Male reproductive rights?

With the suit, NCM hopes to establish that a man who unintentionally
fathers a child has the right to decline financial responsibility for
that child, a right based on the same principles laid out in the 1973
case that made abortion legal…

The NCM has been looking for an appropriate plaintiff for this case
for more than 10 years. It finally found one in Matt Dubay…who claims he and
his ex-girlfriend did not use birth control because of her assurances
that she could not get pregnant due to a medical condition. But the
couple, who Dubay told Salon were together for about three months, did
conceive, and Dubay’s ex elected to keep the child, for whom he now
pays $500 a month in child support, despite his contention that he was
always clear about not wanting the child.

Save your moralizing, let’s do tax incidence theory.  If you were a woman and wanted an unwilling father, or at least wasn’t trying too hard to avoid one, what kind of guy would you pick?  Smart, not a criminal, tall, high-earning, and possibly nerdy.  You also would pick a flexible, mild-mannered guy, on the grounds that he might grow to like the idea of parenthood (there is some chance you will decide to keep him in the picture). 

If financial responsibility could be repudiated, these guys would find it harder to get quality sex.  This is a simple economic principal: change the terms at one end of a deal, and they shift back at the other end.  The ex-cons, who will take off in any case and are known to have this quality, would not be penalized.  They might get even more sex.

Now which of the nerdy guys will suffer the most from holding greater "reproductive rights"?  The risk-loving, sex-crazed nerds who like to sleep with strange women and are willing to chance paternity (just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?).  And the nerds who know they are sterile or vasectomized.  Did I mention the nerd who doesn’t much mind a bit of financial (and other kinds of) servitude?  No longer will these guys be viewed as potential appealing "victims."

Who will mind this change the least?  The local dullard — you went to high school with him but hoped you never had to marry him — who wants to settle down with a wife and family, but otherwise faced competition from the smarter nerd tricked or lured into siring a kid. 

The bottom line: This change would be a tax on male nerd sex.  It would boost male nerd autonomy, but which of these do nerds need more?

No, one data point does not test a theory, especially when that data point is selected for purposes of national image.  Nonetheless here is a photo of Matt Dubay, computer technician.  Here is a video of Matt.  Prior to the paternity suit, Matt had owned his dream car, a 1998 Trans Am.

Comments

The transaction costs of opting in/opting out to this legal protection have to be low, so if the legal regime were changed, the Nerd who prefers more sex still could easily opt in to paternity risks to attract women. But a Nerd who prefers a bundle of less sex and more autonomy (i.e. fewer children allows more time & money to pursue Nerdy interests) can protect himself. The current legal regime restricts his ability to contract.

In the freedom of contract world, the sex-craved Nerds who prefer more sex and/or more tolerant of paternity risks will get more sex, and the nerds who prefer autonomy will get less. Right now the level of sex for each group is smoothed out, but I would tend to think inefficiently.

Huh?, Normally Tyler your posts make a lot of sense to me, this one, falls quite flat. Are we to believe that nerds would prefer one night of sex or a likely more short term relationship and be willing to pay for 18 years of child support after expressly saying that they did not want to father a child? Since the father is not required to terminate paternal duties, he may still assume such a role, but even then in his expressly declared intentions from the get go, he did not want the child. Especially since the "nerd" doesn't have the choice to continue in this relationship after the birth of the child (the mom could get up and leave and go find the bad boy she always wanted or something) this seems like an awfully fleeting benefit for quite extensive a cost. 2nd and 3rd relationships for nerds only get worse.

You make "nerds" sound incredibly more desperate for sex than I imagine they are. I mean after all, (oh geez this is a terrible thing to say), sex hardly needs to cost $500x12 months x18years x the appropriate discount rate.

From what I hear, the "sex starved nerd" is mostly a thing of the past with the prevalence of internet hook-ups. Of course the relative QUALITY of those hook-ups is likely to vary wildly depending on what assets you might bring to the table. I'm married myself and don't participate in the "meat market", so I couldn't provide any verification of that analysis, it's just based on what I hear from single and divorced software-engineer types.

"From what I hear, the "sex starved nerd" is mostly a thing of the past with the prevalence of internet hook-ups. Of course the relative QUALITY of those hook-ups is likely to vary wildly depending on what assets you might bring to the table. I'm married myself and don't participate in the "meat market", so I couldn't provide any verification of that analysis, it's just based on what I hear from single and divorced software-engineer types."

I strongly disagree. As long as _de facto_ polygamy (the Alpha male with multiple girlfriends) and serial monogamy (the executive who trades in his current trophy wife for a new one every few years) remain significant parts of American life, a nerdy or otherwise non-Alpha male will find it very difficult to get a woman. Internet dating is worthless because the number of men seeking women far exceeds the number of women seeking men. Singles bars and nightclubs are no help either, as despite running constant "ladies' night" promotions in the hope of getting more women to attend most such establishments are proverbial "sausage parties." A perfect example of just how dire the dating and marriage situation has become for non-Alpha men is the fact that the mail-order bride industry just keeps on growing and growing even though most people know the truth, namely that most of the brides are con artists intent on bleeding men dry. How pathetic it is, that thousands upon thousands of men are left with no alternative other than to try *buying* wives who will steal all their money, simply because they're not studly Alpha types :((((

Its simply unfair to allow women the sole discretion to keep or abort a child but afford men no option on whether to be financially responsible.

sorry Zac but your definition of "unfair" leaves much to be desired. In this case, I think it is pretty clear that it is more unfair to leave a child lacking in financial support. The child gets the priority. Child support is a duty owed to the child, not the ex-partner.

argh make it stop!

boo hoo hoo.

Stud boy. *snicker* Sure, somebody's got to lose.

I'm laughing at you because you think the dividing line between winners and losers is the line between alpha male studs and non-alpha nerds.

I'm laughing at you because you seem to think that there are a lot of guys out there who are shut out of the dating market just because girls overwhelmingly prefer macho studs, the guys who played quarterback in high school and slept with the entire cheerleading squad.

Yeah, it has nothing to do with these guys lacking social skills, or having a hard time relating to women, or having unreasonable expectations.

Blame it on Derek Jeter and George Clooney.

I'm laughing at you because you seem to think that there are a lot of guys out there who are shut out of the dating market just because girls overwhelmingly prefer macho studs, the guys who played quarterback in high school and slept with the entire cheerleading squad.

Wrong again. What you seem to forget is that the number of males and females is approximately equal, at least among people in their 20's and 30's. We're not talking about, say, Britain in 1919, where a whole generation of males was devastasted by war. Each time an Alpha male takes two or more women "out of circulation," whether through _de facto_ polygamy or serial monogamy, two or more non-Alpha males are left out in the cold. It's a simple matter of numbers. And the fact that some of the non-Alpha males may be that way because of poor social skills, well, that doesn't make them any less deserving.
Moreover, if there really weren't this shortage of available women, why would there be a huge gender imbalance on dating sites like eharmony.com? Why would every singles bar and nightclub have to use costly "ladies' night" promotions in a usually futile attempt to get enough women? Why would there be a huge and growing mail-order bride industry? Can't answer these questions, can you.

[And the fact that some of the non-Alpha males may be that way because of poor social skills, well, that doesn't make them any less deserving.]

I know some of these "poor social skills" guys. A lot of them could afford to lower their standards, rather than thinking the equivalent of "Jessica Alba would really love me, if only she weren't so superficial."

[Moreover, if there really weren't this shortage of available women, why would there be a huge gender imbalance on dating sites like eharmony.com? Why would every singles bar and nightclub have to use costly "ladies' night" promotions in a usually futile attempt to get enough women? Why would there be a huge and growing mail-order bride industry? Can't answer these questions, can you.]

Nonsense. You may as well ask, "If there really weren't this shortage of available men, why would women have to put so much more effort into their physical appearance than men do?" The fact that women have an easier time procuring sex than men has nothing to do with hypothetical shortages you discuss.

Well, Peter, you seem to be quite the expert on the ladies.

Let me rephrase things this way: women will be choosier than men even without any gender shortages. I'm sure you're aware of the evolutionary psychology reasoning on this point.

We don't have magazines with half-naked women on the covers just because women are vain.

Funny, the magazines which seem to feature half-naked women on the covers include such titles as Cosmopolitian and Vanity Fair - both of which are women's magazines.
If you're referring to the "lad rags" such as Maxim and FHM, I'll point out that the primary readership seems to consist of non-Alpha males who think reading such magazines will somehow make them studly.
Lastly, if what you have in mind is the Swimsuit issue of Sports Illustrated, it should be obvious that nerdy non-Alphas don't read sports magazines. Duh.

Is the outgoing guy who got a 1580 on his SAT, went to Harvard and graduated with honors, and is now working at an investment bank and making serious buck an alpha male or a nerd?

Probably an Alpha. If he's severely overweight, totally unathletic, or has noticeable deficient hygiene standards he might be considered nerdy, or if he's totally obsessed with science fiction or video games, but if either situation were the case he probably wouldn't be working at an investment bank. You may, however, have a complete nerd earning a good income, usually in the IT industry.

Is the illegal immigrant who was on his country's national water polo team and is now working as a waiter in the US an alpha male? What if his English is terrible?

This is a difficult one to call. A temporarily low income might not always be a bar to Alphaness. If he's nonwhite, however (suggested by the immigrant part), I won't try to guess because there seem to be different rules in the nonwhite communities. I'm white, and that's pretty much all I know.

So nerds can't get laid, and poor women have babies even though the fathers aren't marriage material.

The common theme? Some guys are really neurotic when it comes to sex. Women make bad decisions when it comes to choosing mates.

So nerds can't get laid, and poor women have babies even though the fathers aren't marriage material.
The common theme? Some guys are really neurotic when it comes to sex. Women make bad decisions when it comes to choosing mates.

Your point?

You're totally out of touch with the average young nerd.
Free internet dating sites, MySpace, Friendster, etc = nerds who want it having more sex than ever.

The thing to remember here is that there are three outcomes possible:

a. The woman has the kid
b. The woman aborts the kid
c. The woman puts the kid up for adoption

In cases (b) and (c), presumably the man who never wanted kids is happy (though I think both raise other fathers' rights issues). In case (a), though, someone is going to pay to support that kid. Often, the choice is between the kid's father and the taxpayers.

We're not going to be okay with letting this guy's unwanted kid starve to death, and we're in practice not going to be okay with forcing the woman to have an abortion or give the kid up for adoption. So I think we're stuck with making him pay child support, as the least bad of a bad set of options.

Perhaps the best answer here would be some kind of insurance for the man, to cover unwanted paternity. I have no idea if this is available, but it would be sensible.

It might also make sense to offer an amnesty for men with multiple child-support cases outstanding, in exchange for getting a vasectomy.

Perhaps the best answer here would be some kind of insurance for the man, to cover unwanted paternity. I have no idea if this is available, but it would be sensible.

But on the other hand imagine the perverse incentives, every unmarried couple who plan to have a child would have an incentive to fake breaking up to collect free child support.

+ the moral hazard problem those who are fully insured would just shag to their heart's content. I mean once you've lost your no-claims bonus from your first bastard you're basically going to be virtually trying to have another bastard every year just so you feel you've got your money's worth from the insurance :D

What do you suppose your premiums are on bastard insurance, after your second claim?

its simple. any time you have sex, you're assuming a parental role. as women we are burdened with the assumed full responsibility for preventing a pregnancy. if the moron wasn't smart enough to use a condom, then it's his own fault, regardless of what any woman says about her fertility. and why is she being made out to be "the bad one"? she possibly thought she could not get pregnant. and just a question for all those guys who don't want to get a woman pregnant -- if the condom breaks, are YOU going with her to get the morning after pill? are YOU going to pay for it because you say you don't want to be a father? no? you're not? ok then you just lost all ability to further argue in favour of this guys case.

Sometimes I think we'd be better off if we went back to the Old Testament way of handling adultery- some guy steals another man's wife (or worse yet, tries to cuckold another man into raising his kid), you kill them both, because they're scum. A moment of weakness is forgivable, but premeditated assault on a marriage is an act of violence, and ought to be treated as such. At the very least, a spouse who commits adultery ought to forfeit everything in the event of divorce, meaning no money, no assets, no custody. I also wholeheartedly endorse suing the pants off of the scum of the Earth that steals another man's wife. You steal my wife, I want EVERYTHING from you. Properly, I should be able to demand your life. There is absolutely nothing wrong with making adultery punishable by death, so long as both the adulterer and the adulteress are subject to the same penalty.

Comments for this post are closed