Dubay vs Wells

18 07 2009

Thanks to Roe vs Wade, abortion is legal in every state. It is also legal for mothers to give up their children at birth. In Arizona, where I live, there is a law ensuring that a mother can drop off a new-born baby up to 3 days old at any hospital, fire station, or participating church with no questions asked. Many other states have similar “safe haven” laws. The Arizona law specifies that the infant may be dropped off by a parent or an agent of a parent, but I have to wonder what happens if one parent gives up the child in such a manner against the wishes of the other. I wonder if the folks at a fire station or hospital would accept a baby dropped off by a man claiming to be the father without the mother being present and without asking any questions. They’re not supposed to ask questions.

Effectively, it is legal for a woman to abort or abandon her child against the wishes of the father, and while the safe haven law applies to fathers as well, this may not be practical. A woman can become pregnant and give birth without ever informing the father, and once the child is too old for a safe haven, he has lost any right to abandon the child. For a father to legally abandon a child through the safe haven law, he would have to get the child away from the mother. I am of the opinion that both parents ought to have the same legal right to abondon their children, that the mother may leave the child to the father and vice versa. Enter Dubay vs Wells, from wikipedia:

Dubay and Wells began dating in 2004. Dubay maintains that he made it clear to Wells that he was not interested in being a father and that Wells reassured him that she could not get pregnant because she was using contraception and because she had physical conditions that prevented pregnancy [1]. After they stopped dating, Wells informed Dubay that she had become pregnant. Although the two discussed adoption, Wells ultimately decided to have the baby and pursued child support payments from Dubay. Dubay was ordered to pay $475 per month plus half of the baby’s health care expenses by Saginaw County Circuit Judge Patrick McGraw. The National Center for Men agreed to take Dubay’s case and challenge the child support order.

I don’t think this kind of behavior by women should be tolerated. Men in this situation should not be required to pay any child support at all. I anticipate the argument that if he doesn’t pay, then she and her child become the taxpayers’ burden, but I reject that as well. I do not support any involuntary wealth transfers. Ever. If she and her family can take care of the child, good for them. If they can’t, she can find a family who can.

Dubay’s legal argument was that the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment and the Roe vs Wade decision should ensure that men have the same legal right to decline unintended parenthood as women. Dubay lost.

Get a vascemtomy.

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3 responses

19 07 2009
Cyndi

Under Safe Haven laws, all terminations of parental rights still have to be done. This means that any father who registered with the state saying that he believes this woman is pregnant with his baby can get custody. Any man married to the mother can get custody. Also, all relative placements must be researched and ruled out before adoption can take place. This takes about 15 months if both parents have not voluntarily relinquished rights. It may seem like an easy thing, but it’s mainly to keep people from killing and dumping their babies like a sack of kittens.

20 07 2009
unfrozencaveman

Cyndi, I know the ostensible purpose of safe haven laws. If an infant can be dropped off with “no questions asked” how is it’s identity determined? Apparently, they do ask some questions.

I’ve read a bit on fathers’ registries. I doubt that few men know that they even exist or what they’re for.

29 11 2009
michael

Cydndi you don’t get it the point it the mother can alleviate all responisibility whether or not the father wins custody. The father is made to support the child all on his own after all the trouble of getting it back.

Safehavens are there to stop people dumping babies in the street. However it clearly favors women who want to opt out of all responsiblity or who want to remove the childs father and herself out of the equation without his consent.

“This means that any father who registered with the state saying that he believes this woman is pregnant with his baby can get custody.”

So what? how many men know this? or even know if the women is pregnant?

Look at the reality of safehaven laws not the intention. Consent from the father is not required whether the mother knows him or not.

The male equivalent would be the father stealing a baby from the mother after a pregancy and handing it to the safehaven how is this morally acceptable? yet women are allowed to legally do this.

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