Accidental Pregnancies – He said he wasn’t ready, but she chose to have the baby anyways…should he still be held accountable?

[deleted account] ( 79 moms have responded )

I became pregnant by a well-meaning 16 year old when I was 17 (don’t worry, his mom knew and strangely, approved of our 'relationship'). We hadn’t been together long and it wasn’t serious. I would venture to say that we belonged more in the ‘friends with benefits’ category looking back. We discussed our options; parenting, adoption or abortion and ultimately I decided that I would parent.



I CHOSE to have the baby. I was fully aware that I would get little to no help. I never even bothered asking for child support. In my opinion, his involvement as a father couldn’t be represented by a check every month and frankly I didn’t want his money. But, getting to the heart of the matter, had he been able to make the choice, he would’ve had me abort the baby; therefore I didn’t feel that he should be held responsible for what ultimately was MY decision.



I would like to go ahead and say that I never was on government assistance either and I lived on my own. I don’t want to paint the picture that I didn’t want his money, but was happy to have tax payers pay my way, because that wasn't my situation at all.



That leads me to my question. I agree that each party is equally responsible for the pregnancy itself (they had consensual sex, she could’ve used BC, he could’ve worn a condom, etc.). But, if he explicitly tells her up front that he CANNOT or DOES NOT WANT to be a parent, should he still be held responsible? After all, she had a choice and was the one to ultimately make the decision.



To be clear, I am specifically speaking of couples who get pregnant accidentally, and had the discussion where he wanted an abortion or adoption and she refused and had the baby against his wishes. I am not speaking of the cases where he acted like he would be there and wanted the child and changed his mind later on.



What do you guys think?

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Jodi - posted on 12/13/2011

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If he "CANNOT or DOES NOT WANT to be a parent" he should not have sex, because we all know there is ALWAYS a risk. There is no such thing as 100% effective birth control. No-one else can dictate a choice you make for your body. So ultimately, our men need to realise that sex leads to babies, and sometimes shit happens. Which is why I've been teaching that to my son. Unless you are prepared to be a parent if your birth control fails (and it does - and it seems to fail at more frequent rates when you are young and inexperienced), then perhaps you should rethink the sex thing.

Lacieann - posted on 01/03/2012

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@Maggie



Why shouldn't the same standard be held to the woman? If she doesn't want to spend 9 months pregnant and then give birth to a baby, she shouldn't be having sex.



As long as abortion exists for women who have consensual sex I will think that men should be able to opt out of the responsibility of parenthood as well.



@Jodi



Do you really think that most men are that emotionally stunted? That walking away from a child they aren't ready for costs them nothing, seriously?



@ Rebecca



In the context we're speaking of, no one is holding a gun to her head, or forcing her to have sex so why does she get all the power? Shouldn't she be held accountable to the choice she made to have sex, or at least realize that it took two people to make the baby and both of them should have a say in what happens to it?



@ everyone



It takes two people to make a baby, it should take two to raise it, place it up for adoption, or abort it. One person, man or woman, should not have all the power over something the both of them made.

Jodi - posted on 12/13/2011

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Both sides have the ability to say yes or no....before the moment of conception. That is where the choice is made. Once the choice is made, the consequences should lay equally with both parties. Unfortunately, the woman generally has no choice BUT to bear a consequence (whichever option that may be). Yes, she gets to choose what that consequence may be, but she still has to choose one option, and none of them are easy. A man should not be able to escape that by throwing up his hands and saying "but I didn't want a baby". Sorry, the moment for that choice has gone.



If a woman throws up her hands and says "but I didn't want a baby" she still has to go through the trauma of either abortion or adoption.



As I said though, that is in practical terms. In an ideal world, that's the way it should be viewed. But....we all know it doesn't actually happen that way.

Jane - posted on 01/03/2012

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I think it should go both ways. If a guy specifically states he's not ready and does not want the baby and she chooses to move forward and raise the baby like you did, then he should not be forced BUT I also believe that if a girl says she's not ready but the boy wants to keep the baby and raise it, then it should play both ways and she should have the child and then give up the rights to that child to the father.

It's a sticky situation all around...the woman gets all the choices and the man has none. Kinda sucks, don't ya think?

Charlie - posted on 12/13/2011

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"But, if he explicitly tells her up front that he CANNOT or DOES NOT WANT to be a parent, should he still be held responsible? "



This is kind of like saying " I dont want to be overweight and suffer the responsibility of my degrading health but hey Im going to eat a pack of donuts "



um yeah, you can't say one thing and do the very thing thats is going to be the cause of that which you don't want.



You play , you pay.

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[deleted account]

@Lacieann

In the context we're speaking, he CHOSE not to use birth control. Sorry - balls in his court so to speak on that one. We're not talking birth control failure or the woman deliberately poking holes in a condom. WE're talking his decision to go bareback.

Jodi - posted on 01/04/2012

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@ Lacianne

"Do you really think that most men are that emotionally stunted? That walking away from a child they aren't ready for costs them nothing, seriously?"



I think perhaps you misunderstood my post. You are suggesting that men who want the child aborted when the mother wants to keep it, and then opt out of ANY responsibility when she makes that choice, are not emotionally stunted? Because when they make the choice to walk away, what, exactly, pray tell, is it costing them?

Tiffany - posted on 01/03/2012

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Quite frankly, I think it's really unfair to the child even for a woman to chose to end their life. If you create a life you should respect the sanctity of it.

Jodi - posted on 01/03/2012

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So....if she gets pregnant and doesn't want it, but he does, she has to go through 9 months of pregnancy AND give birth. But if she says she wants it and he doesn't, then he gets off with nothing? Yeah, that sounds fair.

Katherine - posted on 12/29/2011

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I feel it should be your decision. You have to live with choice the rest of your life. along with the baby. I say weigh the pros n cons. Have a serious talk with him about what would be expected from him if he choose to be involved. Good luck

Maggie - posted on 12/28/2011

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If he has sex then he's rolling the dice on having a baby. He knows it. So yes, he's responsible even if he expressed his desire to NOT have a child. If you don't want to have a child then don't have sex.

Dawn - posted on 12/23/2011

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He should be held responsible, you can't just walk around sticking your penis In women with protection and expect zero consequences In life. If the woman chooses to keep the child and doesn't want the father Involved I think that's great but If she expects the tax payers to pay her way through life then I think the government needs to go after the father for money because I didn't get her pregnant so why should I have to support her and her baby? I pay taxes and welfare comes from all our tax money.

Amanda - posted on 12/20/2011

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Wow. I am conflicted on this one. My gut instict says no, he should not be held accountable. The mother makes the decision whether to adopt, abort, or parent. The father should be granted those same rights.

Bonnie - posted on 12/15/2011

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If he cannot or does not want to be a parent at that time then there should be no decision not to use protection, otherwise don't have sex at all. Yes, things can happen even with using protection, but way more so without protection. It's basically asking for it, IMO.

[deleted account]

Even if the condom breaks, the Dad is still responsible. His choice to use that method of birth control. End of the day, you choose to play, you have to pay. Once a man chooses to let his sperm loose (so to speak), he's made his choice. No one is holding a gun to any man's head and forcing him to place his penis in a women's vagina. If he doesn't want to be a dad, then don't have sex or have a vasectomy.

Amanda - posted on 12/15/2011

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Anyone who has sex is responsible, No one can say they can not and do not want to be a parent while putting their penis in a woman/girl. There is no such thing as accidental pregnancys, as long as you are having sex (birth control or not), you can get pregnant. Therefore if you have taken at least one class of sex ed, you can not even possible say accidental.



In Ontario Canada a man can not sign his parental rights away, he is responsible for any children he produces, even if its only child support. He does not have to be a part of the childs live, but he must pay for that child. That is the way it should be! Men should not be allowed to throw children away no matter what his choice is on adoption or abortion.



It also upsets me when i hear fathers have to be present to be on birth cefs. Thats BS! Also in Ontario a woman can write down who the father is even if he doesnt sign it. If he doesnt want to be the father then he best go to court and prove he isnt the father with a DNA test ($500 dollars well spent if you actually are not the father).

Lacye - posted on 12/15/2011

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Thanks Cathy for explaining it better for me. Jodi, I was half asleep last night when I wrote it and rereading it this morning, it does look confusing. Sorry.

Jodi - posted on 12/15/2011

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I really appreciate your input :) It kind of puts another light on it and gives us a lot more to think about. One that I, for one, had not considered, because I have no personal experience with it.

Jodi - posted on 12/15/2011

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Ok Cathy, I concede. I can see your point when I look at it from the perspective of your situation.

But the original comment I was addressing about *the best interests of the child* has now been deleted, so I am now trying to recall the comment to which I was directing my comment :\

[deleted account]

Don't be having unprotected sex if you are not ready.Many forms of protection are not 100% effective.

So i believe if a pregnancy does come of it, you are involed no matter what.Does not matter if your not ready.No woman should have to abort either if the man is not ready.



Your responsibility is now with that child.To be there and help pay etc.If not both at least one.Its not about the mother but the child.If the father does not want to be around.I think its wise to push the father to pay.I don't agree with letting a person away with there responsibility.



In no way shape or form do i believe that to be vengeance.



Happy i have never been in that situation.Its not a nice one to be in i bet.

Jodi - posted on 12/14/2011

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Really?? Vengeance? You think a woman decides to keep a baby and hold the father equally accountable out of VENGEANCE? Or decides to have an abortion, even if the father wants the baby out of VENGEANCE?



And I am trying to comprehend, when a mother chooses to have the baby rather than abort it, when the father decides to opt out and not pay child support, how the opt out is in the *best interests of the child*.



Edited to add: on re-reading your post, it doesn't make any sense at all. You say that the father will one day have to be the one to explain to the child if they choose to find him. So what!! He wanted that child aborted (the one who came to find him and he opted out of). Let him tell the child that. I can see it now *Actually son, I wanted you to be aborted, but your mum didn't, so the bitch was going to make me pay child support, so I opted out of your life instead*. I mean, it's the truth, right? I can't see it going down well though.

Becky - posted on 12/14/2011

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How is it not best for the child to have, at minimum, the financial support of his or her father?

Lacye - posted on 12/14/2011

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So this whole thing is more about if the woman deserves vengeance rather than what is best for the child? A man will still suffer emotionally if the woman chooses to have an abortion when he wanted the child. He doesn't have a say in if she will carry the baby or not. But he will be the one that will one day have to explain to the child, if the child chooses to find their father, why he did what he did.

Sherri - posted on 12/14/2011

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Yes and the woman no matter what the choice definitely suffers the consequences. However, the man should have to also do the same in my opinion.

Lacye - posted on 12/14/2011

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I'm not saying a woman should be punished either. A woman has a choice to do what she wants with her body. If she doesn't want the child, she has the choice of giving it up for adoption or abortion. But if the woman chooses to to keep the child and the man doesn't want to be in its life, he should have the same choice to opt out. I would rather the father opt out rather than take out his resentment on the child because he has to pay child support for a child he never wanted.

Rebecca, sometimes condoms break. A opps kind of thing. The same could be said about the woman. She chose to have sex so she should have to take care of the child she helped create and not have an abortion or be able to give the child up for adoption.

[deleted account]

If he cannot and does not want to be a parent, then he can chose to have a vasectomy or wear a condom or abstain. If he fails to exercise any of those options, then he's responsible.

Jodi - posted on 12/14/2011

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"A man should be punished because of one mistake. That is ridiculous to me. If a woman has the choice to say, I don't want this, so should the man."

So only the woman should be punished for one mistake then?

Jodi - posted on 12/14/2011

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In Australia, a father can't just give up his rights. Basically, when you file for Parenting Payment (which is the government assistance available to single parents), you MUST have filed for child support against the father. And you pretty much have to nominate the details of the other parent.

Rosie - posted on 12/14/2011

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when i was in the process of having grants bio-dad give up his rights, i was informed by my lawyer that if there was no one else to adopt my child, they would not let leo give up his rights. they need two people to be financially responsible for the child. how him NOT being financially responsible for his child went over the states head is beyond me. apparantly because he's court ordered to pay support, means that hes financially responsible, lol. so many men i know are like that, supposed to be financially responsible, but aren't.
can you imagine what it would be like for these children if their fathers weren't forced to pay support? i already know enough deadbeat dads why make more?

Carolee - posted on 12/14/2011

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If the mother tries to get government assistance, though, that's when they will hunt him down and make him pay first.

Carolee - posted on 12/14/2011

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Unless it's agreed on through the courts that the mother does not want the child support. The courts cannot force somebody to take child support. Most times, they will allow an agreed upon financial arrangement, even if it's that the father doesn't owe anything.

Lacye - posted on 12/14/2011

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Carolee, in most cases, even though the father can give up his rights, in some places he would still be forced to pay child support.

Carolee - posted on 12/14/2011

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Men already CAN go through the courts to legally give up all rights to their children.

Lacye - posted on 12/14/2011

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No a man should not have the right to force a woman to have an abortion, I never said that. If you go and actually read what I wrote, I said that the man would have to sign a document saying he didn't want anything to do with the child and gives up all rights to the child. Why should a woman be the only one to have any say with what they can do with their lives just because she carries the child in her body? A man should be punished because of one mistake. That is ridiculous to me. If a woman has the choice to say, I don't want this, so should the man.

[deleted account]

Yes, he should. I'm sorry but this is the problem with kids having sex too young but I know that's really not the discusion here. If he absolutely does not want kids, then he has 100% control over that by not having sex. Birth Control is available CHEAP AS HELL and could be bought if you just collect enough cans. If both choose to be stupid about sex and just do it, then they're stuck. If she then decides to keep the child, then he's absolutely bound to be liable and responsible. Abortion may be her choice only but the option to have sex was both of theirs. She made the decision to stay, he made the decision to NOT protect himself.

tough. I'm not very generous with symptahy for people in this situation. I was very adament to the point of mania that I did NOT want to have a child. I was also rather promiscuous. I was very careful and never once (even during a drunken stupor one-night-stand) had unprotected sex. That has zip to do with stds and 100% with not wanting to be a mom. No pleas from boys ever swayed me to go without. So I gotta ask, why should I feel sorry for someone who had unprotected sex and now must deal with the very normal, biological consequence.

It's not like kids are unaware that sex leads to babies.

Becky - posted on 12/13/2011

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I have to agree with Jodi. While I don't really consider myself pro-choice when it comes to abortion (it's complicated!), to argue that the effects of pregnancy on a woman and on a man are equal is rather ridiculous. A man has effects on his emotions and his pocketbook. A woman has to put her body through hell. (or that's what my body goes through during pregnancy anyway!) Morning sickness, crazy hormones, pains in the oddest places, risks to your long-term health and even life, and of course, your body probably never looking quite the same again.... While I do think it is completely unfair when a man really wants the baby and the woman chooses to abort, I also think that it would be unfair for a man to force her to put her body through that when she really has no desire whatsoever for a baby. Asking a man to contribute a few bucks to the care of the child and asking a woman to put her body through hell are not on the same level.

Jodi - posted on 12/13/2011

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So, if a woman wants an abortion and the man doesn't, you think the law should force her into having the baby?



Or is this a case of fathers only having the option to opt out when it suits them? i.e. when it's going to cost them money. "I didn't want the baby, she did, so I shouldn't have to pay for it" kind of thing. Because every single one of you here knows that the majority of the time, should such rights come to play, this is the scenario we would see.



Now imagine the social impact of that.

Lacye - posted on 12/13/2011

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I think a man should be allowed to have a time frame if he wants to opt out on taking care of a child. After he chooses one way or the other, he is legally bound to that child. If he decides not to have the child in his life, then he has to sign a document removing all rights to the child from that day forward and is no longer allowed to be around the child unless the mother agrees otherwise. If he chooses to stay in the child's life, I think that the father should help pay for the woman's medical bills since it is his child that she is carrying.

Everybody talks about a woman's right to choose, well a man should have his rights too. The man and woman both decided to have sex, whether protected or unprotected. It was their decision. So why should it be ok for only one of them to be able to make the choice.

Stifler's - posted on 12/13/2011

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Men should have rights to the kid if the woman wants to adopt it out I reckon. It's his kid.

Denikka - posted on 12/13/2011

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I don't see how giving fathers rights to choose would, in any way, force abortions on women. I don't believe anyone is saying that the man should have the right to force the woman to abort. Just that he should have the right to perform a legal *abortion* for himself and opt out of parenthood. What the woman does with the baby at the point is her choice.

The ONLY issue I see with giving fathers rights (in a physical sense) would be if the father wanted the child and the mother did not and wanted to abort. In a perfect world, the woman would suck it up and (barring medical problems) bring the child into the world and hand it over to the father who wants it.

This is most definitely not a perfect world. Which is why I wish there could be an option for this too. An artificial womb or something along those lines to bring the baby to term without inconveniencing the woman for those 9 months.



I may be wrong, but I believe there actually IS a form that a man can file (I remember hearing about it on a talk show) to opt out of his parental rights. It's obscure, almost no one knows about it, and there's a very strict timeline (from what I can remember).

I'm not saying it should be easy to opt out. It's sure as hell not easy for a woman to abort or adopt (and if it IS easy for her, thank GOD she didn't keep the baby). But I still, and I believe I always will, believe that fathers deserve more rights in regards to their children.



Just throwing it out there, think about this scenario.

Man and woman have sex, woman gets pregnant. Maybe it's a one night stand, maybe the relationship ends before she finds out. For whatever reason, the man doesn't know about the pregnancy, but would be 100% supportive if he knew and absolutely WANTS the baby.

The girl never bothers to tell him, but carries the pregnancy to term and ADOPTS the baby out.

The guy finds out about this either during the adoption process or after. He has NO rights. He has NO say.

How is that fair?

It is a full term pregnancy. It is a viable human life who has been born. It is HIS child too, but he has NO rights to that baby.

That still fair? Because they both made a choice to have sex and pregnancy was a result?? It's not even like the woman would be any more inconvenienced, the baby is already born. It's the same as being adopted, but the child would be with their father who wants them, instead of a stranger, who may want that child just as bad.

Still think a father should have NO rights after conception?

Just think about that, because this scenario would be included in that, that the mother has 3 choices on what to do after conception and the father must go along with her choice.

Stifler's - posted on 12/13/2011

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Because she is always the one responsible for what happens to the child. She has it in her uterus for 10 monhts, her responsibilty to eat right. Gives birth her responsibility. Has the kid, stays home from work with it or is responsible for daycare if he runs off and does whatever he wants and denies that he wanted a kid. I think men need to be held a lot more accountable for the havoc children wreak on a woman's life to be honest.

Jodi - posted on 12/13/2011

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There is nothing biased about it when you consider they both have the equal choice to have sex, knowing the consequences. So therefore, there is nothing biased about it. Equal rights to choose not to have sex. No imbalance there.



I do see your point, but it is not practical and will never happen. The alternative is to force a woman to follow through with a pregnancy or to hold her down and force an abortion. So the consequence of the sex will always be her choice.



Basically, instead of men bitching and whining that it is all so unfair, it comes down to being more careful about their choices in sexual partners. He DOES get a choice.

Lacieann - posted on 12/13/2011

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I think the problem is that there is no legal option for men should they get someone pregnant. I think there should be an option for them, that's all. I think they should be able to abort their responsibility to the baby with as much support as we are told to give woman who choose adoption or abortion.

If a woman adopts out or aborts a baby, people are expected to say "Well she made a tough choice and did what was best" but if a man decides that he can't be there emotionally or financially then it's "Oh, what a dead beat!"

I just think it's incredibly biased.

Does the woman not realize that she can get pregnant from sex? Does she not think it's possible that she would be solely responsible for the baby, why does she get singular decision in the outcome of the consequences, while the man just has to deal.

It's morally/legally imbalanced so that women get the support and say so, while men get the scorn and no say.

Jodi - posted on 12/13/2011

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No-one has said that men don't suffer emotionally regardless of the choice the woman makes. BUT he should have thought of that before he fucked her, basically. HIS choice was made when he had sex with her and knew that birth control can fail, and legally, he has no options if he gets someone pregnant.



It is equal, because they both participated in a consenting sexual act, the potential consequences of which are obvious.



Any man who does not wish to be placed in this situation needs to sterilise himself. And even THAT isn't guaranteed. But he does have that choice. Otherwise, just don't have sex. It's not rocket science.

Stifler's - posted on 12/13/2011

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To be honest, accidental pregnancy or not... you're still the biological parents of a child. Both people should be held accountable for that. it's not the child's fault they came into the world, they shouldn't be punished by having deliberately absent parents.I feel there needs to be a hell of a lot more legal accountability by men.

Lacieann - posted on 12/13/2011

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Saying "it's the woman's body" doesn't answer my question.



Emotionally, how is it worse for the woman to carry the baby for 9 months (most states have medicaid to pay for the pregnancy so if she can't it wouldn't even be a financial burden to her) than for a man to be powerless to stop her from killing the baby that they both made?



Unless of course, you think that men don't suffer emotionallly when a woman aborts a baby. Or that their emotions are worth less than the woman's.



He cannot force her to keep, adopt out, or abort the baby. That is her choice.

He cannot chose whether or not to support the baby. That is her choice too.



In what way does that make sense, how is that equal?



I think that if a woman can choose abortion without the consent of the father, then the father can choose to not support "abort" his financial responsibility, along with his parental rights.



If abortion were only legal in extreme cases, then so too would a father only be able to avoid supporting his child, only under extreme circumstances.

Jodi - posted on 12/13/2011

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They both knew the possibilities before they had sex. End of story. The father knows it will become the mother's choice if he gets her pregnant. He knows this before he has sex (and if he doesn't he should). So by having sex with the woman, he is accepting that possibility.

Rosie - posted on 12/13/2011

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cause it's her body. as soon as you start telling women what they can and cannot do with their bodies it gets slippery. are you prepared to force women to have abortions?

Lacieann - posted on 12/13/2011

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Two points:
1 - She knew she would be the one carrying the child when she decided to have sex, if she didn't want that responsibility, she shouldn't have sex.
2 - She can't be forced to take care of the child after, that's what the adoption option is all about.

How is it worse for a woman to have to carry a baby when she chose to have sex, than it is for that man to have to know that someone is going to kill his baby, and there's nothing he can do about it?

I just think that if a woman can choose whether or not to allow the baby to live, then the man should be able to choose whether or not he's going to support it. There should be a form he can file or something, that lets him off the hook. A woman has 3 months (or so), give the man
the same amount of time from when he is made aware of the pregnancy.

Rosie - posted on 12/13/2011

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it is sad that a mother can terminate a pregnancy that a man wants, but it would be a thousand times worse to force a woman to do something with her own body, that she doesn't want to do for 9 months, and then take on the responsibility of a child after that.
until a man can carry a baby that's how it will be, it sucks, but they KNOW that before having sex.

Lacieann - posted on 12/13/2011

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Also, if a woman doesn't find out she is pregnant until after her cutoff for abortion, she can still adopt the baby out if the father doesn't want it.

Lacieann - posted on 12/13/2011

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Also for those who are saying that "he made the choice when he had sex" didn't the mother make the same choice when she had sex, and should therefore not be allowed to abort? Or at least require both parents consent to terminate the pregnancy?

I'm talking about a healthy woman with a healthy baby, so don't bring medical issues or whatever in. this is theoretical.

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