Mona Charen

This is one of those moments when you want to grab liberals by the lapels and demand, "Well, what did you expect?"

A group called the National Center for Men has filed a lawsuit they are calling "Roe v. Wade for Men." Here are the facts: A 25-year-old computer programmer named Matt Dubay of Saginaw, Mich., was ordered by a judge to pay $500 per month in child support for a daughter he fathered with his ex-girlfriend. His contention -- and that of the National Center for Men -- is that this requirement is unconstitutional because it violates the equal protection clause.

Dubay does not dispute that he is the child's father. Rather, he claims that during the course of his relationship with the mother, he was given to understand that she could not become pregnant because of a physical condition. He insists that she knew he did not want to have children with her. The courts, he and his advocates argue, are forcing parenthood upon him in a way that they cannot do to a woman. Here's the money quote from the NCM website:

More than three decades ago Roe vs. Wade gave women control of their reproductive lives but nothing in the law changed for men. Women can now have sexual intimacy without sacrificing reproductive choice. Women now have the freedom and security to enjoy lovemaking without the fear of forced procreation. Women now have control of their lives after an unplanned conception. But men are routinely forced to give up control, forced to be financially responsible for choices only women are permitted to make, forced to relinquish reproductive choice as the price of intimacy.

The feminists may well be stumped by this argument. After all, they've based their abortion advocacy as a matter of women's reproductive rights. Is it logical to claim that women have reproductive rights that men lack? Yes, a woman has to carry an unplanned pregnancy for nine months and give birth. But Mr. Dubay, and many other men, are saddled with 18 years of child support. That's a pretty substantial inhibition of one's "reproductive freedom."

Imagine that John and Jane learn that she is pregnant. She has full latitude in the decision-making. She can decide, over his objections, to abort the child or to raise it alone (he'll be lucky to get generous visitation), or to place the child for adoption (in which case he can object, but only if he wants to raise the baby himself).

Mona Charen

Mona Charen is a syndicated columnist, political analyst and author of Do-Gooders: How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help .
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