Should Men Have the Right to a "Financial Abortion"? A
Biological Father Cries Sex Discrimination When Forced to
Pay Child Support for an Unwanted Baby
By SHERRY F. COLB
Tuesday, Mar. 21, 2006
In Michigan, Matt Dubay was recently ordered to pay child support in the amount of $500 a
month to his ex-girlfriend, Lauren Wells, for their biological daughter, Elisabeth. When the
couple was together, Dubay claims, Wells assured him that she was physically incapable of
becoming pregnant. After the two had split up, however, she gave birth to a baby girl and sought
support from him.
What makes this case special is that rather than pay the child support (or fail to pay, as often
occurs), Dubay, represented by the National Center for Men, has filed a lawsuit in federal court.
Dubay claims that he has a right under the Equal Protection Clause of the United States
Constitution, to cut off all ties to his unwanted biological child.
This suit reflects a growing sentiment among self-described members of the fathers' rights
movement and ought to be taken seriously, even if it is unlikely to prevail in the near future.
Men's Anger: Why Should Women Have All the Control?
Many men are quite angry about how little control they currently exercise over their reproductive
lives. When a man decides to have consensual sexual intercourse with a woman, he risks
unwanted fatherhood: If the woman conceives, it is she, and she alone, who decides whether to
terminate her pregnancy. And that is true even if the woman falsely claimed that she was using
birth control, that she had been told by a doctor that she could not conceive, or that if she did
conceive, she intended to get an abortion.
In short, the argument goes, a woman has the ability forcibly to place her unwitting partner or
ex-partner in a position he never wanted to occupy - that of a father - with all of the financial and
emotional baggage that the status carries.
Should Men Have the Ability to Force Abortion? An Unpopular View
Some fathers' rights advocates feel so strongly about this reproductive inequity that they
maintain that if either a man or a woman wants to terminate a pregnancy, against the wishes of
the other partner, he or she should be able to do so. According to the
New York Times
Michael Newdow, for example, railed against "the imbalance in reproductive rights - women can
choose to end a pregnancy but men
can't…." Newdow then cut himself off, in order, he said, not
to "alienate" the interviewer.
(As readers may recall, Newdow is the man who unsuccessfully sued to stop his biological
daughter's school from having the children recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Possibly confirming
Newdow's sense of how little control he exercises as a father, the Supreme Court