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Feminism: Sex & gender discussions

Father's responsibilities

13 replies

splashymcsplash · 12/05/2012 23:40

This is related to views I saw on another thread here.

There seems to be a lot of mumsnetters (not a majority I hope) who think that it is ok for fathers to effectively 'disown' their children, if they do not want them. This is apparently because women have the option of abortion in this country, which men have no say in. This is apparently 'unfair' on these men, and single mothers should not claim child support in these situations, or expect any help in raising the child.

Am I the only one who thinks this view is quite frankly disgusting? Unfortunately it seems to accepted by society for men to walk away from their children, and I think it is views like this that just perpetuate the current situation.

Surely both parents are equally responsible for the creation of their children, so should be held equally responsible for their upbringing? I realise that you can't force fathers to parent, but you can force them to pay maintenance as a minimum.

OP posts:
Wheezo · 13/05/2012 00:17

I always feel this debate has a deep connection to contraception being viewed as a woman's responsibility and I relate that to both the 'freedom' and fetters that the pill gave us - because basically the advent of the pill (despite condoms having been around for years before then) reinforced the idea that women control fertility - when really, if a man does not wish to get anyone pregnant he absolutely has that control if he wishes to exert it.

VolkswagenBeetle · 13/05/2012 00:23

I agree with you, I think that type of attitude is disgusting and damaging! Sex is a 2 way street and even if you do use contraception (which is the responsibility of both genders IMO) there is still a risk. There should be a law which forces men to pay maintenance for their kids even if there is no contact. None of this shit where the mother has to go through the CSA and pursue it herself. It should be mandatory.

splashymcsplash · 14/05/2012 16:55

Thank you for your replies. I was interested in getting other opinions on this topic, but seeing as nobody else has replied I don't know if this is the best place for it. Can anyone offer opinions?

Maybe I have worded the title wrong/not expressed myself well, but what I am trying to say is that in the eyes of society both men and women should be held equally responsible for the children which they help create. Unfortunately this doesn't seem to be the case atm.

OP posts:
SuchProspects · 14/05/2012 17:17

I don't think you'll find much disagreement on that from a feminist perspective. Although I'm not sure society's attitude is all that related to women's access to abortion. Women don't actually have free access to abortion in the UK and men are still often given a free pass when they walk away after the baby is born, not just when they've denied wanting it from the start. The abortion thing is just something clung to to justify an underlying belief. If there was no abortion they'd be saying they should be able deny all responsibility because the woman could always give up the child for adoption.

Margerykemp · 14/05/2012 23:10

My DC's bio father walked away. This was supported by the women and men in his family/peer group.

Cos you know we can't have babies cramping a young guy's style Hmm

If my DS impregnates anyone and then walks I'll disown him.

SmellsLikeTeenStrop · 14/05/2012 23:26

They're presented as being two sides of a coin but they're not really. The right to 'disown' your own child is not the same as the right to have an abortion. One involves a real living child who is legally entitled to financial support from its father, the other involves foetal tissue and that has no rights.

Margery, similar thing happened to a uni friend, her DCs biological father ran away as soon as he found out she was pregnant, not only did his friends and family completely support him in this, they harassed the hell out her.

TheWomanFormerlyKnownAsSGM · 15/05/2012 11:36

I think men have too many opportunities in this country to abdicate all responsibility. They have rights with very few responsibilities where mothers have responsibilities and no rights; especially in cases of domestic violence where the man is allowed to continue harassing their former partner based on some stupid-arse theory that children benefit from hanging out with abusive men who don't give a shit about them.

MmBovary · 15/05/2012 12:53

I don't see the relation between having the right to have an abortion with avoiding parental responsibility once the child is born.

As it was said above, abortion is about terminating an embryo that could potentially develop into a baby. So could millions of sperms, but nobody questions the right to masturbation.

Once the child is born, the father should pay proportional maintenance for that child. If he didn't want a child, he should have worn a condom, or have a vasectomy. If he didn't do any of that, it is his responsibility as much a the mother's to provide support once the child is born.

If a woman has a child, whether wanted or unwanted, she's very likely to bear a great responsibility for the rest of her life towards that child (unless she gives him/her for adoption). I don't see why it should be different for men.

HoldMeCloserTonyDanza · 15/05/2012 13:28

A lot of people see the basis for the right to abortion as the right not to be a mother. But it's not. The desire to to be a mother might be the reason many women exercise their right to an abortion, but it's not the basis for that right.

The basis for the right is every human being's right to bodily integrity. Nobody should be forced to do something with their body they don't consent to. It's the same reason why a person can't be forced to donate a kidney or give blood. It's why if you agree to have sex with someone, and halfway through you decide you don't want to continue, the other person must stop or they are guilty of rape.

Men and women actually have equal rights with regard to continuing pregnancy. Each party has the right to end proceedings as long as they are physically involved. Men who believe otherwise do so because they believe women's bodies are not autonomous but rather tools to be used and controlled.

Men who would cut off child support for children they belatedly claim not to want do so out of greed. Nobody, incidentally, is forced to be a father or even a parent at all. Nobody can be compelled to spend time with children, care for them, cook them dinner, teach them to ride a bike. The only thing someone can be compelled to do is provide financial support. Which is almost always a tiny fraction relative to both the fathers salary and the actual cost of providing for the child.

There is a right to bodily integrity. There is no such thing as a right to wallet integrity.

Men who go on about this are at best morons who haven't thought it through and at worst greedy sexist shitbags.

SuchProspects · 15/05/2012 16:04

HoldMe while I agree that women should have the right to bodily integrity and that such a right ought to form a basis for a right to abortion, I don't think in the UK that is the case. In the UK access to abortion is conditional on (two) doctors agreeing the pregnancy and birth meet certain conditions laid out in law. I don't think any of the UK law that codifies abortion makes reference to a woman's right to bodily integrity.

TheWomanFormerlyKnownAsSGM · 15/05/2012 16:08

TD - that is a brilliant saying.

HoldMeCloserTonyDanza · 15/05/2012 19:12

Yes good point Such. I'm not actually British so I was thinking in more general terms.

samandi · 18/05/2012 12:48

In theory I agree with the concept of "financial abortions" where men give up their rights and responsibilities, so long as it is before a certain time period (early enough so the woman can have a termination if she chooses). In practice however I think it would be very difficult to make it workable and fair. I don't think it's "disgusting" though to not want a child when you have taken adequate contraceptive precautions.

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