Monday, December 04, 2006

Unintended economic consequences

A couple of news stories caught my eye in the last couple of days. The first was about Michigan's proposed bill called the Coercive Abortion Prevention Act. According to the article, "The proposal actually makes it a crime for a man to "change or attempt to change an existing housing or cohabitation arrangement" with a pregnant significant other, to "file or attempt to file for a divorce" from his pregnant wife or to "withdraw or attempt to withdraw financial support" from a woman whom he has been supporting -- if it is determined that the man is doing these things to try to pressure the woman to terminate her pregnancy."

Sounds good at first, but in reality this proposition is seriously flawed when it comes to unmarried partners. Why, class? I wrote a letter to the editor of that newspaper explaining, and I will pass those thoughts along to you, too.

This bill is a classic example of the law of unintended consequences. The result if this bill is passed will be ugly: more men will turn to murder to rid themselves of unwanted children. Murder is the number one cause of death for pregnant women in this country, and the reason isn't rocket science. I think I have mentioned this before, but I'll tell you again anyway - there is a case going on about a girl names Ashley Lyons, who was murdered in a conspiracy between her boyfriend, his sister, and his father, I believe. Or maybe it was his uncle? Anyway, this story has been covered for the last 2 years or so and not once - not even one time - has any of the radio, tv, or newspaper reporters dared to say what everybody knows: Ashley Lyons was murdered because she refused to have an abortion.

As things stand now, there is a terrible imbalance in the power structure between men and women when it comes to unwanted children. If a woman decides she doesn't want to be a mother, she can kill the child up until the second before it is born and walk away - but if the father of the child disagrees, he can do nothing to save the child's life. The mother has the absolute right to kill his child. Or, if a woman decides she doesn't want to be a mother, she can put the child up for adoption, often without the knowledge and consent of the child's father - and again if he disagrees, he can do nothing about it. But if man decides he doesn't want to be a father - too bad. It doesn't matter even if he can prove that he was deceived, it doesn't matter if he has a signed contract from the woman - he has no recourse. His income will be confiscated by the state and given to the woman for the next 18 years, even if doing so leaves him homeless and destitute. His only recourse is to 1) convince the mother to give the child up for adoption, 2) convince the mother to have an abortion, 3) flee the jurisdiction of the US court, or 4) murder the pregnant mother so the child can never be born. Increasingly, option #4 becomes the reality.

The purpose of this bill is to try and make men financial responsible for unwanted children. But the only reason that women have children out of wedlock in the first place is because they know they can collect money for every illegitimate child they have, and the man will go to jail if he refuses to pay. If women didn't get a free ride, they would be more responsible with their bodies, or give the child up to a competent two-parent financially secure home via adoption. If a woman wants to keep a child the baby's father doesn't want, her extended family should support her, not society and not her former partner in promiscuity unless he chooses to do so. At least this way the woman will be supervised by her mother, aunts, and older sisters. Instead, we have incompetent teenage mothers raising future burdens on society - and they want to be alone so that no one can supervise them. At the same time, the leading cause of death against pregnant women is murder. The only reason we have violence against pregnant women today is that the courts have made it impossible for men to exercise their same equality under the law that women have. If a man wants to be a father, he should be offered that opportunity by way of a legal contract which would be binding until the child is 18 - but it should not be forced on him. Equal protection under the law means "choice" to be a part of a child's life and financially responsible for it applies to both parties, not just the mother.

The only real solution to this problem is for the law to be changed to make it perfectly clear that in the absence of a legal contract of marriage between the two parents, no support from the father for any unwanted children will be awarded to the mother. It is a violation of the concept of equal protection under the law for a woman to be able choose not to be a mother and walk away from any financial obligation, but not allow a man the option not do the same. Instead, a woman is permitted to extort a marriage contract after the fact (which is what current child support laws do). This is what should be illegal.

Faced with two decades of confiscatory court action, violence has been left as the only viable option other than fleeing the country. This bill will not help the situation, it will only make it worse. More women - and their babies - will die.

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