Friday, June 14, 2013

Land is EXPENSIVE...sow your seeds wisely!

My first landlord used my title phrase to describe her husband's child that he had before they were married. We were both married and expecting our first child and her husband's elder son came up in our conversation. We both chuckled at the truth of the statement. (English was not her first language so the contextual agreement is a bit off but you get the gist) Years later I began working as an attorney in Family Court and I would be amazed at the number of men and women that seem to have not only understood that concept but seem to be completely oblivious to the idea.

Men stood before me wondering "how in the world I got into this situation"? Women stood before me not understanding "Why he won't step up to the plate"? In my first years I was confused at their ignorance and utter surprise, as time passed it began to just piss me off. Now I am slightly sympathetic but only in the small Madeaesque sense that makes me want to slap the hell out of both parties.

Then along creeps Laurie Schrage's recent OpEd on "Force Fatherhood" a conversation I have had in many circles. Ms. Schrage raises some good points and there are many men who I'm sure applaud her. Those in the "I just met her at the club" " She was just a jump off/ side piece" and "we were just having fun" camps are giving Schrage a standing ovation as a woman that finally gets it and is standing up for them. However, if we  (as in legal systems and social norms) adopted Ms. Schrage's argument would it be the final nail in the coffin of our society? If men (and women) were to be free to have inconsequential sex not caring or responsible for any of the outcomes would our socialietal thread completely unravel as the "outcomes" (these children) grow and become human beings that in their essence and conception and subsequent raising/rearing were inconsequential?

I'm sure that's not what Schrage meant but as someone who has seen it and continues to see everyday the results of children that have been raised their whole lives as accidents, society will take the full brunt of individuals being allowed to abdicate their individual responsibility.

Alternatively, would women become more responsible about and with their bodies if they knew that their were no legal protections to obligate men to support "unintended children". In today's society many men don't support their children financially or emotionally but there are legal options women can utilize force a minimum amount of support. I have seen many women trying to use the courts to make a man participate in a childs life. I've never seen it be successful but hey, the options there.

So if we remove that option, would the woman think twice about having a child that they are completely responsible for with no hope of any support? Is it fair to put that type of pressure on a woman or is it the realistic reflection and proper fruition of repercussions that is a reflection of the position women already have in today's society? If a woman makes the final decision on whether to keep a child, as they should as it is their body, should they also bear the final and absolute costs of that decision?

Before this becomes an abortion debate as I can see it veering in that directions. It is my position and hope that women and men would make better decisions about who, when and why they have sex with someone as opposed to just how to deal with an unplanned pregnancy but that is for another day and another blog.

I can't say I agree with Schrage completely. Men can't divorce themselves from their Nether Regions. You know where you laid and who you laid with or at least you should. Whenever you lay down you open yourself up to the possibility of a child. So choose wisely. If you can't imagine being saddled with half this woman's dna mixing with yours and being linked to her  for at least 18 years financially and in other ways for life then you may want to find your jollies somewhere else. Unless we are becoming the human equivalent of feral cats.

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