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Hey, Fellas: Beware the Fairer Sex Ain't Always Fair
by Tresa McBee

Men's News Daily
September 26, 2002

Guys, I'm going to let you in on something: The fairer sex isn't always fair.

Someone's gotta tell you, 'cause it appears not enough of you are aware
that despite decades of clarion calls for all things equitable between the
genders, we gals aren't always so fair-minded ourselves.

As a number of men have discovered, the women with whom they cavort
don't always tell the truth regarding paternity. We may get the short end of
the child-rearing stick if men decide to run once the test turns positive, but
the fact remains that biology won't be denied. We get pregnant, and only
we know (most of the time) who the father is.

And sometimes we lie. And sometimes the wrong man is pegged as father,
forced to pay for a child not biologically his. Some women have figured
out that declaring the most financially viable consort as sperm donor is
the fast track to child support.

So men are banding together and lobbying lawmakers to require that courts
accept DNA evidence when determining who owes child support.

In most states, once a man is declared father, he remains father and
child-support provider. Doesn't matter if DNA says otherwise. Some men
don't find out about their financial obligations until their pay is
garnished or they receive a notice regarding thousands in back payments.
Others don't receive notices of paternity in time to appear in court,
while still others just don't show up.

But regardless of how support is assigned, if a man discovers he isn't the
biological father, he can do little. Most courts insist he continue
paying, although a few states have enacted legislation allowing men DNA
recourse. Only Alaska requires unwed parents to establish paternity for
child support.

Finding paternity horror stories isn't difficult. Men are forced to pay
for children they didn't father to the financial detriment of children
they did. Men pay for children they've never met or who are clearly of a
different ethnicity. Men lose homes and jobs and families.

Dianna Thompson, executive director of American Coalition for Fathers &
Children, tells the Daily Breeze (Torrance, Calif.), that "father shopping"
-- whereby mom chooses the most eligible dad from her list of possible
papas -- is "rampant." In the same article, a California assemblyman, who
introduced a state bill to help wrongly named fathers, suggests one reason
for the rise in paternity fraud cases rests with new welfare regulations
requiring single mothers to list who supplied junior's other DNA.

Previously, fathers weren't considered necessary information.

It's a mess, this one. We've taught men well that their presence and
participation in their children's lives is so irrelevant that they bear no
responsibility for siring them. Create kids and move on. Single mom will
raise offspring alone, perhaps with family help if she's really lucky, and
the state will contribute. Nevermind the attendant, often grave, risks to
fatherless children.

Yes, we've taught well. We enter into relationships without benefit of
legal, social and emotional ties that bind fathers to children. Marriage
as optimal environment for children represents the restrictive and oh-so
passť. If women don't care when they get pregnant while single, why
should men?

But now it's coming back. Women have figured out how to manipulate
within a system that carries no repercussions for falsely declaring
paternity. Bio-dad, wherever he is, gets to skirt responsibility, too. All
while non-bio-dad foots the bill.

Meanwhile, back in the land of cause-and-effect that bio-parents have
managed to avoid, children suffer once more for adults' selfishness,
disregard and stupidity.

Because somewhere along the road of social upheaval -- some good, a lot
bad -- we dropped the concept of consequences off at the first exit.
Paternity fraud encompasses multiples issues, the least of which is the
one anybody wants to talk about -- that our behavior is producing
seriously undesirable results, namely children whose existence boils down
to the outcome of 1-800-DADDY-DNA. Both genders bear that burden.

Then they pass it on to their kids, and, in turn, this condition we call

What a legacy.

Tresa McBee
Tresa McBee is a columnist for the Northwest Arkansas Times.
Her column appears on Tuesdays. Comments may be sent to:

© 2002 Northwest Arkansas Times. Republished by permission of the author.
Northwest Arkansas Times Home:
Men's News Daily Home:
Related articles:

State reform plan fights rising paternity fraud
by Thompson & Sacks -- Detroit News, 25 Sep 02

Court reinstates non-father's child support
by KEVIN WACK -- AP/Portland Press Herald, 21 Sep 02

Bill would reform state's paternity law
by Jasmine Lee -- Daily Breeze, 28 Jul 02


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