Workingmother.com has a post up about the question of whether men should be able to legally opt out of fatherhood:
The woman said the idea came from a friend—a woman who had a child out of a friends-with-benefits situation with a man. Although he didn’t want the baby from the beginning and didn’t help during the first couple years, he recently “decided that he wants to have access to the child and start to build a relationship now [that] he is older.”
To prevent such a thing from happening to other women who had accidental pregnancies, the friend proposed the following solution: Before the baby is 1-month-old, a man who wants to opt-out of fatherhood would sign a document that states that he “has no desire to be a part of the child’s life in any way, will not ever be able to seek any type of access, and will not pay money.”
By having men sign the document, it would save mom and child “significant stress and heartache.”
Not surprisingly, this proposal didn’t go over well with the single mother crowd. I would predict that it would fare equally badly with the My Lord Mary Lee crowd. While the proposal is an effective way to troll both groups into an impassioned defense of our current child support family model, in my opinion in the US at least it isn’t likely to be even seriously entertained by lawmakers.
Moreover, note the absence of even a mention of the fact that the proposed fine tuning of our family model addresses important questions that our previous family model (marriage) used to address. Prior to the child support model, marriage was the way both men and women resolved the question of involvement by and support from the father. In the past, marriage granted men fatherhood rights they otherwise could not expect to receive. It also granted women the right to support from the father. This way of viewing marriage is absolutely foreign to us now, as marriage is now about the moral primacy of romantic love.