she got pregnant she wouldn’t tell me. They had their various reasons but fortunately – well, as far as I know – these hypothetical situations never came to fruition.
Concerning my opinion on abortion, I’m not pro-choice or pro-life. That’s a decision – whether you like it or not – for your elected lawmakers to dictate. I would not pressure a woman to keep or get rid of a baby one way or the other. If she wants to talk about it, that’s fine, great even. I just don’t buy into the mindset that I have the right to tell a woman what to do or what not to do with her body for 9 months and if she decides to keep it, as opposed to giving the baby up for adoption or having an abortion, then that decision may affect her for the rest of her life. The impact it will have on me is relative; e.g. I have the option to: commit to her, pay child support, etc. This is different from the physical and possibly mental toll it will undoutedly take on her regardless of her decision.
I would hope that whenever I get a woman pregnant it would be someone I can see myself being with or at least someone I can stand having in my life for a minimum of 18 years. On the other hand, I know “sh*t happens,” which is why I try to minimize placing my [Richard] in women I don’t like.
This story brought up an interesting discussion on a talk radio show I frequently listen to from a perspective I had really only passively considered. The host, a woman, pointed out that while a woman can choose to keep the baby or not the man has absolutely no (legally defensible) choice in deciding if he wants to pay child support or not. In other words, if he wants to have the baby but the woman does not she can have an abortion without his consent. Conversely, if he does not want to have a baby, the woman can still have the child and legally force him to pay 18 years of child support despite the fact that he clearly stated from the beginning that he did not want a child.
What are your thoughts? Is a woman obligated to inform the man she’s pregnant by? After informing him, is the final decision up to the woman about whether or not she keeps the baby (versus an abortion/adoption)? Should the man have any say? Beyond the legalese, in your opinion, should a man be forced to pay child support regardless of if he stated from the beginning he did not want to have kids?
Remember boys and girls, it may take two to tango but it only takes one to have a baby. Wrap it up, b. WRAP. IT. UP.