succumbing to peer pressure

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Since I seem physically incapable of getting any real work done today, why not play catch-up on my blog? I'm still wrapping my brain around what I want to say about -isms and subtlety, so meanwhile I'll finally get around to bringing attention to this article that Sid posted in comments ages ago. Now this is a father's rights issue I can get behind (unlike the one I was bitching about last month). The asymmetry of mother's vs. father's rights when adoption is the issue at hand is an excellent example of places where we can work toward a more equal (utopian) set of rights between men and women, especially where children are involved. In general, men really do get the shaft when it comes to putting babies up for adoption. Several states have the appearance of 'due diligence' requirements when it comes to locating/informing the father, but the vast majority of these really are in appearance only. Now, this is where the double-edged sword comes in. Because certainly it would be trivial to modify these laws in such a way that women end up the screwed party. i.e. inability to locate a biological father, either because he genuinely is impossible to find or because he has chosen to make himself impossible to find, ends up forcing a woman to raise a child she either does not want or cannot manage to raise. But surely there is some reasonable middle ground here. Choosing adoption by definition leaves approximately nine months to dedicate to searching. Here's where better laws about enforcing paternity tests, tracking down deadbeat parents, and financial support from the government for such activities help everyone out. The other side of the make-it-harder-for-men-to-walk-away coin is logically make-it-harder-for-women-to-conceal-paternity (again, with loopholes for abusive relationships).

Another badly needed modification to some states' adoption laws is that claiming paternity and denying a mother the ability to give your child up for adoption goes hand-in-hand with you raising that child yourself. Some states actually allow a father to both stand in the way of adoption and refuse custody of the child. Hopefully, I'm not the only one to whom that seems totally bass-ackwards.

Now, I do have to side with Dan Savage slightly, when he says that men get orgasms, women get pregnant. Meaning that, regardless of the emotional relationship, men should know when a physical relationship has occurred with the possibility of creating a child, and should take some responsibility for claiming paternity. In some states that means signing up with a father registry for every sexual partner you have, which, I'll concede, seems unreasonable to me.


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