|>That leaves some 289,000 "deadbeat" mothers out there, a fact that has barely been reported in the media.|
I think it is barely reported in comparison to men because there are ten times that number of men who do not pay child support, and that is much more sensational reporting, along with stories about women who can't feed their children because they aren't getting support. I don't know that a story about a man who can't feed his kids without his wife's child support would arouse much sympathy...people would probably think it was pathetic. I guess this is the other side of the coin as far as gender stereotyping goes.
I agree with John's sentiment about men taking some responsibility for birth control. Trusting a woman you don't know well when she tells you she is protected is silly, just as silly as trusting someone you don't know if they tell you they are disease free. I don't believe that consenting to sex is the same as consenting to support a child that may result from it, especially when there is an assurance that contraception is being used.
And men, here are some things to consider when a woman tells you she is "protected": When I was on the pill, I needed to remember to take it (around the same time) every day. This proved quite difficult for me, even though I absolutely did not want to be pregnant. When I traveled I didn't always remember to pack pills, I had difficulty taking them at an appointed time because I was often in other time zones, or waking and sleeping at odd times, or on a plane when the time came. I often failed to take a pill if I went out at night, either because I came home comfortably numb and went to bed without remembering, (or occasionally ejected the contents of my stomach which may or may not have included my pill.) I tried switching to mornings but am very bad at waking up in the morning and forgot it all the time (and yes, I also forget to eat breakfast). I switched to the nuvaring, which you just put in and then forget about it for a month. Much better for me, and yet I still managed to screw it up. Like not remembering what day it went in, and then not knowing if it had ceased to be effective and needed to be replaced. Like going on a trip and forgetting to bring a new one along - easy since it's not an "every day" thing. Like taking it out during especially athletic sex and forgetting all about it. Also remember that pills/rings cost $50-60 per month, which may be an issue for some (especially young) women and affect their reliable use of the product.
Was I out to get anyone? Of course not, I don't want any kids and I don't want to be pregnant. I do have a very difficult time being responsible with contraception. And lots of other things. I am bad at taking any medication. I don't change my contacts every 14 days. Sometimes I pass out at night without brushing my teeth or even getting into bed. Please don't leave the responsibility for contraception in my hands, or anyone's - because most girls aren't going to tell you they are this sloppy about it. They will just say "yeah, I'm on the pill." Although these products are very reliable (although not 100%) with PERFECT USE, almost no one uses them perfectly, so your risk is higher.
While I don't think men should be forced to take responsibility for children they never wanted, I do think they should take more initiative in ensuring that a pregnancy will not occur. In even casual encounters, I find that most men prefer not to wear a condom. I suppose I can understand that from a pleasure point of view, but the risks are simply not worth it.
Fortunately my birth control stress is gone for now. I totally recommend same-sex relations, unless you are willing to go permanent sterilization :-)