Should men have to support children they father but don't want?

Men's rights group files suit to opt out of child support.


Katharine Mieszkowski
March 10, 2006 12:32AM (UTC)

Fathers should be allowed to opt out of child-support payments if they never wanted the baby to be born. That's the contention of the National Center for Men, which is bringing a lawsuit on behalf of 25-year-old computer programmer Matt Dubay of Saginaw, Mich. Dubay argues that he should have no responsibility to support the daughter whom he fathered because his ex-girlfriend told him she couldn't get pregnant as the result of a medical condition. Later, she decided to keep the baby, although he did not want it.

The group is calling the suit Roe v. Wade for Men. Yes, you read that right: Roe v. Wade for Men. Catchy, huh?

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But single moms shouldn't worry too much yet. "State courts have ruled in the past that any inequity experienced by men like Dubay is outweighed by society's interest in ensuring that children get financial support from two parents," the Associated Press reported. "Melanie Jacobs, a Michigan State University law professor, said the federal court might rule similarly in Dubay's case. 'The courts are trying to say it may not be so fair that this gentleman has to support a child he didn't want, but it's less fair to say society has to pay the support,' she said."

"Feit" -- that's Mel Feit, who runs the National Center for Men -- "however, says that the fatherhood opt-out wouldn't necessarily impose higher costs on society or the mother. A woman who balked at abortion but felt she couldn't afford to raise a child could put the baby up for adoption, he said."

This counterargument is nonsense unless society becomes able to force women who cannot afford to support their children to give them up for adoption or to have abortions, which ain't going to happen. I really can't wait until the no-new-taxes taxpayer groups get a load of this one.

Salon's Rebecca Traister will be reporting on this case for us, so stay tuned. In the meantime, we'd love to hear what you think about this issue.


Katharine Mieszkowski

Katharine Mieszkowski is a senior writer for Salon.

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