Re: Guest Post: FSP and the Case of the Incompetent Father

1

I have a lot to say about this general topic and gender roles.

But not right now.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 7:07 AM
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Is it really a big thing to do a "gender reveal" now or is this just a weird family?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 7:08 AM
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Incompetent like a fox!


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 7:09 AM
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Anyway, I sometimes thing the concept for "spoiler alert" has been taken way too far.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 7:09 AM
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Something's up with the post - I read it, then refreshed a few minutes later and all I can see is "Nick S. writes: A nice".


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 7:10 AM
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A man tried to care for the post and it died.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 7:11 AM
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Apparently, the baby's mom and dad needed to tell everybody about the baby directly, possibly because they never have anything interesting to say otherwise.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 7:17 AM
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A Nice, il y a des putains.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 7:19 AM
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Anise tastes like liquorish.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 7:22 AM
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5: It's buggered for me, too.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 7:27 AM
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This is the post being linked if people want to discuss it more.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 7:29 AM
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My grandma took care of my when my brother was being born. Apparently, she held me up by my hands and made me learn to walk because she was terrified that I couldn't walk yet (at 14 months). My dad really wasn't very big on watching babies, probably because it's hard to do while smoking.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 7:39 AM
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Since the post is screwed up and I have no idea what FSP stands for I'm going to assume it means Flying Spaghetti Penis.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 7:44 AM
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Thanks, Thorn.

Is it odd for a 2.5 year old to be in diapers? I know toilet training can be a lot less than that, but also that modern diapers are so awesome the kid doesn't necessarily get the needed feedback, so toilet training times have become much longer. At least that's the explanation I read, which on reflection doesn't actually make a lot of sense, since by the time you get feedback you've already crapped yourself, but the thing you need to be aware of is the urge to crap, presumably unaffected by diapers.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 7:48 AM
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Is it odd for a 2.5 year old to be in diapers?

No.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 7:49 AM
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Thanks Thorn.

Comrade Physioprof in FSP's comment thread gets it exactly right.

That is all.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 7:51 AM
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14.2: At Mara's preschool, kids have to be toilet trained to get into the 3-year-old room. I've heard the explanation you have too, though.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 7:52 AM
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14: I think the 'feedback' issue is mostly about peeing -- clothes or a cloth diaper are uncomfortably wet if the kid pees themselves, but modern diapers feel dry.

And FSP's relatives sound as if they fell through a timewarp from 1963. I've got some family that are in a strongly gendered housework/parenting pattern that seems dated to me, but no one where a man wouldn't be competent to care for his own kids without screwing up a diaper change.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 7:58 AM
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I thought her response to "but he also told me that he thought the experience had been very good for me" was almost superhumanly gracious.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 8:00 AM
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On scheduling, I guess I'd remember anything before 2 as early, 2-3 as perfectly ordinary, and up to 3 and a half or so as latish but unsurprising. But that's all a decade ago for me, so I may have lost track.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 8:00 AM
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We toilet trained Jane at about 2 years 5 months, though she still (3 years 3 months) wears a pull-up at night.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 8:02 AM
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And FSP's relatives sound as if they fell through a timewarp from 1963.

My sister was born in 1963. My mother was quite ill afterwards. Dad was perfectly able to cope with the baby (and me, aged 12). I'd say 1943.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 8:02 AM
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17: Ours had the same rule. We just got there.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 8:02 AM
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18.2: My ex's parents were exactly like that. He had no idea how to perform the most basic tasks related to baby care, and no desire to learn. More than that, an active desire not to learn.

My conservative relatives and friends all require that the husband be able to do diaper duty when the wife can't. The idea that he might not be able to handle some domestic emergency would be emasculating, and that includes diaper changing.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 8:08 AM
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I sort of hope that the relative-in-law wasn't actually that helpless generally, but was instead for some reason freaked out over the labor to the point of being driven incompetent. (I'd have to make up a story to excuse the freakout, but there are all sorts of possibilities.)

FSP does refer to her family occasionally as very, very, very traditional in terms of gender roles.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 8:09 AM
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Maybe he was just drunk. In some cultures, I think people get drunk for the birth instead of the conception.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 8:12 AM
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"gender reveal"

Voltron! Form blazing gonad punch!


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 8:13 AM
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OT: can anyone remember where to find that article about the mental hospital (in NY?) that was deliberately designed to be weird and disturbing and echo the distorted outlook of the patients? I'm sure I read it here but can't find it.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 8:13 AM
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Sometimes when I'm with my kids in public I get really insecure about whether I am acting like a stereotypical crappy dad. (This happened more often when the kids were younger.) Like, if I let the kids run wild, I imagine everyone thinking "Men are always laissez faire parents because they can't be bothered." And if I discipline my children in public, I imagine everyone thinking "Men don't know how to nurture. They just punish."

I imagine this is a microscale version of something that happens to any member of any group that has negative stereotypes about it.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 8:15 AM
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Gender stereotyping takes place even in families and among couples where people should know better. A friend who has a couple of small kids and I had a moan a few weeks after xelA was born about gender roles and perceived male incompetence.

'Why the fuck are you telling how to change a nappy? You, who's changed a nappy what, three times in your entire life?'*

* both of us had partners who'd had emergency caesareans, so for the first few weeks, we had done _all_ the nappy changing and most of the non-breast-feeding child care.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 8:16 AM
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28: Here you go: http://www.unfogged.com/archives/comments_11649.html#1364496


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 8:17 AM
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29: I think you're overly worried about that. Comparing my wife's experience with my own, strangers were willing to go right up and say what they thought of her parenting and nobody ever did that to me. Obviously, I don't know what they were thinking. Only what they said.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 8:18 AM
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32: Well, yeah, strangers will do mommy drive-bys because women should know how to parent. You don't get many daddy drive-bys, because the expectations are low to begin with.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 8:26 AM
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I thought it was because I tell strangers who give me advice to go fuck themselves.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 8:29 AM
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Thanks, LB!


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 8:34 AM
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This particular topic makes me insane. No you do not have an inherently better sense of what to do with my kid just because God gave you breasts.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 8:35 AM
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You live in California. That wasn't always God.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 8:38 AM
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38

On a vaguely related note, I had been thinking of posting something about this Supreme Court case under the Indian Child Welfare act.

As I understand the facts (from the link and hearing about it on the radio, and I'm describing them sympathetically to the father -- I'm sure it would be possible to describe them otherwise): guy who's a member of the Cherokee Nation gets a woman who isn't pregnant. They break up during the pregnancy, and he informs her that he's giving up his parental rights. She decides to give up the baby for adoption, and gives him paperwork to formally relinquish his rights, which he signs.

His story is that he was unaware of the adoption, and thought that the paperwork he was doing was a commitment not to contest custody as against the mother. Immediately on becoming aware that the intent is for the baby to be adopted, he contests it, and tries to get the kid back.

South Carolina courts rule that if he weren't Cherokee, he'd be SOL: regardless of whether he was fully informed of the circumstances, he gave up any rights. Under the ICWA, on the other hand, which mandates preserving Indian families whenever possible, he gets the kid back (which he now does, in fact, have, after she spent a couple of years with the adoptive parents). The adoptive parents have now taken it to the Supreme Court.

The interesting law here is ICWA: if that goes down as an impermissible racial preference, the whole structure of Indian law gets damaged. But the assumption that without ICWA, the father wouldn't have a shot of getting his kid seemed incredibly draconian to me. As far as I know the law about adoption and birth mothers (which is hardly at all), there's a huge emphasis on full information, voluntariness, and opportunities for second thoughts, and it seems as if birth fathers get nowhere near the same consideration.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 8:51 AM
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I see a much weaker version of this dynamic with my friends' families, where the dad plays at being incompetent day-to-day (can't figure out what to pack in the 3-year-olds' lunch) but typically if the mom is indisposed, dad manages to figure it out just fine.

shiv is great and better with dealing with the crying Calabat than I am, but it is a little irksome how much praise he gets from my mom for doing pretty basic things like snuggling his son or changing his diaper.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 9:01 AM
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28: pwned by LB. Sadly for me, it's in Boston, not New York.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 9:06 AM
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the dad plays at being incompetent day-to-day (can't figure out what to pack in the 3-year-olds' lunch) but typically if the mom is indisposed, dad manages to figure it out just fine.

A lot of this happens because the things you are fretting about don't actually matter that much. I never remember exactly what is going in the kids lunches these days, but if there is something healthy in there and the kid is hungry, they will eat it, and it really doesn't matter which way the sandwich is cut.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 9:09 AM
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38.2 -- It's not a racial preference. While membership in a Native nation has an ethnic component (as. typically, does being German) 'race,' whatever that actually is, isn't the right description. No matter how Cherokee you are, that doesn't make you a member of the Dakota Nation: each polity sets its own rules, and most are a great deal stricter than the Cherokee Nation. One can be socially, and apparently, Native and not qualify for membership in any particular Nation. Or of a Nation that s not federally recognized. And thus fall outside the ICWA.

It's not about race. It's about being part of a polity, a polity that is under direct supervision of Congress.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 9:12 AM
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I think you guys are missing one dynamic here. In a lot of traditional husband-wife teams, I've seen, the wife can be overbearing and a perfectionist about the husband doing it wrong (because it's pretty much the only place she doesn't have to give in to the head of the household). When the poor woman doesn't get to be equal at normal stuff, I think she ends up overly invested in doing parenting right. Normal socialization probably gives a new mom a leg up (more babysitting, taking care of sibs) in a traditional-values community, and then, rather than seeing that a new dad is not as experienced, it's a chance to be the respected expert. I can't really blame dad for getting to "All right, you handle it" land pretty fast under those circumstances. Then, you get reinforcement that menfolk can't do childcare.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 9:12 AM
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42: That sounds exactly right to me -- the goal of ICWA is to preserve Indian tribes as political/cultural entities by protecting Indian families, and so the issue is membership (which is linked to, but not determined by, ethnicity) rather than race. The father in this case is Cherokee in that he's a member of the Cherokee Nation, which is the standard, but he's of predominately European ancestry. If it were a racial preference, it probably wouldn't apply to him.

What hit me about the story was the cavalierness with which the law treats relationships between men and their children generally in this context, given that ICWA was necessary to give this guy a shot at keeping his kid. Where you have a man who's willing to, and wants to, assume custody of his biological child as soon as he knows that the alternative is adoption, it seems insane that he wouldn't be able to, ICWA or not.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 9:27 AM
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45

Her "no whales!" thing was brilliant.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 9:28 AM
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This story is almost totally unrelated, but something about the blogger's resolute graciousness and taking of the high road through that whole episode reminded me of it:

Once a friend of mine had to get to the university to teach a class and, due to a slow train #1, missed the train #2 connection. She had no choice but to take a cab. Another unhappy young woman was on the slow train and also needed to get to the university. My friend told her she was taking a cab; the other woman said she couldn't afford a cab; the friend told her to ride along anyway, since the friend wouldn't save any money by not sharing the space with her, and the woman needed a lift. The other woman accepted, and so they got in the taxi, and as they headed down the freeway the other woman and the cabbie talked on and on about how the world really discriminates against Christians and how there's nothing wrong with adhering to a religion of love and charity, is there? My nonbeliever friend sat silently, contemplating love and charity. When they got near their destination, it turned out that this cabbie did not accept credit cards (uniquely among all taxis we both have taken in this region), so they let the young Christian out and my friend added to the three-digit cost of the ride the time it took to drive to an ATM and back. She wondered if the Christian had had any idea that it cost that much and figured that she probably didn't. I asked my friend if she believed in karma, at least, and she assured me that she does not believe in any such thing.

The grace with which FSP accepted her relatives' crappy terms suggests to me that she's had to put up with considerably worse stuff over the years.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 9:30 AM
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I did love her description of the kid squinting at her as she figured out the game. That moment when you can see the gears starting to grind in a little kid's head because you've said something that actually triggers thought is beautiful.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 9:31 AM
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Reading the SC supreme Court account, the father's relinquishment looks very problematic:

Appellants filed the adoption action in South Carolina on September 18, 2009, three days after Baby Girl's birth, but did not serve or otherwise notify Father of the adoption action until January 6, 2010, approximately four months after Baby Girl was born and days before Father was scheduled to deploy to Iraq. On that date outside of a mall near his base, a process server presented Father with legal papers entitled "Acceptance of Service and Answer of Defendant," which stated he was not contesting the adoption of Baby Girl and that he waived the thirty day waiting period and notice of the hearing. Father testified he believed he was relinquishing his rights to Mother and did not realize he consented to Baby Girl's adoption by another family until after he signed the papers. Upon realizing that Mother had relinquished her rights to Appellants, Father testified, "I then tried to grab the paper up. [The process server] told me that I could not grab that [sic] because . . . I would be going to jail if I was to do any harm to the paper."


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 9:31 AM
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38: It's a lot more complicated than that, like whether a text message saying, "Fine, take the baby, see if I care" or something like that actually counts as waiving his parental rights. The adoption agency was totally shady and knew about him and about his Cherokee heritage and still tried to force the adoption.

Beyond ICWA, each state gets to write its own laws about how much time parents have to waive their parental rights. In some states, if you sign the papers while you're still doped-up post-birth, that's legit and binding. In others, there are waiting periods of a month or even longer. In Utah, it's pretty close to impossible for fathers who want to parent to get access to their children, which is why so many adoption agencies encourage pregnant women considering adoption to move there to deliver, which I know I've ranted about before.

In the kinds of cases we deal with, where it's a forced termination of parental rights rather than a consensual one, most states have a 30- or 60-day appeal period after which the TPR is considered final. Just googling makes it look like Mara's parents had 30 days to file an appeal after the TPR trial we had, but if they'd voluntarily surrendered their rights as most parents whose infants are being adopted do, they only would have had 3 days to change their minds.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 9:33 AM
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Her "no whales!" thing was brilliant.

Yes. I made a mental note to remember that if I have to deal with a toddler.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 9:35 AM
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45, 47: That was my favorite part too.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 9:36 AM
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On the subject of babies, here's what seems like a great universalist social service: every expectant mother in Finland gets a free box of all the basic baby items, which can also be used as a crib.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 9:42 AM
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52: Wow, that's sweet. And very practical, in terms of supplying basics at a time when people are confused.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 9:45 AM
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Further to 48, here's what the ICWA says about relinquishment:

consent shall not be valid unless executed in writing and recorded before a judge of a court of competent jurisdiction and accompanied by the presiding judge's certificate that the terms and consequences of the consent were fully explained in detail and were fully understood by the parent or Indian custodian. The court shall also certify that either the parent or Indian custodian fully understood the explanation in English or that it was interpreted into a language that the parent or Indian custodian understood.

I don't see how the SC reverses without killing Congress' plenary power over Native nations and their citizens.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 9:48 AM
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Without reading any of the papers, 54 last seems obviously right to me and it also seems like a ridiculously easy case. Is the question presented really that it's an equal protection violation for Congress to adopt different rules for adoption of children of members of federally recognized tribal nations?
Why is that a remotely hard question?

I also agree that it does seem like the standard for a father's waiver of parental rights looks way way way too lax in South Carolina.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 10:02 AM
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I don't agree with the dissenters in South Carolina, but they manage a response to every single point in the decision. Very punitive attitude towards the father.

Thinking a little more, I suppose the USSC could reverse the involuntary termination part of the decision. But they'd have to second guess the family court's application of the ICWA to the facts, credibility determinations re the experts, etc. And surely they'd have to send the thing back for retrial, where the evidence that the kid would be traumatized by being sent back to OK from SC -- however valid it might have been 2 years ago -- would be completely different.

I guess we'll know soon enough.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 10:19 AM
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Form my expereince working with an adoption agency in the Northeast states, fathers' rights are fomally equal to mothers' rights. Practically, there are more problems with consent on the father side. At the time of birth the identity and location of the mother are easy to determine, the father not so much.

This case hinges on the problem of a nonlawyer not understanding a legal document he signed (or accepted?), a due process issue but not really a family or Indian law issue.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 10:41 AM
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I think if I were making up family law from scratch there'd be no such notion as "fathering" a child outside of being legally partnered to the mother at the time of pregnancy.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 10:42 AM
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Well, except that family (and in this case Indian) law is unusually and extraordinarily solicitous of the need to make sure that nonlawyers clearly understand important documents that they are signing.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 10:43 AM
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59 to 57. 58 is insane and despicable, but I'll give you the benefit of assuming that you just haven't thought about the issue much.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 10:44 AM
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I agree with 60.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 10:47 AM
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"Insane and despicable" is harsh rhetoric, but substantively, yeah. What the hell, Pause?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 10:48 AM
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I guess I'll agree with 62, not 60.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 10:49 AM
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64

Insane perhaps, but why despicable? Just fucking someone shouldn't give you the right to control her body, her choices, or the children she makes inside her body


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 10:52 AM
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65

MRA dudes are despicable but that doesn't mean you have to adopt Bizarro MRA approaches. If Smith and Jones have a kid and Smith dies, should Jones's ability to continue to raise the child rest on the question of whether Jones is a man or a woman?


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 10:54 AM
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66

If you're married (or in another comparable arrangement) at the time of pregnancy, then you should have paternal rights (even if the sperm isn't yours). Just providing sperm shouldn't bestow rights.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 10:56 AM
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I guess you've over-extended from the case of abortion autonomy (which hinges on a woman's right to control over her immediate body) to some kind of bizarro totalizing anti-father set of beliefs? Yes, it's possible for a man to father a child without being legally bound to the mother and yet still retain a strong interest, biological, emotional, and otherwise, in the well-being and upbringing of the child. And I am 100% serious in finding your position despicable and disgusting, strong rhetoric or no.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 10:59 AM
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28: Arkham. And the hilarious thing is, I came up with that answer before checking LB's link and seeing that the place in question actually is in Massachusetts, the only setting that could possibly be better for it.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 10:59 AM
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And 66 seals the deal: You are an asshole.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 10:59 AM
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If Smith and Jones raise a kid together and Jones dies, then Smith should continue to parent no matter where the kids DNA came from.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 10:59 AM
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What if Smith is a wolf?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 11:01 AM
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72

If I understand Commenter's argument, it's quite reasonable. Parental rights should depend on some prior evidence of commitment to the child, rather than biological accident. Carrying a pregnancy to term would seem to constitute such evidence; simply causing the pregnancy and then walking away would not.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 11:01 AM
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I can sort of see where Upetgi(9) is coming from, but I think the issue in 66 is better framed in terms of the interests of the child, who is the only one who really doesn't have any kind of choice in the whole thing. IOW providing sperm does bestow responsibilities, and responsibilities ought to be tied to at least some rights.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 11:04 AM
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64: I'm not going to understate the burdens of pregnancy (and nothing I'm saying should imply a father's veto on abortion), but "the children she makes" as if there were no similarity between a man's and a woman's role in causing the birth of a child is very weird to me. Each contributes an equal amount of genetic material, which through a series of involuntary physical processes sometimes grows into a baby. Those processes are wildly more burdensome for the woman, but it's not as if she intentionally crafted the kid out of bits of string; she was the host while it grew.

Why should a woman have any legal relationship to the children she bears? She just fucked someone and then the babies grew through no volition of her own. In both cases, mother and father, we recognize that the biological and customary familial relationship is strong enough that it makes sense for the law to recognize and protect it, for the protection and support of both the parents and children.

I mean, look at the exact case we're talking about. The father isn't trying to exert any control whatsoever over the birth-mother: she wants no relationship with the child going forward. The question is whether her one-time decisionmaking authority over what will happen to a baby that she has a biological but no ongoing parenting relationship should trump his similar biological relationship to the child that is accompanied by an expressed desire to maintain a parenting relationship with the child. That's not even a little bit about control over her.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 11:05 AM
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72 -- Well, there is an absence of commitment that can produce termination of parental rights -- that's both current law and something that is reasonable, although individual cases are always difficult and tragic. You can indeed abandon your children or refuse to raise them, and the law should recognize that situation.

On the other hand, the notion that somehow you need to be in a legally-binding relationship, or other form of ongoing commitment to the mother, for a father who is willing to act as a parent of a child and biologically related to the child to have any rights over the child, is just reprehensible. I take that to be UPETGI(9)'s position, since he keeps repeating it.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 11:05 AM
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Chris y's summary is basically what I'm trying to get at. Maybe it would be better to phrase it as the only default paternity comes from being in a committed relationship with the mother. Of course actual parenting of the child should be considered, in particular if a mother chooses to share parental duties with someone it makes sense that the rights are also shared.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 11:06 AM
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77

I think Upetgi's program sounds wonderful, since it would it impossible to demand that (biological) fathers provide child support.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 11:06 AM
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78

Would make it, rather.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 11:07 AM
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73. But what if the provider of the sperm chooses not to accept those responsibilities? Should he be coerced into doing so against his will and then given rights as a sweetener. Murky waters.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 11:07 AM
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68: Arkham is in Massachusetts. It seems wrong to build an sanitarium with non-Euclidean geometry.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 11:08 AM
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81

Carrying a pregnancy to term would seem to constitute such evidence; simply causing the pregnancy and then walking away would not.

I would say that carrying a pregnancy to term with the intent of surrendering the child for adoption does not constitute strong evidence of commitment to the child. Also, in the contexts where this comes up, you have men actively seeking custody of their children. Doesn't that count as evidence of commitment? (Not always and in all cases conclusive evidence of commitment; purely spiteful custody battles aren't implausible. But at least some evidence.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 11:09 AM
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Comrade Physioprof in FSP's comment thread gets it exactly right.

Interesting - to someone who isn't constantly subjected to Comrade Physioprof in blog comments section after blog comments section, it's possible to see some value in his comments instead of immediately becoming enraged.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 11:09 AM
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e only default paternity comes from being in a committed relationship with the mother

Fuck off and die, seriously. You are not talking about the Chris Y situation, in which a father abandons the child and the conomittant responsibilities. You are actually suggesting that a father need to be in a committed relationship with the mother to have any right to raise biological offspring that the father is interested in helping to raise?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 11:10 AM
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Or interested in raising by himself, in the absence of assistance from the mother, who has affirmatively expressed disinterest in doing so?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 11:11 AM
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I don't really like the idea that a dad's relationship with his child should hinge on his relationship with the child's mother. I really, really don't like the idea that legally recognized relationships are the solution to all sticky family situations, since I fall right through that crack.

Unsurprisingly, I take a pretty expansive view of family and think that it's good for children to have contact with many people who care about them and are invested in their well-being, regardless of legal status.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 11:11 AM
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In terms of nuclear DNA you're of course right that it's 50/50. But that's the only thing that's 50/50. The entire starting cell comes from the mother as does every single non-genetic constituent of the child.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 11:13 AM
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82. I see plenty of Comrade P here and there, but, like Nino Scalia, once in a blue moon he's right.

81. Yes. But I don't see how that invalidates the argument that rights depend on (voluntarily, to answer nosflow) accepting responsibilities.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 11:14 AM
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Why does that matter? Large portions of my body used to be a cow (or, rather, several cows). I have no special relationship to cows.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 11:14 AM
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The entire starting cell comes from the mother as does every single non-genetic constituent of the child.

Oh, good lord.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 11:16 AM
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88: My argument is more based on the location (that is the fetus is a part of the mother's body and so legal rights be default should belong to her) rather than source of the material. But you were the one who introduced that one particular kind of material is split 50/50 in terms of source, I was just pointing out that that's only one specific kind of material (and not even all DNA, as mitochondrial DNA comes only from the mother).


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 11:17 AM
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The entire starting cell comes from the mother as does every single non-genetic constituent of the child.

The moral relevance of this claim is clear!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 11:18 AM
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I certainly strongly agree with 85.last, but I think legally you're not looking at the best-case scenario. More people involved in a kid's life is better, more people with the right to have a judge intervene in the kid's life is not usually better.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 11:19 AM
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88 to 86.

But I don't see how that invalidates the argument that rights depend on (voluntarily, to answer nosflow) accepting responsibilities.

Again, 'not having an abortion' is distinct from 'voluntarily accepting responsibility for a child'. A woman could have any number of reasons for not having an abortion: religious objections; lack of access; fear of medical procedures; forgot to get around to it, none of which necessarily implies that she affirmatively chose to assume responsibility for the child. She's attached to it while it gestates, and then she's right there when it's born and helpless, so the law imposes responsibility for it on her unless she either affirmatively relinquishes responsibility or demonstrates to the legal system's satisfaction that she's not a safe guardian for the child. But there's no step where a woman necessarily voluntarily accepts responsibility for the children she bears.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 11:20 AM
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79: My answer is that he should be coerced. You can't make him love the kid but you can make him cover costs. His responsibilities should be transferable if someone else agrees to take them on, but I don't see how he gets to unilaterally walk away from the consequences of his actions when they result in the creation of a helpless human being who had no say in the matter whatsoever.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 11:20 AM
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My argument is more based on the location (that is the fetus is a part of the mother's body and so legal rights be default should belong to her)

A child isn't part of the mother's body.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 11:21 AM
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I'm waiting for bob to stake out the "no one should have parental rights" position.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 11:21 AM
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I admire UPETGI's willingness to single-handedly restore balance to the force Mineshaft and end our long national nightmare of comity.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 11:22 AM
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More people involved in a kid's life is better, more people with the right to have a judge intervene in the kid's life is not usually better.

I agree with this as a general principle, but not to draw the circle so close as to exclude fathers. Also, while we're talking about voluntarily assuming responsibility, note that we're talking about fathers who are actively trying to assume responsibility, and are being told that it's too late, you don't have a strong enough record of past assumption of responsibility.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 11:22 AM
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As far as I know (and correct me if I'm wrong) grandparents don't have to relinquish grandparental rights in order for the mother to choose to put the kid up for adoption. This is even though grandparents typically are invested in their grandchildren, and even though having kids go to immediately family members is a good general rule with long historical roots.

(Of course, situations of the state removing maternal rights over the objection of the mother is different, and then at least in some states the grandparents would have some rights if they chose to take on the responsibility of raising the child.)


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 11:24 AM
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Also, the grandparent provides 1/4 of the nuclear DNA of the child.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 11:25 AM
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98 would essentially be my response. I don't think Bio Mom or Bio Mom plus Legal Spouse are anywhere near sufficient to cover the people who ought to be covered.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 11:26 AM
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I apologize in advance, but I have to at least make the argument. If DNA is what matters than shouldn't the father's identical twin have the same rights?


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 11:26 AM
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102 -- Either we're being trolled, or this is a desperate cry for help.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 11:28 AM
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Also, the grandparent provides 1/4 of the nuclear DNA of the child.

You may want to reconsider the word "provides" there.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 11:29 AM
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94. He should of course be coerced, But if the commitment is coerced, the concomitant "rights" should be forfeit. A man who has been so reluctant to contribute to his child's welfare that a judge has had to make him should not then be entitled to ask another judge to force the child's mother to send her to a different school.

Obviously there are plenty of parents who don't live together and may hate each other but both contribute to their kids' upbringing - fine, they should both have rights.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 11:30 AM
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Pause may be trying to tell us that he's being held at gunpoint by an evil clone. Possibly with a goatee.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 11:30 AM
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I'm curious about the relationship part of UTPEGI's suggestion. Where does the line get drawn?

Married for a long time?
Married for a short time?
Divorced before becoming aware of pregnancy?
Civil union?
Together forever, but no papers filed anyway?
Together for a year or two?
Together for an intense month?
Together for a week or two first?
What if that is during a vacation and they want to be together forever, but haven't been able to immigrate yet?

Who wants to be judging that bullshit? What do you do about the cases that are close to the line and have lots of intense feelings by the parents?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 11:30 AM
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I apologize in advance, but I have to at least make the argument. If DNA is what matters than shouldn't the father's identical twin have the same rights?

Or two brothers, or eight cousins?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 11:32 AM
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To explain why I take this personally and find you affirmatively reprehensible, let's take a completely non-hypothetical scenario: my relationship with my own kid. Here's my story -- a basically committed boyfriend/girlfriend relationship, girlfriend gets pregnant. As a result, the parents get married and then the parents get divorced shortly after the kid is born. I guess on your argument I'm maybe still entitled to some parental rights because there was a marriage at the time of birth (though not at the time of pregnancy, so maybe even that's not clear). But barring that, and barring the marriage, under your scenario I have no legal right to parent my own child, even though I'm available and willing to do so?

Please take this opportunity to go fuck yourself.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 11:32 AM
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99.1 is generally right, except in the case of minors, where state law differs on whether a teen can place a child for adoption without parental consent.

Different states also differ in when they consider biological family to have priority for placement over foster family. We've already passed that point for Nia (TPR trial this summer, probably) because her family is out of state, but it's my understanding that the state would still defer to them if they were in our state. In other states, we'd have priority once we get to the end of the month and she's been with us a year. None of this is based on "grandparental rights" but just on policies that (for good reasons) prioritize kinship placements.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 11:33 AM
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105.1 -- Really now -- are you arguing for a bright line test that should bind judges no matter what the actual facts and equities of an individual case happen to be, or are you giving an opinion about what you think a judge ought to come up with, given your assumptions about facts and equities?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 11:33 AM
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102, 103: I think the point here is that scientific notions about genetic inheritance can't really be used as a proxy for folk ideas about family structure.

Your father's twin may function a lot like your father from an evolutionary perspective (he gains just as much reproductive fitness by nurturing you as he would his own children) but from an ordinary family perspective, he is still your uncle.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 11:34 AM
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111: I was having trouble phrasing it, but I concur in Charley's question. Obviously, sharing parental rights with someone you're at odds with is going to lead to all sorts of hassle and bad feeling that it would be nice to short circuit, but that doesn't make the kind of bright-line rule you're talking about a good idea.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 11:36 AM
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1, 2, 4, and 5 should definitely be yes. (Though 5 could be tricky in practice, and certainly since we're in "I'm redoing family law from scratch" hypotheticals same sex relationships are treated identically to opposite sex ones.)

Divorce between conception and birth is a very tricky situation, but a judge will already be involved at that point and the decision should be made based on the best interests of the child.

For the other cases there should be an easy legal process (say signing the birth certificate) which if both parties agree will bestow the rights and responsibilities of parenthood on a second party (who need not be the one who provided the sperm). If this is not done at birth there's the usual slower process of adoption that a second parent could go through at a later time.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 11:36 AM
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there's the usual slower process of adoption that a second parent could go through at a later time.

Unless, for instance, you're gay in one of the 20+ states where it's not allowed.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 11:38 AM
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114.1 to 115. Certainly lots of family law is problematic in places where certainly familial relationships are disregarded by the state, and in the current setup what I'm proposing is not really viable, both for this reason and because our welfare state is insufficiently robust (e.g. there's not child support payments from the state like there are in other rich countries).


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 11:41 AM
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I'm not talking about bright line rules, as there shouldn't be any in this sort of case. But as a general thing, if a man has hitherto been so uninterested in his child's welfare that he won't even contribute financially except under duress, a court shouldn't then give much weight to his opinions on other matters to do with it. I can think of a hundred counter-examples without even trying, but all of them would usually involve at least some evidence of prior concern for the child's welfare.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 11:43 AM
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If you want standing to bring things before a judge it should be based on non-genetic facts based on your actual interaction with the child. DNA in and of itself should not be able to get you into the courtroom.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 11:43 AM
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Obviously there's no room whatsoever for manipulation in the scenarios given in 118 and 114. What a profound and abstract-thinking fucking genius you are.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 11:45 AM
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109: I certainly don't mean to denigrate any actual parent/child relationships, yours or otherwise. Furthermore, presumably if your co-parent was willing to enter a marriage with you in part in order to have the child have two involved parents, then presumably she would also have been happy to enter a formal co-parenting arrangement. And certainly by now you should have full parental rights and responsibilities regardless of the legal regime. I apologize for phrasing things in a way that made it look like I didn't think relationships such as yours had value, all I meant was that the value doesn't come from the DNA but rather from your relationship with your child.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 11:45 AM
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Re: 59 to 57. 58 is insane and despicable, but I'll give you the benefit of assuming that you just haven't thought about the issue much

I basically agree with this right here.

Re: My argument is more based on the location (that is the fetus is a part of the mother's body

The fetus is *located inside* the mother's body, and attached to/dependent on it, but it isn't *part of* the mother. I don't generally believe in abortion rights, but the abortion debate aside, this isn't actually true.

Re: Parental rights should depend on some prior evidence of commitment to the child, rather than biological accident.

Why?

Unless you choose to relinquish your paternal rights, or alternatively unless there's some evidence you would be an unfit father, it seems to be that fathering a child should give you some presumptive rights to a connection with the child.


Posted by: Hector_St_Clare | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 11:45 AM
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To the OP, I'm curious how she came to learn of the relatives' 4 criteria. Did they call and say, "Hi, you are the female relative with kids who lives closest to the hospital, can you babysit?" Because that would be super weird.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 11:47 AM
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Halford, thank you for sharing your story. I'd always vaguely wondered what the background was and this explains a lot about differences of opinions re: vaccines and so on. Your daughter sounds awesome and I'm glad she has you as her dad.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 11:48 AM
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How is it "not actually true" that the fetus is part of the mother's body? A kidney is part of the mother's body even if it's scheduled for a transplant. That's true even if genetically the kidney is distinct from the rest of the mother as a result of chimerism. How can you distinguish between the fetus and the rest of the mother's body?


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 11:49 AM
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Re: How can you distinguish between the fetus and the rest of the mother's body?

Uh, because it's clearly a separate organism, genetically?

If we were talking about any other plant or animal species, and asking the question "when does its life-history begin", the answer would be simple: fertilization. Some people seem to have trouble extending this to humans, for reasons that are unclear to me.


Posted by: Hector_St_Clare | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 11:53 AM
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I will boldly deny that if we were talking about any other plant or animal species, the answer to your question would be "fertilization".


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 11:54 AM
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I don't think "when does it's life history begin" is at all a simple question. In fact, taken literally its life history began circa 4 Billion years ago when an unbroken chain of cell division began eventually resulting in all the cell's in the body. Our folk ideas about life don't really map simply onto the actual scientific reality.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 11:55 AM
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Anyway, I'm the troll on this thread, so I'm going to stop feeding the new one.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 11:57 AM
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How 'bout them dinosaurs?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 12:00 PM
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No. Whales?


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 12:01 PM
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Putting to one side the "when does life begin" question, a fetus isn't much like other parts of a woman's body. It forms no part of that body's normal functioning, it can be removed without injury to her, and for many healthy women it is never present. What it means to say something is part of something else is philosophically complicated, but it's at least very different from anything else that's part of her body.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 12:03 PM
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Anyway, I'm the troll on this thread, so I'm going to stop feeding the new one.

Comity.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 12:05 PM
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No. Penguins.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 12:05 PM
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Re: I will boldly deny that if we were talking about any other plant or animal species, the answer to your question would be "fertilization".

Speaking as a biologist, that's certainly the convention I'm used to using.

Re: I don't think "when does it's life history begin" is at all a simple question. In fact, taken literally its life history began circa 4 Billion years ago when an unbroken chain of cell division began eventually resulting in all the cell's in the body.

I'm using 'life history' in the technical sense here;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_history_theory

'Life cycle' would work too:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biological_life_cycle

In short, 'birth' isn't really that meaningful or generalizable an event extended that can be across species: fertilization is.


Posted by: Hector_St_Clare | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 12:09 PM
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I certainly grant that it's different from most other parts in some very very important ways. But an appendix hits many of those points, as does a tumor. And you're relying on a clear distinction between the fetus itself and the uterus that it's part of and clear distinction between "healthy" and "unhealthy", neither of which I'm sure hold up.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 12:11 PM
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I'm using 'life history' in the technical sense here

Why is that technical sense something I should care about? Why should the difficulty of talking about "birth" across all species something I should care about, given that it's not the case that for each species s it's difficult to talk about birth for s?

I'll tell you what I do care about: incorrect use of apostrophes.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 12:12 PM
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Policywise, Pause, does it bother you that your proposed system would explicitly enforce a state of affairs that is to some degree a de facto reality now, and is a major source of gender inequality? Under your system, men only have parental responsibilities by their own free, active choice, while women by default have all the responsibility for childrearing. Men can father all the children they like, but wouldn't have to let the messy business of caring for them interfere with whatever they think is more important.

My initial reaction was that your plan was terribly hard on men who want to parent their children, but of course it's just as hard on women, who you've made the unpaid domestic labor caste.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 12:13 PM
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122: Presumably there were other people known to her who met every possible combination of 3 but not 4 conditions, none of whom were selected, and there were no other people who met all 4.

That's not enough to prove it apodeictically, but it's sure suggestive.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 12:17 PM
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Under your system, men only have parental responsibilities by their own free, active choice, while women by default have all the responsibility for childrearing.

That was my first thought. I associate the argument with men who don't want to pay child support.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 12:18 PM
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Hector, nobody cares about your lunatic opinions. I suggest sharing them with your therapist.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 12:19 PM
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You can't make a meaningful or generalizable distinction between Hector's 'therapist' and us.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 12:20 PM
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137/139 (and an earlier post by nosflow): Exactly. It benefits men who want to have unprotected sex without child-raising responsibilities, and all the responsibilities fall on the women, even more so than the status quo. I don't see that as beneficial in any way.


Posted by: dalriata: | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 12:23 PM
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135: Sure, saying rigorously that x is not a part of y is going to be hard without a very clear definition of what it means to be a part of. But there are clearly all sorts of coherent criteria you could use to say that a fetus is not part of a woman's body.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 12:23 PM
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135: Sure, saying rigorously that x is not a part of y is going to be hard without a very clear definition of what it means to be a part of. But there are clearly all sorts of coherent criteria you could use to say that a fetus is not part of a woman's body.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 12:23 PM
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Re: Why is that technical sense something I should care about?

Why is birth an event I should especially care about, when it comes to deciding on the point at which a person deserves legal protection?


Posted by: Hector_St_Clare | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 12:24 PM
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137, 139—see 77.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 12:24 PM
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146: I was agreeing.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 12:24 PM
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137: Certainly there's something worrisome there. But forcing single moms to share parental duties against their will doesn't seem a reasonable solution to the problem (and as you say de facto it doesn't do much to fix the problem anyway). I could imagine other attempts to alleviate this problem (e.g. increase taxes on rich childless people like me and use it to subsidize day care). But it's not clear that there's anything we should do to stop women who choose to become single mothers from doing so.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 12:25 PM
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FINE.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 12:25 PM
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C O A R S E .


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 12:29 PM
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143: I would say that there's lots of ways you can say that a fetus is different in an important way from other parts of a woman's body, but I think that's different from saying it's "not part of her body." I think the bright line between the stuff that's actually inside of you and outside of you is a really important one for individual autonomy. If you want to call that "inside your body" instead of "part of your body" fine. But that distinction is a relatively clear one that we should be able to agree on and which is clearly a very important distinction in terms of autonomy.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 12:30 PM
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Speaking of which, does anyone know of an inexpensive grinder (hand powered is OK) that does a decent job on press coffee? I have had disappointing results with both the Hario Skerton and the Danesco.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 12:30 PM
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I cannot advise you on an inexpensive grinder, but I do hope that with Memorial Day past, you are switching to cold-brewed coffee.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 12:34 PM
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The fetus isn't even inside the body in any rigorous sense.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 12:35 PM
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Upetgi, you seem to be ignoring the fact that parenthood doesn't end after the child is expelled from the mother's body. It's during that post-expulsion period, in fact, that a parent of any gender is likely to form a relationship with the child.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 12:37 PM
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But forcing single moms to share parental duties against their will

. . . is basically what every issue involving child custody between couples is about, in one way or another (except for those ones forcing single dads to share parental duties against their will). I like that you're pretending to be reasonable and thoughtful about this, but in fact what you're proposing has serious, obvious, and unavoidable severe negative consequences for kids, fathers and for women, and makes no sense. There's a reason why we've defaulted to the idea that, absent unusual circumstances, kids have two parents, both with an obligation to support the child. Otherwise you create horrible incentives, both for deadbeat fathers to stick women with kids they don't support, and for mothers to hide kids away from their fathers and provide them with no involvement in the parenting process.

And I'll stick with calling you a reprehensible asshole, thanks very much, not for raising a stupid and ill-thought out idea (which is something that's fine and that we all do) but for continuing to push the argument, apparently seriously, even after repeatedly having it pointed out to you how stupid and offensive it is, especially to people who actually have to live with these issues as opposed to just trolling them on the internet. But I'm sure you feel good about how smart you are.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 12:38 PM
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I'm happy with the Kyocera CM-50, but I'm not that particular.

Aphids are born pregnant, and generally parthenogenesis is definitely above zero frequency, mammals are an exception. Even in mammals, parthenogenesis can be induced by suppressing the interesting gene H19. Fertilization is not necessary for reproduction, though there are lots of advantages for it to occur often.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 12:39 PM
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guy who's a member of the Cherokee Nation gets a woman who isn't pregnant.

This is the weirdest sentence.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 12:40 PM
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IYKWIMAITYD


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 12:40 PM
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I kind of want to ask about the trendy thing in lesbian couples where one partner is the egg donor and the other carries the pregnancy, so both are biological mothers in certain respects. But since Upetgi's theory covers all stable relationships, I guess they'd be the legal parents and the sperm donor would be SOL in his system. (It's this sort of setup that has created situations with three parents on the birth certificate in a few cases, which is getting people all riled up.)


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 12:40 PM
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159 to 157.last.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 12:40 PM
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I could imagine other attempts to alleviate this problem (e.g. increase taxes on rich childless people like me and use it to subsidize day care).

You're still conceptualizing children as something that are innately the problem and the responsibility of individual women, with or without assistance from society, and not the responsibility of individual men except insofar as they choose to assume that responsibility, and codifying that conceptualization into law. A parent with subsidized day care does not have the freedom from responsibility that a non-parent does.

I'm pretty sure that I know what your answer to this is, but do you think that it's an actively good thing that women but not men should as a default bear all responsibility for childrearing, or do you think that even though the gender inequity in that system isn't good in itself, it's de facto how things work so it should be recognized de jure?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 12:41 PM
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Re: If you want to call that "inside your body" instead of "part of your body" fine

That seems like a pretty glaringly important distinction, but sure. I have no problem with "inside your body", since that seems pretty accurate.

Re: But forcing single moms to share parental duties against their will doesn't seem a reasonable solution to the problem (and as you say de facto it doesn't do much to fix the problem anyway).

I have a hard time believing you're even serious about this, but if you are, Robert Halford has the right response.

Fathering a child makes that child *your child*, to the same degree (or to almost the same degree, I'll make a bit of a concession there) that the mother of your child can call it *her child.*


Posted by: Hector_St_Clare | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 12:43 PM
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158: I'm having trouble not reading that sentence in the rom-com trailer announcer guy voice.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 12:44 PM
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153: Thanks for the reminder.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 12:44 PM
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OK, 164 was pretty great.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 12:45 PM
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Under your system, men only have parental responsibilities by their own free, active choice, while women by default have all the responsibility for childrearing.

Why not have "the state" raise the children, like Sparta! That worked well. Or like in "the Giver", (or any number of SF dystopias), where the state gives you a baby later on, after you've proved worthy.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 12:46 PM
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160: Yup, that's how I'm arguing it should work. The sperm donor being SOL is an important point here. Of course you can jury rig that into the law in other ways, but that means you have to go through expensive legal processes to get legally clean sperm rather than just asking someone for sperm. It seems like a bad idea to have to rework the law every time the mechanics of the sperm donor system change.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 12:46 PM
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I feel absolutely ridiculous recommending this, but I read a suggestion to freeze left-over coffee into ice cubes, which one can then use to keep cold-brewed coffee cold without diluting it as the ice cube melts.

I have enjoyed the results of this more than I thought, and so I pass it along to you.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 12:49 PM
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I think they use liquid nitrogen for chilling sperm donations.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 12:50 PM
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the mechanics of the sperm donor system

I see them in orange coveralls.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 12:53 PM
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169: That seems pretty reasonable. Seems like whiskey stones would work for that too.

For wine there's always the frozen grape trick, though I don't really like ice-cold wine.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 12:53 PM
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Cold coffee is undrinkable. Ice-cold wine is an abomination.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 12:54 PM
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Why does that matter? Large portions of my body used to be a cow (or, rather, several cows).

Wait, what?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 12:55 PM
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And "whiskey stones" should replace "Dutch courage" as slang for alcohol-induced bravery/questionable judgement.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 12:55 PM
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You know what's nice in really hot weather? Weak whiskey and sodas.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 12:55 PM
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162: Women can also choose to give up maternal rights. I don't think there's any way to get around the fact that women is the one who chooses whether to cary the pregnancy to term and that the woman is the adult who has to be in the room when the baby is born. If she doesn't want any rights or responsibilities beyond that point, then that's totally fine. If she wants the baby to go to a particular adoption agency as her one choice after birth and before giving up her rights, I think that's fine too.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 12:55 PM
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174: I never told that story about the car accident and the experimental transplant?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 12:56 PM
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174: The Peace Corps sent her to the Island of Doctor Moreau.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 12:56 PM
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96 and 97 are both funny.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 12:56 PM
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177: So you're not in favor of the current prevalent system where pregnant women are encouraged to select potential adoptive families and connect with them (if that's going to happen) before giving birth?


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 12:57 PM
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Pwned, but mine was better.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 12:57 PM
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Hot coffee that has cooled is very different from coffee that was always meant to be iced.

Grounds in cold water overnight in the fridge. That's the good stuff.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 12:57 PM
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Cold coffee is undrinkable

And yet Iced Coffee is enjoyed the world over. Is it the cream?


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 12:59 PM
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171: I see them in orange coveralls.

White ones, surely (3:20). "Brain room to sexual organs, proceed with erection."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 1:00 PM
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177: Defaults matter a lot. There's no way to get around the fact that the mother has to be in the room when the baby is born and the father doesn't, but moving from that to as a default burdening her with responsibility for caring for the child without another parent's assistance, and giving him responsibility only by their mutual agreement isn't an inevitable step, and will have the actual result of placing a disproportionate responsibility for childrearing on women.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 1:00 PM
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184: The world is a confused place.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 1:01 PM
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182: It was.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 1:01 PM
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176: Those are nice, but for a really hot day, I go with a Sbagliato or a Gin Rickey.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 1:01 PM
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176, 189

Default summer adult beverage after Memorial Day Chez Leech is Mount Gay & tonic.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 1:03 PM
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179: "Not to go on all-fours; that is the Law. Are we not men."
"Mooooooooooooooo!"


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 1:04 PM
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You know what's good (and also nonalcoholic if you're into that)? The Southampton, consisting of tonic, bitters, and lime.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 1:05 PM
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190 is the official drink of my people (paternal side) although I don't thus assume we're related.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 1:05 PM
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and also nonalcoholic if you're into that

One of the many terrible things Unfogged has done to me is that I can't read a sentence of this form without involuntarily snapping "Biscuit!" in my head.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 1:06 PM
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193. I wouldn't be too hasty about those kind of assumptions, but I relinquish any claims to parental authority over you, Thorn. In the spirit of the thread.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 1:08 PM
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195: I was going to make the same joke but thought it might come across as weird, which yours didn't.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 1:10 PM
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181: Sorry, didn't mean to imply that. I mean if she wants to pick the parents, or the agency, or make no choices at all (in which case the decision reverts to the state), that's fine. I'm just saying I don't think we should says she's *forced* to pick the genetic father if that's what he wants. I don't think she should even be forced to inform the genetic father of her pregnancy against her will.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 1:15 PM
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Are there any benefits you see from your system other than the increased autonomy available to those women who actively want to be single parents?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 1:25 PM
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CONCEPTUAL PURITY


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 1:33 PM
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I had an awesome morning hanging out with my 19 month old friend at the park. We saw ducks and herons and dogs and big kids (endlessly fascinating) and recently arrived radicals.

This guy was a huge influence on my early interest in politics, news, government, etc. (Like, from when I was 6 or 7.) A really all-around decent fellow too. Hadn't talked to him in a long time, but he looms large in positive memories of my childhood.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 1:50 PM
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It seems like it'd be a big improvement for women to not have to prove in court that their exboyfriend is abusive. (Of course you still have the problem of abusive exhusbands, but again then a judge is going to be involved anyway.) It lowers the risks for monogomish married couples, since the kid would be legally the husband's regardless of where the sperm comes from. It would simplify the legalities of sperm donation, both for donors and parents. It would simplify the adoption of new fertility technology.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 2:04 PM
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It seems like it'd be a big improvement for women to not have to prove in court that their exboyfriend is abusive.

Spell this out a little -- that is, tell the story of a woman who has a problem now, who'd be better off under your system? I'm not getting it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 2:16 PM
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What a bizarre thread. The best part was when the discussion turned to drinking.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 2:18 PM
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192: That sounds good, though I'd say low-alcohol. There's bitters, after all.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 2:19 PM
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What a bizarre thread.

97 got it completely right.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 2:21 PM
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To expand on my question in 202: coparenting with an abusive ex is tough, but there's no specific connection I can see between likelihood of abuse, either to the partner or the kid, and having been unmarried at the time of birth. As a solution to dealing with domestic abuse, it's completely untargeted.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 2:26 PM
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Woman gets knocked up by a guy she thinks is dangerous, but doesn't have proof is dangerous, and doesn't want him in her child's life. She also wants to give up the child for adoption. Dad is a stalker and finds out that she's trying to put the kid up for adoption and tries to claim paternal rights. For good measure, let's make him rich and able to hire a good lawyer and her not rich. In my regime there's no case.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 2:28 PM
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What the fuck are you even talking about in 201? What woman has to prove what boyfriend is abusive? The way the system works now is that a father can ask for a joint custody arrangement with a child, and a judge can rule on that joint custody arrangement based on the child's best interests (including a finding of abuse, which would generally obviate joint custody and require something like supervised visitation). Your system would just allow mothers to end parental rights of a father without any showing of abuse or reasons why the child should primarily be in the mother's care, and aside from bizarre biological arguments and an inexplicable statement of preference for allowing sole custody to single mothers who want it, you've given no reasons at all to support your position. In addition to being obviously ignorant of the facts of the current situation w/r/t custody arrangements for parents and children. But hey who cares you get to show that you're a clever little puss, don't you, Professor.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 2:28 PM
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Plus, I don't see how you could do it without completely setting aside the "best interests of the child" standard.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 2:30 PM
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Oh my God a situation like 207 is not theoretically completely impossible!! Let's get rid of biological paternity rights for fathers!


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 2:30 PM
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209 before seeing 208.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 2:31 PM
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207. I love Lifetime specials also. Let's come up with costumes and hairstyles for our protagonists.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 2:31 PM
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206: I mean, I like the idea because it makes more sense to me not because it's specifically targeted to deal with particular situations, but you asked for specific benefits so I tried to provide.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 2:33 PM
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207: The thing about this is that it's not impossible. But it's one of a million relationship possibilities. What if he finds out after she's pregnant that she's a member of a Satanist cult that sacrifices babies? (All right, that's unrealistic, but some kind of abuser.) He has to stand by, without standing to seek custody, while she prepares his child to be dismembered in praise of Beelzebub?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 2:35 PM
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Right, not adjudicating issues like parental rights based on the circumstances, equities, and best interests of the child in a particular case is an advantage. I think I'll stand by 103.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 2:36 PM
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In most cases I think it's in the best interest of the child not to have judges involved at all.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 2:39 PM
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The equation of a woman's rights over her own body when it comes to terminating the pregnancy and that of her rights over the baby strikes me as insane. In any case, the right of a woman to terminate a pregnancy or carry it to term regardless of the father's wishes is unfair to men. It's just that the alternative, giving the choice to the father, is far worse. Once the baby is born both parents should have equal rights, and equal obligations.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 2:39 PM
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213: Okay, so I'm now understanding you to say that you don't really have a strong sense that your system is practically preferable, it just seems neater to you?

At that point, I throw my hands in the air in despair. There are obvious, giant, ill effects from depriving fathers who want to be involved of a relationship with their children. There are obvious, giant, ill effects from defining women as the default unpaid domestic-labor caste. At some point, tidiness in rulemaking has to yield to having a system that doesn't do too much damage.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 2:40 PM
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I did have a pleasant fantasy in the middle in which Emilie de Chatelet and her last child lived, and the child had four parents (Voltaire included, natch) and grew up brilliant and effective and improved the world.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 2:43 PM
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I mean, I'm right with you on the idea that avoiding litigation is a great good thing, and doing so through objective, brightline rules is also a good thing -- the tidiness argument appeals to me. But jesus christ on an incandescent pogo stick there's a limit to how heavily you can weight that kind of thing.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 2:43 PM
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I can quite easily come up with a case where it would be in the best interests of the child for women to not have any parental rights. So what?


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 2:43 PM
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(219 made more sense right after 205. Sorry.)


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 2:43 PM
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207 seems like a perfect illustration of why Pause's Modest Proposal is insane and despicable. Woman has no basis to believe Dad is dangerous other than apparently her hunch. She doesn't want to parent the child. Dad does -- and can provide financially for his kid, at the very least. So a woman who wants to give up her parental rights to a stranger can prevent the actual father from raising his child because she thinks he is dangerous?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 2:46 PM
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Everybody else has said everything else important already, so I'll just add: UPETGI? Leaving aside the enormous human consequences to mothers and fathers, I absolutely cannot see how your idea would leave children better off.

I feel as though this entire discussion is going on in an alternate universe where you have been asked to build a child-custody-determination system in some kind of SIMS scenario where there is no social, political, religious, or historical context.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 2:46 PM
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That sounds good, though I'd say low-alcohol. There's bitters, after all.

I guess that this is the pedantically correct thing to say.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 2:47 PM
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If anyone wants to read an exploration of the Indian Child Welfare Act in fiction, Barbara Kingsolver's Pigs in Heaven is not a bad one, by my memory. (Link is to Wikipedia entry with spoilers.)


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 2:50 PM
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Assume a spherical baby....


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 2:51 PM
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I feel as though this entire discussion is going on in an alternate universe where you have been asked to build a child-custody-determination system in some kind of SIMS scenario . . .

To be fair, UPETGI has been pretty clear that (a) his vision is never going to happen and (b) he isn't necessarily arguing for incremental changes in that direction -- just explaining how his intuitions work.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 2:51 PM
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228 -- give me a fucking break. He's said that he acknowledges that implementing this regime is unrealistic, but he's been very clear that this is how he'd like things to work, as a rule. He's actually trying to argue a position, not just playing around with a thought experiment. So, he can FOAD, in my book.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 2:54 PM
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Hot coffee that has cooled is very different from coffee that was always meant to be iced.

How do they make the iced espresso stuff they sell all over Italy? I assumed it was just plain old espresso mixed with sugar and then stuffed in the fridge. Same goes for the espresso granita.

The best wine to drink very cold is, appropriately enough, ice wine. Though you still don't want to drink at anywhere near 0C.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 2:54 PM
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220: obviously since everyone disagrees with me I'm willing to admit I must be wrong, but I'm still not seeing the convincing argument. Walk me through the scenarios you find troubling.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 2:54 PM
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Re: There are obvious, giant, ill effects from depriving fathers who want to be involved of a relationship with their children.

Yes, but don't you know, genetics is morally meaningless. "DNA doesn't make a father", isn't that how the slogan goes?

Of course, the natural corrolary to that is we should raise all kids in government orphanages, or else assign them to parents based on some expert sociologist's opinion of who would make the best parents.


Posted by: Hector_St_Clare | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 2:55 PM
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I'd say we ought to distribute parents randomly, but we do.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 3:00 PM
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231. these parents, or any pair where there's only a little bit of competence evenly divided between mom and dad.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 3:00 PM
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I think that only guilty people should be charged with crimes, and that the trials should therefore be skipped in favor of sentencing.

You gonna argue with that? Walk me through the scenarios you find troubling.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 3:00 PM
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231 On average your proposed principles are clearly against the best interest of the child and of the father. And with no mandatory financial responsibility, they're also against the interests of mothers.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 3:01 PM
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Re: Walk me through the scenarios you find troubling.

A guy knocks up his girlfriend, they aren't married. He wants to care for the child, and would generally make a better parent than she would. They later break up, and she decides not to allow him paternal rights, and raises the child herself (neglectfully).

Or what 223 says.

Or, more colorfully, what Lizard Breath says about satanic cults.


Re: In any case, the right of a woman to terminate a pregnancy or carry it to term regardless of the father's wishes is unfair to men. It's just that the alternative, giving the choice to the father, is far worse. Once the baby is born both parents should have equal rights, and equal obligations.

Right. I strongly don't believe in abortion rights, but *even if you do*, I don't see why that should be extended to control over the baby after they're born.


Posted by: Hector_St_Clare | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 3:01 PM
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231: (1) He's an interested father. She's the abuser; he lacks standing to protect his kid. Kid dies. (2) He's an interested father. She's not abusive, but has just broken up with him and is feeling shortsightedly hostile about continued contact with him, despite the fact that there's nothing wrong with him as a parent. Father and child are deprived of lifelong emotional relationship, child is deprived of material support. Child grows up emotionally and financially impoverished; mother's life is made more difficult by the demands of single parenting. (3) He's an ambivalent father. The legal standard that says he has no necessary legal connection to his child encourages/convinces him to walk away rather than to form a relationship with his child. Child grows up emotionally and financially impoverished; mother's life is made more difficult by the demands of single parenting.

For cases (2) and (3) society-wide, because of the higher percentage of mothers parenting in the absence of any input from the father and the underlying assumption that children are the responsibility of women only rather than men, women are increasingly shut out of positions of power, both political and employment.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 3:02 PM
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235: ♥.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 3:03 PM
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239 also to 233.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 3:04 PM
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231: I dunno, since you liked your abuse hypothetical, gswift and I and presumably others can match you with actual anecdotes about mothers who are abusive to partners or children and the hapless men who knocked them up would, in your system, just have to watch the babies stay with mothers they know to be abusive but where they have no legal standing to intervene beyond calling Unicorn CPS, I suppose.

And would Unicorn CPS even care about whether a biological father was fit if the unfit mother had broken up with him pre-birth or has he lost his dibs for all time?


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 3:05 PM
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Unicorn CPS

I would watch this hour-long drama.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 3:06 PM
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|| Hey Halford! You owe me a $50 contribution to a charity of my choice. I'll take antiwar.com . They're getting matching funds this week so your contribution gets doubled. ||>


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 3:06 PM
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In more important questions, I've been doing this fasting thing but took a week off and today is my first day back on and through a combination of bad emotions lately, strong hormonal blah, and a really frustrating caseworker visit, I'm strongly inclined to give up and just have as much wine and salsa as will (separately) to down my gullet as soon as I've got the girls to bed. Is dieting incompatible with general unhappiness?


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 3:08 PM
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239: don't we have a strict emoticons policy around here :-)?


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 3:08 PM
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235 -- Sentencing implies judges. Lock them all up for life -- that would be simple and elegant, and would take out any human decision-making from the system.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 3:10 PM
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Nope, that has a Ron Paul staffer promoting it on the first page. No money to any Ron Paul or libertarian based organizations, just can't do it. I'm happy to fund another peace (or almost any other non-libertarian) charity of your choice.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 3:10 PM
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"Unicorn CPS," where Unicorn David Caruso puts on his sunglasses and says things like "Looks like someone took this tapestry ... off the wall."

Look, they can't all be winners.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 3:11 PM
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And it also has Pat Buchanan pushing for funds on the cover page. Just not gonna do it, bet or no.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 3:11 PM
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He's actually trying to argue a position, not just playing around with a thought experiment.

I used the word, "intuitions" deliberately in 228. This argument is an interesting example of the difficulty about having good intuitions about complex social questions -- in part because the range of scenarios is far greater than one person's set of mental examples, and it's clearly inadequate to reason from a proposed "typical" case.

As somebody without children, and without a strong sense about how childcare should be situated socially (except that it be more egalitarian than it is, and that the link in 52 is charming) I find it an interesting back-and-forth.

But I understand why that isn't your reaction.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 3:13 PM
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Is dieting incompatible with general unhappiness?

Yes. I strongly believe that you have to be independently emotionally stable to be able to diet (particularly low-carb diets).


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 3:13 PM
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247, 249: sorry to hear that. Political movements are much more effective when they can draw support from across the spectrum, and this is one of the most important political causes there is.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 3:16 PM
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253

In the case of an abusive custodial parent Unicorn CPS is going to get involved anyway. I mean, you could have the same situation where the hapless person is the aunt or the grandma or an ex boyfriend who lived with the mom but isn't the father. I'm not sure why the genetic father is particularly special in this situation.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 3:20 PM
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I mean, I'll send $50 to the EFF if that makes you happy, I'm fine with a (well intentioned) charity that doesn't align with my interests and beliefs. But I'm just not giving money that in any way could be seen as supporting the greater libertarian movement, which I think is one of the greatest forces for evil in the world right now.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 3:22 PM
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Because for all of recorded history and human culture, men have had a strong interest in protecting and caring for their children, stronger than that of randomly selected other people. Not all fathers, all the time, but not all mothers, all the time, either.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 3:22 PM
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245 is the most important comment in this thread. LB is now banned.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 3:25 PM
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253: So why is it different when it's a potentially dangerous ex that the woman must be protected from by your new laws? That I don't get. (And I don't have a ton of faith that abusive parents do invariably end up with CPS involvement as is, which is why I specified the Unicorn part. And just being abusive or scary to an ex-partner wouldn't be enough for CPS child protection involvement anyway but is supposed to be sufficient reason to disenfranchise all fathers??)


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 3:25 PM
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This is pretty clearly trolling, right? I mean, the bridge is right there, and UPETGI is sitting under it.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 3:25 PM
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build a child-custody-determination system in some kind of SIMS scenario

The judge places all interested parties in an empty swimming pool then deletes the ladders. The last survivor gets custody.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 3:26 PM
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I guess (not that anyone should care) I should say "align perfectly" with my interests and beliefs. EFF is fine to very good on a lot of stuff.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 3:26 PM
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This is kind of the mirror image of ogged's argument that since we're naturally bloodthirsty and crave revenge we should just admit that torture is ok.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 3:28 PM
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There's a difference between a custodial parent, where the state is going to have to get involved in any serious problems anyway, and a non-custodial parent whose only connection to the child is genetic.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 3:31 PM
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258: Trolling, devil's advocacy, something like that.

262: If you're seriously trying to argue your position, you need to use more words. This doesn't say anything unless you explain what you think the relevant difference is and how it makes your system better.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 3:34 PM
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251 is brilliant trolling, considering the thread.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 3:40 PM
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I told you guys that I went with purple for my house exterior, right.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 3:42 PM
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Very attractive home, Megan.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 3:45 PM
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Someone, somewhere, called my name

231:obviously since everyone disagrees with me I'm willing to admit I must be wrong

This is why, right here, this fallen world is going to hell.

232:Of course, the natural corrolary to that is we should raise all kids in government orphanages

There ya go. Except you spelled "corollary" wrong.

I used to be mildly against father's rights, until frankly Thorn and gay parenting made me rethink the relationships. As you know, I do dislike the concept and tradition of children as property. Ugh.

So 1) Children should have many more rights and good options than currently available, at a very young age. Parents should be forced to persuade and induce rather than command or compel.

2) Summer camp! School! I do believe kids are formed more, mostly, by peer group relationships (siblings) and structured sociality rather than authoritarian parenting. Montessori for all! Or safe-house group-living with training in begging, busking, and picking pockets.

3) Bit do I really care that much? I don't know know, don't like to see suffering, but life is also pain. Most people I meet or have heard of or read about seemed to have turned out reasonably well despite awful or mediocre childhood histories. Can we make it, them better? I am not so sure.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 3:45 PM
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Thank you!


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 3:47 PM
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re: 263

Devil's advocacy would demand more argument.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 3:51 PM
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Eat everything, evolve.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 3:56 PM
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I think my system is simpler conceptually, more robust to future changes in technology and science, better attuned to my moral intuitions, more consistent with my beliefs about abortion, and more consistent with modern sexual mores. Some of those are hard to argue specifically if people have very different moral intuitions from mine. In practice, both systems should be quite similar in the vast majority of cases.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 4:01 PM
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What a convincing argument, asshole!


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 4:03 PM
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Your system is not consistent with the modern sexual more of not-getting-married before becoming parents.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 4:03 PM
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The case rests.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 4:08 PM
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The singular of "mores" is "mos".

Speaking of modern sexual mores! RMS/ESR slash fic.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 4:08 PM
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For example, UPETGI could spell out what his moral intuitions are such that his position is more attuned to them. Explain how it relates to what he understands by modern sexual mores, etc.

I think we can grant it's conceptually simpler, since the position is basically: 'Stipulate there's only one type of parent. Mothers.'

Still sitting under the bridge.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 4:10 PM
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ome of those are hard to argue specifically if people have very different moral intuitions from mine

None of those reasons has much directly to do with your moral intuitions, as far as I can tell:

- Simpler conceptually: should be fairly independent of agreement with your moral intuitions.
- More robust to future changes in technology and science: likewise.
- Better attuned to your moral intuitions: likewise (why you think this is an argument in favor of your position is unfathomable, though.)
- More consistent with your beliefs about abortion: likewise (again, why being more consistent with your beliefs is an argument is not clear).
- More consistent with modern sexual mores: Once again, should be independent of agreement with your moral intuitions.

"Simpler conceptually" is maybe the factor that has most to do with agreement with your moral intuitions, insofar as you might think that an easily stated rule is ipso facto preferable. (I'm not sure how much conceptually simpler it really is, though.)

As far as "better attuned to your moral intuitions", that's really not even remotely an argument. "Why do I think that this is the better system? Because it better accords with what I think a good system would be." Ah. And why do you think that that system is better, again?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 4:13 PM
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I think we can grant it's conceptually simpler, since the position is basically: 'Stipulate there's only one type of parent. Mothers.'

Is that really simpler than "stipulate there's only two types of parent, mothers and fathers."? There might be a lot of practical complexity that falls out of the two-parent view, but is it conceptually more complex?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 4:14 PM
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Utah's had a couple of cases recently that worked along the lines of UPTEGI's intuitions: mom gets pregnant, wants to give it up, lies to the father about the due date or existence of the pregnancy, baby is adopted away to a nice Utah Mormon couple, two years in the courts ensue.

One involved a married military guy who was iirc deployed for the pregnancy and birth and came back to find his child adopted without his consent. The only reason he won custody was that he was married so Utah's laws let him have some rights.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 4:15 PM
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re: 278

I'm assuming UPETGI is working with some sort of bastardised-parsimony rule, whereby one is just conceptually simpler than two, just because.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 4:16 PM
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43. Also, Moby Hick is right about cold coffee. ew.
On the OP-- shockingly common. This sort of thing comes up in minor and major ways all the freaking time where I live (there are a surprisingly high number of women who don't have full time jobs outside the home here), and among people with allegedly liberal commitments. And it drives me crazy. But what's more crazy-making is the fact that the smallest query about the 'naturalness' or 'necessity' of the gender-roles/enforcement is treated with horror. Minor-- at a gathering of faculty (women and men), and faculty 'wives' (no faculty husbands), and children. Someone comments about local children's play production, and how "all the moms" were helping the kids dress in between scenes. Particular kids at issue were/are female, so I asked in innocence (forgetting for a moment where I was), 'so, are the dads helping the boys dress?' You would have thought I'd just asked whether we could all go make lunch out of the small children in attendance from the looks I received. The only person who responded (a 'dad' with a female spouse who doesn't work outside the home), said, and I do quote, "well, that's the sort of thing mommies do." Hello time machine. Can you please send me back to 2013?


Posted by: backwardsinheels | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 4:19 PM
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One is the simplest number that you'll ever do.

Two can be as simple as one; it's the simplest number since the number one.


Posted by: Harry Nilsson | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 4:20 PM
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In my system there are still fathers! They just get to be fathers by means other than providing genetic material (pre-existing serious relationship with the mother, actual relationship with a (non-newborn) child, or by agreement with the mother). The mother gets her default rights not by providing the genetic material but by carrying the child.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 4:20 PM
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Basically, he's a Lockean. The mother mixes her labor (!!!!) with the child, so it's hers.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 4:21 PM
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pre-existing serious relationship with the mother, actual relationship with a (non-newborn) child, or by agreement with the mother

The first two items on the list do not seem to lend themselves to bright-line tests -- it would be a bad idea to define "relationship" as requiring marriage or adoption respectively.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 4:23 PM
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If the child is carried by a trans man then he is the default father, and if the egg is provided by a different genetic mother that person wouldn't have default rights unless the father agreed.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 4:23 PM
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I can only imagine how much simpler establishing paternity will be when the question to be investigated pertains to how serious the preƫxisting relationship with the mother or bonding with the nonneonate child is.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 4:24 PM
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284 made me laugh, out loud.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 4:24 PM
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What if the relationship has been uncontroversially serious for years and years, and then there's an unplanned pregnancy with which the sperm injector wants no part? Still a father?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 4:26 PM
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Or if the sperm guy and the mother aren't in a serious relationship but the former asserts that he would have a close relationship with the kid, were he permitted (the kid not yet being born). Out of luck? Why? He claims that he will meet one of your criteria, quite possibly credibly. Who determined this?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 4:30 PM
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Re: I think my system is simpler conceptually,

The flat-earth theory is simpler conceptually that Newtonian mechanics. Unfortunately, it's also wrong. (So is Newtonian mechanics, of course, just a lot less so).

Re: more robust to future changes in technology and science,

I'm not really sure why, unless you can figure out a way for humans to reproduce parthenogenetically, or why that matters.

Re: better attuned to my moral intuitions, more consistent with my beliefs about abortion,

I definitely don't share your beliefs about abortion, and not sure about your other moral intuitions. All of us base our beliefs on intuition, largely, but surely you must see that your intuitions here (which seem to boil down to 'genetic connection doesn't make you a parent') are, to put it mildly, not widely shared.

Re: and more consistent with modern sexual mores.

Except they're not. Without getting into whether modern sexual mores are 'right' or not, they largely revolve around the idea that sex and parenting have no necessary connection to marriage. Modern sexual mores are largely premised on the existence of the Pill and paternity testing. You effectively want to make it so that paternity testing has no legal or social relevance. I have heard that proposal made before, but only by hardcore social conservatives who want to use the idea to discourage premarital sex (by essentially warning men that if they have sex outside marriage, they lose paternal rights).

Re: Some of those are hard to argue specifically if people have very different moral intuitions from mine.

Gee, you think?

Re: In practice, both systems should be quite similar in the vast majority of cases.

Maybe in many cases, but clearly not in the case under discussion here.

Re: There ya go. Except you spelled "corollary" wrong.

Sorry. I actually do know a fellow who argues for the mass-orphanage theory quite sincerely. But he at least is fair about it, in that he would deprive mothers as well as fathers of their biological children.


Posted by: Hector_St_Clare | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 4:31 PM
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What if they're in a serious relationship for a very short time but refuse to get married until his gay sister can marry in their state, but then she gets pregnant and dies in childbirth and he'd like to parent the child?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 4:33 PM
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re: 290

I presume UPETGI just fires up the Possible-worlds-o-scope, and looks at the nearest possible world in which the subjunctive conditional holds true.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 4:33 PM
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Seconding 288. (!!!!), indeed.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 4:34 PM
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I feel like there was some culture where they didn't recognize the concept of 'fathers'. Possibly the Trobriand Islands? Has anyone here read Malinowski, and is that the right culture?


Posted by: Hector_St_Clare | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 4:35 PM
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Re: Your system is not consistent with the modern sexual more of not-getting-married before becoming parents.

Yea, this.


Posted by: Hector_St_Clare | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 4:37 PM
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For the people who disagree with me, what is it that gives the paternal rights: the sex or the genetic material?


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 4:43 PM
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I'm not quite sure why UPetgi doesn't support the state taking away all children at birth and then distributing them to parental units through some big bureaucracy.

297 Genetic material. Through some combination of socialization and biology, people are conditioned to care about mini human beings whose production they contributed to.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 4:51 PM
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298.1: Seriously? Because states are terrible at making this kind of decision. Because giant bureaucracies lose track of things. Because the timing is all wrong (you don't have years to decide which kid should go with which parents). Because that would require forcing people to become pregnant against their will in order to have a sufficient supply of babies.

298.2: To clarify further, is it the genetic *information* or the literal molecules?


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 4:59 PM
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252

What a piece of work this guy is.

Justin Raimondo is an American author and the editorial director of Antiwar.com. He describes himself as a "conservative-paleo-libertarian."

During the 1992, 1996, and 2000 presidential elections, Raimondo supported the campaigns of Pat Buchanan, both as a Republican and in the Reform Party.

In 1994, Raimondo was the San Francisco coordinator for the "Save our State" Proposition 187, which would have barred taxpayer funding of non-emergency services to illegal aliens in California.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 5:11 PM
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There doesn't seem to be RMS/ESR mpreg.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 5:12 PM
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If it's the information, then why not the grandparents, the aunts and uncles, etc.

If it's the molecules themselves, note that in all of the cells of the fetus's body save one (and all of them once that cell dies) 100% of the DNA is made from material taken from the blood of the mother. The only relationship to the father in any cell save one is in the information, not the material.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 5:16 PM
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If it's the molecules then why not the food the mother eats? I demand parental rights for bacon!


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 5:23 PM
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Speaking of modern sexual mores! RMS/ESR slash fic.

I'm not going to click on that while still at work, but I'm so happy that this exists.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 5:24 PM
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Oh my God! You're so persuasive and clever and you know so much! A father's desire to care for his genetic offspring is just not rational! Why, look at what the cell walls are made from! It is completely irrelevant that pretty much all societies are set up to involve some model of fathers caring for their offspring, because you personally have come up with a simplistic model that focuses on one meaningless variable to explain everything! And, it's also irrelevant that based on this same bizarrely narrowly-focused analysis there's absolutely no reason (other than the cell walls! the materials of the cells!) why a mother's interest in a newborn should trump the father's, either (I mean, hey, it's just genetic material too, like a grandparent's), but let's ignore that because oh hey I'm a clever clever math professor.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 5:26 PM
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Cell walls? We're talking about plants now?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 5:31 PM
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Sorry, BingALB despite not necessarily disagreeing.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 5:32 PM
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Like in that movie PLANT DAD.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 5:32 PM
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Oh my! My mistake! It is the original person that provides the material chemicals (but not the genetic information) for the CYTOPLASM in the cells of a fetus who must, as a matter of logic, have parental rights! SHE HAS PROVIDED THE MATERIAL FOR THOSE CELLS THROUGH HER BLOOD.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 5:35 PM
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Ok, I do now get that, as noted above, Motherland is just a setup for a dystopian novel and not anything that actually resolves open questions in our current society.

I actually think there's already a big tendency to discount dads, particularly ones who aren't in a relationship with the mother. Caseworkers kept telling us that Mara's stories about her dad couldn't have been true because she was too young and he was never around, but both he and her mom have confirmed them. He wasn't offered the same level of services her mom was, although their situations at the beginning of the case were different and neither seems to have made any effort to regain custody. But if he'd been treated with respect, would she be living in his apartment across town tending plants and watching basketball and getting ready to be in the same kindergarten class she'll be in anyway?

I know when we were considering what to do if Mara's mom was having a baby, knowing that the state would take custody, even though there would have been no preexisting relationship between the two of them beyond Mara having had a few visits while the other was inside the mother's body or whatever we decided was the right term, it felt barbaric to let her sibling go to another home for that reason. Knowing her siblings, even though they were never raised with her, has helped me know her better and I see a lot of the same beauty in them that I do in her. And I do see a special connection with the one who's her full sibling, as does she. This may just be maudlin stuff that doesn't rise to the level of personal moral inclinations but it's where my inclinations come from. I think Mara deserves to know her parents, including some of the hard stuff, and that all of our lives have been improved by that contact. It's not material to it that Lee is (in some contexts) her only legal parent.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 5:38 PM
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Really it's the farmers who grew the food the mother ate that became those cells who should have a say.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 5:39 PM
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In practice, both systems should be quite similar in the vast majority of cases.

Let's think about this for a moment. In the majority of cases there is no dispute about parental rights, and thus nothing will change (except, as LB points out, having the law take the position that, by default, mothers are more responsible for parenting than fathers are).

In cases where there's a dispute between the mother and father this will unquestionably make things more difficult for the father (trying to prove a relationship will be more difficult and a more subjective test than proving genetic paternity). Halford objects to this.

But what about conflicts that aren't between mother and father but between a parent and an institution (which are probably more common). Can the parent consent to medical intervention on behalf of a child. Can the parent get a school to release grades for a child, can the parent legally give the child a drink from their glass of wine, . . .

I would imagine (based on very little evidence) that basing parental rights on (a) being the mother, (b) being granted rights by the mother or (c) relationship with the child has some theoretical benefits (it could make it easier for a custodial relative to demonstrate parenting) but that in practice it would things much more difficult and would increase the number of cases in which an institution would say, "unless the mother comes and talks to us we aren't doing anything." Which would also contribute to shifting more of the burdens of parenting to women.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 5:40 PM
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311: the true utopia is the wheatiarchy.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 5:41 PM
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Oy, this thread. 303 made me laugh, or at least snort, out loud. And I think 284 is pretty much accurate, as well as funny.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 5:48 PM
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In the majority of cases there is no dispute about parental rights,

Wrong, or wrong in any meaningful sense. About 35% of kids live in single family households, and I believe only about 45% of kids live in households where there are two married parents. In all of those cases there will be some meaningful issue about parental rights that will (or meaningfully could be) affected by UPETGI's proposal. A rule in which there is no child support obligation because of the "meaninglessness" of a genetic tie would affect millions upon millions of women. A world in which a woman can trump a father's parental rights simply by asserting a cell-membrane-creating trump card would affect millions of men. In all cases, you'd be hurting both children, men, and women, all for the sake of UPETGI's bizarre and repulsive "moral intuitions."


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 5:53 PM
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To clarify further, is it the genetic *information* or the literal molecules?

It's being the 'biological parent'. You're being disingenuous and know exactly what I and everyone else is talking about. Again, I think we are conditioned by both society and biology to care about our biological offspring and our biological parents. Ignoring that when determining people's rights in the name of some idealized simplicity seems both cruel and capricious. That there are a great many cases where the biological parent(s) either don't want anything to do with their kids or shouldn't be allowed to or can't be there doesn't change things.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 5:53 PM
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I should say, two married parents biologically related to the child.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 5:54 PM
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Where I first encountered "Motherland" was John Varley's story 70s "Beatnik Bayou." It was not quite a dystopia, though there were definitely class and other issues. Used to be a copy online.

291.last

"deprive equally?"

Comparing the power and vulnerability differences between parents and small children, I actually don't give a flying fuck about parents and their rights at fucking all. The welfare of children (these are human beings) is absolute and my primary concern. Second is the welfare of society.

If orphanages are better for children and create happier healthier citizens, game over.

We really do create a lot of power by declaring children to be a different inferior species, somewhat more human than dogs but jury is still out on their status compared to chimpanzees.

And this hegemony over the lower-class critters is bad, very bad for the wielders of power and privilege. Authoritarian possessive relationships are learned by rocking the cradle.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 5:56 PM
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Single parent households. Just pretend 315 was written coherently. Anyhow, this isn't some abstract or marginal issue, how parental rights are created and construed under the law is an issue that will affect, in one way or another, something around half of the children currently in the United States, in one way or another.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 6:03 PM
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Varley After Thirty Years

"Beatnik Bayou" was written in the 70s, a far more liberal time, as the guy says.

Separatism and "WTF are men for, anyway?" were both on feminism's table back then.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 6:04 PM
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And before the orphanage o creche is the village or extended family, in which a group, commune, kibbutz share power and responsibility over a fairly large group of guardians and children socializing.

One or two parents carrying the weight and building an adult from a little person frankly is just disturbing.

Thank goodness I believe the harm parents do is often moderated by social settings, from daycare to school and group activities.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 6:12 PM
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270 to 313.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 6:20 PM
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Upetgi, can you explain precisely what it is about having a baby in your body that grants parental rights, bearing in mind that frequently those rights are exercised when the child is not in the mother's body anymore?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 6:23 PM
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It's the CYTOPLASM, the flowing juice of familial property rights.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 6:27 PM
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323: You need some rule that assigns at least one person responsibilities for a newborn. Since infants aren't yet able to pick someone themselves, and since birth is a frequent event, you need some rule. There's one person who has spent months carrying the infant inside her body, feeding it, and building it from her own bodies resources, and that person seems to me to have a much much clearer claim than anyone else. Furthermore, this rule is quite practical in that the mother has to be in the room when the baby enters the world. I'm not a philosopher, so I'm sure I'm doing a bad job presenting this argument well, but this should get the idea across in a way that you can make more precise.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 6:30 PM
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You need some rule that assigns at least one person responsibilities for a newborn.

So I'll pick one based on no reasonable argument whatsoever! Ignoring that there is already a system that could just as easily assign that right to two people! I am a clever clever clever boy who is just a thoughtful math professor!


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 6:32 PM
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Oh what other theories and rules will the clever clever boy come up with? The mother is in the room! The room! Tell us more of your views of humanity, clever one.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 6:36 PM
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feeding it, and building it from her own bodies resources

So is it the molecules that move between the mother and the infant?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 6:39 PM
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Hey, bob, have you seen the Chinese documentary Kindergarten? http://www.linktv.org/programs/kindergarten I didn't get to watch it all the way through, but it's definitely about the experiences young kids have in group care, for better or worse.

I spent a long time last fall after reading my massive lesbian separatist anthology thinking about the implications of not wasting energy on the enemy (not that I define "enemy" the same way, to the point where I feel conflicted about putting anyone in that category) but sometimes I think I should argue more. (I should definitely sleep more, but at the moment I'm having my glass of wine and eating horseradish cheddar chips.)


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 6:42 PM
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Why not say that anyone in the room when the infant is born, who contributed to the nourishment and growth of the infant in the womb (say, by supplying the mother with food), has a claim to parental rights?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 6:43 PM
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Reading the thread from the beginning rather than backward: 72's understanding seems correct.

As an adopted child, I have next to no attachment to biologicality, though.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 6:44 PM
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Is it any surprise Roberto Tigre is up in arms? After all the male-preneur contributes only information that the mother-factory builds! Like IP!01!!


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 6:44 PM
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330 is totally reasonable, though also not that different in practice from my rule as surely the mother has the right to veto people from being in the room while she's giving birth! The main problem I see with your rule is that it puts a lot of burden on hospital security. Your rule also probably results in many more grandmothers having parental rights, in a way that I'm not sure whether it's good or bad.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 6:51 PM
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None of 333 makes any sense to me.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 6:53 PM
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Why would there be any more of a burden on hospital security than there already is? (It can't be to protect the mother has a special claim on who's allowed in the room owing to her parental rights, because under the 330 rule she wouldn't have that right more than anyone else who contributed to the fetus's growth and who was in the room.) Why should the mother have the right to veto people from being in the room while giving birth—more than currently, I mean? Can she exile the doctor of midwife? What if doing so would endanger the infant? Why would it be better or worse for grandmothers to have parental rights? And I didn't think you were making a utilitarian argument anyway.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 6:56 PM
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333 is so far into self-parody it's hard not to see it as the first stage of a concession of defeat and admission of assholery, but who knows?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 6:57 PM
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Damn it, not 331, sorry Parsimon. 333.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 6:58 PM
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She'd have the same right to veto visitors from being the room that she does now. The reason it'd be a bigger burden on hospital security is that by making "being in the room" legally relevant, more people would want to find a way to get into the room against the mother's wishes. In my head this seems like it'd be especially common with young mothers who are still living at home and who disagree with their mother about how the rights should be split between the two of them. Mom wants grandma in the waiting room, grandma wants to be in the room itself. Chaos ensues.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 7:00 PM
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OT: In bar, "The Gambler" is playing, and an RJ Reynold's rep is offering coupons for one dollar packs of smokes.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 7:01 PM
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Winning!


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 7:05 PM
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I guess I said 333? 338 is also basically either self parody or the descent of the Clever Boy into the confession of error he'll probably be too Clever to ever give. Anyhow, I shouldn't rant while driving and on this conference call and doing four things at once. UPETGI, you've been an idiot and an asshole today, and I think at this point you know it, but if not feel free to go home with a few parting fuck yous as a gift.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 7:05 PM
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This is a contentious thread, so I hesitate to speak, but again, as an adopted child, had my biological father shown up to claim me after my biological mother gave me up for adoption (after my biological father went absentee, though I don't know the circumstances), I doubt I'd have been thrilled. I'd been adopted from birth to the only parents I knew, and I was fine and happy with them.

Sorry, I'm really just catching up: I see that the interests of the child have been mentioned repeatedly.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 7:11 PM
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In my head this seems like it'd be especially common with young mothers who are still living at home and who disagree with their mother about how the rights should be split between the two of them

Yeah, well, so what? Neither has a better claim to the rights than the other.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 7:22 PM
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I get the impression that Pause's position comes from weighting lack of ambiguity and avoidance of conflict between competing bearers of rights and obligations above any othe possible value -- the mother is the most easily identifiable rights-bearer, so vesting all control in her minimizes any possible conflict over who the decision maker is.

I can follow that reasoning, but the premise isn't something I can imagine accepting. I like unambiguity, but I like family relationships, and the practical welfare of children, and gender equality more.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 7:23 PM
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This is a contentious thread, so I want you all to realize you are worse than Hitler.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 7:23 PM
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Except LB.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 7:26 PM
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One last thought on this: I've known other adopted children who don't feel as I do, who felt that that their adoptive parents were not their real parents, that they were children in an alien adoptive family. Some have sought out their biological parents. Occasionally this meets with great success: it turns out there's an immediate bond with the biological parent. Other times it does not turn out well: there is no such bond, at all, and it's heartbreaking.

I'm speaking from the child's perspective, realize, not the biological parent's.

Ultimately what I'm saying is contra 325: there is no rule. There should be no universal rule about whether biological parents have presumptive legal rights. It must be on a case by case basis.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 7:32 PM
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I'm worse than Pol Pot.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 7:33 PM
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Sorry, it's probably not contra 325 specifically.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 7:34 PM
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I think you're absolutely right that once a child is old enough to express a preference, or really to have any conscious input, that should be seriously considered.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 7:36 PM
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People who can't deal with ambiguity should not go anywhere near family law. OTOH, this is one of the more entertaining threads in a while.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 7:37 PM
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I had no idea tobacco companies still sent girls into bars. Or that Kenny Rogers was still on juke boxes.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 7:38 PM
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351.last: Isn't it? Although I'm getting sad remembering pdf2ds arguing basically the same position and getting kicked around the blog for it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 7:42 PM
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350 to me? At what age would that have been? (yes I rewrote that to eliminate the dangling "at")*

I was pretty happily being a goofy two-year-old, from what I can tell. Can't say whether I'd have been able to express a preference.

* Y'all know the joke, I assume, which begins: "Where's the library at?"


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 7:43 PM
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I think parsimon's comments are pretty relevant to understanding UPETGI's. From previous threads I recall that he believes strongly that biological relatedness is not (or at least shouldn't be) a meaningful factor at all in parent-child relationships.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 7:58 PM
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Anyway, seems like this blog could use some downtime.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 8:01 PM
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Re: what is it that gives the paternal rights: the sex or the genetic material?

That's a strange question to ask, since the two are (in the vast majority of cases) inseparable. The sex is the means by which the genetic material is donated. And the fact that you ask the question suggests that your intuitions about human relationships are, uh, very different than the other people on this thread. (I sort of feel like I'm arguing with a freshman year philosophy major here). That said, if I had to pick one, I'd probably say the sex, since that's actually what makes the father (partially) causally responsible for the existence of the child. (Assuming that the sex act is lawful- I don't think paternal rights should accrue to rapists.)

Re: From previous threads I recall that he believes strongly that biological relatedness is not (or at least shouldn't be) a meaningful factor at all in parent-child relationships.

Well, that would explain a lot, I guess.


Posted by: Hector_St_Clare | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 8:10 PM
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342 If an absentee father shows up several years after birth, claiming parental rights to a child given up for adoption then there are also the child's wishes and those of the adoptive parents that need to be taken into account. That said, I'd still say he should have a right to request some sort of contact. Whether or not the request is granted would depend on the exact circumstances and if it can't be resolved amiably it's up to a family court judge to make a final decision.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 8:12 PM
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Re: One last thought on this: I've known other adopted children who don't feel as I do, who felt that that their adoptive parents were not their real parents, that they were children in an alien adoptive family.

I suspect that's the way I would feel, but not having been adopted, I don't really know.

Re: Ultimately what I'm saying is contra 325: there is no rule. There should be no universal rule about whether biological parents have presumptive legal rights. It must be on a case by case basis.

Well, sort of. I think biological parents have presumptive legal rights, but if they choose to give them up (or are manifestly unsuited to be parents) than they lose those rights, and the adoptive parents become the legal parents/guardians.

This is not to downplay the importance of adoptive parents to their children, but just to say that the adoptive relationship only comes into existence after it's clear that the biological parents are unwilling or unable to take charge.


Posted by: Hector_St_Clare | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 8:16 PM
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I strongly strongly disagree with 358. Barring very unusual circumstances (and the historic treatment of parental rights of Native Americans may well be one of those circumstances), I don't think the state should interfere with the rights of parents to parent their children just because someone shows up years down the road claiming to share DNA. Once the adoption is finalized, then they're the parents just as much as any other parents, and they shouldn't have their parental rights questioned in ways that other parents don't.

(Of course, in many circumstances it would be wise of the parent to let as many loving adults into their children's lives as possible. But it should be the parent's decision ultimately, unless the parents are behaving negligently enough for the state to get involved.)


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 8:20 PM
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Hector, I don't recall whether you've commented here before, but using "Re:" makes your comments hard to read, at least for me. House rules are to quote the comment you're replying to in italics, preferably with the original comment number, so that it's clear you're quoting someone else.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 8:22 PM
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Though I guess by trolling I may have given up any chance to have comments like 360 taken seriously.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 8:22 PM
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358: That said, I'd still say he should have a right to request some sort of contact.

Agreed that he should have the right to request it. Good luck with working that out in my own case, since I was living in Panama.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 8:26 PM
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I'm sympathetic to 360, but that's no doubt because I just don't have any strong feelings about blood relationship. Other people do, and I'm willing to understand that they're not demented.

Speaking again from the adopted child perspective: I didn't want to seek out my biological parents in significant part because doing so would hurt my parents very much. I did ask my brother, also adopted, about this at one point, and he said the same.

Perhaps the ideal scenario in a situation in which a biological parent conceives an interest in sharing in the life of his/her adopted-out child is that the life of that child be checked out, y'know? Child happy? Child doesn't need you, biological parent? Then walk away.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 8:37 PM
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Parsimon,

No, I haven't commented here before. I don't know how to handle italics, so I guess I will just have to stick with comment number.

Family dynamics is a tricky business, and in many cases there's no way to handle a situation without *someone* getting there heart broken. I think ideally, the adoptive parents should let the biological parents have a role in parenting- not that they should be legally required to, but that it would be morally the best thing to do. That said, it's ultimately their choice, until the child is 16 or 18 or whatever and can decide for themselves.

I guess my natural bias is to have strong feelings about blood relationship, much more so than about the 'social' aspect of parenting, so I would always want to know who my blood relatives were. But I acknowledge there are people like you who feel differently, and I think they should be free not to connect with their biological parents if they choose not to.

This is one of the things that makes adoption such a traumatic thing for the birth parents, of course, and why I think it's a good thing that open adoptions now exist.


Posted by: Hector_St_Clare | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 8:52 PM
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Well, there are pretty clear rules for when parental rights are and are not terminated, which Thorn could speak to. Generally, once they are, a biological father who gives his kid up for adoption doesn't have parental "rights," assuming he freely and properly consented to the adoption in the first place. I'm uncertain as to whether or not visitation rights (which are very different than parental custodial rights, but let's not expect Clever Boy to know anything about actual facts on the ground) are sometimes granted, but I believe they are not. That seems basically the right answer to me, as long as we have strong due process protections for giving up parental rights in the first place.

By the way, I completely reject Teo's defense of Clever Boy. He's not staking out a principled position based on anything, he's just asserting some rule he hasnt thought much about, clearly, based on his love of seeming clever.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 9:15 PM
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By the way, I completely reject Teo's defense of Clever Boy.

Yeah, I figured you would, and I'm not going to press the point. I'm much more sympathetic to your side than to his, and if he's not going to make any effort to justify himself I'm not going to do it for him.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 9:23 PM
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Your use of "Clever Boy" is not very charming, El Tigre.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 9:25 PM
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365: Hector, render italics by writing this:

(i) the words of the quoted text (/i)

Except for the parentheses around the "i", use the > symbols to enclose the quoted text.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 9:28 PM
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I mean, to enclose the i and the /i


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 9:28 PM
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368 is fair enough and I'll stop. "Despicable Fuckball" was my other choice but probably also lacks charm and panache.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 9:32 PM
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To take a concrete situation, one of my brother's birth father is unknown: he was abandoned at the hospital and the records have no father's name listed. There's certainly not going to be any free and proper consent to adoption by the birth father in those circumstances.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 9:36 PM
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There's certainly abandonment of parental rights, which can and does take place. You've put a human face on your despicable fuckballness, which is the first step towards redemption, but why you'd generalize so ridiculously and unnecessarily from your brother's case is beyond me.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 9:43 PM
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372 to 366. Of course teo is right that my different intuitions are a result of different experience.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 9:45 PM
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372: Oh, I'd missed that. My biological father didn't freely and properly consent to my adoption either. There is no father.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 9:45 PM
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In my other brother's case I'm actually not sure whether there was a legal birth father or not. I'm pretty sure we were never told his name, and my brother's birth family is not in contact with him, but I don't know the details beyond that.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 9:55 PM
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One of the best things I ever read in law was the bit in Hart and Honore on Causation where they say that look, it's not that there's some kind of "causation" that exists out there, in the world, absent social understandings of obligations and causation, that we can somehow arrive at a scientific (or whatever) objective understanding of. Instead, causation is a legal and social construct.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 10:01 PM
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At any rate, in my former brother's case there's not a substantial difference between the current legal regime and my proposed one. The point isn't that I was trying to fix a specific problem from my life, but rather that I was proposing something that fits better with my intuitions (which of course are influenced by my life experience).


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 10:06 PM
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Instead, causation is a legal and social construct.

Huh.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 10:09 PM
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(That's former vs. latter, he's of course still my brother.)


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 10:12 PM
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Also holy fuck but that NPR report on the case is rage inducing. Seriously "just got out of prison"? And "conscripting into the tribal population" and !!!??? these are literally laws designed to deal prevent and deal with the consequences of genocides. I find it really really horrifying how cavalierly that's treated.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 10:14 PM
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373: You've put a human face on your despicable fuckballness, which is the first step towards redemption

Haha, yea. You're doing a great job calling out Mr. Unfoggetarian's stupidity.


Posted by: Hector_St_Clare | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 10:17 PM
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I confess that I feel a camaraderie with UPETGI for the realization that he's also from a family of adoptees. I'd forgotten that, though I think he'd mentioned it before.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 10:18 PM
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381: I hadn't read it until just now, but wow, you're right. Ugh.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 10:20 PM
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Many of the commenters hate the NPR report too.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06- 4-13 10:42 PM
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Without having read all the comments, I wonder how attitudes will change on this question over the next few decades as we see a continuing attenuation of the stigma around children born out of wedlock. It seems to me that a solid chunk of both the moral and legal codes around this issue depend pretty heavily on the assumption that both children and parents will naturally desire to conceal the fact of a birth that happens outside of marriage. But, even among gay marriage opponents, it seems like there are fewer and fewer people who would explicitly make that case.

Tenement slum!


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 12:10 AM
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Also, I think there were caraway seeds polluting my otherwise excellent pre-birthday dinner last night. Outrageous impertinence!


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 12:14 AM
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Happy Birthday!


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 12:29 AM
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(Assuming I am interpreting 387 correctly.)


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 12:30 AM
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I guess this is the thread for this week's custody battle call. On Sunday I get called to a church and meet grandma who demands I arrest her son in law for kidnapping for taking his daughter out of church. As it turns out, the parents of this little girl are still legally married but separated and there is no court paperwork or divorce decree laying out a custody agreement. Dad has been taking the girl on the weekends by verbal agreement. Turns out mom has been in and out of a halfway house because she's a drug addict and now is totally out of the picture because she violated her parole and is back in jail. Dad went and snagged his daughter out of her Sunday School class because Grandma refused to give him his daughter earlier in the week. Grandma claims she in fact has sole custody based off of her junkie daughter telling her she wants Grandma to watch the kid rather than dad. Grandma is informed that, too fucking bad, dad can keep his kid because he's dad and her legal arguments are pulled right out of her ass. Grandma promptly alleges dad is a bad man who is into drugs. Dad is in fact the only one of the three with steady employment and no mugshot on file. After about the fourth time of Grandma accusing me of not giving her the kid because I'm prejudiced against Hawaiians I feel the urge to punch her in her fat face overwhelming me. I tell Grandma that if she tries to take the kid back I'll be jailing her for kidnap and get out of there before I lose my shit.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 12:43 AM
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Off topic, but something about the opening line of this article said "Unfogged"!...

Once upon a time in America, a union welding job at 1980s wages was such a horrible fate that you became a stripper to earn your way out.

The rest of the article's not about strippers, or, really, welding per se. http://benchgrass.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/from-now-on-no-more-defeats-siege-v.html#more


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 1:25 AM
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And on the OP, I don't want to sound like an MRA loon but isn't it generally accepted that women are on average better at childcare than men, hence why, in decisions based on the best interest of the child, custody generally ends up with the wife rather than the husband in divorce suits?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 1:44 AM
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Leaving to one side what "generally accepted" and "on average better at childcare" mean exactly, how does that tie in to the OP?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 3:48 AM
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All the excoriation of UPETGI seems to assume that our current system is natural and good, when it's neither. Child support is a quite regressive tax that is often imposed on men who do not have a meaningful role in their children's upbringing, and many thousands of poor men are imprisoned each year for failure to pay to pay it, with no presumption of innocence or right to attorney, and little attention to ability to pay. To the extent that there is a single 'natural' way for children to be brought up, it is for them to be raised by a community of adults, and once the community you relied on to do this (in our case, the nuclear family, already too small) has fragmented down to a single individual you are stuck with a variety of bad choices. Some of the emphasis on paternity in our culture is less about nature and more about trying to get fathers to provide resources the larger society should be providing, even when the father lacks the resources, ability, or desire to do so (perhaps because the mother effectively does not permit him to). Childrearing is more about assigning obligations in a way that helps the community than assigning rights the parent is entitled to. With that said I don't see how UPETGI's system really solves this and it has many impacts that don't seem to be in the best interests of the child. Also, even if you didn't recognize paternal rights at birth (I think I agree with UPETGI that motherhood provides a stronger bond than fatherhood at birth) it still seems extremely important to recognize them once the father has invested himself in childrearing and the father and child have bonded.

Someone needs to get Will to contribute on this thread. And Gswift to contribute more. The thread needs more anecdotes!


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 4:38 AM
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Also, even if you didn't recognize paternal rights at birth (I think I agree with UPETGI that motherhood provides a stronger bond than fatherhood at birth) it still seems extremely important to recognize them once the father has invested himself in childrearing and the father and child have bonded.

If you don't recognise them at birth, that surely has the consequence that the opportunity to invest in child-reading, and bond, is closed for many people, no? As has been repeatedly pointed out by others above.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 4:45 AM
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It depends on the specific arrangements -- no presumption of paternal rights at birth certainly doesn't have to mean some kind of ban on fathering, it would just mean that the man had to convince the woman to accept him as the father in a social as well as biological sense. But I wasn't endorsing the idea, just saying that it doesn't necessarily seem unnatural to me to view fatherhood as something that gained through paternal investment/bonding after birth, while the mother invests/bonds through the pregnancy and has rights from birth.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 4:58 AM
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Actually, while I've been thinking it, I don't think anyone's explicitly said it, and I'm glad you did.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 4:58 AM
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it would just mean that the man had to convince the woman to accept him as the father in a social as well as biological sense

Well that seems precisely the problem. As any number of real-world examples would attest.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 5:07 AM
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388: Thanks, yes, it's a couple of days out, but we celebrated early.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 5:22 AM
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38: Without having read all the comments, I wonder how attitudes will change on this question over the next few decades as we see a continuing attenuation of the stigma around children born out of wedlock.

Well, I think to some extent they've already changed, we have things like paternity testing and child support, and we generally expect fathers to be involved with the children they father outside of marriage, and shame them if they aren't. As I said, I've heard UPETGI's proposal before, but only from cultural conservatives who want to discourage premarital sex. It might interest UPETGI to know his proposal was suggested by Charles Murray in "The Bell Curve", for example.

394: Child support is a quite regressive tax that is often imposed on men who do not have a meaningful role in their children's upbringing, and many thousands of poor men are imprisoned each year for failure to pay to pay it, with no presumption of innocence or right to attorney

I'm not sure why 'having a meaningful role in your child's upbinging' should matter for child support. You have the most meaningful role possible: you're (coequally) responsible for their existence. I do think to the extent child support expectations are too high or imposed on destitute men, we may need to change that. But I don't have a huge amount of respect for people who choose not to take responsibility for the children they father, even when they are able to do so.


396: It depends on the specific arrangements -- no presumption of paternal rights at birth certainly doesn't have to mean some kind of ban on fathering, it would just mean that the man had to convince the woman to accept him as the father in a social as well as biological sense

Right, that's what I strongly disagree with (and I do find the idea strongly unnatural). The father is the father, and has legitimate parental rights (presumptively) irrespective of what the mother wants, he doesn't have to convince her of a damn thing. (He may need to convince *the state* that he isn't an unfit parent for whatever reason, but that's a separate issue: 'not getting along with the mother of your child' doesn't make you an unfit parent.)

Same planet, different moral universes, I guess.


Posted by: Hector_St_Clare | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 5:22 AM
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With that said I don't see how UPETGI's system really solves this and it has many impacts that don't seem to be in the best interests of the child.

Other than that, it's great.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 5:39 AM
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Instead, causation is a legal and social construct.

If you're still around Keir, I'd love to hear more about this, perhaps especially in the form of an example or two. My initial inclination is to think that the above statement is a case of the cultural turn going a step too far, but I'd like to be convinced otherwise.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 5:50 AM
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192: Tried it. It was good.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 5:57 AM
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I do have a question about the responsibility of husbands who are legally married to the mother but are not the biological father. Before the era of genetic testing the child was not considered a bastard/ illegitimate but the heir of her husband. If a woman is married to a man, gets pregnant by another man and stays with her husband, should the husband be required to support the child, e.g. pay for the kid's college education if he later finds out that it wasn't his sperm? I'm assuming that he acted as a father for many years.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 6:03 AM
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404: By law, the husband is the child's father. I've read about lawsuits in cases like this to get out of child support (after divorce), but I've not seen any be successful.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 6:13 AM
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"How did this other guy's sperm get in my balls?"


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 6:15 AM
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402 -- ah, it's more specifically about legal causation. (And I don't think H&H would agree with my paraphrase of their work.)

The classic example is that the law doesn't like making omissions causes, except in the case where there's a duty of care. (So suppose you have the job of watching the rail crossing, and you bunk off for five minutes, and a man walks in front of a train: your failure to warn him caused his death. But we wouldn't say that if you didn't have that job, and just failed to warn him.) And the question of duty of care is mostly a socio-legal one.

Which is, I think, a reasonably good way to think about lots of causal terminology in general (with appropriate discounts for context) but I don't know if I'd defend it in an historical context or in an absolutely philosophical one.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 6:18 AM
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should the husband be required to support the child, e.g. pay for the kid's college education if he later finds out that it wasn't his sperm?

Only if my wife is going to be required to help raise any kids I have with my mistress.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 6:19 AM
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406: Do you really want Apo to post a link for that?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 6:26 AM
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So the way things work now are (oversimplifying) that married parents end up on the birth certificate together, regardless of the biological parentage of the child. (This was going to be a potential issue in the Kim Kardashian/Kanye West baby's life except that her divorce I guess finally came through.) Unmarried mothers can put their husband or partner on the birth certificate in certain circumstances based on the laws of a given state, and that's where it gets murky.

Mothers who are legal adults can consent to place their infants for adoption (or older children, but that gets more complicated) and a legal father or someone who's put his name on the state's putative father registry will also need to consent, though a biological father who hasn't met a state's criteria to consent cannot do so. In some states, the baby's existence will be published in the newspaper and an unknown father is asked to come forward if he wants to make a claim. After whatever the state's waiting period is for the mother or father to claim custody, the child is freed for adoption.

If a child is being abused or neglected and the state gets involved, the mildest first step is generally to create a safety plan (parent promises to take the child to school every day, take a parenting class, move a responsible relative into the home, whatever) and if that doesn't work, the child will either be put in emergency foster care while the state looks for an appropriate relative placement or can go directly to a relative placement. This also includes doing paternity tests on potential fathers if possible, at which point the fathers get a caseplan and their families become eligible to take custody, which is in some sense the larger reason for it. If the child enters foster care and remains in foster care for 18 out of 24 months, the state will move to terminate the parents' rights. (This will happen sooner in some states in certain circumstances, and later in others, but that's the federal standard.) After the termination, the parents have a certain amount of time to appeal, but when that time elapses or appeals are done, the child is free for adoption.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 6:34 AM
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By law, the husband is the child's father. I've read about lawsuits in cases like this to get out of child support (after divorce), but I've not seen any be successful.

Is there any responsibility on the biological father to chip in as well? Because it's easy to imagine a scenario where an unexpected pregnancy (where the husband isn't the father) is the immediate cause of divorce for unfaithfulness, after which the husband becomes responsible for supporting the baby...

Only if my wife is going to be required to help raise any kids I have with my mistress.

OPINIONATED CATELYN STARK would like a word.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 6:35 AM
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I'm still thinking anecdotally. I have copies of Mara's and Nia's birth certificates and neither has a listed father. In one case, the dad was at work when the mom went into surprise labor and had the baby quickly, so he wouldn't fit the "in the room" criteria. In each case, the girl was given mom's last name but also multiple names from the dad's family. (Also in each case, the mom's family and dad's family ended up spelling the girl's first name differently and the mom's name had a typo in it. I'm not sure those are relevant.) To me, those seem like ways of implying an intention to co-parent and I know the relationships were a little nebulous at the time, but they might still meet UPETGI's original rules in a way, and yet I'm not sure.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 6:40 AM
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411: Generally not, though it depends a bit by location. There have been several cases in which the biological father has tried to be involved in the child's life and has been legally kept out of it.

(There are tons and tons of cases of lesbian couples who've chosen to have children together and then the one who gave birth or was able to adopt turns on the other post-breakup and totally disenfranchises her. The grossest I know personally involved the sperm donor and his boyfriend and the bio mom going on local tv, Fox obvs, to talk about how even though they're gay they know that all children need a mom and a dad and since he gave his sperm, he should be the now-toddler's dad and her old Mama doesn't need to be a part of her life anymore. It's jerks like that who've eaten away at the patched-together rights the rest of us used to be able to take advantage of at times.)


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 6:43 AM
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406, 408:Do you really want Apo to post a link for that?

Yes!

Some famous genius had a pathological obsession with not being second because another man's sperm would swim up his penis and...fuck if I remember. And so he would only...fuck was he Japanese? Watanabe, Natsume Soseki?

Googling "another man's sperm swimming up penis Japanese" gets me in deep doo-doo, so to speak. I need apo's google-foo


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 6:45 AM
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Googling "another man's sperm swimming up penis Japanese" gets me in deep doo-doo, so to speak. I need apo's google-foo

Seconded, if only because that would be a fitting end to this awesome thread.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 7:03 AM
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The awesome thread has ended, but:

410: Mothers who are legal adults can consent to place their infants for adoption (or older children, but that gets more complicated) and a legal father or someone who's put his name on the state's putative father registry will also need to consent

I'd wondered about that last night when mentioning that in my own case, no father was part of my biological mother's decision to put me up for adoption. Perhaps the law has changed on this since the 60s (or perhaps my biological father was deemed unfit).


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 10:17 AM
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Sorry, parsimon, I really don't know what the details are on who could consent to adoption in the 1960s, but my understanding is that it would have been unusual for the man to have had a legal say in the matter. Some current laws (like giving the placing parents at least nominal time to change their minds) were made in response to what's sometimes known as "The Baby-Snatch Era" of the '50s and '60s, when white women were routinely coerced into placing babies for adoption against their will. Current best practices are still not all that great IMO, but changes are happening and have been for some time.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 10:25 AM
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I don't know the details either, and I decline to investigate not because I have googlephobia but because I don't especially need or want to speculate about my own case. (For all I know I was a child of rape; that had never occurred to me before for some reason. I know that my biological mother was a college girl, and my date of birth suggests intercourse was had somewhere near New Year's Eve, so I've just assumed she became inadvertently pregnant during consensual activities, in college in the 60s, and chose to put me up for adoption upon birth. This was prior to Roe v. Wade. Water under the bridge in any case.)


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06- 5-13 11:08 AM
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By law, the husband is the child's father.
I will try to look this up if I get a chance, but my is that this "rule" is merely a default presumption, not irrebutable fact.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 06- 6-13 6:29 AM
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The paper of record chimes in on this thread.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 06-13-13 10:37 AM
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