Child Support

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Francesca Allan

Ghislaine wrote:
Here is why I keep stating that you have a problem with the biological reality of the situation, Francesca. You just put father in quotations marks! Why?

Because he's an unwilling sperm donor, nothing more. Okay, okay, he's the father in that he's the male parent. I put it in quotes for the same reason I would use the term biological father when distinguishing between a biological and adoptive dad (who I would simply refer to as the father). To me, your father is the male in your life who raises (or helps to raise) you. My problem is not with biology.

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Even if he decides to not to change his name and leave teh country (as you suggested), he is still a father.

Didn't suggest this. Merely stated that it's what I would do.

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Perhaps someday the child will find him after his "18 years of punishment for a drunken hump" have passed by. If the child finds him, the child will say he is their father.

Perhaps. And perhaps it will be a joyous, transcendent occasion where the child comes to understand that God wanted him to be here and the father devotes the rest of his life to women's charities.

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Yes the mother has a safe and legal "opt-out". That does not mean it is easy or pleasant.

Nevertheless, nobody can say she is forced into unwanted child-bearing. Proceeding is a choice, a valid choice, and the resulting kid from that choice is certainly entitled to all we have to offer. Could we stick to the point here? I am suggesting that the father is not really a father in any meaningful sense of the word. What is the downside to having the state pick up the tab? Are you afraid there'll be a rash of unintended teenage pregnancies? I doubt very much that the prospect of child support enters into a drunken teenager's mind. We have provision in criminal law that takes the mitigating factor of youth into consideration. Shouldn't we also have such a policy in civil law?

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And she can decide to keep the baby and when the baby is born, the guy is a FATHER. fact. Not a "father", like it is insane to think that drunken humps cause children.

No, if you're insisting on accurate language, then I'm entitled to do the same. Drunken humps DO cause children, children who are often unwanted by their fathers. That's a fact, too. And if she decides to abort, she certainly won't be referred to as a "mother" at the abortion clinic.

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Quite a few people in this country were created that way I am sure! lol

I'm quite sure of that, too.

pookie

The logical implication of your argument, Francesca, is that a drunken hump at any age does not carry parental responsibilities if the ensuing pregnancy is unwelcome to the male partner.

I am not sure how we distinguish between kinds of "relationships" either.  What about a friends with benefits situation?

Laws around child support are made precisely to avoid these sorts of factual determinations.  The universality of application is precisely the benefit.

 

Francesca Allan

pookie wrote:
The logical implication of your argument, Francesca, is that a drunken hump at any age does not carry parental responsibilities if the ensuing pregnancy is unwelcome to the male partner.

Nope. Not at all. My hypothetical was restricted to a teenage boy. If we're talking at any age, then I think the only consideration would be if the woman lied and said she was on the pill or otherwise covered. Tough to prove, I know, but I'm just saying "what if?" Does that make it still morally imperative that he pay?

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I am not sure how we distinguish between kinds of "relationships" either.  What about a friends with benefits situation?

Sounds like a relationship to me. I admit it's a fuzzy line, though. What I'm thinking about is a one-time drunken sleepover with no contact before or after except when the girl phones up to say "Oh, yeah, you owe me 18 years."

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Laws around child support are made precisely to avoid these sorts of factual determinations.

Yes, but I believe the law in this situation is misguided. That's why I brought the subject up. Shouldn't have, though, I can see that now.

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The universality of application is precisely the benefit.

In general, absolutely. In this particular scenario, though, it doesn't benefit either party if the girl is entitled to decent child support from the government.

BTW, thank you for your respectful discussion. it's appreciated.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

An example of a young woman turning down child support - my niece.  They were young, it was a fling, she got pregnant.  She moved in with her parents, and they decided that the support would not be worth having his involvement in his son's life, given his poor reaction to impending parenthood.

So it does happen.  Perhaps not often.  But it does.

 

Wilf Day

cco wrote:
Wilf Day wrote:

When he grows up, he'll see it is. If the situation is handled properly. Or would you prefer that he go through life feeling guilty about the child who doesn't know him?

...And when the father grows up enough to realize it's not about him, he'll realize the details of how his child was conceived don't matter to anyone.

Funny how this kind of argument is usually considered phenomenally creepy when used by pro-lifers against women and then turned around and parroted by progressives in these circumstances. Don't worry, eventually you'll see it as a blessing. You'll grow up. Wouldn't you rather be a parent than feel guilty later? You'll realize it's your purpose in life to be a parent no matter whether you're ready for it, can afford it, intended it, or "the details of conception". Now where have I heard that logic before?

You're mixing apples and oranges. This isn't about whether a child should be born. This is about a child who will live for eighty years or so, and has a father.

Francesca Allan wrote:

I've never heard of anybody turning down child support.

I see it quite often: the step-father tells the mother "tell him we don't need his money, and to stay out of our lives." Then a few years later the step-father disappears, leaving the mother and the child wondering what went wrong and where to go next.

Francesca Allan wrote:

what if the guy made a recording on his cell phone of the girl claiming she was safe? What about if she signed an agreement to that effect? Do you think that would have any weight?

It might well disentitle her to spousal support. It has no effect on child support.

pookie wrote:

The logical implication of your argument, Francesca, is that a drunken hump at any age does not carry parental responsibilities if the ensuing pregnancy is unwelcome to the male partner.

I am not sure how we distinguish between kinds of "relationships" either. What about a friends with benefits situation?

Laws around child support are made precisely to avoid these sorts of factual determinations. The universality of application is precisely the benefit.

Exactly.

kropotkin1951 wrote:

He is not paying for a mistake, he is paying for the care of his offspring.

Maybe he needs educaction to teach him that children are not a sentence but a responsibility. I believe in child support which you do not seem to believe and I do not think it is a punishment as you apparently do.

You are now arguing full out against something that I thought was not really open for debate in this progressive forum. Child support is not an evil to be eradicated so that men can get their rocks off and not have to worry about taking any responsibility.

Word.

Francesca, what really annoys me, is what you aren't getting: the child will need his or her father as he or she grows up. Doesn't matter if the father was 18 or 38, drunk or sober. Not for child support. For a parent.

Telling the father he doesn't have to pay child support if he chooses to stay away, is no different if it's the mother's idea, the step-father's idea, or the grandparents' idea: you are rewarding him for staying out of the picture. When the child is older, and asks "where is my father" will you be honest enough to say "I paid him to stay away, because I didn't want you to have a father?"

 

It is about responsibility and accountability. Being drunk does not excuse bad behaviour. If you voluntarily have sex at any age you are responsible for the results. Each party has to be responsible for their own birth control always. Further considering that a drink teenager who drives drunk is responsible for the damage they create both in terms of criminal law and insurance why would we absolve the same drunk teen from the results of u protected sex. Yes, the young woman can chose unilaterally to end the pregnancy; so can any woman. The unilateral right to control her own body is a very basic protection from patriarchal control. That does not change the most basic ethical observation that drunkenness does not absolve anyone of the responsibility for action...including In the automaton cases.

Unionist

When we live in a social system that doesn't take much responsibility for the well-being of its members (in this case, especially women and children), we inevitably end up trying to figure out degrees of individual responsibility and individual blame. It's a tough call, and maybe it doesn't sufficiently address root causes.

 

 

Tehanu

Francesca, you’re clearly upset at the reaction you’ve gotten to your posts on this thread. And I certainly reacted (as did others) because of the content of the things you are posting. I wonder if to some extent you feel as though you’re being backed into a corner? But I took a few minutes and pulled out some of the things you've said, and I hope you can see that for someone reading them, they do come across very similarly to the sorts of arguments that are used by some of those men’s rights activists that I think both of us have a big problem with.

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And, while we're on the subject (sort of), why does mum almost always get the kid?

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He sees it as an 18 year financial sentence and I'm inclined to agree.

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But what about if the girl lies and says she's on the pill? Please answer this one; I'm dying to know what you think. [multiple times]

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But it does seem clear that a guy who wants his drunken screw buddy to abort and leave him alone, this same guy isn't going to see the unwanted (by him) baby and 18 years of child support as a blessing.

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But men do have rights. And one of them should be to decide, for example, to work hard to support his family without being slaughtered in court if the marriage disintegrates.

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Where did this appalling sense of entitlement come from? While most women are clamouring for subsidized daycare, I think it would be a better idea to have that money available to all parents, whether they want to use it for daycare or use it to enable one or both of them to work part-time. There are too many exhausted parents coming home from work plunking Junior in front of the TV and feeding him the quickest, easiest and therefore least nutritious dinner. There's not a lot of time or energy for their kid. I actually think the ADHD explosion is partially a result of this type of background.

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And, although both are obviously 50% responsibility for a pregnancy, I disagee that the girl's sole decision to have the baby entitles her to force him to pay, just as though he had decided that too. I think that's terribly unfair: to have no say whatsoever in the ultimate outcome but be forced to pay 18 years of child support. This hypothetical girl should take responsibility for her decision to have the baby.

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Mum takes one-year mat leave and then throws her baby into daycare.

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Women are "clamoring" for subsidized daycare? How incredibly dismissive.
Really? Any more than referring to men talking about their court orders as "whining"? And yes, they are clamoring for subsidized daycare. Because they don't want the inconvenience of child rearing hampering their chasing the golden buck.

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And I don't know why that [child support] subsidy isn't available to everybody. We could afford it if we spent tax money effectively. Why should we encourage creating children?

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We don't need a health "bonus." We just need to stop being taxed death for a bunch of crap we don't need. And I'm afraid encouraging single teenagers to become mothers falls into this category.

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But he's not going to feel guilty. He's not going to feel anything. He's going to look back at it as what it was, a drunken tumble.

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Back to this issue, though, what if the guy made a recording on his cell phone of the girl claiming she was safe? What about if she signed an agreement to that effect? Do you think that would have any weight?

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Even if they were tricked into their obligation? Doesn't the mother bear some responsibility for her deceit?

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Who said he was trying to "pressure" her? He merely said that's what he wanted and that, if she proceeded with the pregnancy, he wanted nothing to do with her or the child. Why there's this need to make this poor sap out to be some kind of bad guy by posters in this thread is beyond me. Oh, I know: It's because he's male.

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And usually, as I'm sure you know, custody of the children defaults to the mother. She'd pretty much have to be a junkie or something before dad gets custody.

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Again with the comparison of unsafe sex to criminal activity!

Except that throughout this thread you’ve been referring to men being “sentenced” to child support and at one point (quoted below) you refer to it being treated like a capital crime.

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This vindictive need to punish is a disgrace. You know how everybody says that if men got pregnant, there'd be no abortion debate? Well, I think if we were discussing here whether or not a woman should be forced into unwanted motherhood, there'd be no debate either.

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A 14 year old girl who gets herself pregnant is behaving very irresponsibly yet she is still entitled to "her body, her choice," a very important decision that requires careful thought. The reality is that girls get pregnant. If she wants to avoid that, she better make damn sure she's covered. If she wants to rope some sap into paying for both parties' indiscretion, then she won't get any support from me. If she wants to abort, great, that's probably the best solution all around.

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I think the insistence in this thread that the boy has to be saddled with the burden (and, despite the weird example upthread of $100 child support per month, it is in fact almost always an onerous burden) is entirely based in our tendency to hate and blame males for every wrong in our society.

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If I were the teenage boy in this hypothetical, I would change my name and move to another country before I ever paid a cent. Drunken sex shouldn't be a capital crime.

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By suggesting that he was asked to "carry the weight of society," I was responding (I thought) to the rage towards males apparent in this thread.

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Yes, he is paying for a mistake. Paying very harshly for quite a minor crime. … I think most irate posters here aren't concerned about [the state paying], they're more interested in punishing a male.

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I think it's fair to note that those posters most offended by what could have been a rational debate did start ranting about how men are evil scumbags that never pull their weight and that anybody that doesn't agree with these posters is a pro-life, stone age ratbag (okay, I'm paraphasing a bit).

You’re complaining all through this thread about people’s reactions who disagree with you. And yet, you’re posting extremely provocative statements, and in a number of cases responding – to put it diplomatically – strongly, using forceful language about other posters, and making heavy assumptions about what they're saying.

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Really, what about cco's example above where the boy was raped? Should he still pay child support?

This one, twice directed at me, was actually hurtful, although perhaps you didn’t mean it to be. I am a fierce advocate, both in person and online, for survivors of sexual abuse, and that includes boys.

Okay. You’ve asked for responses to one specific hypothetical, although it’s since veered all over the place. A teenage boy and teenage girl get drunk and have sex. She gets pregnant and decides not to have an abortion (assuming one is available). He is liable for child support. I’m not going into what if "she lied about being on the pill," because I frankly think that’s a red herring; how often is this actually a problem? And how many teenage girls would lie about this in order to trap a guy into pregnancy? And even if this (remote) hypothetical happened, where would she get the idea that this was a good idea?

What do I think?

a)      I would like there to be extensive sex-positive education about safer sex, birth control, and sexual consent that starts when children are just that, children. Before sex is a gleam in their eye. Age-appropriate, and continuous. Note that I included sexual consent because if they’re so drunk they forgot about birth control, there may indeed be consent problems as well.

b)      I would like birth control/STD prevention to be widely available to all teenagers, free, easy to access. Condom dispensers in junior high school bathrooms. I would like it to be automatic that young people would think of birth control/STD prevention any time they thought of having heterosexual intercourse, and STD prevention any time they thought about sex, and that birth control was no longer seen as primarily the woman’s responsibility.

c)      I would like parenting skills to be taught in schools. Used to be kids would take care of other kids, not so much anymore.

d)     I would like there to be more birth control options available to men. We’re still waiting.

e)      I would like abortion to be universally available, payment-free, and judgement-free to anyone who gets pregnant and doesn’t want to remain so. We have a long way to go, in Canada as well as elsewhere, before we can say this is the case. I am opposed to parental notification laws.

f)       I would like society in general to change the way we talk to and about boys/young men; they are harmed by the far-too-common assumptions that they are incapable of responsibility, that intellectualism is somehow not appropriate for boys, that empathy, emotional expressiveness, and maturity are not masculine.

Of course, if all of the above were proposed, plenty of people's heads would explode!

So, about your specific hypothetical case of the two drunk teenagers. You cited young offenders laws. If they are under 18, then sure, maybe it should be handled differently. I am not a lawyer so I don’t know if and to what extent boys under 18 even ARE personally liable for child support. You were opposed to parents being held responsible, and yet there is plenty of legal precedent for parents having to pay damages incurred by their underage children, so should they not be involved if appropriate?

I do feel strongly that we need to maintain universal child support requirements; there are far too many examples of women trying to raise children without it. I’m not opposed to considerably better state support (including daycare!) for any single parent; it’s in the child’s and in society’s best interests. You have suggested state support several times as a replacement for the teenage boy being held financially responsible, although I'm still not sure how you feel about social programs in general as you seem critical of a number of them. However, I disagree that the teenage father should be given this as an automatic out.

That said, as with any legal issue, context also should be taken into account. Nobody’s suggested mediation yet. How about sitting down the teenagers, and their parents if appropriate, and working out solutions both in the short term, and in the long term? The teenage boy would be involved in the decision-making, would take responsibility, but his circumstances would also be considered. If there was a way to make sure that this was done in the child’s best interests as well as the parents’, then this could be an option as it is in other disputes such as custody arrangements.

This is more directed at cco and your concerns about language echoing anti-choice arguments. There is a biological difference between men and women, of course, and I don’t think that there is a fair equivalency to be made between being forced to bear a child against your will, and being held financially responsible for a mistake you’ve made that has predictable consequences.

These are not anti-male arguments. I’ve said elsewhere with respect to the men’s rightists that I find it baffling (although not surprising) that they are so virulantly opposed to feminism, because so many of the issues they’re concerned about are related to the patriarchy and the roles that are assigned to men and women. Similarly, I’d ask you, Francesca, to take a step back and think about how much of the issue you’re raising has to do with those socially-enforced roles, versus the impression that you’re giving, that you think men (boys?) are being oppressed by women/girls in these hypothetical situations.

Ghislaine

Francesca Allan wrote:

 

Nope. Not at all. My hypothetical was restricted to a teenage boy. If we're talking at any age, then I think the only consideration would be if the woman lied and said she was on the pill or otherwise covered. Tough to prove, I know, but I'm just saying "what if?" Does that make it still morally imperative that he pay?

Francesca, I am not sure why you keep brining this up? For one, ihow could this ever be proven. Second - as has already been pointed out to you there is no fool-proof birth control! Even with a 1% failure rate, that is thousands of pregnancies per year. So, even if she is not lying and is using birth control - he could still become a father. Thirdly - there is nothing keeping him from using a condom! If it is really a "one-time drunken hump" with someone he never wants to see again - should he trust her? 

Francesca Allan wrote:

Sounds like a relationship to me. I admit it's a fuzzy line, though. What I'm thinking about is a one-time drunken sleepover with no contact before or after except when the girl phones up to say "Oh, yeah, you owe me 18 years."

He does not owe HER 18 years! He owes the child 18 years  of support, ie the length of time that the child is considered a minor. And if he wants he can request joint custody and a therefore possibly no child support. And ps if the child goes to university it is more than 18 years. Most parents provide help to their kids beyond 18 years, so perhaps by then he will want to help voluntarily.

Wilf Day

Tehanu wrote:
So, about your specific hypothetical case of the two drunk teenagers. You cited young offenders laws. If they are under 18, then sure, maybe it should be handled differently. I am not a lawyer so I don’t know if and to what extent boys under 18 even ARE personally liable for child support. You were opposed to parents being held responsible, and yet there is plenty of legal precedent for parents having to pay damages incurred by their underage children, so should they not be involved if appropriate?
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Young offenders laws are irrelevant, because fathering a child is not a crime, and child support is not punishment.

A parent (father or mother) is responsible for paying child support according to the guideline table amount for their income, which for a young person is likely too low for any child support to be payable, but when the income is high enough, he or she will have to pay child support to whoever then has the child (which might be two of the grandparents).

I have never heard of a grandparent being sued for failing to ensure their son wore a condom. But I haven't researched it. Anyone can be sued for anything, but whether a judge would find liability, I cannot see.

Tehanu

Hi Wilf - thanks for that, helpful! Just to clarify that I wasn't meaning to imply any criminal offense, it was more along the lines of at asking at what age people are held legally/financially liable for their actions.

cco

Tehanu, thank you for your well-thought-out and non-hostile response. Generally I try to avoid even getting involved in these kinds of threads, because emotions run hot very quickly and it's too easy to make assumptions about the motivation and mentality of other posters. I'll let Francesca speak for herself, but to address the parts directed at me:

Tehanu wrote:

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Really, what about cco's example above where the boy was raped? Should he still pay child support?

This one, twice directed at me, was actually hurtful, although perhaps you didn’t mean it to be. I am a fierce advocate, both in person and online, for survivors of sexual abuse, and that includes boys.

I, for one, certainly didn't intend my example to be hurtful, and I wholeheartedly apologize to you, Tehanu.

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I’m not going into what if "she lied about being on the pill," because I frankly think that’s a red herring; how often is this actually a problem? And how many teenage girls would lie about this in order to trap a guy into pregnancy? And even if this (remote) hypothetical happened, where would she get the idea that this was a good idea?

I am not an MRA of any flavour, and I don't think that "trapping" men for child support is an actual thing that happens often enough to be anything more than an occasional horror story. The stories about contraception lies seem to come far more often in the context of couples in relatively stable relationships who disagree about having children (and yes, there are stories of men who poke holes in condoms too). But there's not enough data on this sort of thing (just the odd dubious Daily Mail article) for me to offer a remotely informed opinion.

Far more common than this paranoid hypothesis, in the experiences of my friends (male and female alike), are cases where both partners are irresponsible, or a condom breaks, or a woman (I'm going to use "woman" from here on out, because I think the talk about teenagers obscures the issue) who's been told she's infertile turns out not to be. She gets pregnant, unexpectedly, and for whatever reason makes the choice (and it should ALWAYS be *her* choice) to proceed with the pregnancy. The man disagrees, whether because he's young, terrified, poor, hates children, hates the woman, has a new partner, has an old partner, or whatever. We don't (or shouldn't) judge such factors when women decide to abort or to surrender for adoption, because we recognize it's her choice, regardless of her motivation. To do otherwise would be to open a very ugly can of worms.

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This is more directed at cco and your concerns about language echoing anti-choice arguments. There is a biological difference between men and women, of course, and I don’t think that there is a fair equivalency to be made between being forced to bear a child against your will, and being held financially responsible for a mistake you’ve made that has predictable consequences.

Equivalent? Certainly not. Analogous? I'd say so. There are many logical arguments for the current system of child support, whether or not I find all of them entirely convincing. And as I said upthread, the economic ones hit me the hardest -- I doubt I'd cast a vote in Parliament that would throw millions of women into even deeper poverty for the sake of intellectual consistency.

The arguments I find genuinely horrifying, though, are the ones that sound photocopied from the anti-sex forced-birther manual. "Children are a blessing, whether you know it or not." "One day you'll grow up." "You should've abstained if you didn't want to be a parent." Accidents happen, irresponsibility happens, and life is seldom as simple as "you play, you pay".

That's why we have choice rights to begin with. Obviously, women can bear children and men can't. Obviously, a fetus is not the same thing as a born human being. But some of the arguments (not yours, Tehanu) in this thread make me wonder:

How do people feel about "safe haven" laws, AKA "baby boxes", where new mothers can give their children over to social services without fear of prosecution and without being hit up for child support? Every state in America has these, but upon doing a little Googling, it seems only two Canadian provinces do. Nebraska infamously briefly failed to specify an age limit for these, which led to an avalanche of parents from across the country dropping off children of all ages. (An out-of-context quote from the former governor: "Please don't bring your teenager to Nebraska," Gov. Dave Heineman said. "Think of what you are saying. You are saying you no longer support them. You no longer love them." I'm sure the tourism board loved that one.)

In a flagrantly hypothetical world where mothers could receive equal payments from the state to whatever the father would have given them, how many people here would still demand the father, however uninvolved, pay up?

Pregnancy can be very dangerous, and there's no male equivalent to being forced to grow a parasite within your womb for 9 months. But given the existence of safe haven laws and the possibility of adoption, the pro-choice argument is only partially (though an important part) about being forced to bear a fetus against your will. It's also about being forced to support a child against your will after birth. Pro-choice people like myself think it's obscene to interrogate a pregnant woman about her reasons for not wanting to be a parent. But don't many of those reasons apply to men as well?

I'm an adopted child myself (and one who's been voluntarily sterilized). In Louisiana in the 1980s, my parents had to fight hard against anti-adoption prejudice from people who felt not only that anyone meant to have children wouldnt've been made infertile by Jesus, but (more prominently) that they were somehow unfairly relieving a teenage girl of the consequences of her choice to spread her legs. I'm intimately familiar with the logic of anti-choicers when it comes to sex and consequences. To see people here flip the switch so abruptly from sympathy for horny and irresponsible women to bible-thumping condemnation for horny and irresponsible men is something I find difficult to reconcile.

Francesca Allan

Wilf Day wrote:
Francesca, what really annoys me, is what you aren't getting: the child will need his or her father as he or she grows up. Doesn't matter if the father was 18 or 38, drunk or sober. Not for child support. For a parent.

The child will need financial support as he grows up. I never argued against that. I'm suggesting that it should come from the state. The child will not need an uninterested, uninvolved father who wants nothing to do with him or his mother. I know, I know, the thinking in this thread is that bio-dad will come around and they'll all play house and everything will be wonderful.

And since child support is universal seems to be the mantra for this thread, then I take it you all support it in the cases mentioned upthread: the boy who was raped by his babysitter, and the man who donated sperm to the lesbian couple. You also said above that it's not a consideration for child support (as opposed to spousal support). Yes, I know it's not!!! I'm talking about what should be.

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Telling the father he doesn't have to pay child support if he chooses to stay away, is no different if it's the mother's idea, the step-father's idea, or the grandparents' idea: you are rewarding him for staying out of the picture. When the child is older, and asks "where is my father" will you be honest enough to say "I paid him to stay away, because I didn't want you to have a father?"

And this is better than telling him "He paid me so that he could stay away and not be hassled by my lawyer in family court"? Anyway, in this case she wouldn't have "paid him to stay away." She wouldn't have "paid" anything. She would merely have been receiving funds from the state rather than her one-nighter.

Francesca Allan

[email protected] wrote:
It is about responsibility and accountability. Being drunk does not excuse bad behaviour. If you voluntarily have sex at any age you are responsible for the results. Each party has to be responsible for their own birth control always. Further considering that a drink teenager who drives drunk is responsible for the damage they create both in terms of criminal law and insurance why would we absolve the same drunk teen from the results of u protected sex. Yes, the young woman can chose unilaterally to end the pregnancy; so can any woman. The unilateral right to control her own body is a very basic protection from patriarchal control. That does not change the most basic ethical observation that drunkenness does not absolve anyone of the responsibility for action...including In the automaton cases.

Yet once again, it's drunken sex = criminal activity. It's not only drunkenness that deserves some leeway; it's also his youth. Since you brought up criminal law, please note that we have a Young Offenders Act for exactly this reason. We simply do not hold youth to the same standard as we do adults nor should we.

Francesca Allan

Hi, Tehanu. Really no need to repost everything. I'm well aware of what I said and stand by all of it. It's no surprise that on this one issue you accuse me of siding with the MRAs. That's no surprise! I said so upthread, that they were often moronic but on this issue I'm with them.

Tehanu wrote:
Except that throughout this thread you’ve been referring to men being “sentenced” to child support and at one point (quoted below) you refer to it being treated like a capital crime.

Okay, "capital crime" might have been hyperbole. "Onerous burden" is what I should have said.

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You’re complaining all through this thread about people’s reactions who disagree with you.

No, disagreement is fine and actually welcomed. It's spurious, irrational responses that rankle.

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And yet, you’re posting extremely provocative statements, and in a number of cases responding – to put it diplomatically – strongly, using forceful language about other posters, and making heavy assumptions about what they're saying.

I don't know what to say here except "They started it!" [the language, not the thread]

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Really, what about cco's example above where the boy was raped? Should he still pay child support?

This one, twice directed at me, was actually hurtful, although perhaps you didn’t mean it to be. I am a fierce advocate, both in person and online, for survivors of sexual abuse, and that includes boys.

Didn't mean to hurt you and I'm sorry but you never answered the question. If you're a fierce advocate for sexual abuse survivors, then I would hope that child support wouldn't be payable here (ideally).

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Okay. You’ve asked for responses to one specific hypothetical, although it’s since veered all over the place. A teenage boy and teenage girl get drunk and have sex. She gets pregnant and decides not to have an abortion (assuming one is available). He is liable for child support. I’m not going into what if "she lied about being on the pill," because I frankly think that’s a red herring; how often is this actually a problem? And how many teenage girls would lie about this in order to trap a guy into pregnancy? And even if this (remote) hypothetical happened, where would she get the idea that this was a good idea?

It's not up to me to say why it happened (and I'm sure that it does). I'm simply asking if it happened, does it make it difference?

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What do I think?

a)      I would like there to be extensive sex-positive education about safer sex, birth control, and sexual consent that starts when children are just that, children. Before sex is a gleam in their eye. Age-appropriate, and continuous. Note that I included sexual consent because if they’re so drunk they forgot about birth control, there may indeed be consent problems as well.

b)      I would like birth control/STD prevention to be widely available to all teenagers, free, easy to access. Condom dispensers in junior high school bathrooms. I would like it to be automatic that young people would think of birth control/STD prevention any time they thought of having heterosexual intercourse, and STD prevention any time they thought about sex, and that birth control was no longer seen as primarily the woman’s responsibility.

c)      I would like parenting skills to be taught in schools. Used to be kids would take care of other kids, not so much anymore.

d)     I would like there to be more birth control options available to men. We’re still waiting.

e)      I would like abortion to be universally available, payment-free, and judgement-free to anyone who gets pregnant and doesn’t want to remain so. We have a long way to go, in Canada as well as elsewhere, before we can say this is the case. I am opposed to parental notification laws.

Agree with you totally up to here:

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f)       I would like society in general to change the way we talk to and about boys/young men; they are harmed by the far-too-common assumptions that they are incapable of responsibility, that intellectualism is somehow not appropriate for boys, that empathy, emotional expressiveness, and maturity are not masculine.

Who is saying these things about boys/young men?

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You were opposed to parents being held responsible, and yet there is plenty of legal precedent for parents having to pay damages incurred by their underage children, so should they not be involved if appropriate?

Wrong!!! And another example of why this thread is so fucking annoying. I AM NOT OPPOSED TO CHILD SUPPORT!!! And this guy should not be involved because he is not a parent in any meaningful sense of the word.

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You have suggested state support several times as a replacement for the teenage boy being held financially responsible, although I'm still not sure how you feel about social programs in general as you seem critical of a number of them.

I am very much in support of social programs. It's just that I would prefer our money to go to intelligently thought out and effective ones.

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However, I disagree that the teenage father should be given this as an automatic out.

Now that's the tone that I like. It fosters discussion, it doesn't insult.

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Similarly, I’d ask you, Francesca, to take a step back and think about how much of the issue you’re raising has to do with those socially-enforced roles, versus the impression that you’re giving, that you think men (boys?) are being oppressed by women/girls in these hypothetical situations.

I don't see it has anything to do with socially-enforced roles, but rather biological ones. And I do see my hypothetical as being oppression by the mother towards the "father."

Francesca Allan

Ghislaine wrote:

Francesca Allan wrote:

Nope. Not at all. My hypothetical was restricted to a teenage boy. If we're talking at any age, then I think the only consideration would be if the woman lied and said she was on the pill or otherwise covered. Tough to prove, I know, but I'm just saying "what if?" Does that make it still morally imperative that he pay?

Francesca, I am not sure why you keep brining this up? For one, ihow could this ever be proven.

It would be tough, I agree. But perhaps the mother told a third party who would come forward as a witness or perhaps her saying so was recorded on a cell phone. Anyway, I'm asking a moral question here, not a legal one. Would this scenario change your mind?

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Second - as has already been pointed out to you there is no fool-proof birth control! Even with a 1% failure rate, that is thousands of pregnancies per year. So, even if she is not lying and is using birth control - he could still become a father.

Yes, of course birth control can fail. But if she actively deceives him by saying she's on the pill when she's not, the fact that this mess may have occurred anyway isn't really the point.

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Thirdly - there is nothing keeping him from using a condom!

Absolutely!

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If it is really a "one-time drunken hump" with someone he never wants to see again - should he trust her?

No, of course not. But he's drunk, horny and stupid, remember.

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He does not owe HER 18 years! He owes the child 18 years  of support, ie the length of time that the child is considered a minor. And if he wants he can request joint custody and a therefore possibly no child support. And ps if the child goes to university it is more than 18 years. Most parents provide help to their kids beyond 18 years, so perhaps by then he will want to help voluntarily.

Splitting hairs. Okay, he might owe the child the support but he writes the cheques to the mother. And joint custody doesn't mean no child support. You're right about the university thing. And perhaps he will change his mind and want to help but that's not what I'm asking about here. I'm asking about a teenager who wants nothing to do with the child or the mother for the rest of his life.

Caissa

I don't understand this debate. The law is very clear.

6079_Smith_W

Timebandit wrote:

Maybe not absolutely fair in the strictest sense, but as fair as it can be in present circumstances.

Not to mention how many times that doesn't get pressed to the Nth degree, or the fact that it's pretty damned hard to enforce, or when it is in place (and sometimes not) there are guys who lord it over their exes and act like they get to call the shots and criticize how they live their lives.

It may be an exception, but there are enough guys who - if they are so inclined - twist it to their advantage anyway.

 

 

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

True, that.  The law doesn't mandate "being a father in any meaningful sense of the word", but the kid didn't pop into existence without two parents.  You have a child, you support him or her.  The only quibble here is that the male parent doesn't get final say on whether a pregnancy is terminated or not - and that is the fault of biology, which none of us can alter.  It may be the one time the male in our culture doesn't enjoy advantage. 

Let's also not forget that terminating a pregnancy is something of a difficult choice for some young women - they may be pressured to abort, or if they were raised in a strict faith tradition, they may feel pressured not to.  There's still plenty of cultural baggage to go around on that one.

Perhaps we could look at it as an interesting sociological turnaround over the last half century.  Women were often the ones who were left holding the bag when an unplanned pregnancy occurred - no access to abortion, and small chance of getting much for support if anything.  Men could pretty much walk away.  Now, it's harder to walk away (although some men still attempt to) and you can't enforce termination, so men's choices are much more limited than they were.  Maybe not absolutely fair in the strictest sense, but as fair as it can be in present circumstances.

Francesca Allan

Caissa wrote:

I don't understand this debate. The law is very clear.

Yes, I know the law is clear. The question and my (misguided) reason for starting this thread was to discuss whether this should be the law in each and every case.

Francesca Allan

6079_Smith_W wrote:
there are guys who lord it over their exes and act like they get to call the shots and criticize how they live their lives

Yeah, and we all know that girls/women never behaving immorally and always treat their partners and their exes with the utmost respect and consideration.

Francesca Allan

cco wrote:
To see people here flip the switch so abruptly from sympathy for horny and irresponsible women to bible-thumping condemnation for horny and irresponsible men is something I find difficult to reconcile.

Wow. Well said.

6079_Smith_W

Francesca Allan wrote:

athering a chlid is indeed a crime with the punishment being 18 years of child support.

With that logic I guess single motherhood means that, only served in solitary confinement.

Or in the absence of paternal responsibility, the rest of us wind up having to pay a fine for it.

Sorry, but I don't think the comparison quite fits.

 

 

Francesca Allan

6079_Smith_W wrote:

Francesca Allan wrote:

fathering a chlid is indeed a crime with the punishment being 18 years of child support.

With that logic I guess single motherhood means that, only served in solitary confinement.

Nope. She can choose to serve, not to serve, do it however she wants. She can find a new partner, she can do it alone, she can seek the support of her family, she can do any number of things, all of which choices I would support. I don't think morally, however, she can hound the bio-dad.

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Or in the absence of paternal responsibility, the rest of us wind up having to pay a fine for it.

Sponsoring a child in need is a fine? Jesus, what do you think about caring for the sick, then?

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Sorry, but I don't think the comparison quite fits.

Perhaps it doesn't but I'm not going to change my mind based on anything you've written here.

 

 

6079_Smith_W

Francesca Allan wrote:

Sponsoring a child in need is a fine? Jesus, what do you think about caring for the sick, then?

You're the one who brought up this criminal metaphor, not me. Someone has to pay for the support. If not the parent, then the rest of us. So if you see it as punitive, then that applies to whomever gets the bill.

 

 

 

Caissa

 

Caissa wrote:

 

I don't understand this debate. The law is very clear.

 

 

Francesca Allan wrote:
Yes, I know the law is clear. The question and my (misguided) reason for starting this thread was to discuss whether this should be the law in each and every case.

to which Caissa answers "yes, it should be."

6079_Smith_W

Francesca Allan wrote:

Sponsoring a child in need is a fine? Jesus, what do you think about caring for the sick, then?

You're the one who brought up this criminal metaphor, not me. Someone has to pay for the support. If not the parent, then the rest of us. So if you see it as punitive, then that applies to whomever gets the bill.

(edit)

And like some of the cases mentioned upthread, I also know a few women who didn't bother "hounding" because the association was too icky to begin with. And another close friend was threatened by the biological father with taking the kid away and out of the country, even though no legal connection was established, and she wasn't asking for anything.

And for full disclosure, I have administered a garnishee order on an employee who, despite all nice intentions, probably wouldn't have ante'd up on his responsibilities in any other way.

So sorry, I don't buy this line about men being preyed upon. Not saying it has never happened, but I have seen too many abusive situations to the contrary. And I don't think I'm alone in that.

 

 

 

 

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

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I don't think morally, however, she can hound the bio-dad.

 

And if the bio-dad was in possession of any kind of morality, she wouldn't have to.

I am confused. Are we talking about child support or both child support and spousal support? Today in Ontario spousal support orders are rare. They are usually limited to situations of long term marriages in which the wife stayed home and has little to no paid work experience. It has also been ordered in a situation in which a stay at home wife has become disabled and cannot maintain paid employment.

. In the case the drunk teenagers there would be no spousal support. Assuming the drunk teenager situation; unless this teenager is a rock star, he will have very little income at $10,000 he would have no child support cost and at $20,000 he would need to pay $160. Child support does not vary by age but it varies dramatically by income. This seems very reasonable to me.

pookie

Ah, but you see Shartal, according to Francesca the money is "really" going to the woman, NOT the child, because cheques are made out to her.  Which she then, presumably, proceeds to spend on beer, popcorn and highlights.

Fucking Christ.

 

Francesca Allan

Caissa wrote:
I don't understand this debate. The law is very clear.
 

Francesca Allan wrote:
Yes, I know the law is clear. The question and my (misguided) reason for starting this thread was to discuss whether this should be the law in each and every case.

Caissa wrote:
to which Caissa answers "yes, it should be."

Okay, then. So if a boy is raped by his babysitter, then he's responsible (and I do believe female-on-male rape is underreported). And if an infertile couple splits up, then the responsibility for child support can rest with the sperm donor.

This whole conversation has been eye opening. What it boils down to is that women are not to be roped into parenthood but men are. This isn't progress, Caissa, and it's the kind of unfairness that breeds resentment and makes it harder to attain true gender equality.

And here's an issue that I've brought up before but has never been addressed: If the rule is that everyone is responsible for every unintended pregnancy, then how on earth can adoption be justified? That's a perfect example of utterly abrogating your responsibility.

Francesca Allan

6079_Smith_W wrote:

(edit)

And like some of the cases mentioned upthread, I also know a few women who didn't bother "hounding" because the association was too icky to begin with.

Okay, I personally had never heard of it before so that's new information for me. It's understandable. When my husband and I split up, I could have had the house and spousal support for the rest of my life but I declined.

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 And another close friend was threatened by the biological father with taking the kid away and out of the country, even though no legal connection was established, and she wasn't asking for anything.

Terrible. That's a criminal matter and he should have been prosecuted.

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And for full disclosure, I have administered a garnishee order on an employee who, despite all nice intentions, probably wouldn't have ante'd up on his responsibilities in any other way.

Was he given an opportunity to?

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So sorry, I don't buy this line about men being preyed upon.

It's not a "line." It's my opinion.

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Not saying it has never happened, but I have seen too many abusive situations to the contrary. And I don't think I'm alone in that.

Just because women get crapped on, doesn't mean that men don't. I believe that our understandable rage at some male behaviour has morphed into punishment against them as a group. I think that the current state of family law in our country is bad social policy.

Francesca Allan

[email protected] wrote:
I am confused. Are we talking about child support or both child support and spousal support?

Well, we're supposed to be talking about child support but I got distracted, as I often do.

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Today in Ontario spousal support orders are rare.

Not so here in BC.

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They are usually limited to situations of long term marriages in which the wife stayed home and has little to no paid work experience.

Much more expansive here. Often ordered simply because the husband earned more than the full-time working wife, regardless of the effort and expense he went to in order to attain that higher career. Spousal support can continue for life.

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It has also been ordered in a situation in which a stay at home wife has become disabled and cannot maintain paid employment.

That certainly seems fair to me.

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In the case the drunk teenagers there would be no spousal support. Assuming the drunk teenager situation; unless this teenager is a rock star, he will have very little income at $10,000 he would have no child support cost and at $20,000 he would need to pay $160. Child support does not vary by age but it varies dramatically by income. This seems very reasonable to me.

Agreed, he probably doesn't have much income at the moment. However, 18 years is a very long time. Presumably, his income will increase over that stretch. And assessing child support solely by income doesn't seem reasonable to me. If there's a need and you're obliged, then you should pay up even if it means working harder and sacrificing more. If dad has an enormous income, however, I don't think it's necessary to inflate child support accordingly.

Francesca Allan

Timebandit wrote:

Quote:

I don't think morally, however, she can hound the bio-dad.

 

And if the bio-dad was in possession of any kind of morality, she wouldn't have to.

No, it's more that if bio-dad did what she wants, then she wouldn't "have to" make him do it.

Francesca Allan

6079_Smith_W wrote:

Francesca Allan wrote:

Sponsoring a child in need is a fine? Jesus, what do you think about caring for the sick, then?

You're the one who brought up this criminal metaphor, not me. Someone has to pay for the support. If not the parent, then the rest of us. So if you see it as punitive, then that applies to whomever gets the bill. 

I'm not sure. You're right that I see it as punitive for the hypothetical dad but that doesn't necessarily apply for society as a whole. I can't think of a good analogy but I'm sure there are things that we desire and are good for us (society) that don't belong on the backs of individuals.

Francesca Allan

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Young offenders laws are irrelevant, because fathering a child is not a crime, and child support is not punishment.

Sorry, I am not sure who is resonsible for this quote. It was a quote within a quote and I couldn't follow.

Anyway, young offenders are certainly not irrelevant as the biggest objections to my POV in this thread all run along the lines of "You're responsible so you pay." That's the essence of the argument. Now despite the fact that we give some leeway to youth under the Young Offenders Act, apparently babblers feel that such consideration simply doesn't apply to fatherhood. And, on a practical level, fathering a child is indeed a crime with the punishment being 18 years of child support.

Caissa

Francesca Allan wrote:
Okay, then. So if a boy is raped by his babysitter, then he's responsible (and I do believe female-on-male rape is underreported). And if an infertile couple splits up, then the responsibility for child support can rest with the sperm donor.

 

How do you believe the courts would handle these hypothetical cases?

Francesca Allan

pookie wrote:

Ah, but you see Shartal, according to Francesca the money is "really" going to the woman, NOT the child, because cheques are made out to her.  Which she then, presumably, proceeds to spend on beer, popcorn and highlights.

Fucking Christ.

I never said that, pookie. I was just pointing out that the mother is in charge of the money and there's no way to force her to spend it responsibly if she's unwilling or incapable of doing that. ETA:  It's a sad fact but some mothers don't spend that money on their child(ren).

Francesca Allan

Caissa wrote:

Francesca Allan wrote:
Okay, then. So if a boy is raped by his babysitter, then he's responsible (and I do believe female-on-male rape is underreported). And if an infertile couple splits up, then the responsibility for child support can rest with the sperm donor.

How do you believe the courts would handle these hypothetical cases?

Well, as stated above, the courts ordered the bio-dads to pay child support. They aren't hypothetical cases!!

Tehanu

Well, I tried, as did others, but clearly this trainwreck of a thread clearly isn't getting better. One point to address before completely bowing out, because it's been raised AGAIN and that's frankly very disturbing.

I don't think ANYONE, including me, has said that a survivor of a rape should be financially liable, and to accuse me and Caissa (and maybe others, haven't checked) of endorsing that is disgusting. I didn't answer the question? Fuck that shit. Asking me that question -- especially the second time after having been called on it -- is offensive.

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Really, what about cco's example above where the boy was raped? Should he still pay child support?

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This one, twice directed at me, was actually hurtful, although perhaps you didn’t mean it to be. I am a fierce advocate, both in person and online, for survivors of sexual abuse, and that includes boys.

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Didn't mean to hurt you and I'm sorry but you never answered the question. If you're a fierce advocate for sexual abuse survivors, then I would hope that child support wouldn't be payable here (ideally).

And again to Caissa:

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Okay, then. So if a boy is raped by his babysitter, then he's responsible (and I do believe female-on-male rape is underreported).

Accusing people of taking sides with rapists is appalling behaviour.

Francesca Allan

Tehanu, you never answered the question. Should the raped boy be responsible for child support? I certainly never accused you or anyone of being a rape apologist. You said you advocated for rape victims. Is that supposed to be a "No, boy shouldn't pay" statement? It wasn't clear so I asked. And, as for Caissa, he claimed the wild cases above were hypothetical and I corrected him.

This thread is a trainwreck because babble posters can't wrap their minds around the fact that we can disagree on particular issues while still being progressive (and I must say that calling yourself 'progressive' is somewhat like calling yourself 'enlightened' in that it's a judgement perhaps best left to others). Babble posters choose to attack instead. It's as oppressive here as it is the real world. I really need to stop coming here so I'll just see this thread through and be gone.

ETA: If you're going to make a blanket statement like "all X means Y" then you should be prepared to have others say "Hey, wait a minute. What about this particular X?" This is discussion, Tehanu, and I'm going to venture to say that babble isn't very good at it, unless everybody agrees to say the same thing.

Caissa

Do you have links to the courts final judgements in these cases?

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

I don't think this thread is generating the productive discussion we thought it might -- so I'm closing it.

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