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What are the obligations of a biological father?

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KevinD
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Isn't there also some thing you can use up to 2 weeks (or something like that) after the intercourse? I think that's a little heavier on your body but probably still a lot less dangerous than an abortion.

I am not aware if there is. The earliest a girl can find out that she is pregnant is when she misses her period - it maybe more than 2 weeks away - it may not be - it all depends when she had her period last.

I am not an advocate of casuall sex but I think if there was an agreement in case of a one night stand, that a girl will take a morning after pill after just in case - I find that quiet reasonable. This method however can not and should not be used every time you have sex with a girl (well unless it is a different girl every time and all of them agree to it).

Edited by ~Sophia~
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You do not sign your life away by simply having sex - we are far far from those days. You can safely engage in that activity if done responsibly. The chances of 'an accident' happening is tiny and on top of that you can further protect yourself by not engaging in sex with any woman who in case of that accident happening - is not going to abort the pregnancy.

The chance is not as small as you seem to think. There are some failure rate statistics here and here. One problem is that many people expect the 'perfect use' failure rates, but fail to see that their risk will be higher because nobody's perfect. The two most common methods I know of are male condoms and the pill, and they resulted in a 15% pregnancy rate and 8% pregnancy rate, respectively. The only ones with the percentage of failure you're talking about are IUD's, and the side effects and after effects listed for those scare me more than an abortion would. In other words, accidents happen. Please stop claiming they don't, and please stop using scare quotes around 'an accident'. There's no need for that.

You can have an abortion through pills alone up to 7 weeks after your last mentrual cycle. The risk associated with the 'Abortion Pill' include allergic reactions and a 4% failure rate; I did not find risks associated with the morning after pill, although I believe you will bleed after taking it because it induces a period. If the pills fail, obviously your risks go up because you would be stuck with a surgical procedure.

Though honestly, who has more at stake has little to do with who has moral obligations towards the possible child. I am not sure why you brought this up.

You can't because that would be a violation of her rights - we are all agree on that.

How is it not a violation of the man's rights to make him pay child support for a kid he didn't want, tried to prevent, would have aborted if he'd been the one pregnant, but ended up with because he never actually said he didn't want it and the woman decided to keep it? She never agreed to have a child - why is her decision the default? If she planned on having the baby if she got pregnant, she should have said so, and she should have considered the possibility that he might not want it.

As for him having a choice earlier in the situation: his choice cannot, with our technology, directly cause a baby to be born. Hers can. It was as much her choice to have sex as it was his. So, they have equal input towards the first choice (sex), and the woman has the sole second choice (abort vs. baby); since the possible result of the first choice can be negated by the second choice, the results of the second choice (outside of a contract) are the woman's sole responsibility. If you really want the man to have any kind of responsibility towards the result of the second choice, you must allow him to participate in that choice - since you refuse to grant him that right, you absolve him of responsibility, by holding a gun to his head (even if it's one he handed to you.)

They're working on male contraceptives, by the way.

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If you combine using both a condom and a pill chances of getting pregnant are very small. Accidental pregnancies happen mostly through a failure to use a pill properly, condoms breaking, or no protection at all.

You can have an abortion through pills alone up to 7 weeks after your last mentrual cycle. The risk associated with the 'Abortion Pill' include allergic reactions and a 4% failure rate; I did not find risks associated with the morning after pill, although I believe you will bleed after taking it because it induces a period. If the pills fail, obviously your risks go up because you would be stuck with a surgical procedure.

Ok I was only aware of the surgical procedure. If there is a safer method that can be used after a girl missed her period - that changes things considerably for me. If she was truthful in not wanting the baby then I do not see a reason why she would not use it.

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If abortion was as safe (and someday it will be) - I would not hold a guy responsible for her choice of not aborting a pregnancy. There would be no rational reason for not doing so.

I think it's necessary to note that your position seems to have changed from;

A - The man is responsible because he was causally involved in getting the woman pregnant

to

B - The man is responsible because the existing technology is risky for the woman.

If A was true, B wouldn't matter.

Edited by RationalBiker
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I think it's necessary to note that your position seems to have changed from;

A - The man is responsible because he was causally involved in getting the woman pregnant

to

B - The man is responsible because the existing technology is risky for the woman.

If A was true, B wouldn't matter.

My whole objection, from the beggining, was based on a fact that I could see why a rational woman may not want have an abortion even if she was truthful in not wanting to get pregnant and having a child. It was due to the risk involved.

At this point I do not see any rational reasons why she would not - aside from some rare case of specific health reasons.

Edited by ~Sophia~
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My whole objection, from the beggining, was based on a fact that I could see why a rational woman may not want have an abortion even if she was truthful in not wanting to get pregnant and having a child. It was due to the risk involved.

Well, as much as I'm glad we have come to at least some agreement, I would ask you to review your first 8 posts on the matter because it wasn't until then that you even hint at risks associated with abortion. Even then it seemed more as an 'in passing' point tacked on to the end of a long post. The overwhelming portion of your argument was that the man's obligation arose from his initial "blind decision" to have sex which in so doing he was taking the risk to accidentally create the child and was bound by the woman's decision. This is exemplified by this quote from your 8th post;

If a man does not make sure to find out what this woman's views are on having an abortion in case of 'an accident' (I am assuming both people are being honest in trying to avoid it) then he is making a decision of having sex with this woman blindly. Because for example he may find out that she can not get one for health reasons (it is possible). In light of such finding, knowing that in case of 'an accident' there will be a child born - a man may choose not to take that risk - but if he does not ask - if he acts blindly - this does not relieve him from taking responsibility for what he has created as a result of his actions.

That was the point the you consistently pounded home in each post. That was the point that those who disagreed with you continually opposed. If the abortion-related risks were the crux of your argument "from the beginning", it took you a long time to get around to actually bringing them up. Now, I will grant that you may have been thinking of that the whole time, but it was not part of your argument until much later. And when it did surface, a few presented facts appear to have eased your mind on the matter allowing some resolution.

So, do you understand why I say the appearance is that your argument 'evolved' as the thread went on?

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If a man does not make sure to find out what this woman's views are on having an abortion in case of 'an accident' (I am assuming both people are being honest in trying to avoid it) then he is making a decision of having sex with this woman blindly. Because for example he may find out that she can not get one for health reasons (it is possible). In light of such finding, knowing that in case of 'an accident' there will be a child born - a man may choose not to take that risk - but if he does not ask - if he acts blindly - this does not relieve him from taking responsibility for what he has created as a result of his actions.

This still applies but it would be a rare case. There is a possiblity that a woman may not be able to have an abortion for health reasons even if she wanted to. I would not however base my views on what happens in rare cases like that.

Edited by ~Sophia~
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This still applies but it would be a rare case.

On this we still disagree for the reasons I previously stated. Additionally, her health problems are not his problem. By analogy, let's suppose a man has sex with a woman and as a result he strokes out and is paralyzed for life. It's rare, but quite possible. The woman has no obligation to take care of him or his health issue even though she was a party to the act which caused the stroke.

Aside from that, either I failed to communicate the entire point of my last post, or you ignored the question I posed. Either way, it's not worth the time to pursue the answer. I think the evidence is in the thread as I pointed out.

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Aside from that, either I failed to communicate the entire point of my last post, or you ignored the question I posed. Either way, it's not worth the time to pursue the answer. I think the evidence is in the thread as I pointed out.

I am not sure what the point of your last post was. Would there be something wrong with an evolving argument? Don't you agree that talking things over may help a person clarify his/her own argument?

The risk that I associated with the procedure of abortion was the reason why I thought a woman may go through with the pregnancy, even if she did not want the baby in a first place, after she acted in good faith and took steps to prevent pregnancy. I had to ask myself what would make a rational woman make such decision? Could she have good reasons for it? My resolve in the end came from the fact that the answer, in light of presented evidence, became: No, aside from some rare situation.

I have not changed my mind about holding a man responsible for the outcome of his actions.

Additionally, her health problems are not his problem. By analogy, let's suppose a man has sex with a woman and as a result he strokes out and is paralyzed for life. It's rare, but quite possible. The woman has no obligation to take care of him or his health issue even though she was a party to the act which caused the stroke.

Nether would a man be obligated to care for that woman if she had a stroke. I don't find this situation being similar to what we have been discussing.

I really do think that a discussion about the possible pregnancy and what steps could be taken is necessary. If a woman knew (or suspected) that her health problems may prevent her from having an abortion in case of an accidental pregnancy - she should disclose that fact. A man should know that before he makes a decision to have sex with her or not. What if she had HIV - her health problems would not be his concern? I am pretty sure he would like to know exactly what risks he is facing having sex with this woman. If he goes through with it and that results in a child - in my opinion, he is obligated to help her to care for it.

Edited by ~Sophia~
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Nether would a man be obligated to care for that woman if she had a stroke. I don't find this situation being similar to what we have been discussing.

Oh but it is. It is an unforeseen health risk that was taken by both parties when they mutually decided to engage in their sexual activity which is directly analogous to the risk that was unforeseen regarding the woman's inability to be able have an abortion (and this is giving her the benefit of the doubt that she did not know of that risk in advance). She is as causally "responsible" (by the mere fact of her participation) for his stroke as he would be for her pregnancy. Following the logic of your position, whether she intended for him to have a stroke or not is immaterial to her responsibility in the matter. She participated therefore she is equally responsible for the results of their act.

Even if I did accept your the rest of your position to be valid, which I don't, I would still hold such unforeseeable or unpredictable consequences were so sufficiently rare as they should not be held against the other party.

Edited by RationalBiker
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I have not changed my mind about holding a man responsible for the outcome of his actions.

I wonder if the disagreement may be based on a minor miscommunication. Are you arguing that generally a man ought to act responsibly and help with the situation or that he should be forced to legally?

Because generally you are right. I wouldn't think much of the ethics of a guy to knocked a girl up and then took off. But that would depend on context. What we are discussing(as I understand) is the legal obligations, although it was never explicitly stated.

If what you are recommending is aplied legally then you have to understand that men would always held responsible for the whims of the woman they sleep with, including the dishonest ones. Do you see the problem with that?

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If what you are recommending is aplied legally then you have to understand that men would always held responsible for the whims of the woman they sleep with, including the dishonest ones. Do you see the problem with that?

Dishonesty would negate the liability. If she said she was on birth control and wasn't, etc. etc.

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Oh but it is. It is an unforeseen health risk that was taken by both parties when they mutually decided to engage in their sexual activity which is directly analogous to the risk that was unforeseen regarding the woman's inability to be able have an abortion (and this is giving her the benefit of the doubt that she did not know of that risk in advance).

Pregnancy is not an unforeseen outcome of sexual activity. Because birth control methods are not 100% effective it is always a possiblity - that possiblity getting smaller and smaller as technology improves but nonetheless it still exist. In most cases, it is not its intent nor purpose but it is a possibility. One should not assume, without having an initial disscussion that in case of an accidental pregnancy - an abortion is always possible.

It can be expected that if a woman was honest about not wanting to have a baby - she will take reasonable, safe for her steps to abort the fetus. Her whim, irrational reasons are not an excuse for not doing so. Under those cirumstances and in case she was dishonest, I would not hold a guy responsible.

Because we are not living in a world in which everyone is rational - the importance of that initial discussion is even more so necessary.

If however she was honest and acted in good faith but could not have an abortion (and she did not know it or disclosed that fact beforehand but sex happened anyway) - I would hold the guy morally responsible to help her to care for the child.

A stroke is an unforeseen outcome.

As to the question: Should we make this a legal responsibility as well? I have to think about that some more. Would this even be a dispute between two rational individuals? I am leaning toward the view that it would not be.

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Pregnancy is not an unforeseen outcome of sexual activity.

Reread what I wrote. I wasn't referring to the pregnancy, I was referring to the rare health condition that prevents the woman from getting an abortion. That is, as you used in your own words, a rare case.

Because you keep referring to what a man should consider well in advance of the sex act (the woman may change her mind, some rare circumstance may prevent abortion as an option, etc.) then it's equally fair for me to say the following. Before the woman chooses to have sex, she should consider that since they have NO AGREEMENT (which is just that, no agreement) up front, that the man may not decide to be there to support her in the event that she does get pregnant and changes her mind or she is unable to get an abortion. Again, the burden is on her because ultimately it is HER BODY and HER CHOICE to have or not have the baby.

Now the specific moral ramifications, in my opinion, really rely more on the overall relationship between the two individuals and which of them are acting against their rational self-interest in their decisions. Obviously I oppose any legal obligation, short of EITHER of them being able to take the other to civil court if there was a breach of an agreement (contract).

I'm reasonably certain that repeating the same argument over and over will not change my mind, and as presented (with probably equal repetition) my argument is apparently unpersuasive to you so my participation in this thread may diminish somewhat, short of a new angle or analogy or something that isn't redundant. As they say, the definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over and expecting different results. :)

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Reread what I wrote. I wasn't referring to the pregnancy, I was referring to the rare health condition that prevents the woman from getting an abortion.

I know you were not refering to the pregnancy - I was just trying to explain why I think those two scenarios are not the same. In my responses, from now on I will try to reduce the repetition, where possible.

A stroke is a direct but unforeseen outcome of the sexual act in the scenario you provided (so would be being infected with HIV if the person was not aware of being a carrier of the virus). There is no liability.

A pregnancy is also a possible outcome but it is not unforeseen. The possibility of pregnancy is a usual risk associated with having an intercourse. This risk exists every time you engage in that activity short of special cases (for example, one person is sterile).

A possiblity of a birth of a child is also not unforeseen. Once pregnancy happens inaction will result in it. A person has to take action to prevent it. If you know pregnancy can happen you must also be aware that a birth can happen if no further action is taken.

This is why I do not think those two scenarios are not the same.

Because you keep referring to what a man should consider well in advance of the sex act (the woman may change her mind, some rare circumstance may prevent abortion as an option, etc.) then it's equally fair for me to say the following. Before the woman chooses to have sex, she should consider that since they have NO AGREEMENT (which is just that, no agreement) up front, that the man may not decide to be there to support her in the event that she does get pregnant and changes her mind or she is unable to get an abortion. Again, the burden is on her because ultimately it is HER BODY and HER CHOICE to have or not have the baby.

I have already stated that simply changing her mind negates the liability.

In case of an accidental pregnancy (an outcome for which both people are responsible) - in order to prevent birth from taking place further action has to be taken. Since this is the case it is only wise to make sure that action - CAN BE TAKEN. Because if it can't - for reasonable causes (not by whim) - both people are responsible for the outcome of their actions - which in this case is a living child.

If your argument is that it is not a man's business that further action can not be taken - then this is where we disagree. It is his business, in my opinion, because he is equally reponsible for creating the pregnancy as the woman.

Let's explore this rare case we are still arguing about where a health reason truly prevents a woman from undergoing the procedure of abortion. I would argue with you that, if she is rational she would not take action against herself. I do not consider that as a rational CHOICE in this scenario.

I hope I have reduced repetition enough for your satisfaction.

Edited by ~Sophia~
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Before the woman chooses to have sex, she should consider that since they have NO AGREEMENT (which is just that, no agreement) up front, that the man may not decide to be there to support her in the event that she does get pregnant and changes her mind or she is unable to get an abortion. Again, the burden is on her because ultimately it is HER BODY and HER CHOICE to have or not have the baby.

I am not sure how to adress this without some repetition on my part.

You can go back to the scenario of borrowing a car. If you lend your car to a friend, and he damages it, your consent was only for the use of the car and not the damage. He has to pay for the damage. Because you, the owner, knew he could damage it and knowing so you still allow him to borrow the car does not mean that he is not responsible for that damage. There was no prior agreement necessary that he will pay for the damage, in case it happens, for him to be liable for it. Am I right?

The only difference is that both people are responsible for the outcome in case of an unwanted pregnancy.

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Sophia, one of your statements caught my attention:

If you are irresposible - I have no sympathy and that applies to any other 'stupid mistake' you may make, like stealing or harming someone. Sex is no different.

Here again, you are trying to equate theft or assault with sex. I don't see how you can do this, considering sex is consentual.

I'd like to stress Jennifer's horse gift analogy, which I think is helpful. Sex is like a man offering a woman a horse as a gift. He approaches her house, horse in tow, shows her the horse, lets her appraise the horse, etc. Since horse-giving is a common activity in our hypothetical universe, let's say neither of them discuss the details of the implications of the woman accepting the horse -- both are aware of what such a decision entails.

Now, suppose the woman accepts the horse, because presumably she likes the looks of it, and feels like going for a ride at the moment (sorry, I had to :)). In doing so, she understands that should the horse act up and start trampling around in the house, she'll get rid of it. She makes this choice in full knowledge of the possible consequences. The man, having no interest in ever dealing with this horse again, makes that intention clear by his actions (analagous to using birth control).

You are switching in mid-argument to saying that because the man was causally necessary for the gifting of the horse to occur, that he is therefore responsible. But he is not causally sufficient, because the woman had to accept the horse by her own choice. To equate sex with assault or theft, you would be saying the horse ran into the house uninvited. This is not the case. The woman took the horse, the man didn't want it any more, and she never said a word about giving it back to him later on. Hence, the horse is all hers. If her stable is broken, that's her problem. Biology isn't fair, as you pointed out.

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You can go back to the scenario of borrowing a car.

First, you haven't established that causing a pregnancy is a "damage" or a rights violation to the woman for which she deserves compensation. To the contrary, that point has already been countered. The child's net impact on the woman's life could end up being the most positive thing that has ever happened to her. Heck, if I were to adopt the flipside of your argument, I could claim that she might end up owing the man money for the incredible value he helped bring into her life. ( just a thought... hehe )

Second, damaging the car requires that the person actually do something negligent (or a rights violation) beyond simply driving the car (or simply having sex), such as run into a guard rail, hit it with a baseball bat, etc. It is a rights violation to damage someone's property without their consent.

By comparison, the man could have done exactly what she consented to do with him (have sex) and she could still end up pregnant. The man could have made the sweetest heavenly love to her satisfying her beyond any experience she's ever had in her life, and she could still end up pregnant. In short, he could have done everything right, and she could end up pregnant. Such is not the case in the borrowing of the car.

Your analogy would only be comparable if while during the act of sex the man suddenly punched the woman or he decided to quickly remove his condom just before "finishing".

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  • 2 years later...
You can go back to the scenario of borrowing a car. If you lend your car to a friend, and he damages it, your consent was only for the use of the car and not the damage.
True. However, the analogy has to be extended a bit in order to fit the pregnancy case.

The friend brings back the damaged car and says he will pay to fix it. Now, add the following: he has shown it to a mechanic who told him that it should be fixed soon otherwise it could damage the engine and then you'd have a bill that is 20 times as large. The mechanic told him: "don't drive like this for more than a few weeks". The friend offers to pay whatever is required to facilitate this: pay for a rental car for you and also for the repairs. You refuse, saying you really like the car -- or some such reason. Perhaps your religion says that people should not work in the month of Lent, so you're going to wait a month while you drive the car to the church.

That extension is a better analogy, because the generic legal case goes like this:

  1. Mr. X creates some negative consequence for Mr. Y
  2. Left un-addressed, the consequence can lead to further larger consequences
  3. There is enough time and opportunity for both parties to decide how to address the immediate consequence
  4. Mr. X offers to pay to rectify the consequence and prevent the larger consequence
  5. Mr. Y refuses -- without any legally-relevant reason
  6. Mr. Y cannot claim damages for the entire larger consequence from Mr. X

Traditional contract law would actually handle this quite reasonably. Currently, the pregnancy case is treated as if it is something special.

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Hold on a second...

How can you say that one or two persons are obliged to provide for third?

For how long?

How much must they provide?

How can one have a legal right to be cared for?

Who should do the caring if the parents are dead? Or for some other reason the parents cannot?

The father cannot be held responsible for bringing up the child and neither can the mother.

No one has the right to impose people of caring for anyone, not even their own offspring.

Edited by BinniLee
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Hold on a second...

How can you say that one or two persons are obliged to provide for third?

For how long?

How much must they provide?

How can one have a legal right to be cared for?

Everyone has the right to life. In the case of an infant, the people who's obligation it is to provide that are the people responsible for bringing that infant into the world. Under the law people's rights should be protected, including this infant's right to life and "the pursuit of happiness", so the parents are legally obligated to provide for their children, or find someone willing to do that for them, until that child is able to provide for itself.

Who should do the caring if the parents are dead? Or for some other reason the parents cannot?

Whoever wants to. The government may only get involved if there is a conflict-more than one (responsible) person or couple wishes to adopt the child.

The father cannot be held responsible for bringing up the child and neither can the mother.

No one has the right to impose people of caring for anyone, not even their own offspring.

Bringing a child into the world and leaving it to die helplessly is a crime, same as murder: a violation of the child's rights. The parents deserve to be punished, and it is the government's job to do so. The parents' only way to avoid punishment is to find someone suitable to care for their child in their place.

Edited by Jake_Ellison
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Hold on a second...

... ... The father cannot be held responsible for bringing up the child and neither can the mother.

The father can definitely be held responsible for bringing up the child. However, that is not what's being discussed in this thread.

Here is the background that is being accepted as true as a basis for this thread: If one person (artificial insemination, adoption) or two people decide to have a child, and go ahead and do so, and the child is a living walking human being, then they both have a responsibility toward that child. (There's a separate thread that discusses whether this premise is true and how big an obligation this ought to be.)

This thread is not about two people who have agreed to have a child, but who have agreed to have sex. In essence, it explores whether an agreement to have sex is an agreement to have a child. The answer is: no, those are not the same thing.

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