The American Association of Blood Banks reports that, out of 300,000 DNA paternity tests performed annually, 30% exclude the man as the biological dad. Over 70% of paternity judgments in L.A. County are obtained by default. (“Examining Child Support Arrears in California; The Collectability Study,” 3/03, p. 16.) Many of these men are inadequately served or respond late due to language barriers, mental disabilities, fear, or mistaken belief that they do not have to respond because the child is not theirs. They often first learn of a paternity judgment when their wages are attached or their driving privileges are suspended. By then it can be too late. Even if DNA excludes them, they can still be forced to pay support, despite having families of their own to feed. Military men are particular targets of paternity fraud because of the benefits they carry.
In 2004, NCFM helped pass a law to protect paternity fraud victims (AB 252, enacting Family Code § 7646 et seq.). While this law is helpful, it is not enough. Judges still have discretion to force a man to pay even after DNA excludes him as the biological father, and many men still find themselves trapped by the existing two-year deadline to challenge a paternity judgment from the time they “knew or should have known” of it. If they are late by one day, they are locked in with no escape, and courts have no discretion to relieve them. Stronger laws and more public education are needed to combat this problem. For more, see www.paternityfraud.com/ and www.paternityfrauddna.com.
Choice For Men is an attempt to bring gender equality to reproductive rights and responsibilities. Although women have far more contraceptive choices than men, men are deemed at least as responsible as women when an unwanted pregnancy occurs, but women have the entire say in whether to abort or keep the child, and have much easier access to adoption or safe-haven abandonment. As a result, when an unwanted pregnancy occurs, either by accident or when men are lied to about birth control or fertility, women can surrender their parental rights and responsibilities, while men cannot. “Choice for men,” as a matter of gender equity, would give men a certain period of time to surrender their parental rights and responsibilities.
You might want to read the story “Protecting Our Freedoms, One Way Conversation with a Hero“. Some say choice for men is no real choice at all…
For more on men’s reproductive rights, see www.nationalcenterformen.org/
On Men, Women, Chivalry & Feminism
“The strength of women is their façade of weakness; the weakness of men is their facade of strength.”
– Warren Farrell, Ph.D., “The Myth of Male Power.”
“Ignoring men may be macho and politically correct, but it is costly to society.”
– Rep. David Bickford, NH
“The female institution that subordinates the needs and nature of men to those of women, while promoting special entitlements, privileges, and protections for women, is feminism (although feminists would deny that is what feminism is about). But men have their own institution: chivalry is the male institution that subordinates the needs and nature of men to those of women, while promoting special entitlements, privileges, and protections for women.”
– Pradeep Ramanathan, former V.P.