Woman advocates for legal document to let men ‘opt out’ of parenthood

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Woman advocates for legal document to let men 'opt out' of parenthood



A woman on Mumsnet bought out an old argument about whether men should have paternal rights of rejection (Picture: Mumsnet/Getty)A woman has posted on Mumsnet saying she sympathises with men who want no involvement in unwanted pregnancies.
Claiming that women can opt out by having an abortion or the morning after pill, the poster lamented that men don’t have any choice but to accept the pregnant woman’s decision.
She said a legal option should be available for such men pointing out that he has no desire to be a part of the child’s life in any way, will not ever be able to seek any type of access, and will not pay money.
The woman used an example of her friend who has had a baby with a man who chose not to be involved but then went back on his decision.
‘Now, I know a lot of women on Mumsnet like to say that if a man doesn’t want a child then he shouldn’t have sex or should use contraception,’ she wrote.
‘But I believe in total equality between the sexes and feel that this is unfair.
‘Two people choose to have sex, two people choose whether or not to use contraception, but only one person can decide whether or not they will keep a child if an accident does happen.’

‘Is it fair for a woman to force a child (or the responsibilities that come from having a child, like maintenance) onto a man?’ (Picture: Mumsnet)But users on Mumsnet disagreed with the sentiments claiming that men who don’t want to have children should use contraception properly and be more careful.
By having sex and climaxing, they’re opening themselves up to the possibility of children, argued commenters.
‘I know so many people whose lives are made miserable by constantly battling men for money for their child, or by trying to encourage contact between their child and a man who just isn’t interested,’ the poster continued.
‘Wouldn’t it save the mother and the child both significant stress and heartache if they can live their lives without these battles?
‘Surely knowing where you stand from the very start will stop all the disappointment and the emotional rollercoaster and stress that so many people experience?’
And is it fair for a woman to force a child (or the responsibilities that come from having a child, like maintenance) onto a man who knows immediately that he doesn’t want a child?’
The woman argued that this system would stop ‘deadbeat dads’ and allow single mums to prepare for children.
There should be some rules in place to regulate the agreement, she argued, like having a cut off date (i.e before the baby is born) and a no-deal where the mum can prove that pregnancy was planned.

The woman argued that this system would stop ‘deadbeat dads’ and allow single mums to prepare for children (Picture: Mumsnet)Mumsnet users disagreed though, saying: ‘Not interested in arguing for the rights of deadbeat dads to be even more deadbeat, whether or not it’s dressed up as equality. Nope.’
‘This is stupid and misogynistic,’ said another. ‘Women get to terminate pregnancies because it’s wrong to force anyone to bear children they don’t want.
‘The fact that it is not men bearing children (and accepting the consequent physical, emotional, social and financial costs of pregnancy) is NOT a disadvantage to men.
‘If men don’t want children they can abstain from sex, use condoms or have a vasectomy. That is the point where they get to opt out.’

What does the law say?

While there is no precedent in the UK or any rules for paternal rights to rejection, there have been cases made around the world for men to opt out of fatherhood.
The Swedish Liberal Party famously argued in 2016 that before the 18th week of pregnancy, men could sign up for a ‘legal abortion’.
The Youth wing of the party believed men should be given the right to opt out of parenthood, absolving them of all responsibility for bringing up the child.
The controversial argument was thwarted after heavy critcism towards the group who previously advocated for incest between consenting adults and for necrophilia in cases where the deceased had given prior permission before death.
In the U.S, in the case of Matt Dubay versus Lauren Wells who became pregnant after dating for a few months, he was unable to opt out of paying child support.
He had argued that prior to pregnancy, he had stipulated no interest in having children and was told by Wells that she was infertile and was still using contraception.
When she became pregnant after breaking up, Dubay took Wells to court, eventually losing the case in 2006.
Men’s rights group the National Center for Men dubbed the case ‘Roe v Wade for men’, drawing comparisons to the landmark case in America which gave women reproductive rights.
Since Dubay V Wells, there haven’t been similar cases, though the concept of a ‘financial abortion’ has been floating around since 1998, absolving the father of monetary responsibility.
But critics have said there’s false equivalency in a woman’s right to abortion and a man’s right to reject fatherhood.
Writing in the Yale Journal of Law and Feminism, Susan Appleton, a professor at the Washington University School of Law said: ‘Dubay made the choice to engage in heterosexual intercourse without using contraception himself; he assumed the risk of becoming a parent when he ejaculated.’

What are your thoughts?
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