Monday, October 28, 2013

Making A Case For Deadbeat Dads



Parenting is hard. Choosing to raise another human being for the next 18-years, to feed, clothe, shelter, and educate them is not something that can be done half heartedly, or at least it shouldn't be.

Since 1973, any time a woman in this country has found herself facing an unplanned pregnancy, she has been able to abort her child. She's had the right to cut all ties to her offspring. She's been legally able to terminate any responsibility that comes with motherhood.


We live in a very contradictory nation when radical feminists, who can often be heard demanding equality, support the unfair right of women to be able to opt out of parenthood. When a woman does "choose" not to become a parent we're told it's a liberating act, but when a man chooses the very same thing, somehow it's considered cowardly.

Now, of all the people making a case for deadbeat dads, it probably shouldn't be me considering I've had two. Let me explain. My mother became pregnant with me at the University of Texas in Austin a decade after Roe made it legal for her to kill me. Lord knows that would've been the easiest, and some might even say most "responsible" option. She had a promising future, and minister parents she was going to have to face with a less than an immaculate conception. But she knew whatever "choices" there were to be made up ahead, I was not one of them. I was very much alive and there was no taking that back.

My grandfather had one very brief conversation with my biological father while I was still no bigger than a lemon. "Either marry my daughter," he said, "or leave and let her get on with her life." He chose the latter, and for years I resented my grandfather for doing that. Who was he to force such a drastic ultimatum on the man who had helped to create me?

My biological father saw me one time when I was two weeks old, commented on how long my eyelashes were, and that was it. There were no birthday cards, or long distance phone calls. I never saw him again.

Growing up, I fantasizes about being a professional golfer, because my mother used to mention how much he liked golf. I remember thinking that maybe, just maybe, if I made it big in the LPGA he'd want to be my dad then. Since obviously the only reason he took off was because of my grandfather.

Then, 16 later I found myself in an almost identical situation, dashing all hopes of a professional golf career. I was pregnant with a child, while still very much a child myself. That's when my boyfriend became the second deadbeat dad in my life. For the first two years he was completely AWOL. I remember people would say, just wait until he sees this beautiful little boy, there’s no way he could not immediately fall in love him with. I knew better though. Unlike my biological father he kind of came around once our son was a toddler and popped in and out of our lives just enough to confuse him. Eventually I was able to get child support payments garnished from his paychecks, more out of spite than need though. I wanted him to know this child existed and was his responsibility, but the State made it insanely difficult to actually reinforce such a notion. Plus, all signs were pointing to the fact that his heart was truly not into parenting, and nothing was going to change that.

Finally I realized it was best to let him go... let him out of all responsibility, much like my biological father, and move on with my life. 

Most of the time when it comes to unplanned pregnancies, this is the case. Who knew sex could lead to the creation of a new life? Or my new favorite, "But I was on birth control, this isn't my fault!" And so often these scared, na├»ve, and unprepared men and women choose to abort. We’ve all heard the story of the guy who tells her "just now’s not really the right time," or the girl who wants to experience college without a baby to look after. For many, abortion is the perfect get-out-of-jail-free-card. In a world that seems to have consequences for everything, we've managed to find a loophole that only costs one innocent life.

Sometimes however, women choose not to abort, and that decision must be respected as well. However, thanks to a society that's been conveniently killing children for the last 40 years, that baby is still just as much a choice to some as it is a child to others. We’re seeing an increase in men who think this way. “How come she gets to decide whether or not I become a parent?”

So here's where I make my case for deadbeat dads. As someone who has suffered at the hands of their choices not once but twice, and watched my son suffer as well, I still believe they are not the ones who should fully be to blame for this mindset. They are making the exact same choice many women, 55 million to be exact, have made, in the US alone, since 1973. Except in their case, when they choose to leave their responsibilities behind, at least their child is still allowed to live.

As a nation, it baffles me how we can celebrate the woman’s choice but so completely demonize the man’s, when ultimately it’s one and the same. And then it hit me - it’s all about money. Because it always is, right? The woman who aborts because she’s not ready, and probably not financially stable, is paying a small amount up front that will potentially save the taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in social services in years to come. The male who abandons his pregnant counterpart is instead costing the taxpayer just that. In both cases, a child who was created by no fault of their own quickly becomes the bane of this nation’s existence worthy of death or destitution. But since children sleeping on cardboard mats in the streets would look bad on us, we simply root for them to be killed in their mother's womb.

Bottomline, until we learn to respect the humanity of ALL human beings- at every stage- we seldom respect the role of any human being. We will not view their struggles with compassion, we will only see what a burden they are on others and we will continue to dehumanize humans for our own selfish gain... men and women alike. 

21 comments:

  1. This is a great post. While I'm no cheerleader for deadbeat dads, I've written similar things in the past--is there any wonder that they feel resentful? Is there any wonder that they feel like the baby is strictly the mother's business? "Choice" marginalizes fathers. I've known of cases in which the father has literally begged the mother not to abort, promised he would take care of everything, raise the baby alone, everything, only to have his child killed. Is that fair? How is it right that the mother alone determines the value and the fate of the child and that the father is on the hook for her decision? It's the flip side of choice.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's not fair. But it's legal and there is nothing we can do....

      Delete
  2. Very insightful. Especially the part at the end about children sleeping on cardboard on the streets. WOW. It is all about money and image and hiding the real weight of the act of abortion. You hit it on the head.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Except that the children are alive and living, and broken, and pro ken people make a broken society. Not the same thing at all.

    ReplyDelete
  4. You are right, you are exactly right. It is a sign of how selfish, self-centered and lacking in self-mastery/strength we really are, and abortion has greatly increased these problems, - I mean both in the mindset and in the actual outward situations. Strength/power is not there for easy things, but challenging ones, and responsibility involves telling yourself "no," and using self-discipline on a regular basis. People often criticize my decisions to be celibate until marriage and mock or vilify me if I encourage the same decisions for others because sex is "natural". Then, they turn around and act like it is far too much to ask that society be organized to accommodate parenthood. Yet, the reason sex exists in nature is to procreate. Duh. Somehow there is a disconnect there, "Of course you have to have sex, it's natural, if both people want it they should never be impeded" but you shouldn't have to have a kid, no matter what. It is a weak, grossly immature mindset that says, "I should be able to do whatever pleases me whenever and however I want, and if something results from it that I did not want, or my efforts to prevent it do not work, it is unjust if someone does not let me out of it. I should be able to play, but I should never have to put away the toys, or clean up the mess afterward unless I feel like it. That is a violation of my rights!" Our society thinks like a two-year old (My roommates have a two-year old, and that is exactly how he thinks.) and needs to grow the hek up, like now - or rather, like yesterday. Ok, I'm done. Thanks for this fabulous piece here, dear, keep up the good work.

    ReplyDelete
  5. It's very sad to think that people's lives could hinge on the amount of money we think they're worth. If people could only put it into context of their own life: "Well, how much money do you think you're worth? And if someone decides they don't want to 'waste' that money on you, is it okay for them to kill you?"

    ReplyDelete
  6. Can I take a step back and ask two questions?
    When you were 16, how come you thought having sex was okay and wouldn't lead to you getting pregnant?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sure, Jos.

      So, when I was 16 I have to say *most* of my peers were sexually active. The difference between them and myself is that I was fully aware of human biology and KNEW I could get pregnant (didn't think I would, in the way most adolescence are very shortsighted, but certainly knew it was possible). I think that's why when many of my classmates chose to abort, while I did not. In my mind that was not an option, or "choice" rather, because I knew pregnancy was always a possibility.

      Kids will be kids and you cannot put a wise head on young shoulders, but we can teach them that if you do A (have sexual intercourse), and the result is B (pregnancy), then C (giving birth to a child/being financially responsible if you choose to parent said child) will be the result. Killing or abandoning this new life you've created through your own actions and choices, does not get to be your safety net just because "whoops," you weren't "safe" enough.

      That, is what we need to be teaching the next generation. They cannot choose to have sex when they are not ready to become parents and/or have a baby, because that shows they are not mature enough for the natural and often inevitable consequences of the act itself. Try as we might to separate the two, we cannot be mad at biology when sex leads to new life.

      Delete
    2. So are you saying that married couples cannot enjoy sex without the fear of pregnancy. Birth control does fail, should every couple have to bring to term a pregnancy that is caused by failure of birth control, no matter what? That seems like a not very gracious position to take, though sex is for procreation, nobody wants to be constantly pregnant, sex should be able to be enjoyed without having to always bear children, your position is oppressive. I want to clarify that I have never been pregnant and my birth control has never failed, but i'am not going to forgo sex in my marriage just to avoid pregnancy. I see abortion as a last resort, but I don't find it be wrong if you did everything to avoid getting pregnant by using birth control or charting your fertility and still end up pregnant, I do believe abortion is acceptable in those cases because one tried to mitigate that consequence and it failed.

      Delete
  7. I too have had the same experience. The difference of opinion is, no sometimes it is NOT about the money.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree. For the individual it's often not, but I was saying the opinion of society regarding these two issues is monetarily driven, in my opinion.

      Delete
  8. I thought the article was FANTASTICALLY written. I appreciate the story and the viewpoint very much. But I will say, to me it seemed like a very powerful PRO-LIFE statement. I'm conservative, pro-life, and generally tend to examine "feminist ramblings," much in the same way a dog looks at you when you ask him a question. But this article is much different than ordinary feminism.

    Men aspire to greatness. When a man abandons a family, he is seen as a coward.
    Women aspire to greatness. If a woman abandoned her family, she'd be seen as a coward.

    A man cannot (ordinarily) abort his fetus and a woman can. Women do things about the "negative stigma" of killing children in their wombs to make each other feel good; powerful instead. But isn't she just the same murdering irresponsible deadbeat, only without a gangsta tat scrawled across her chest?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bingo, Michael.

      And we're actually a pro-life feminist group so you might want to check out our ramblings sometime. :)

      Delete
    2. Oh good! You have no idea how good it makes me feel to make your acquaintance! Although I usually reserve my comments for those with whom I disagree, I will be checking out ramblings from now on. Keep up the great work, and thanks for sharing that incredible point of view.

      Delete
  9. This is surely one of those posts that some people will take the wrong way, but makes an excellent point -- something NWF seems to be very good at! But I get that personally. I want to talk about my abortion in a pro-life setting, particularly the fact that no one made me do it, and I get people trying to lecture me.

    Anyway... the picture of that guy. Funny, this type of guy is a product of feminism. Cheese-ball bad-boy who probably wants to show off his bedroom skills and yet is the worst possible candidate for owning up to what sex can lead to, a child who needs a father. In recent years I've considered the way that feminism has disconnected the thought of sex from pregnancy. I think of how I grew up and my mindset leading up to my abortion. I was taught that pregnancy is basically another STD. Sex had nothing to do with pregnancy. Pregnancy can and should (I was told) be treated/ cured like the disease it is.

    This is a needed commentary on a culture that is so incredibly sex drenched/ obsessed but so control freaked about when and if a pregnancy is allowed to result from it. Just another one of fauxminism's ironies, we got what we asked for and now we're mad.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hi Destiny. Good post. One theological error though. The Immaculate Conception was the conception of Mary, not Jesus. It was done the good old fashioned way.

    ReplyDelete
  11. The last sentence of this piece was killer! Great post.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Just found your site. Delighted to find some good feminists. In the USA your group can exist. You would be bullied out of existence in the UK. Great article and very best wishes to you.

    ReplyDelete
  13. So, the idea that procreation is an essential aspect of God’s will for sexual love is “not very gracious” and “oppressive,” but the killing of your own child is “acceptable”?
    You did everything you could to avoid getting pregnant and you got pregnant, anyway. So, the child is the one who is supposed to suffer death for this?
    First, no birth control method is 100% reliable, so the idea that you’re not responsible for getting pregnant because you used birth control is bogus. I once cared for a baby who was born ten years after his mother’s tubes were tied.
    The bottom line is, we only think we plan our lives. If you regard getting pregnant something to be feared, or children the result of a mistake, or that you are somehow absolved of your responsibility to your child because you took a pill, then you might want to seriously reconsider your motives for being in a sexual relationship. The fact is, sex very often leads to children, even when we try our best to avoid it. If you’re not ready or willing to have children, then you’re not ready to have sex. There are no free passes.

    ReplyDelete