Re: Personal responsibility [was Re: Genderless societies]

Brian Manning Delaney (
Thu, 16 Sep 1999 16:07:47 -0700 wrote:

> An interesting example of this played out
> here in town a couple of years
> ago.


> Seems that the girl's mother, back about 14 years
> ago, wanted a daughter.


> 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.


> 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.

Yikes. What a disturbing story. Do you recall the grounds on which the suit was decided? A contract is a contract, or so it should be. The only grounds for nullification of a contract of this sort that I'm aware of are: 1) one of the parties to the contract was a) compelled to sign, or b) not in his/her right mind; and 2) a lawyer wasn't present during the signing, and thus one of the parties signed something "not knowing what it meant/how to interpret it." (These basically all amount to the same general thing: someone signed something not knowing what s/he was doing.)

I'm not a lawyer, but that's what I've always thought.

This is of tremendous relevance to me since someone I know well is getting ready to impregnate a neighbor in very similar circumstances. She's been to a lawyer, who drafted a document signing away the father's rights and obligations. But if a court can later claim the document has no teeth, then why even sign it?

If you (or anyone) recall(s) how the suit was decided -- or knows other relevant information -- I'd appreciate hearing about it. Email might be best, since this isn't a very Extropian topic (, or the sig email).

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

Seems _definitely_ unjustified to me, at least on the basis of the details you gave.


Brian Manning Delaney