Re: Divorce: shared custody should be mandatory

From: Stephen D. Williams (
Date: Fri Feb 23 2001 - 12:21:32 PST

Lisa Dusseault wrote:
> What that actually means, is that women have ways not to have kids. Men
> don't actually have the ability, realistically, to choose not to have kids
> (Assuming the man doesn't want a vasectomy because he wants kids someday,
> just not right now, or now with this woman).

If I knew then.... I would have frozen replicated deposits of sperm and
had a vasectomy at 17. That's the only way a man can fully control his
reproductive life. I eventually did have a vasectomy, but it didn't
occur to me until years later that I should have preserved my ability to
have another child. Don't you think that doctors should advise this

My first wife freely admitted she got pregnant on purpose, against my
will. We had talked about it, I said later, she won. I responsibly
made a best-effort try at everything. Such is life.

> So as a libertarian, don't you support the man's right to choose not to have
> kids? How do you propose to protect that right if a woman fraudulently
> arranges to get pregnant despite his efforts?
> It's been suggested to me that the right thing to do is to allow the
> biological father to sign away all parenting rights and responsibilities at
> or before birth (part of the requirements of being allowed to do this would
> be to swear that they have never encouraged the mother to have the kid or
> promised support in the case of pregnancy). I'm not sure I agree that's the
> right thing to do, but on the other hand, I haven't been able to
> satisfactorily refute it, either.

I think that what Chuck meant is that just because the mother agrees to
allow a father to sign away responsibilities along with rights doesn't
make it in the best interest of the child in the long run. The mother
will have less money (presumably), one less possible caregiver, etc.
Society has an interest in keeping responsibility where it's due.

Still, it can make sense. Both parents can give up their rights by
adoption/ward of the state or lose their rights through severe
negligence (where they may also lose other rights while they are in

This can seem unfair when one or both parents made a good faith effort
to avoid pregnancy. That's generally considered just part of the risk.

> Lisa


Stephen D. Williams         Insta, Inc./Jabber.Com, Inc./CCI
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