Would you allow fathers to drop off b...

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Registered: 06-12-2007
Would you allow fathers to drop off b...
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Fri, 12-07-2007 - 11:31am

Marie-P directed me to the "Should fathers be allowed to 'abort'?" debate from the "Pregnant Perscpective" thread. In it, I noticed that most people's objection to fathers relinquishing their rights and responsibilities towards babies was that the baby had a right to CS and fathers ought not to be allowed to walk away from this obligation.

However, mothers are allowed to walk away from this obligation by giving up their babies for adoption / dropping babies off at safe haven WITHOUT consulting the father. Why shouldn't fathers be allowed the same right, if indeed their responsibilities towards a baby are equal to a mother's?

So I wanted to start this poll -

Would you allow fathers to drop off babies at Safe Haven?

I'm against abortion AND fathers terminating rights
I'm against abortion BUT support fathers terminating rights
I support abortion rights AND fathers terminating rights
I support abortion rights BUT not fathers terminating rights

You will be able to change your vote.




Edited 12/7/2007 11:36 am ET by wendelinw

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iVillage Member
Registered: 06-12-2007
Fri, 12-07-2007 - 11:39am

Marie-P directed me to the "Should fathers be allowed to 'abort'?" debate from the "Pregnant Perscpective" thread. In it, I noticed that most people's objection to fathers relinquishing their rights and responsibilities towards babies was that the baby had a right to CS and fathers ought not to be allowed to walk away from this obligation.

However, mothers are allowed to walk away from this obligation by giving up their babies for adoption / dropping babies off at safe haven WITHOUT consulting the father. Why shouldn't fathers be allowed the same right, if indeed their responsibilities towards a baby are equal to the mothers'?

So I wanted to start this poll...

Thank you in advance for responding. It would be great if you could explain your vote. Why you are PL or PC doesn't need to be explained unless it directly ties in with the reason why you support fathers' rights to terminate parental responsibilities.

EDIT: As you can tell, my personal view is that fathers should be allowed to drop off babies at safe haven. I'm also PC. So when it comes down to it, this means a father-to-be should be able to tell the mother-to-be (by signing appropriate statements, whatever) that he is choosing to terminate all this rights to the baby, if she has it. I would of course support implementing checks and balances - if the father changes his mind and comes back, he would owe penalties plus retroactive child support, etc.. Also, I think it might become the norm to have "precoital" agreements similar to prenuptual agreements, in which the intents and mutually agreed-upon responsibilities of both parties wrt possible children are made clear. Well, it would put somewhat of a damper on the heady pleasures of one-night-stands, but I think we can all agree that reponsible sex is only a good thing. :D




Edited 12/7/2007 11:47 am ET by wendelinw
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-17-2007
Fri, 12-07-2007 - 1:58pm

I wasn't sure how to respond, since I don't know the context. Presuming that the father has not kidnapped the child from the mother and is not turning the child over to the state without the mother's knowledge or consent, I don't see a big deal with it. If neither parent wants to or can reasonably care for the child, better that it ends up in a safe place.

I would not support the father doing this on the sly, without the mother's knowledge or consent, obviously.




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iVillage Member
Registered: 06-12-2007
Fri, 12-07-2007 - 2:05pm

But... mothers do it all the time without the father's knowledge or consent...

I'm not saying it's right, either, but if it isn't illegal for one party, why should it be illegal for the other? I heard it argued on the "Should dads be allowed to 'abort'" thread that if a mother dropped a baby off without telling the father, the father "can always go to the authorities and try to have the baby found".

pregnancy
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-17-2007
Fri, 12-07-2007 - 2:22pm

"But... mothers do it all the time without the father's knowledge or consent..."

Is it really that common, where the father has expressed a clear interest in taking exclusive custody, and the mother decides that neither can have the baby and instead takes it to a safe haven on the sly? Can you quantify how often this happens?

I mean, I'm trying to see a scenario here where this could possibly happen to an involved father. I doubt my husband will leave my side for weeks after our child is born, which would make it very hard for me even to go to the bathroom without him knowing. Let's see if I can come up with one:

Mother: Honey, I'm going grocery shopping and I'm taking the baby with me.
Father: But Dear, the baby is only two days old! Should I just care for the baby at home?
Mother: No, Honey. I'm better at caring for the baby.
Father: But Dear, you're not taking a stroller or diaper bag.
Mother: That's okay, Honey; I won't be needing them for such a short trip.

Does that sound as ridiculous to you as it does to me?

For the other threads, I believe the compared issue was a woman having an abortion without the father's knowledge or consent. That, I believe, is quite different, considering the zygote or fetus is irreparably part of the woman's body, and not its own entity.




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iVillage Member
Registered: 06-12-2007
Fri, 12-07-2007 - 2:35pm

I was actually referring to the rather large number of women who give up their children for adoption / give them away at safe haven who just never told the father of the baby that they were pregnant at all. The father isn't given a chance to claim his parental rights, and this is fully legal. And we know that it is also fully legal when the father HAS told the mother he wants to claim parental rights - these cases are fewer in number, but it happens, especially in cases where the mother judges the father as being unworthy/incapable of taking care of the child. Should it BE her judgement and decision that reigns supreme? More importantly, that behaviour is legal and it was defended on the other thread I was talking about.

I don't see any moral difference between a father who "kidnaps" a newborn from the mother's side to drop him/her off at safe haven (who knows? he may have a "good reason", like thinking she will be a very bad mother), and a mother who gives her baby away without ever letting the father know that he has a child because SHE thinks he will be a "bad father".

pregnancy
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-17-2007
Fri, 12-07-2007 - 2:56pm

"I was actually referring to the rather large number of women who give up their children for adoption / give them away at safe haven who just never told the father of the baby that they were pregnant at all."

If he never knew she was pregnant, how would he know she'd given the child up? I'm sorry, but the gaps in logic here are too large to ignore.

In this particular scenario, it doesn't sound like someone who was very involved in the life of their sexual partner, which may perhaps lead to the woman, as you said, feeling that "the father as being unworthy/incapable of taking care of the child." And you're still not quantifying it for me. "A rather large number" is not considered evidence in my book.

Since this is apparently legal, what do you propose be the law instead? Let's go with your cited scenario, where the woman has had a child and has not told the father that she was ever pregnant. How would you write the law in that case?




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iVillage Member
Registered: 06-12-2007
Fri, 12-07-2007 - 3:03pm

Holly, you're right, I just realised my arguments were rather empty when you posed the question of how I would change the law. I might want to make it illegal for a woman to refuse to inform the father of her child about the child's birth (allowing exceptions in cases where she feels threatened physically of course), but I know there are just too many ways around THAT requirement and it could not possibly be enforced. But I still think it's a law that should be on the books, because both parents ought to have equal parental rights.

I would never make it illegal for women to give up babies if they so wish, but again, I'd put in at least a paper requirement that the father be informed and allowed to adopt the baby if he so wishes... even if this could not be enforced.

I would also never make it legal for a man to "kidnap" a child without a woman's knowledge and give it away. However, I would allow him to do something that would have the same NET effect in his life: which is, to sign away his parental rights to the baby, just as the mother is able to sign hers away by dropping the baby off in safe haven.

I think that's only fair.

EDIT: You asked how a father would know when a baby he wasn't even aware of was given away. He wouldn't. And my point is that it isn't fair to keep this knowledge from it, that it ought to be required for him to be notified that he has a child.




Edited 12/7/2007 3:05 pm ET by wendelinw
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-17-2007
Fri, 12-07-2007 - 4:58pm

"I'd put in at least a paper requirement that the father be informed"

There are rules in some states that require that you notify your sexual partners if you have been infected with a serious STI like HIV. I guess you could have something similar, but I don't know how they would enforce it. If the woman wouldn't list the father on the birth certificate or provide any information for him, the hospital would have no way of knowing who he is. Then there's the less-likely scenario of the one-night stand, where the woman herself may not even know who the father is.

I would definitely say that the father should be notified, but I wouldn't deny any rights to the mother if she couldn't or didn't wish to notify him, either. That's partially because I don't really believe that a million women out there do this all the time, and that the women who do usually have a pretty good reason for it. You've been on our EC long enough to know there are some real "winners" out there in the male population. Remember the woman whose husband quit speaking to her because she didn't wait for permission to go to the hospital for her miscarriage? It's a tough nut to crack, certainly.




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Registered: 10-06-2010
Fri, 12-07-2007 - 5:06pm
I am PC and I believe that a father should be able to give up his rights if he does not want anything to do with the child. I also believe he should be able to drop a child off to a safe haven if both he and the mother do not want the child.
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-12-2007
Fri, 12-07-2007 - 5:07pm

>>You've been on our EC long enough to know there are some real "winners" out there in the male population.

What's EC? And yeah, I can easily agree that most women who choose not to inform their partners about a pregnancy probably have very good reasons.

I think the basic unfairness I was trying to address here is how fathers are not allowed at any point to sign away their parental rights, like mothers are. I'm a feminist, proudly so, but the essence of feminism is equality, not special rights...


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