Relationships and Unplanned Parenthood

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setzer777
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Relationships and Unplanned Parenthood

Postby setzer777 » Thu Nov 19, 2009 8:36 pm UTC

I was reading a debate recently that's made me thing hard about some things:

Suppose you are in a relationship, your partner becomes pregnant unexpectedly, and decides to keep the child. Suppose also that you don't want children (either never, or not at this point in your life). What is a decent person to do? I mean, if it happened to me I would certainly try to support the child how I could (including financially), but I don't know if I could stay in the relationship and share full custody. I'd want to be there for my partner, and I'd know that the child's needs are critical, but I don't know if I'd be willing to restructure my entire life to traditional parenthood (by which I mean being in an exclusive relationship with the mother, living together, and sharing full custody of the child). But would that be the right thing to do? And if someone wouldn't be willing to do that, does that mean they shouldn't be in a relationship at all?


Thread merge ("Maternal Rights vs. Paternal Rights") as of here.
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Re: Relationships and Unplanned Parenthood

Postby nowfocus » Thu Nov 19, 2009 8:49 pm UTC

Well the first thing is to avoid this situation in the first place, but putting that aside:

To me it largely depends on the conversations before the pregnancy. If you've had a conversation where you've made it clear that you don't want children, and where she's said she'd abort any unexpected child, then I don't think you have a moral obligation. It would be her decision to bring the child into the world, and her decision to raise it alone.

I think any other moral/legal obligation would lead to blatant exploitation.
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Re: Relationships and Unplanned Parenthood

Postby spiderham » Thu Nov 19, 2009 9:29 pm UTC

setzer777 wrote:I was reading a debate recently that's made me thing hard about some things:

Suppose you are in a relationship, your partner becomes pregnant unexpectedly, and decides to keep the child. Suppose also that you don't want children (either never, or not at this point in your life). What is a decent person to do? .... And if someone wouldn't be willing to do that, does that mean they shouldn't be in a relationship at all?


So the decent person would try to fake it day to day and try to make the kid believe he wanted to have a family? That doesn't sound plausible. Neither does renouncing relationships because one might accidentally product a child.

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Re: Relationships and Unplanned Parenthood

Postby Azrael » Thu Nov 19, 2009 9:35 pm UTC

It seems like you've (unintentionally?) prefaced the question with the belief that the 'correct' way to raise a child is within 'traditional parenthood'. If you accept that non-traditional parenthood is equally correct, then they have moral equivalency.

setzer777 wrote:traditional parenthood (by which I mean being in an exclusive relationship with the mother, living together, and sharing full custody of the child).

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Re: Relationships and Unplanned Parenthood

Postby General_Norris » Thu Nov 19, 2009 9:44 pm UTC

I don't think your DNA being part of a baby makes you responsible of it. This is the most important part.

First of all, I assume that not saying anything about kids means you don't want them or that you don't want them now, it would be pressuming consent for something quite life-changing. Also if the girl is pregnant she must have gotten that sperm somewhere so if you didn't want kids you used some kind of protection. This also begs the question of how she got pregnant.
Spoiler:
There's the possibility of a failure of the protection used. This is incredibly rare because it can only happen with the pill (You will notice the condom leaking if it breaks) and it's really safe.

There's the posibility of the woman lying about taking the pill. It's really harsh but it's not unheard of, in fact, it's much, much more probable she is lying about taking the pill or she forgot about it than it failing. Be cautious, and always check she takes it. You may think it's wrong because you are "betraying her trust" but I prefer to be on the cautious side. If it happens and you are a man you will live a living hell for the rest of your life, no kidding here.


Also consider that she wants to keep the baby, which means she is not going to give it into adoption. She wants that child but she shouldn't force you to have that kid if you don't want to. "Well, you didn't want it but now, I'm keeping it and you are going to be with me forever" is very abusive.

I'm not even talking about abortion. She can give her baby away into adoption so she is forcing the man to keep a baby even if she knows it's selfish.

And this is very harsh but the law is very biased so great precaution is needed. If a woman sleeps with a man and lies about the pill she will get to keep the baby, a huge part of his money (Like a full salary) and he will have his reputation permanently tained aside from several emotional problems. The law thinks he is being selfish for not taking care of his unwanted child. Do you imagine telling a judge? But I don't want th baby? Man you are dead if you do that. And if you say otherwise you will still be on the short end of the stick.

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Re: Relationships and Unplanned Parenthood

Postby DSenette » Thu Nov 19, 2009 9:46 pm UTC

two people who stay in a relationship just because there's a child involved (planned or otherwise) aren't doing ANYONE any favors....in general both of the people in the relationship will be miserable, and the child(ren) WILL be able to figure out this fact sooner than you think.

a lot* of the social/psychological damage that people cite as being related to/caused by coming from a "broken home" (i think that's kind of a stupid term) are more related to the anger/mistrust/or general misery that the parents forced themselves to endure "for the sake of the child". If the parents of these children had been able to realize much earlier in the process that they would both be much happier and much better parents as separate entities as opposed to couple, they would have been able to reduce the stress on the child and created a much better life/environment for all involved.

*Yes some of the damage comes from the child's inability to understand why mommy and daddy don't love each other any more, or from perceived guilt from their assumption that the break up was their fault. but more often than not, this damage is repairable where as the damage from the other issues isn't

that said..it's not always financially feasible to completely separate after the birth of a child. so you kind of have to take it as it comes i guess
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Re: Relationships and Unplanned Parenthood

Postby guenther » Thu Nov 19, 2009 9:50 pm UTC

I think the right thing to do is to feel that half of the responsibility of that kid is yours. If you don't, then that's deciding your own convenience is more important than the kid's future. Plus I think raising kids is a great maturing experience.

As for sticking with the mom, that's a completely different issue. I personally think it would be worth trying really hard to make it work. But raising a kid adds a lot of stress, and if two people are completely dysfunctional together, then it's probably better for the kid for the parents to be apart.

If there's an agreement ahead of time that absolves you of any responsibility for any kids, then you should be legally free and clear to walk away. Though if it's just a spoken word agreement, then it's a "he said"/"she said" and it's up to the judge.

And finally, if the mom is happy to let you off the hook, then fine. If she's willing to shoulder the extra burden, you're happy to let it happen, then so be it.
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Re: Relationships and Unplanned Parenthood

Postby DSenette » Thu Nov 19, 2009 10:01 pm UTC

If there's an agreement ahead of time that absolves you of any responsibility for any kids, then you should be legally free and clear to walk away. Though if it's just a spoken word agreement, then it's a "he said"/"she said" and it's up to the judge.
actually...you could have a written contract that absolves you from all responsibility for any possible future unplanned children and a child support court can STILL order you to pay child support. Child protection laws and child support proceedings are REALLY complex and they've got a lot of leeway as to following "rules". If the child support court rules something is in the child's best interest then it's what gets done (or at least what gets ordered) and you'd have a LONG legal battle ahead of you trying to overturn any of their rulings
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Re: Relationships and Unplanned Parenthood

Postby setzer777 » Thu Nov 19, 2009 10:20 pm UTC

Good points everyone. A few clarifying remarks:

I'm more interested in what ya'll consider the moral responsibilities to be rather than the legal responsibilities.

A few have mentioned how having two dysfunctional parents living together is worse than having separated parents. For the hypothetical, let's suppose that the relationship isn't (apparently) dysfunctional, it is just early enough (before the pregnancy) that the partners aren't ready to live together. The only serious issue in this hypothetical relationship is the fact that one partner doesn't desire children and one partner chooses to keep a child.

Azrael: Good point about assuming that traditional parenthood (i.e. living together) is the "correct" way to raise a child? It might not be.
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Re: Relationships and Unplanned Parenthood

Postby spiderham » Thu Nov 19, 2009 11:00 pm UTC

But you could create a dysfunctional situation. It might be best if you stay aloof and offer only financial support. Your moral obligation to the child is to decide what you can genuinely offer with some stability. You have to decide what you mean when you say "I don't want children".

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Re: Relationships and Unplanned Parenthood

Postby Azrael » Thu Nov 19, 2009 11:17 pm UTC

setzer777 wrote:Azrael: Good point about assuming that traditional parenthood (i.e. living together) is the "correct" way to raise a child? It might not be.
It might not be the *only* 'correct' way -- and until you establish that it is 'right', you can't make a value statement that variances are 'wrong'.

Unfortunately, I was not able to find studies, or references to studies, indicating how two mutually amicable but separated parents fare statistically as parents (everything I could find regarded divorce, which is not the case proposed here of separation before birth). But, it can be scientifically demonstrated that gay parents do not have an adverse effect on the children they raise -- thereby demonstrating that 'traditional' marriage is not the only correct way to raise children. So to short circuit the entire argument: The initial premise is flawed, so no moral judgments can be made in relation to it.

So: Is not 'traditionally' marrying the other parent of your unexpected progeny moral? More information is required in order to make a value statement*

* Contingent on both parents helping to support and rear the child. Otherwise, see various opinions regarding abandonment. (Also note my word choice in regards to my own feelings)

Also: It would be interesting to remove the male point of view from the argument: Is it moral for the mother to decide not to marry the father? I would suspect very few people could rationally support saying that her only moral recourse is marriage, outside of religious dictates.

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Re: Relationships and Unplanned Parenthood

Postby setzer777 » Thu Nov 19, 2009 11:21 pm UTC

Azrael wrote:
setzer777 wrote:Azrael: Good point about assuming that traditional parenthood (i.e. living together) is the "correct" way to raise a child? It might not be.
It might not be the *only* 'correct' way -- and until you establish that it is 'right', you can't make a value statement that variances are 'wrong'.

Unfortunately, I was not able to find studies, or references to studies, indicating how two mutually amicable but separated parents fare statistically as parents (everything I could find regarded divorce, which is not the case proposed here of separation before birth). But, it can be scientifically demonstrated that gay parents do not have an adverse effect on the children they raise -- thereby demonstrating that 'traditional' marriage is not the only correct way to raise children. So to short circuit the entire argument: The initial premise is flawed, so no moral judgments can be made in relation to it.

So: Is not 'traditionally' marrying the mother of your unexpected progeny moral? More information required*

* Provided you help support and rear the child. Otherwise, see various opinions regarding abandonment. (Also note my word choice in regards to my own feelings)


Do you think that you should be as big a part of the child's life as the partner who chose to have it (in terms of time, I mean)? Or is it morally acceptable to offer financial support + partial custody?
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Re: Relationships and Unplanned Parenthood

Postby Azrael » Thu Nov 19, 2009 11:27 pm UTC

What I believe is irrelevant to my argument -- that the morality of that specific scenario is currently impossible to define (see the lack of data referenced above).

What can be demonstrated (and thus, judged per my beliefs) by hard data is that the difficulty (and net effect) of raising a child by only a single parent is significantly increased. Here a moral judgment can be made -- it is wrong to abandon (note that word again) your child completely.

Willfully creating the cases* that fall in between (by various degrees of separation) that and the proposed situation can, to my view, be judged as falling on a continual spectrum between 'wrong' and 'inconclusive'

Mind you, my entire point is that what's 'best' is currently inconclusive as well.


*And here's where the first consequence of male perspective happens: I'm judging it wrong to force the mother to be a single parent. But I would never judge it wrong of a mother to decide to be one. I told you it would get interesting.

EDIT: Oh there it is, I'm assuming the single parent is the mother. Shit, my bad. Anyhow, it all fall outs if you make the statement that it's immoral to abandon your child, but that the parent with custody can refuse your involvement.

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Re: Relationships and Unplanned Parenthood

Postby setzer777 » Fri Nov 20, 2009 12:07 am UTC

Incidentally, I've realized a way to make this scenario gender neutral. If a woman gets pregnant, and she and her partner agree to give the child up for adoption after birth, but then one of them changes their mind when it's too late to abort.
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Re: Relationships and Unplanned Parenthood

Postby spiderham » Fri Nov 20, 2009 1:27 am UTC

Azrael wrote:
*And here's where the first consequence of male perspective happens: I'm judging it wrong to force the mother to be a single parent. But I would never judge it wrong of a mother to decide to be one. I told you it would get interesting.

EDIT: Oh there it is, I'm assuming the single parent is the mother. Shit, my bad. Anyhow, it all fall outs if you make the statement that it's immoral to abandon your child, but that the parent with custody can refuse your involvement.


What about paternal rights? Shouldn't they exist? If one parent is primary caretaker, shouldn't the other have visitation rights and the right to form some kind of bond?

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Re: Relationships and Unplanned Parenthood

Postby Kyrn » Fri Nov 20, 2009 1:45 am UTC

And another method of how unplanned parenthood can happen without warning: when you happen to inherit custody for whatever reason (so a male can technically fall into this situation). So discounting that..

a) If you were in any way involved with the child, there's at least some obligation. Meaning the female (in the case of unplanned parenthood), or either partner (in the case of any sort of inherited custody).
b) If it was due to unplanned pregnancy on your part (or any action/situation on your part), one has to have some accountability. In my view, it would be similar to the obligations (and rights) after a marriage and divorce, but without the marriage/divorce procedures. This is regardless of whether the relationship lasts.
c) If it wasn't due to any fault of your own (including unplanned pregnancy), one can technically be unaccountable, however, unless you have a REALLY understanding partner, I do not think the relationship would last.
d) If you don't want any chance of this happening, unfortunately, one should probably not consider vaginal sex. Especially since it's known that there is NO 100% safe easy contraceptive method.

Another way to look at it; If your partner choose to babysit his/her nephew/niece for the X period of time, do you/should you have any obligation? (and if the reason why the babysitting was done was somehow related to your actions, one still should have some accountability).
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Re: Relationships and Unplanned Parenthood

Postby Le1bn1z » Fri Nov 20, 2009 6:33 am UTC

setzer777 wrote:I was reading a debate recently that's made me thing hard about some things:

Suppose you are in a relationship, your partner becomes pregnant unexpectedly, and decides to keep the child. Suppose also that you don't want children (either never, or not at this point in your life). What is a decent person to do? I mean, if it happened to me I would certainly try to support the child how I could (including financially), but I don't know if I could stay in the relationship and share full custody. I'd want to be there for my partner, and I'd know that the child's needs are critical, but I don't know if I'd be willing to restructure my entire life to traditional parenthood (by which I mean being in an exclusive relationship with the mother, living together, and sharing full custody of the child). But would that be the right thing to do? And if someone wouldn't be willing to do that, does that mean they shouldn't be in a relationship at all?



Call me old school, but I've always found the argument "oooeeehhhhh... but I don't WANT to be a daddy" to be incredibly vapid and, in fact, rather malicious.

Only a fool would assume that a child's needs are strictly material. A child needs parents who are there for him or her, to teach, comfort, guide and support. This is the primary responsibility of any parent.

The excuse that "oh, well I didn't want a kid" is absurd in 99% of all cases, and 100% of all cases for fathers. People don't "fall pregnant," as one Aussie friend insists on saying. Sex a conscious act and, except in cases of rape (a whole other can of worms), requires (at least) two consenting partners. Babies are a common consequence of sex. So, if you don't want babies.....

In the end the minimum requirement, technically, to not being a psychopath is realising that the world doesn't revolve around you. So being a dad will be tough on you and stop you from following a laundry list of plans, you say? Tough noogies, babe. If you bring a kid into the world, you're the one who has to be there for it. You really should try to make it work with the other parent, for his/her sake and yours as much as for the kid, but no matter what, you've got to be there for the child.

In the end, the arguments against sticking with one's kid or advocating a culture of "absentee parenthood" is one of the best examples of an upper-class ethic that has had disasterous results for broader society. A famed psychiatrist working in the British slums and prisons, Anthony Daniels (a.k.a. Theodore Dalrymple) reported that many of the worst abuses in British society stem from fathers abandoning their parteners when a kid comes along, and mothers skipping from partener to partener, popping out kids from multiple parteners whom they are unable to support in just about any capacity. These kids are tremendously more likely than average to end up involved in criminal activities and have poor prospects.

It's one thing for this culture to prevail among people who can afford to hire what are effectively surrogate parents (private schools with rich after-school programs, summer camps, soccer teams and a nanny or two), but for the rest of the world, this ethic has proven disasterous. It has resulted in a popular psychopathic social pathology where people are encouraged to believe that their plans for self amusment (I want to travel, to go to clubs, to hook up with more people) are far more important that raising the child they brought into the world. It's sick, it's dangerous and I don't know how anyone could say with a straight face that its the right thing to do.
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Re: Relationships and Unplanned Parenthood

Postby Azrael » Fri Nov 20, 2009 12:43 pm UTC

spiderham wrote:
Azrael wrote:Anyhow, it all fall outs if you make the statement that it's immoral to abandon your child, but that the parent with custody can refuse your involvement.
What about paternal rights? Shouldn't they exist? If one parent is primary caretaker, shouldn't the other have visitation rights and the right to form some kind of bond?

Isn't the entire discussion revolving around one parent not wanting to be involved?

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Re: Relationships and Unplanned Parenthood

Postby General_Norris » Fri Nov 20, 2009 1:06 pm UTC

Le1bn1z wrote:The excuse that "oh, well I didn't want a kid" is absurd in 99% of all cases, and 100% of all cases for fathers. People don't "fall pregnant," as one Aussie friend insists on saying. Sex a conscious act and, except in cases of rape (a whole other can of worms), requires (at least) two consenting partners. Babies are a common consequence of sex. So, if you don't want babies.....


So if I lie to you and "forget" to use the pill you deserve it because you had sex with me in the first place? Are you arguing that you should only have sex if you want to have babies? Bullshit. That would be like saying "well, you would not get killed in an accident if you didn't take the car". And the probabilities of a condom and a pill failing are so minuscle it would be laughable to think you can actually get pregnant or that you deserve this because you had sex.

Also, your post is full of strawman. You can give your child into adoption, yes? So any sentimentalist "but the kid's life will be destroyed because you didn't want to take care of it!!!" makes no sense.

In fact, even if it was a mutual mistake the girl can choose between abortion, adoption and keeping it herself. The man is not to blame because she wants to keep it when there are other options. The girl is being selfish here because she can give the baby into adoption or take care of the baby herself, there's no need to drag the man into this. Welfare of the baby is no excuse. Hell, if the dad didn't want the baby in the first place you are harming both him and the baby if you force him to take care of it.

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Re: Relationships and Unplanned Parenthood

Postby spiderham » Fri Nov 20, 2009 1:34 pm UTC

Azrael wrote:
spiderham wrote:
Azrael wrote:Anyhow, it all fall outs if you make the statement that it's immoral to abandon your child, but that the parent with custody can refuse your involvement.
What about paternal rights? Shouldn't they exist? If one parent is primary caretaker, shouldn't the other have visitation rights and the right to form some kind of bond?

Isn't the entire discussion revolving around one parent not wanting to be involved?


I misread your post (but it was too late to delete mine) I thought you were saying it was OK for the parent with custody to deny involvement.

Anyway, I think there is a wisdom behind traditional rules of marriage and child-rearing in that the rules of involvement are clear. If the focus of the concern is what's best for the child, and experts agree that stability and consistency are important, then the best choice might be all or nothing: either join the family or give financial support and stay aloof like a person who gave up the child for adoption.

In fact, I'm having a problem distinguishing why this person's situation is any different than that of someone who gives up an infant for adoption.
Last edited by spiderham on Fri Nov 20, 2009 1:41 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Relationships and Unplanned Parenthood

Postby guenther » Fri Nov 20, 2009 1:40 pm UTC

General_Norris wrote:Also, your post is full of strawman. You can give your child into adoption, yes? So any sentimentalist "but the kid's life will be destroyed because you didn't want to take care of it!!!" makes no sense.

In my opinion, the dad has half of the responsibility. If he can successfully transfer that responsibility to someone who's willing to take it (e.g. adoption, mom's happy to take full custody, etc.), then done deal. (EDIT: Though it still might be a selfish action.)

General_Norris wrote:Hell, if the dad didn't want the baby in the first place you are harming both him and the baby if you force him to take care of it.

This is a conflation. "What should you do" and "What should I do if you don't do it" are very different issues. To think the dad should own up to the responsibility doesn't mean endorsing forcefully chaining him to the kid. In this case, I think it should be made clear to him what the right thing to do is, but there's a point where you have to let him just walk away if chooses. (Of course financially he can't just call it quits if no one else is willing to cough up the money.)
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Re: Relationships and Unplanned Parenthood

Postby Azrael » Fri Nov 20, 2009 1:48 pm UTC

spiderham wrote:Anyway, I think there is a wisdom behind traditional rules of marriage an child-rearing in that the rules of involvement are clear. If the focus of the concern is what's best for the child, and experts agree that stability and consistency are important, then the best choice might be all or nothing...

Except that traditional marriage does not guarantee stability, consistency or good parenting, especially if the two individuals don't start the relationship entirely willingly. We're all aware of what 'broken homes' are and it's almost universally understood that the 'good' of staying together 'for the sake of the child' can easily be invalidated if the parents are constantly in conflict with one another.

Nor are stability, consistency and good parenting necessarily excluded from shared custody -- it's the upheaval of the divorce process that has been shown to be disruptive, and this situation lacks that. Furthermore, as linked above, other stable, consistent households can be shown to have no negative influence.

As for the rules of engagement, they are only clear in 'traditional' marriage if you invoke the 1950's style Suzie Homemaker meme. Modern households that still have a husband and wife rearing children run the gamut of divisions of responsibility that are far from traditional, uniform or clear.

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Re: Relationships and Unplanned Parenthood

Postby spiderham » Fri Nov 20, 2009 2:40 pm UTC

All true. But there still remains the question, what choice should the parent make: stay aloof like a parent who gives the kid up for adoption or find a "third way"?

I don't think this quote gives enough info.

and I'd know that the child's needs are critical, but I don't know if I'd be willing to restructure my entire life to traditional parenthood (by which I mean being in an exclusive relationship with the mother, living together, and sharing full custody of the child).

How are things that cause tension in "traditional" families going to be resolved? Like career changes and relocating? The problem I have with this quote is that it's vague in a place where it needs to be frontally addressed. Don't we agree that before deciding to establish a parental bond with a child, there must be some kind of commitment by the parent to restructure his entire life to something? And isn't there a moral obligation to define what that is before the kid is born?

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Re: Relationships and Unplanned Parenthood

Postby Izawwlgood » Fri Nov 20, 2009 2:59 pm UTC

The law sides with mothers, and one could maybe possibly sort of say, children, in this case simply because of how many deadbeat dads there are out there. Unfortunately, that does rope unwitting dads into the mess as well. Frankly, you don't have much of a choice as a male in this situation; you will pay for that child. As to whether or not you want to be part of that childs life, the law doesn't really side with you either. Either the mother accept this emotional investment and lets you, or undertakes legal measures to make sure you have limited visitation rights. This is all obvious, somewhat shitty, but basically just the repercussions of one of the risks of sex. The alternatives (letting unwilling fathers off the hook) are frankly much worse, so this IS the best solution.

Le1bn1z wrote:Call me old school, but I've always found the argument "oooeeehhhhh... but I don't WANT to be a daddy" to be incredibly vapid and, in fact, rather malicious.

Only a fool would assume that a child's needs are strictly material. A child needs parents who are there for him or her, to teach, comfort, guide and support. This is the primary responsibility of any parent.

The excuse that "oh, well I didn't want a kid" is absurd in 99% of all cases, and 100% of all cases for fathers. People don't "fall pregnant," as one Aussie friend insists on saying. Sex a conscious act and, except in cases of rape (a whole other can of worms), requires (at least) two consenting partners. Babies are a common consequence of sex. So, if you don't want babies.....

In the end the minimum requirement, technically, to not being a psychopath is realising that the world doesn't revolve around you. So being a dad will be tough on you and stop you from following a laundry list of plans, you say? Tough noogies, babe. If you bring a kid into the world, you're the one who has to be there for it. You really should try to make it work with the other parent, for his/her sake and yours as much as for the kid, but no matter what, you've got to be there for the child.


You make me very, very angry. To claim that "Too bad, you fuck you lose!", or even the above bolded, represents a patently stupid perspective on the matter. I have lots and lots of sex, and I distinctly don't want a kid right now. It isn't absurd at all. As for the willingness to completely alter your life because of a misunderstanding between you and the person you are having sex with (which is what the OP said), yes, I would be furious, hurt, and feel betrayed.
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Re: Relationships and Unplanned Parenthood

Postby General_Norris » Fri Nov 20, 2009 3:04 pm UTC

guenter wrote:(Of course financially he can't just call it quits if no one else is willing to cough up the money.)


And why? He never said he wanted a kid so it's the decision of the girl to give it in adoption or to raise it alone. Why should he take care of it IF THE GIRL DECIDES TO KEEP IT? That's the important part. The girl is forcing the man to pay because she wants to raise the baby.

Why should the man pay? The girl is the one who wants to keep the child, she is the one who should pay. She is the one who choose to keep the child instead of aborting or giving it into abortion.

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Re: Relationships and Unplanned Parenthood

Postby setzer777 » Fri Nov 20, 2009 3:26 pm UTC

spiderham wrote:Anyway, I think there is a wisdom behind traditional rules of marriage and child-rearing in that the rules of involvement are clear. If the focus of the concern is what's best for the child, and experts agree that stability and consistency are important, then the best choice might be all or nothing: either join the family or give financial support and stay aloof like a person who gave up the child for adoption.


Just to clarify: how much are you including in "traditional rules of marriage?". For a lot of them I can see the logic (involvement in the child's life from both parents being a good thing), but the one I have a big issue with is the idea that the parents are morally obligated to maintain a romantic relationship with each other. I think that sexual/romantic relationships should not be based on pressure or obligation (and is it really that important to a child that its parents have sex with each other?) The only other "traditional marriage" approach I know of is to stay in a non-romantic, non-sexual relationship with your partner that still prohibits you from forming romantic or sexual relationships with other people.
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Re: Relationships and Unplanned Parenthood

Postby Izawwlgood » Fri Nov 20, 2009 3:44 pm UTC

General_Norris wrote:And why? He never said he wanted a kid so it's the decision of the girl to give it in adoption or to raise it alone. Why should he take care of it IF THE GIRL DECIDES TO KEEP IT? That's the important part. The girl is forcing the man to pay because she wants to raise the baby.

Why should the man pay? The girl is the one who wants to keep the child, she is the one who should pay. She is the one who choose to keep the child instead of aborting or giving it into abortion.


In an ideal world, the courts would be able to decide without a shadow of a doubt which men had preemptively stated and confirmed that they did not want a child, and which women had agreed to raise the child on their own. Women certainly raise children without any help, but given the choice between making it harder for women to get child support, or easier, I still choose easier, even if that means a couple of dads get boned for boning.

Yes, I consider it unfair to the males involved, but no, I don't think it should be changed. Keep in mind the person most screwed from this situation is the child, and anything that can be done to raise the quality of it's life, even if just tossing some money at the issue, is better then nothing at all.
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Re: Relationships and Unplanned Parenthood

Postby Azrael » Fri Nov 20, 2009 4:09 pm UTC

setzer777 wrote:I have a big issue with is the idea that the parents are morally obligated to maintain a romantic relationship with each other.
If so, there are a *lot* of traditional marriages that are thereby immoral.

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Re: Relationships and Unplanned Parenthood

Postby spiderham » Fri Nov 20, 2009 4:24 pm UTC

setzer777 wrote:
spiderham wrote:Anyway, I think there is a wisdom behind traditional rules of marriage and child-rearing in that the rules of involvement are clear. If the focus of the concern is what's best for the child, and experts agree that stability and consistency are important, then the best choice might be all or nothing: either join the family or give financial support and stay aloof like a person who gave up the child for adoption.


Just to clarify: how much are you including in "traditional rules of marriage?". For a lot of them I can see the logic (involvement in the child's life from both parents being a good thing), but the one I have a big issue with is the idea that the parents are morally obligated to maintain a romantic relationship with each other. I think that sexual/romantic relationships should not be based on pressure or obligation (and is it really that important to a child that its parents have sex with each other?) The only other "traditional marriage" approach I know of is to stay in a non-romantic, non-sexual relationship with your partner that still prohibits you from forming romantic or sexual relationships with other people.


The latter alternative you mentioned amounts to abstinence -- that would be pretty absurd. I agree that pressuring people to have sexual or romantic relationships is weird and wrong. But there may be some "benign" pressure to put on a couple in a relationship where they are compatible but haven't faced the question of raising a family yet. That's the context where they would have something to think about. Also, post-marriage, couples change the way they feel about each other as years go by. So if they are in a "down cycle", I think each has a moral obligation to consider whether it's temporary.

Also, the abstinence choice not absurd if it's what you would choose independent of some external moral code. If you believed relationships outside the marriage would hurt other people you cared for, you might prefer abstinence as the lesser of two evils.
Last edited by spiderham on Fri Nov 20, 2009 5:15 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Relationships and Unplanned Parenthood

Postby guenther » Fri Nov 20, 2009 4:27 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:In an ideal world, the courts would be able to decide without a shadow of a doubt which men had preemptively stated and confirmed that they did not want a child, and which women had agreed to raise the child on their own. Women certainly raise children without any help, but given the choice between making it harder for women to get child support, or easier, I still choose easier, even if that means a couple of dads get boned for boning.

Yes, I consider it unfair to the males involved, but no, I don't think it should be changed. Keep in mind the person most screwed from this situation is the child, and anything that can be done to raise the quality of it's life, even if just tossing some money at the issue, is better then nothing at all.

This is my opinion too. Thanks for stating it well.


Azrael wrote:
setzer777 wrote:I have a big issue with is the idea that the parents are morally obligated to maintain a romantic relationship with each other.
If so, there are a *lot* of traditional marriages that are thereby immoral.

I don't doubt this for a second.
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Re: Relationships and Unplanned Parenthood

Postby nowfocus » Fri Nov 20, 2009 4:41 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:In an ideal world, the courts would be able to decide without a shadow of a doubt which men had preemptively stated and confirmed that they did not want a child, and which women had agreed to raise the child on their own. Women certainly raise children without any help, but given the choice between making it harder for women to get child support, or easier, I still choose easier, even if that means a couple of dads get boned for boning.

Yes, I consider it unfair to the males involved, but no, I don't think it should be changed. Keep in mind the person most screwed from this situation is the child, and anything that can be done to raise the quality of it's life, even if just tossing some money at the issue, is better then nothing at all.


From a legal perspective this is true, but were talking about a moral perspective here.

Consider this situation: A wealthy man goes out for a night on the town. He goes to a club where an attractive woman aggresively hits on him. They go home together, and before the intercourse she assures him that she is on the pill, and puts a condom on him. The condom breaks (due to tampering). 2 months later, he gets a call in which she tells him she was lying about being on the pill but wanted a child and didn't have the money to support it. Now she asks for child support.

Is he morally obligated to pay it?
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Re: Relationships and Unplanned Parenthood

Postby EduardoLeon » Fri Nov 20, 2009 6:28 pm UTC

nowfocus wrote:Is he morally obligated to pay it?

Yes. Even I, being a fundamentalist atheist, say that parents should be always responsible for their children.
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Re: Relationships and Unplanned Parenthood

Postby setzer777 » Fri Nov 20, 2009 6:34 pm UTC

EduardoLeon wrote:
nowfocus wrote:Is he morally obligated to pay it?

Yes. Even I, being a fundamentalist atheist, say that parents should be always responsible for their children.


I agree. I'm more interested in what level of relationship one is morally obligated to try to maintain with the other parent.
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Re: Relationships and Unplanned Parenthood

Postby EduardoLeon » Fri Nov 20, 2009 6:41 pm UTC

setzer777 wrote:I agree. I'm more interested in what level of relationship one is morally obligated to try to maintain with the other parent.

Other than sharing the responsibilities associated to being so? Nothing. Perhaps being civilized enough not to openly fight in front of the child, until the latter is mature enough to live on his or her own.
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Re: Relationships and Unplanned Parenthood

Postby guenther » Fri Nov 20, 2009 6:56 pm UTC

setzer777 wrote:I agree. I'm more interested in what level of relationship one is morally obligated to try to maintain with the other parent.

Our language of morality (yeah that's a reference to your old thread), is important here. I see morality as a guide to behavior, and I think we should definitely value the couple staying together. So there should be some sort of moral pressure. However, staying together for the wrong reasons can be worse than separating. So beyond stating my general opinion that yeah it would be good, I don't morally judge a couple on this choice. The drive to make it work has to come from within. (I do think we should teach our children to value this because as parents we can help shape their internal moral drive.)

Even if the parents don't stay romantically involved, I think there's a strong moral obligation to treat the other very well. Kids are sponges and learn how we treat people. If kids see one parent bad mouthing the other behind their back, they'll learn that's normal behavior.
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Re: Relationships and Unplanned Parenthood

Postby nowfocus » Fri Nov 20, 2009 7:14 pm UTC

EduardoLeon wrote:
nowfocus wrote:Is he morally obligated to pay it?

Yes. Even I, being a fundamentalist atheist, say that parents should be always responsible for their children.


But this is fundementally blackmail. In the long run, isn't worse for the children if there parents view them as bargining chips?

To me, an unwanted child is far worse off than one with a single parent.
Jahoclave wrote:Besides if you observe romance, you change the outcome. Especially if you put his/her friend Catherine in a box.

Menacing Spike wrote:Was it the copper hammer or the children part that caused censoring?

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Re: Relationships and Unplanned Parenthood

Postby Izawwlgood » Fri Nov 20, 2009 7:17 pm UTC

Conversely, I don't think it's inappropriate for an unwilling father to tell his child that the mothers behavior in duping the father was grossly immoral.
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Re: Relationships and Unplanned Parenthood

Postby icanus » Fri Nov 20, 2009 7:21 pm UTC

setzer777 wrote:I'm more interested in what level of relationship one is morally obligated to try to maintain with the other parent.

I'd say just basic civility (none of the whole using the kid as a weapon, bad-mouthing the other parent, sniping at each other, etc.) - anything beyond that, if it doesn't come naturally, will just breed resentment and tension which would be worse for the child than just being honest. "Staying together for the childen" IMO does far more harm than seperating (relatively) amicably.

If you can't manage civility, better to get out of the picture entirely and just send a cheque.

Much the same with having other relationships - it's certainly a tricky thing to handle, not keeping things secret from the child but also not seetting them up for a fall by introducing someone new who'll be gone in a few months, but expecting anyone who has a child to effectively geld themselves for the next 18 years is just plain unreasonable.

personal experiences of child-of-single-mother:
Spoiler:
My Mum and Dad split up when I was about 6 months old. We stayed in contact with him for about the next 5 years, then gradually lost touch (as much through my apathy about seeing him as anything else - I'd been to the zoo more times than any kid wants to by then...) I've later found out that they really hated each other by this point - to the point where arrangements for picking me up & dropping me off had to be made via my grandparents as intermediaries so they wouldn't have to speak to each other. However, they both did a good job of not loading me up with their issues with each other - never said a bad word about each other in front of me, and long after I lost contact with my dad, my mum made sure I knew the option to contact him was there and fine by her, if I wanted. Compared to the hell it would undoubtably have been had they tried to stay together, I got very lucky in having parents with the sense to realise it wasn't going to work out before they did any real damage to themselves or me.

My mum also (IMO) handled the issue of her later relationships well with me - she was up front about introducing them as her "boyfriend", with no expectation that they were going to be a "new dad" or "uncle" whatever - they were just friends of my mum's who stayed over occasionally, and I never viewed them as any more to do with me than any of her other friends. Not sure how it would have gone if she'd ever got to the point of moving in with someone, but from what she's later said to me, the arrangement she would have insisted on would have been something like them being a flatmate to me rather than having any sort of "parent" role.

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Re: Relationships and Unplanned Parenthood

Postby Izawwlgood » Fri Nov 20, 2009 7:22 pm UTC

I find it interesting that the base assumption here is that a father who is coerced into paying child support will also want to raise the child.
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Re: Relationships and Unplanned Parenthood

Postby nitePhyyre » Fri Nov 20, 2009 7:48 pm UTC

Le1bn1z wrote:Call me old school, but I've always found the argument "oooeeehhhhh... but I don't WANT to be a daddy" to be incredibly vapid and, in fact, rather malicious.

But the argument "oooeeehhhhh... but I WANT to be a mommy" is thoughtful and benevolent?

Le1bn1z wrote:So being a dad will be tough on you and stop you from following a laundry list of plans, you say? Tough noogies, babe. If you bring a kid into the world, you're the one who has to be there for it.

Last I checked men did not carry a baby in their wombs for 9 months. It is entirely the woman who brings a kid into the world.

EduardoLeon wrote:
nowfocus wrote:Is he morally obligated to pay it?

Yes. Even I, being a fundamentalist atheist, say that parents should be always responsible for their children.

let's change the premise a bit. Keep rich man, poor woman. They use a condom. When the man leaves, she takes the used condom and forces the sperm into herself to get pregnant. Would this situation change your answer?
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