Disdain for a Dad

February 7, 2019 by Robert Franklin, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

I write a fair amount about judicial bias against fathers and in favor of mothers.  But judges aren’t the only ones suffering from that particular illness, this guy is too (Globe and Mail, 2/4/19).

David Eddie is an advice columnist for a major Canadian newspaper.  That allows him to spread his peculiar brand of misandry far and wide, a task he doesn’t shirk. 

An anonymous man wrote to Eddie saying he had a one-night stand with a woman who’s announced she’s pregnant, despite telling him she was on the pill at the time.  She told the letter writer (I’ll call him Alex) that she’d also had sex with another man close to the time she did with him.  So at least she’s honest about the fact that there are two men, either of whom may be the father.  Alex told her he’d pay for an abortion if she wanted one, an idea she seemed amenable to at the time.  But he hasn’t heard from her since, leaving Alex to ask,

What do I do now? Do I man up and support the child even though I’m not 100-per-cent certain of being the father?

Now, if Alex had come to me for advice, I’d first and foremost have given him a bit of compassion for the fix he may be in.  Not so Mr. Eddie.  He could hardly be colder or more dismissive of Alex’s legitimate needs, concerns, etc.  Eddie treats Alex like a jerk.

Again if it were me, I’d have gone on to tell him the legalities of his situation, what he can do to ascertain paternity and what will likely happen if he’s the father.  I’d have said that he first needs to contact the mother and announce his wholehearted willingness to care for the child, if it’s his.  He needs to file the appropriate documents with the local family court to get a judge to order a paternity test.  He needs to file a petition to declare paternity and for custody and parenting time if he’s the dad.  And he needs to prepare himself for 18 years of being separated from his child and paying child support to a woman he barely knows.

So how does Eddie handle the matter?

First of all, I have news for you: Whatever DNA this child may carry, you are not his father. Not yet. Not by a long chalk.

Let me give a few (admittedly eccentric) brush strokes on what qualifies a person to be able to call himself a “father.”

Doing your best to keep the kid clothed and fed and uninjured and with a roof between his/her head and the rain and snow. 

Ah, I see.  Being a father isn’t a matter of simply siring offspring, but doing the many jobs of a hands-on dad.  Fair enough. 

Or is it?  In the first place, the law and the courts wouldn’t dream of treating fathers that way.  There, Eddie’s completely wrong.  There, the only question is the genetic one.  If the child has your DNA, he/she is yours and you will pay support for at least 18 years.  Period.  DNA supposedly gets Alex parental rights, but, as we all know, those are far more impressive on paper than they are in life.  Mom can deprive you of your child in a variety of ways and the only way you can enforce your rights is if you’re lucky enough to have the money to pay a solicitor very, very large amounts of money.  Even then you may lose.  So whatever moral high ground Eddie thinks he’s occupying, his distaste for men like Alex allow him to give the man bad advice.  Morality is one thing, the real world of law, courts, judges, child support and the like are yet another.  Eddie might want to think about that last sentence for a bit.  But I doubt he will.

Neither, I suspect, will he think about this:  for Mom, Eddie’s moral blandishments seem not to apply.  As we all know, under the law, mothers have parental rights automatically, solely due to their genetic connection to the child.  Fathers, not so much.  They have to pay a lawyer, file the right documents, go to court, etc. in order to have the law grant them parental rights.  DNA gives mothers parental rights and obligations, fathers only obligations.

Would Eddie preach the same sermon to the mother in this case?  Somehow I doubt it.

Now of course, lurking behind Eddie’s disdain for this man is the fact that he committed the sin of sins.  He asked her to have an abortion.

First of all, vis-à-vis keeping the baby, I say: her call. You stand back and let her make the decision on her own. I’m sure not everyone will agree, but as my wife tells our three boys: “If you impregnate a woman, even by accident, it’s her choice whether to have the child or not. You have no say.”

We all know the law on abortion, Eddie.  We all well know that Alex has no say in whether the woman terminates the pregnancy or not.  But amazing as it may seem, that’s not the end of the story.  Just because to abort or not is her decision, doesn’t mean Alex can’t express his preference, which is what he did.  That doesn’t make him a bad guy, only one who sensibly doesn’t want to get caught up in 18 years of raising a child with a woman he barely knows.  If women can have abortions, why can’t men state their preferences?  Because when women want to be relieved of parental obligations, they’re just exercising their rights, when men want to be relieved of parental obligations, they’re deadbeats, right?

Needless to say, Eddie wouldn’t dream of reading up on the reasons women give for aborting pregnancies.  The Guttmacher Institute and other organizations have studied exactly that question and the women’s answers run to form.  Overwhelmingly, women have abortions, not for reasons of health (either Mom’s or that of the fetus), but because they’re not old enough, don’t have the money, haven’t completed their education and/or don’t have a sound relationship with the father.  Think what you will about those reasons, they apply exactly as much to men as to women.

So Alex’s trepidations about fatherhood are precisely those of the countless women who decide to avoid the consequences of a pregnancy, but Eddie treats him like a pariah. 

Meanwhile, it’s not just Alex for whom Eddie reserves his contempt.

If the baby is not yours – well, I don’t think you’re under any obligation to raise another man’s child. Though maybe you should consider it. Might be good for you. Might cause you, to use your phrase, to “man up.”

Yes, the true father be damned.  Not content with insulting a man who, at one of the most vulnerable times in his life, has asked Eddie a very important question, he goes on to cavalierly suggest that Alex simply deny another man his right and opportunity to be a father.  Simply amazing.

The anti-father bigotry fairly oozes from Eddie’s pen.  If you want to know how perfectly fit fathers keep losing custody and parenting time, just read the article and know that plenty of judges don their robes and sit on their high benches holding the same hateful and nonsensical attitudes.

As I said, there’s a lot of that illness going around.  I wonder if there’s a pill for that.

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