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Do we really want the state deciding who can have kids?
Orlando Sentinel
Do we really want the state deciding who can have kids?
Kathleen Parker
July 15, 2001
"Pay up or zip up" is the message from the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which
recently upheld a probation order that prohibits a "deadbeat" dad from
having any more children.
The ruling, which split 4-3 along gender lines (the gals voted against
it), sounds sensible on the surface: If you can't support your kids, don't
have any. Most responsible people follow that rule voluntarily.
But given that it's impossible to enforce -- how do you stop a man from
having sex, Mrs. Condit wants to know -- it's a bad idea, fundamentally
unfair and probably unconstitutional. Do we really want the state deciding
who can have children and under what conditions?
Don't get me wrong. The dad in question, David Oakley, is as good a
candidate for a date with Lorena Bobbitt as anyone I can imagine. He has
nine children by four women and owes $25,000 in child support.
But surely there's a better way to help this guy practice birth control.
Legal precedents have a funny way of trickling down in ways we sometimes
don't foresee. As Justice Ann Walsh Bradley pointed out in the dissent:
"The majority has essentially authorized a judicially imposed 'credit
check' on the right to bear and beget children."
Do we really want the state to require a financial statement before we're
allowed to have children?
A century ago, if credit had been a condition of procreation in this
country, most of us wouldn't be here. My own paternal grandmother was the
youngest of 13 children in an Irish-Catholic family that couldn't afford
to feed its last child. She was turned over to the charitable care of a
convent at age 4. (Warning: Don't try this at home.)
Arguably, the state might have stepped in at some point and insisted that
my great-grandfather stop impregnating his poor wife. My great-grandmother
might have viewed this as divine intervention, but we know better. The
state has no business making procreative decisions, even for the least of
us. Besides, think what you would have missed!
As an issue of simple fairness, imagine the male point of view. As men see
it, women may have babies or not; seek and get an abortion, with or
without the father's permission; move so far away with their offspring
that fathers have no access to their children; demand child support,
garnish a man's wages, and get him thrown into prison for failure to pay
regardless of his circumstances.
Men, on the other hand -- well, you see the difference. Men are losers any
way you cut it -- which is why historically they so desperately needed
women to say, "No way, Jose." This court ruling is just one more message
that men are no-count predators while women are hapless victims. Women
choose; men lose.
Imagine the outrage if the court had ruled that one of Oakley's four
paramours could have no more children until she was employed or married.
No court is that stupid. Besides, what punishment would they impose were
"Ms. Oakley" to become pregnant? Forced abortion? Sterilization? Prison?
Oakley faces eight years in prison if he accidentally misplaces any of his
genetic material, though the order expires in five years when his
probation is over. In the meantime, the male justices reasoned, putting
him in jail for failure to pay child support would further punish his
children, ages 4 to 16.
Few would disagree with that logic. Too many fathers are languishing
behind bars for not paying child support, not always out of choice but
because of hard times. Better that they should be working and making some
effort toward their children's support than wasting state money on room
and board.
If the state really wants this guy to quit making babies, it might order
him to spend time with his darling offspring. That works at my house.
Kathleen Parker can be reached at
Also, check out her Web site:
Copyright  2001, Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel Home:
Please note:  This is also very dangerous as we can see in another article here in 
Shatterd Men as we have found that some women have manipulated men into 
becoming unwilling fathers.  Are we to give these women yet another way to
 legally abuse men?  Click Here!



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