A Man’s Right to Choose Ends Where a Woman’s Begins
Although the words do not appear in the United States Constitution, under the “penumbras” to the Bill of Rights a woman has the right to choose to be a parent or not be a parent up to the point her fetus (and your fetus?) becomes “viable.” In other words, at least under the U.S. Supreme Court’s current construction of our Constitution to keep up with Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes’ adage that the law is more based upon the experience of the people than logic (pro-choice fits modern times morality) a woman can choose to have an abortion until the third trimester of her pregnancy without government interference. My question for you boys: Is it your pregnancy too? Do you have any say in being a father or not?
This actually came up in a law case I handled. Soon-to-be-Dad was a patient in a hospital when a (not so pretty) nurse offered to give him a hand job late one night. She knew he was a very rich man, put a rubber on him, captured his semen, and artificially inseminated herself when he wasn’t looking. (Foreshadowing here a little bit: Don’t leave any used rubbers lying around – flush them!) The question I faced as a lawyer was whether or not a man also has a right to choose under the penumbras? Given the fact that the child had already been born, does the right to choose include forbidding a court from determining fatherhood? After all, the law does guarantee equal protection, equal justice, regardless of race, gender or economic status.
In my case, it was a year after his stay in the hospital that the Sheriff showed up at his door with the Paternity Summons to appear in court and answer the charges that he was a father and owed child support; that’s when he hired me.
Tomorrow: Weighing the Scales of Justice
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