Ah, America. Sweet land of liberty. Home to so many rights and freedoms. Speech, religion, suffrage, ownership of property, dressing your pets up in people clothes and making them dance. Those USAnians have it all.
Of course, it’s not always been such a bastion of equality and fairness. It took a while before the above rights were extended to women or the insufficiently pale, after all. And there’s still a long way to go.
Today we’re saddened by the prevalence of racism in generations past. But how will our children’s children view our own callous refusal to grant all basic human rights to all human or potentially human beings, from the very moment of conception? For the love of God, won’t somebody please think of the just-fertilised eggs??
However, any action in which a man ejaculates or otherwise deposits semen anywhere but in a woman’s vagina shall be interpreted and construed as an action against an unborn child.
That was an amendment put forward by a State Senator rather effectively trying to make fun of the bill’s content. It was withdrawn fairly swiftly after making its intended point, and before making any significant impact. (No, that’s not what she said. Stop that. This is serious political news.)
Anyway, I’m in something of a quandary over this.
Am I glad that there are lawmakers out there with a sense of humour, who have the nerve to take a comical stand against the kind of ridiculous ideological nonsense that some of their colleagues are trying to push through?
Or am I even more depressed that this is what constitutes a constructive work-day for the people who run the world and decide what rules are imposed on the rest of us?
In even less cheery news, Typhonblue points out another aspect of how messed up a lot of the laws about parental obligation already are, and how liable they are to seriously screw over men as well as women. Whether it’s technically legally true that men are always “strictly liable for where their sperm ends up”, I don’t know, but it doesn’t look like there are many cases around where it goes their way, even when they allege rape or simply theft.
Here’s a worrying-sounding sentence from one case in New York (emphasis mine):
But respondent’s constitutional entitlement to avoid procreation does not encompass a right to avoid a child support obligation simply because another private person has not fully respected his desires in this regard. However unfairly respondent may have been treated by petitioner’s failure to allow him an equal voice in the decision to conceive a child, such a wrong does not rise to the level of a constitutional violation.
Which seems to indicate that your sperm are your own liability, even if you don’t consent to or cooperate with their use in any given way. If you’re the father of a child, it doesn’t matter whether you had careless or deliberate unprotected sex, or you were kidnapped and milked for your precious bodily fluids. Once it’s biologically your kid, it’s your financial burden whatever your level of involvement.
The whole thing’s screwy in too many ways to count.