Virtual Library of Newspaper Articles

A Man's Right to Choose?

A new lawsuit asks whether men should be allowed to get "a financial abortion" in cases of unplanned pregnancies.

Time Magazine, By NANCY GIBBS, Wednesday, Mar. 15, 2006

Should a man be forced to be a father if he doesn't want to be? Yet another front in the abortion wars reopens now that the National Center for Men has undertaken a crusade to establish a "Roe v. Wade for Men." "Up until now, reproductive choice has been seen as a woman's issue: you're either pro-life or pro-choice," says center Director Mel Feit. "We're adding another element. If we expect men to be responsible, isn't it right to give them some choices too?"

It's a legal stunt, but as a way of calling attention to double standards and unintended consequences, the campaign makes sense. Matt Dubay, a 25-year-old computer programmer in Michigan, was ordered to pay child support after his former girlfriend had a baby. He says he had made it clear when they were dating that he did not want to have children; she had said she couldn't get pregnant anyway because of a medical condition. When she did get pregnant, he argues, she could have chosen to have an abortion. So shouldn't he have a choice as well, about whether to support a child he never wanted to have?

Dubay and the center filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court, which raises all kinds of confounding questions about rights and choice and what we really mean by equality, when we look at the social and biological roles played by men and women in the course of becoming parents. Feit argues that within a short window of time after discovering an unplanned pregnancy he has proposed a month, but thinks a week might even be Read More ..propriate a man should have the right to terminate his legal and financial obligations to the child. "I'm not talking about fathers opting out of obligations that they've committed to," Feit says. "I mean early in pregnancy, if contraception failed, men should have a choice, and women have a right to know what that choice is as they decide how to proceed."

His argument gains force as more and more states pass laws requiring, as part of pre-abortion counseling, that pregnant women be informed that the baby's father has a legal obligation to pay child support. These rules were a response to evidence that the overwhelming majority of women seeking abortions do so for social and economic rather than medical reasons. Abortion opponents hope that by informing women about the legal and financial support systems available to them, including the father's obligations, they might reduce the number who choose abortion.

But solving one problem may just be creating another: pregnancy counselors find that another great source of pressure on ambivalent women is often the father of the child. As states crack down on "deadbeat dads," men have a greater financial incentive to pressure women into ending unwanted pregnancies. Some threaten to break up with their partner if she doesn't get an abortion. There is concern that violence against pregnant women is fueled by men trying to avoid a financial liability. So Dubay could argue that allowing men to shed their financial obligations for unwanted children might protect women from all kinds of pressure when they are deciding how to handle an unplanned pregnancy.

The larger philosophical argument is basically this: Do men have as much of a right to control their reproductive lives and financial futures as women do? "Roe v. Wade really changed the world for women," Feit says. "It allowed them to separate intimacy from procreation, freed them from the fear of contraceptive failure. That kind of empowerment and security that women feel in intimate relations well, men can't, frankly." The only sure protection is total abstinence. Feit contends that men who don't want to have a child and made reasonable efforts to avoid it should at least be able to choose a "financial abortion" that frees them from any responsibility for the baby.

In a sense women already have a version of that right: Most states have laws permitting a woman to relinquish all her parental responsibilities if she leaves a baby at a hospital after giving birth. "No shame. No blame. No names" says the poster on the bus shelter. Naturally such laws are designed to offer an alternative to the heartbreaking stories we read of babies dumped in trash cans and abandoned by the side of the road.

The rights of fathers have always been the background noise of the abortion debate. Beginning with Planned Parenthood v. Danforth in 1976, then in Planned Parenthood v. Casey in 1992, state efforts to require that fathers be notified before women have abortions were struck down by the Supreme Court as placing too great a burden on women. A majority of Americans approve of spousal notification, provided there are exceptions for women in abusive situations, and when he was an appeals court judge Sam Alito upheld such a provision. But the Supreme Court ruled in Casey that "it cannot be claimed that the father's interest in the fetus' welfare is equal to the mother's protected liberty...." Requiring a woman to notify her husband before an abortion, the Justices argued, "embodies a view of marriage" that is "repugnant to this court's present understanding of marriage and of the nature of the rights secured by the Constitution."

Wanda Franz, president of National Right to Life, is glad to see Dubay's case calling attention to the mixed messages society sends to men. "He's basically saying that a woman now has the right to engage in sex relations without worrying about having a child she's responsible for. He wants the same right to be able to have sex with a woman and if she gets pregnant, he shouldn't have to be responsible, since he can't force her to have an abortion legally."

Franz says that she is, of course, in favor of both parents' taking responsibility for a child, an impulse that she says legal abortion has undermined. One obvious problem, if men can sever their financial ties to unwanted children, is what becomes of that child, particularly as states cut back on health care and social services. "What I expect to hear [from the court] is that the way things are is not really fair, but that's the way it is," Dubay told the Associated Press. "Just to create awareness would be enough, to at least get a debate started."

Still, Feit has been surprised by the response he's gotten so far. "It doesn't break down along traditional gender lines," he says. "We're getting so much support from women." The men divide roughly half and half between those who support what he's doing and those who say essentially "be a man; accept responsibility." "Women seem Read More ..pportive, which is very surprising and gratifying. They say maybe this is fair, men should have some say, some choice. I'm getting Read More ..pport from women than I anticipated." He is the first to say that these are not easy questions. So sometimes just asking them is the right place to start.

Copyright 2006 Time Inc. All rights reserved.

Paternity Fraud
UK National Survey

Paternity fraud survey statistics

Scotland's National Newspaper

96% of women are liars, honest

5,000 women polled

Half the women said that if they became pregnant by another man but wanted to stay with their partner, they would lie about the baby's real father.

Forty-two per cent would lie about contraception in order to get pregnant, no matter the wishes of their partner.

Infidelity Causes Paternity Fraud

Time magazine - Infidelity - It may be in our genes. Our Cheating Hearts

Infidelity--It may be in our genes. Our Cheating Hearts

Devotion and betrayal, marriage and divorce: how evolution shaped human love.

South Korean Husband Win Paternity Fraud Lawsuit - Associated Press

South Korean Husband Wins Paternity Fraud Lawsuit

Associated Press, USA
June 1, 2004

South Korean husband successfully sues wife for Paternity Fraud and gets marriage annulled.  Wins $42,380 in compensation

Paternity Fraud Philippines

DNA paternity test confirms fraud, annulment granted: judge | Visayan Daily Star Newspaper | Phillipines

DNA test confirms fraud, annulment granted: judge

The Visayan Daily Star, Bacolod City, Philippines, BY CARLA GOMEZ, February 28, 2009

Bacolod Regional Trial Court Judge Ray Alan Drilon has annulled the marriage of a Negrense couple after a DNA test showed that the child borne by the wife was not the biological offspring of the husband who works abroad.

The family court judge ruled that the marriage of the couple, whose names are being withheld by the DAILY STAR on the request of the court, was null and void.

Due to fraud committed by the wife in getting her overseas worker husband to marry her, properties acquired during their marriage are awarded in favor of the husband, the judge said in his decision, a copy of which was furnished the DAILY STAR yesterday.

The judge also declared that since the overseas worker is not the biological, much less the legitimate father of the child of the woman, the Civil Registrar is ordered to change the surname of the child to the mother's maiden name and remove the name of the plaintiff as father of the child.

The complainant said he was working as an electronics engineer in the United Arab Emirates and on his return to the Philippines in 2001, his girlfriend of 10 years with whom he had sex, showed him a pregnancy test result showing that she was pregnant.

On receiving the news he was overjoyed and offered to marry her. Shortly after he went to Saudi Arabia to work, and his wife gave birth to a baby girl in the same year.

The birth of the child only five months after their marriage puzzled him but his wife told him that the baby was born prematurely, so he believed her, the husband said. Read More ..

Paternity Fraud - Spain Supreme Court - Civil Damages

Daily Mail UK

Adulterous woman ordered to pay husband £177,000 in 'moral damages'

The Daily Mail, UK
18th February 2009

An adulterous Spanish woman who conceived three children with her lover has been ordered to pay £177,000 in 'moral damages' to her husband.

The cuckolded man had believed that the three children were his until a DNA test eventually proved they were fathered by another man.

The husband, who along with the other man cannot be named for legal reasons to protect the children's identities, suspected his second wife may have been unfaithful in 2001.

BBC logo

Infidelity 'is natural'

BBC, U.K., September 25, 1998

Females 'stray to gather the best possible genes for their offspring'

Infidelity may be natural according to studies that show nine out of 10 mammals and birds that mate for life are unfaithful.

Experts found animals that fool around are only following the urges of biology.

New studies using genetic testing techniques show that even the most apparently devoted of partners often go in search of the sexual company of strangers.

Females stray to gather the best possible genes for their offspring, while males are driven to father as many and as often as possible.

"True monogamy actually is rare," said Stephen T Emlen, an expert on evolutionary behaviour at Cornell University.

BBC News logo

Who's the Daddy?

Up to three million Britons may be wrong about who their real father is , experts claim. But using DNA paternity tests to discover the truth can cause its own problems.

BBC, U.K., May 16, 2003

Dad's got blue eyes, Baby brown...

When Tessa found out she was pregnant after fertility treatment, she felt a mix of delight and doubt.

This wasn't simply pre-baby nerves - she suspected that her husband might not be the father. For Tessa had started sleeping with a colleague when the stress of the ongoing treatment became too much.

Keen to build a family with her husband, she let him believe the baby was his. But her lover threatened to reveal all if she ended the affair, and Tessa soon fell pregnant again. This time, her lover started to make nuisance calls to her home.

Tessa had no choice but to tell her husband. "I said to him, 'I've had an affair and you may not be the father of my children.' So with that, he went up the stairs, got dressed and left. And that was it," Tessa says in Women Who Live a Lie, a programme for the BBC's Five Live Report.

paternity fraud in Jamaica

Would you wear the jacket?

THERE IS A story I used to find hilarious in my high school years about a not too bright man. He was light skinned, his wife was of similar hue, but their first child was born with very dark complexion (darker dan Bello, blacker dan Blakka).

When the man wondered aloud about the baby's complexion his wife assured him that the child was born dark because the child was conceived in darkness (they had sex with the lights off). The man accepted the explanation. Because he loved his wife dearly, he also ignored the fact that the child had other obvious signs of resemblance to the young dark skinned man who did their gardening. To fix the problem, the husband put flood lights, strobe lights, spotlights and forty other lights in the bed room so there would be no more darkness to create dark babies.

Children's Identity Fraud
Paternity Fraud

Duped Dads, Men Fight Centuries-Old Paternity Laws

United States

"Duped Dads, Men Fight Centuries-Old Paternity Laws"

"Supporters of paternity identification bills point to a 1999 study by the American Association of Blood Banks that found that in 30 percent of 280,000 blood tests performed to determine paternity, the man tested was not the biological father." Read More ..

AABB logo

Download / view pdf file
American Association of Blood Banks
Parentage Testing Program Unit
Annual Report Summary Testing in 2001

Volume of testing 310,490 for the 2001 study

The Supreme Court of Canada -
Cour suprême du Canada

Big win for child identity rights.

Father wins right to be named on birth registration forms. Read More ..

Paternity Fraud

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Tricked 'fathers' may get bill's help

Michael Lautar was devastated when he learned his first wife was cheating on him, and then crushed to discover the then 5-year-old girl who called him "Daddy" wasn't really his daughter.

Next came the sucker punch.

Lautar is under court order to pay nearly $800 a month in child support and other expenses, despite the fact his ex-wife has admitted in Allegheny County court papers that Lautar is not the girl's father. The child was born during their marriage. After the couple divorced, the mother married the girl's biological father. The mother, the father and the daughter live together in Moon, according to papers filed in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court.

"I'm stuck in this rip-off, this fraud," said Lautar, 40, of North Strabane. "It's paternity fraud, is what it is. ... And the state is enforcing this fraud."