– OPINION –
It has been said frequently of late that there are no laws governing the male body, and its effects.
Perhaps we should change that. Here are the bare bones for a totally new concept in legal affairs: male accountability. At long last, laws that call to account the fathers of unwanted children, be they family members guilty of incest, date rapists, or simply males who previously took no responsibility for their part in a pregnancy following a one-night stand.
The Supreme Court now tells us the woman must carry an embryo — any embryo — to term however fleeting the relationship or however unfortunate the circumstances of conception. The anti-abortion lobby has publicly encouraged women to consider themselves fortunate to be pregnant under any circumstances, even as the result of rape or incest. They helpfully point out that women carrying unwanted children always have the option of giving them up for adoption.
Until now, for so many women, the availability of legal abortion has been essential to family planning and career choices. It has been a largely unacknowledged driver in the tremendous advancement of women in professional life over the last several decades. If the SCOTUS draft ruling knocking down Roe v. Wade does indeed become the law of the land, let us immediately consider corollary laws that might be passed in Congress to rebalance the scales of justice, not to mention sex and gender.
Any pregnancy that the mother does not want to carry to term, and would up to the present time have been aborted under Roe v. Wade, shall henceforth become the sole responsibility of the male partner.
Said fathers shall take full legal and financial responsibility for their newborns on the very steps of the hospital. If they are married, perhaps their wives will help guide them through the full playbook of parenthood.
Said fathers shall change every diaper, feed every bottle, rock every cradle, wash every onesie, or arrange to pay someone else who will. No doubt the evangelical right has thought this through, and will be standing by both with modern orphanages and legions of freshly volunteered home child care providers.
Over time, said father shall bear every responsibility regarding the welfare of said unwanted child as it grows up, shall oversee the education of said child, and attend every parent-teacher conference as required, or hire someone to attend in his stead.
Should the pregnancy in question lead to a child that is severely physically or intellectually challenged, the responsibilities listed above, as well as all medical costs, may continue until the very death of said child.
No doubt the matter of paternity will be in dispute in many of these cases. The mother will provide whatever evidence she has available as to the identify of her sexual partner, and any questions will be resolved through mandatory DNA tests and the rulings of the court. Refusal to comply with the will of the court will result in automatic jail time.
In cases where incest or rape can be established, and courts impose prison terms, such fathers will be forced to bring their newborns into jail with them, where new sound-proofed paternity wards will be set up with 24-hour surveillance to accommodate this new population.
To reduce costs and waste, only cloth diapers will be allowed, and new washrooms will be established accordingly. The imprisoned fathers will be allowed to choose between Playboy centerfolds from the ‘60s, or portraits of the very Supreme Court justices who placed them in this unenviable position.
Should the mothers of such children, for any reason, wish to wave at their progeny through the thick glass of the prison’s visitors room, it will be up to the fathers to give or withhold such permission. Fair is fair.