Re: Personal responsibility [was Re: Genderless societies]
Thu, 16 Sep 1999 13:04:59 -0700

Robert J. Bradbury, <>, writes:
> I doubt very much that any court would ever hold a man responsible for
> the support of a child produced in a situation where he was raped.
> If he was "tricked", then as Forrest Gump observed -- Stupid is as stupid
> does.

An interesting example of this played out here in town a couple of years ago. My daughter was best friends with the little girl involved.

Seems that the girl's mother, back about 14 years ago, wanted a daughter. But being kind of an odd person, and having some unusual views, she didn't have a husband or even boyfriend and didn't want one. So she ran an ad in the local college newspaper looking for a male to donate sperm so that she could become pregnant.

A student responded, and they arranged a contract whereby he would not be responsible for any expenses of child raising, he would not be legally the child's father, et cetera. However, the problem was, they went ahead and conceived the child the old fashioned way, through sexual intercourse. I'm not sure why it was done this way; it may have been just to save money, or perhaps it seemed more natural and healthy.

So the girl was born, and she and her mother lived here in town for ten years or so. Her mother was supported by the girl's grandmother, who was wealthy and was happy to support her daughter, who wasn't able to get a full time job. However eventually the girl's mother and grandmother got into a fight over some issue; since the grandmother was supplying all the financial support she felt she should have more say over her daughter's and granddaughter's lives than she was getting. As a result of the fight, grandma cut off support.

Now the mother was in trouble. She had never worked, she made people uncomfortable due to her odd mannerisms, and her income was cut off. She was going to lose her house and didn't know what she and her daughter would do then. So she turned to the only possible remaining option:

She sued the girl's father for child support.

Even though they had signed a contract way back then that the father would not have to be involved, that he would bear no financial responsibility, the father lost the suit. Biology could not be denied; he was the father, he was responsible for the child, and this obligation cannot be signed away.

As it happened, the story had a happy ending in that he got more involved with the family and began spending more time with his daughter. She was happy to have a chance to get to know her father, and probably he will be a good influence on her. Unfortunately this girl ended up going to a different school than my daughter so we have lost touch with her.

But it does represent an extreme case where holding the father strictly accountable for his child's welfare might be unjustified.