May 10 2007

Lesbians! Death! Babies!

How about this for a snappy headline:

Dead sperm donor liable for lesbian child support

What, exactly, is “lesbian child support,” you are undoubtedly asking yourself.

You’ll never guess, so I’ll tell you. It’s just regular old child support — the kind dudes never want to pay. Why does The Daily Telegraph call it “lesbian child support”? I sure as hell don’t know. Because lesbians are so sensational, I guess?

Here’s the set-up: 2 kids are born. Genetic material derives from people who aren’t married to each other. Woman sues sperm donor for child support. Sperm donor demurs. Appellate court rules that, tough shit, he is responsible for the maintenance of the fruit of his loins.

As you can see, these are all contingencies that could apply to anyone. In fact, this exact scenario plays out daily, everywhere. The woman doesn’t have to be queer. The dude doesn’t have to be a sperm donor. Irresponsible pricks beget offspring and slink off to Slackville every day. So why the headline?

It would all be very simple if they’d just cut out the bullshit red herrings about nuclear families and Jesus-approved heternormativity and whether or not sperm donors are dead. The fact that the dude’s original involvement amounted to him spunking in a cup? Irrelevant! The fact that the mother was in a committed relationship with a woman? Irrelevant! The fact that the dude has since dropped dead of a stroke? Irrelevant!

Hey girls! Don’t have kids you can’t afford! Hey dudes! Too cheap to support your spawn? Squirt it in a tubesock! Hey news media! Can’t think of anything useful to write about? There’s a war on!


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  1. MedeaOnCrack

    Jesus this is some drug. I’d say we’re getting Twisty’s money’s worth.

  2. yankee transplant

    Love the last paragraph! Sing it!

  3. Ginger Mayerson

    Go! Twisty! Go!

    Loved the last paragraph! Wish I could write like that!

  4. Sara

    Nice one. Home run all around.

    But I’m disappointed (not in you, of course). My reflex assumption was that “lesbian child support” would be support for a lesbian child.

    I’ve known some lesbians who could’ve used more support when they were kids. And some court legally holding a parent, albeit a dead parent, liable to provide it? Heck, that would be news.

  5. Pinko Punko

    The tube sock gambit, you can’t control the laughter, you can only hope to contain it. That story is so jam packed with all sorts of stuff, it is super crazy. How is the donor on the hook instead of the donor company? Maybe this is like Napster for Sperm (their legal defense), but it wasn’t like the company could claim their technology was allowing sperms to communicate between two people and they had nothing to do with it. The company actually purchased the swimmies, so maybe they should pony up? Or maybe I should put a sock in it, hopefully not a crusty, stripey one. GROSS!!!!!!!

  6. MedeaOnCrack

    support for a lesbian child {from a} dead parent.

    Sara you on that same drug? I’m just loving the threads and posts today. {I’ll work after midnight}.

  7. Chris Clarke

    Maybe this is like Napster for Sperm

    Pee-er to pee-er!

  8. legallyblondeez

    The dude in question wasn’t just a donor of genetic material (and there was no agency involved either). He may not have lived with the children, but he was close to the family, spent time with the kids, gave them gifts, and the kids called him “Papa.” The female non-biological parent (now separated from the female biological parent) had already been ordered to pay child support and she was suing for his contribution, saying if she had to pay for their upkeep, so should he.

    Untimely deaths and sensationalist, inaccurate headlines aside, kudos whichever judicial genius figured out that kids can have more than two adults who are–and should be legally compelled to continue being–responsible for their well-being.

  9. S-kat

    Gee, you’d think that was the kind of thing you’d work out before agreeing to have a baby with some one.

    Also, I love how they finally mention that he wasn’t “just a donor” way down at the bottom of the article.

    Who’s that expert amazed at three people financially responsible for the kids? My brothers had four parents looking out for them. It’s the modern era, no?

  10. Twisty

    “Pee-er to pee-er!”


    What is it about pi-pi jokes that makes them so compelling?

  11. Pinko Punko

    lb- I’m sorry I didn’t read the actual article, I agree with everything you say. I just got caught up with my Napster for Sperm idea, and then Chris knocked it out of the park.

    That decision is revolutionary, given that the patriarchical quota of two support figures had already been fulfilled by the legal system going as far as recognizing two parental figures already. In this case, would it have been appropriate for them to use the word “father” instead of donor? Seems like they were using donor to keep the proscribed parental units down to two.

  12. Catherine Martell

    I want some of Twisty’s drugs. They turn you into some sort of patriarchy-blaming wit ninja. Chris Clarke has obviously been at them.

    Sara: first thing I thought, too. Though maybe the adjective “lesbian” here refers to “child support” rather than “child”. What’s “lesbian child support”? I don’t know: maybe you just force-feed the nippers fairtrade lentils, deprive them of places at the Sugar and Spice Summer Camp, and teach them not to hate women, or some other such wicked perversions against nature.

    The Aussie Daily T appears to be something of a UK Daily Mail, by which I mean a US Bill O’Reilly. Look! I clicked on this link from Twisty’s article and swiftly discovered that global warming is being created not by Big Pharm, the energy industry, people who drive Hummers, etc. Noooooo. Global warming is being created by mothers.

    Obviously fathers generate no carbon at all, at least none worth mentioning. I’m sure all those businessmen flying halfway around the earth for a lunch date buy plenty of ethically questionable anti-industrialisation deals in China and shiny new trees in Finland to compensate. Whereas the mothers: evil, wanton iceberg-melters to a woman.

    How long is it going to take for someone to claim that maternal global warming is all feminism’s fault for inventing such women-liberating gadgets as the washing machine and the fridge? I’ll open the sweepstakes at 48 hours.

  13. Daisy

    This might be the most satisfying post ever.

  14. vera

    What? All the carbon emissions from “child-rearing, washing, ironing, cooking” are the fault of the MOTHERS?

  15. thebewilderness

    What? All the carbon emissions from “child-rearing, washing, ironing, cooking” are the fault of the MOTHERS?

    They can’t very well blame the lesbian children.

  16. kathryn

    without knowing more of the story, I find this a bit concerning. The dead part doesn’t matter, nor does the lebsian part, but I’m curious about what the actual arrangement was? If he was asked to be a donor but not a parent, why should he have to pay support? If he was asked to be a donor and then changed his mind, should he have been able to claim his biological right to father his child, regardless of the agreement he made with the parents (in this case, the mothers)? It seems to me that the spunk-in-the-tubesock does in fact matter here.

  17. Urban

    Five cheers for Twisty! I always rejoice at a new post at IBTP appearing on my reader. Five? Five is a veritable boon, which makes me throw caution to the wind and spend an hour reading excellent analysis peppered with a quality of wit that most can only dream of, in full view of my colleagues!

    The five posts are all blisteringly fantastic. But this one in particular pushes my anti-media, anti-prejudice, and anti-irrationality buttons all at once (the latter two buttons are related, obviously: think of them as having the same pukely hue), resulting in Blame Overload and the need to mentally absent myself from work.

    Twisty, you brighten the day. You really do.

  18. Tigs

    It seems to me that the only purpose in an article like this is to scare potential donors off.
    The reason being that of course, lesbians don’t deserve to have biological material of their choice in the creation of their potential children, if they are going to have children at all they should continue to be enslaved to the for-profit medical community.
    It Terrifies the world of men that women are demonstrating daily that they don’t need men, for anything. Those men who might have some clue that women’s independence doesn’t threaten their humanity (and thus might be inclined to donate sperm to a woman he knows) need to be warned off because the evil lesbians will not only not put out for you, they’ll also steal your money– even after you’re dead.

  19. Arianna

    It’s nice to see other places catching onto the idea that a child can have more than two adults be ‘parents’. Back in January a decision – albeit in happier circumstance – was reached up here in Ontario that a woman’s same sex partner could legally adopt her child without the biological father losing his status as a parent, setting a legal precedent for a child to be able to legally have more than one parent, which is pretty cool.

  20. S.

    I usually lurk, and I usually agree with you, Twisty, and plenty of the commenters are agreeing, too, so I don’t feel like there’s much for me to add.

    But this post seemed so off-base that I had pipe up.

    As Twisty presented it, this is scary case law for lesbian families. If it really was a donor–by which I mean someone who has no parental relationship as mutually agreed before insemination–then this case would provide a theoretical basis for a known donor who changes his mind to sue a lesbian couple for visitation or even custody, because hey, your genes mean you own the kid. Since one of the most likely scenarios for this outcome is the formerly cool guy friend who goes born-again … you see how things could get ugly.

    I admit to not reading the article, but the info legallyblondeez supplied turns this theory entirely around. If it is actually about recognizing that all parents in a three-parent family need to be on the legal radar screen, then it actually changes the status quo in a make-the-born-agains-squirm way.

  21. Arianna

    Make that more than TWO parents. Yet another reason I shouldn’t post just before bedtime.

  22. Natalia

    Catherine Martell, that article is appalling.

    Chris Clarke’s recent Pandagon post speaks to that issue.

    In a paper [PDF — Natalia] published a couple weeks ago, Dr. Sherilyn McGregor of Keele University in Staffordshire points out that when environmentally sound living requres extra work, that work is usually “women’s work.” Her paper is a useful and readable summation, and if it weren’t encrypted read-only I’d paste some of it here. Still, this is not news to environmentalist women. What decisions are environmentalist citizens asked to make? Choosing the green laundry detergent and toilet paper and buying organic groceries. Carrying cloth bags to the supermarket. Using non-toxic cleansers. Adding corporate citizenship to one’s list of brand loyalty factors and schlepping the Seafood Buying Guide around. Sorting trash into the proper containers for recyclables, compost, and landfilling.

    Of course, we men carry all those containers to the curb, which perfectly balances the division of labor. But then you add Environmentalism 2.0 to the mix, and you have the Slow Food (read: hours spent in the kitchen) and Local Food (read: hours spent shopping) movements, and with that kind of scheduling pressure a woman likely wouldn’t even have enough time left in the day to type up her husband’s poetry.

    In short, environmentalism, like everything else, has been co-opted by misogynists.

    Twisty, I am so grateful for your tireless blaming.

  23. edith

    The problem is, if it’s a LESBIAN couple asking for support, well, they shouldn’t have been allowed to have a kid IN THE FIRST PLACE. It’s not natural. That’s why lesbians should hide in the basement with their perversions. They wanted to have a kid without men, so now they better rely on themselves WITHOUT MEN.

    Whatever. I’m really in a pissed mood, you all. Twisty, can we do a post on how fucking horrible marriage is? I’m really needing this, because my sister is now suddenly engaged and suddenly I’m being forced to shut up and smile and act as a maid of honor when I would really rather fucking do anything else.

  24. JR

    I totally agree with S.

    This is about recognizing a PARENT — parent #3 — and it’s good that the court did so. The kids called him “Papa.” This is not a sperm donor who went through a sperm bank. A kid can, in fact, have three real parents!

    It would NOT be good — and in fact it would be really bad — to make an anonymous sperm donor from a sperm bank into a legal dad, liable for child support, because (1) next thing you know “dad” will show up and want visitation, plus (2) there won’t be sperm available for lesbian couples if men trying to donate sperm instead are on the hook for child support. Let anonymous sperm donation be. Lots of women rely on it.

  25. Calidor

    In fact, when you come right down to it, there’s nothing really accurate about the headline. He wasn’t a sperm donor. The sexual orientation of the children remains unknown. It’s unclear whether, being dead, he is liable for child support (I’m guessing not). About the only thing that appears accurate is that he is dead. Proposed new headline: ‘Man dead’.

  26. Errihu

    Catherine, I find that link infuriating in that the blame for family green-house gas emissions is placed squarely on the mother. Never mind that society demands certain practices of childcare, and if a mother failed to do them (IE bathing children regularly, doing laundry, cooking, cleaning, etc), she would face censure as well. Never mind that a father is likewise fully capable of performing the same housework. These are not women’s emissions, they are families’ emissions. They are not a product of women, but the product of the demands, expectations and practices of modern Western (in this case Australian) society.

    Thanks for bringing that link out to air. I needed something to rant about.

  27. LesbianDad

    At long last, I peep, after over a year of loyal reading (daily grateful for what you say and the élan with which you say it). I’d like to (a) register apprecitaion for the tube sock humor, and the tour-de-force final paragraph, simply on its own terms as a tour-de-force paragraph, and yet also (b) side with S. up there. Despite the lunacy and sensationalism of the headline, the news item is of genuine interest (albeit less so than the war), because the ramificataions of the ruling are unsettling at best.

    Any time a known donor gets vaulted back into Legal Parent status — whether by his own machinations, or lord help us, those of some addle-brained gal with not a jot of insight into the precedents such a ruling would have — we non-birth parents of the lesbo variety sink just a little deeper in the mud of legal-social indeterminacy.

    Mombian (Sustenance for Lesbian Moms) picked up the story, too, and the few comments following her bit describe some of the impact on lesbian & alternative family formations. Not that I think much can top the pithy “Girls! Don’t have kids you can’t afford!”

  28. Catherine Martell


    These are not women’s emissions, they are families’ emissions. They are not a product of women, but the product of the demands, expectations and practices of modern Western (in this case Australian) society.

    Exactly. I knew you lot would see this immediately. I love this place.

    That article was so replete with illogical, stupid and offensive assumptions, I almost didn’t know which bit to start blaming first. Happens a lot.

  29. Luckynkl

    Lesbian dad? What’s wrong with this picture?

  30. Feminist Avatar

    Lesbian dad is a woman who has two(?) children with her partner. Her partner carried the children and so is the ‘mom’ to her ‘dad’. Click on her name to visit her website- she explains it all there. (Lesbian dad if I am explaining this incorrectly, please forgive me.)

  31. Nick

    I wonder how much of this decision hung on the fact that the donor was fully involved in the family, and how much on the judge’s feelings that a family is somehow incomplete without a male figure.

    I’m going to see if I can find the text of the ruling.

  32. Mamasquab

    Twisty, you completely rock and roll. Wonderful writing, perfect analysis, pithy wit–you’ve made my day. Kathryn, IBTP for the whole arrangement whereby sperm “donors” (who are VENDORS, for chrissake–they get between $75 and $125 per ejaculus, depending on the amount they spew) are absolved of all responsibility for the children they help to procreate. In a culture where the care of children is assigned to their mothers to a cosmically disproportionate degree, why should the people who sired them get to skive off? Look at it from the POV of the kid: she didn’t ask to be born, and comes into the world totally helpless and totally dependent on others for her continued existence. Shouldn’t the people who are responsible for her predicament be the ones who get her out of it? They do it by taking care of her until she’s in a condition to take care of herself.

    And yeah, there’s adoption. But that arrangement *repairs* a tragedy: the people who are responsible for the child can’t exercise their responsibility, so other people do it for them. Sperm vending on the understanding that the vendor then walks away *engineers* a tragedy.

  33. Nick

    Got it. Oddly, this ruling just seems to be entirely reasonable. Frampton even had partial custody of the children and visitation rights, and yet was not paying child support. The only worrisome thing I found in it was that apparently Pennsylvania in loco parentis doctrine doesn’t confer on non-biological parents the same rights as biological parents.

    Below is the link to the text, if anyone else is curious. I wouldn’t read it, though; I know more about the specifics of these folks’ family lives than I really want. I think I’ll just stick to reading challenges to the constitutionality of various laws from now on. I’m not voyeuristic enough for this.


  34. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    Edith, I’ve been in your shoes (tinted to match the dress, natch) so many times it isn’t even frickin’ funny. I’ve participated in so many ill-starred weddings I could retire comfortably and buy an island if I had a plug nickel for each.

    In the split second before we began the march down the aisle, her father and I tried to talk my niece out of it. We told her everyone gathered there loved her and would understand if she backed out at the last moment. We’d have the reception anyway, and everyone would go home relieved. She married the abusive asshole anyway, moved to Shithouse Falls, Michigan, and returned less than nine months later. She was thin to begin with, but she weighed about 87 lbs. when she came home and was desperately ill with a raging systemic infection because her dipstick husband wouldn’t let her visit a doctor. The only groceries in her house were canned chicken noodle soup and hot dogs.

    Her story has a relatively happy ending because in time she divorced the useless bungwipe, married a nice fella who loves and supports her, got a good job as a stockbroker, and had a lovely daughter. As far as you can ever tell about someone else, I think she’s happy.

    But be of good cheer. When you get older and crankier, people quit asking you to be in their weddings.

  35. TruthAndDare

    ok, call me Grumpy Old Radical Feminist Dyke Child-Hater if you like, but my theory has always been “Don’t Play With Sperm If You Can’t Handle the Consequences.” For goddess’ sake, why all the breeding? And doesn’t anyone else find it ironic that lesbians are paying thousands and thousands of dollars to get something many heterosexual women pay thousands of dollars in various birth control costs to avoid?

    There are already so many children who need so much from a society that is willing to give so little. What it is about people that makes them SO sure that what the world really needs is more of their own genetic code stamped here and there?

  36. dr_igloo

    How long is it going to take for someone to claim that maternal global warming is all feminism’s fault…

    Actually, it was almost a year ago (in jest, however, in this case):

  37. femhist

    This is a dumb question, I’m sure, as well as being off topic, but…can someone explain what the little “popularity” rating at the bottom of each post is about? How is that measured? Popularity among whom? I must know!

  38. Rugosa

    Ok, Grumpy Old Radical Feminist Dyke Child-Hater. I actually agree with you that any one individual’s genes aren’t all that important, but the drive to reproduce one’s own is very strong. Pregnancy and nursing are deeply fulfilling for some women. (I loved being pregnant, except for about the last twelve hours.) We shouldn’t be too quick to condemn others’ choices, although we hope they apply intelligence as well as emotion in making them*. For some people, adoption may be just too expensive, even relative to using a sperm donor service. Others may find they just don’t have the courage or strength to take on a mixed-race or handicapped child, often the most available for adoption.

    *Yes, I mean that awful xtian family that is breeding like rats on a dump. There I go, being judgemental. So bite me.

  39. Theriomorph

    “Wit Ninjas Napster Your Sperm, Man Dead!”

    “Are Feminazi Tube Socks Next?”

    “The Smog Of Women’s Emissions: Your Mother Is Screwing The Planet!”

    What an exciting news day.

    I feel all warm and fuzzy.

    Thanks, IBTP.

  40. thebewilderness

    The popularity thingamy is just an indication of how many of us have read this post relative to how many of us have read other Twistylicious posts.

  41. S.

    Actually, by and large PA has pretty good case law for lesbian families. Second-parent adoption is legal here by virtue of a 2002 state Supreme Court decision, and I know of a case where a Fla (=place with very bad laws) non-bio mom got visitation after “ex-gay,” born-again bio-mom moved here with new hubby, thinking that since the middle parts of PA are conservative it was a more conservative state overall and would back up her custodial kidnapping.

    Also, please everyone, this is not a sperm bank case. It is a known donor case. These three people, specifically, agreed to bring these children into being. And if you use a known donor, one of the very, very minimum protections you should take is to pay him. Even a token dollar brings the whole thing under contract law. HOWEVER even with a paid known donor you can’t do second-parent adoption unless he gives up parental rights, which this guy seems not to have done.

  42. LMYC

    I actually agree
    with you that any one individual’s genes aren’t all that
    important, but the drive to reproduce one’s own is very strong.
    Pregnancy and nursing are deeply fulfilling for some women. (I
    loved being pregnant, except for about the last twelve hours.) We
    shouldn’t be too quick to condemn others’ choices …

    I’m a little lukewarm toward this. I just don’t see this. The appeal to mystically defined “drives” is the same thing that men make when they talk about how they just can’t help themselves. And to be honest, there is no drive stronger and more impossible to ignore than the drive to take a dump when needed, and yet we manage to shoehorn that into a socially acceptable shape. I just have to take this “I can’t help myself I simply must have a baby because my hormoes are propelling me to do so so I can’t be argued with” with an enormous grain of salt. I … just don’t find it a compelling argument. Many things are deeply fulfilling that can and should be dealt wtih in a more intelligent manner than currently.

    And I’m wary of saying “use your brain but don’t judge” only because it’s usually used as a way out. Like how 80% of drivers think they’re above average. It’s always appealed to to keep from offending the other person in the conversation, like clockwork. “Oh, but I certainly don’t mean you!” *head nods alla round* “Yes, YOU’RE clearly the sort of person who should be having a dozen babies!” *more head nods* *responsibility for unpopular opinion averted*

    I think these things are more urgent than that on a world where there are six freaking billion of us and we’re clearly trashing the fucking planet beyond repair. Don’t talk to me about your sacred urges to head for seven billion, or the fact that your kids are okay but Fundiemom’s kids aren’t. I can see why hers would be a more significant problem, but yours will be using landfills and air conditioning, too. As I observed before, the planet doesn’t give a crap about your politics, all it cares about is your car exhaust.

    I’m really just tired of seeing things like this used to avert responsibility when people bring up uncomfortable subjects. “Oh, but I’m sure I don’t mean YOU!” Well, I don’t know anymore. Maybe I do mean you. On some other topics, I’m sure I mean me as well. What are WE doing about it? I mean, aside from saying, “Oh, but now you’re totally different from Fundiemom, and so I’m sure it’s completely okay for you to have as many kids as you want!”

    Basically, it’s the same thing as with the high heels and lipstick. Screw your urges. What are you DOING to offset the clear load on the planet from this? And “raising the next generation of rebels” isn’t enough. Not unless you look forward to those kids growing up and “raising the next generation of rebels” and so on, and so on, and so on ad nauseum ad infinitum. What are you doing NOW?

  43. Frumious B

    Hey girls! Don’t have kids you can’t afford!

    Twisty, I know you are aware that birth control is not always negotiable and not 100% reliable when it is, that heterosexual sex is not always negotiable and is frequently extremely desirable when it is, that abortion is not available on demand, and that the kid which was affordable when you had it gets a lot less affordable when your circumstances change. This comments deviates from blaming the Patriarchy to blaming women.

  44. Edith

    Antoinette, I am praying for the day when all my friends stop getting married and I stop getting roped into this “Yay Heterosexuality, Economic Privilege, and Narcissistic Cult of Romance” wedding crap. Maybe this will stop by the time I turn 45 in twenty years. I made some comment saying as much in some “Tell Us All About Your Really Fun Weddings, and How You Stuck It to the Man By Being So Individualistic and Nonconsumery, HeeHee!” thread at Feministe. Wow, that didn’t go over well. Guess it’s OK to blast shoes and makeup and porn, from time to time at least, but god forbid you say anything negative against marriage. You must be against parties, and love, and happiness. Kill me fucking now.

  45. Amananta

    “Mrs Smith has never been more aware of her daily energy use than now and she would like to reduce it.”

    I have an awesome solution to all this – women? Quit doing housework! Save the planet! I’ll get right on that. You wouldn’t want me to do that laundry and destroy the ozone, now, would you?

  46. Twisty

    Frumious B, I address not the straight girls, but the dykes, who unless they are raped, have no reason on this earth to be pregnant.

    Furthermore, I agree 100% with LMYC and others who look askance at a woman’s sacred right to spawn.

    It should come as no surprise to anyone who has read the FAQ — and that’s all of you commenters, right? — that I am against human reproduction of any kind.

    As for birth control failure: I’m all for Plan B and everything, but if you can’t afford the kid that results from failed BC, what’re you doin’ playin’ hide the salami?

    Obviously, rape victims are another story.

  47. MedeaOnCrack

    She’s playing hide the salami because Alex told her he loved her and she was having fun now, or if not now, soon. Or if never, fake it.

  48. Feminist Avatar

    I get the ambivilance, or perhaps even hate, that many feminists and women in general have with reproduction and especially its tendency to diminish women to their reproductive function, but I find it interesting that so many people on this blog are anti-reproducing. I also especially find the argument that we should stop reproducing cause there are too many human beings on the planet a bit weird, cause whose responsibility are we making reproducing? Or is the point, that the planet would be better off without the human race (not disagreeing, just wondering)?

    I don’t often hear these arguments in Scotland because we have a decling and aging population cause nobodies having babies. While our government isn’t actually doing much to encourage spawning, there is often rumblings about how we will support all the pensioners and National Health Service without an up and coming workforce. Perhaps this problem is of greater concern in a country with a welfare state that pays for pensions, healthcare, etc.

  49. RP

    Maybe, Feminist Avatar, we can reconsider the whole reproduction issue when the human population gets down to a mere 1-2 billion (like it was a mere 100 years ago). Or when we stop the current mass extinction of other species. As it is, the population continues to increase and all the “breed now!” panic seems to be over a slowing in growth.

    And just because the economy is currently set up to depend on infinite exponential growth of the population does not mean that we can’t figure out some way to make it work with a steady to declining population. It just means that exponential population growth is easy….until you run out of potable water or the overcrowding leads to new and exciting epidemics.

  50. legallyblondeez

    The whole transition from our existing bio-parent favoring laws to more functional acting-parent favoring laws is a mess in just about any state. I’m not particularly up on PA, but the “right” result in just about any state is supposed to be the one that is in the childrens’ best interests.

    If the dude who donated the genetic material had agreed with the live-in parents that he was not to be part of the family in any way, he shouldn’t have to be a financial supporter and shouldn’t be able to change his mind later when he sees how cute the kidlets are. On the other hand, if Mom, Mummy, and “Papa” are all part of the kids’ lives, all three of them should continue to support the children, monetarily at least, even if the amorous and filial relationships among the adults no longer exist. The “right” result is reached much less than half the time, by the pretty extensive survey of case law my awesome family law professor undertook. She included not just lesbian and gay couples, but any family arrangement mixing bio and non-bio parents, from surrogacy and egg/sperm donation to hetero couples to grandparents’ rights to child custody in polygamous families splitting up. It’s a problem for anyone who doesn’t want to or can’t achieve the paradigm of legally married, heterosexual, biological parents.

    It’s interesting, since in my family law class the cases I read tended to be the donor trying to usurp the rights of the non-bio parent, that in this case it appears the non-bio mom was arguing that if she had to pay for the kids’ upkeep, so did “Papa.” Interesting, and awesome that this recognized a third parent with responsibilities.

  51. Twisty

    Feminist Avatar, I certainly don’t hate anybody for reproducing. But there are a couple of things going on with my antipathy towards reproduction itself.

    One is, women will never be liberated until incubation ceases to be exclusively women’s purview.

    Another is, I cannot think of a single reason to have a kid that could not be suffiently addressed by some means that does not involve an innocent third party. Most people have kids to gratify themselves somehow, whether it is to fulfill some perceived need for unconditional love, or to spread their genes around, or so they’ll have someone to take care of them when they’re old, or because pregnancy or childbirth is supposedly so fulfilling, or because they want the kid they already have to have a sister, or because they want to create a physical manifestation of their “love” for their partner, or because motherhood is supposely some kind of saintly occupation, or because they want a little pal to sport around with, or they want something to dominate and dress up in jokey onesies, or they think spawning is some “ultimate act of creation” that they’re loath to miss out on.

    Please. Tell me one good reason to have a kid that doesn’t somehow stroke the would-be parents’ ego.

  52. H

    The appeal to mystically defined “drives” is the same thing that men make when they talk about how they just can’t help themselves. And to be honest, there is no drive stronger and more impossible to ignore than the drive to take a dump when needed, and yet we manage to shoehorn that into a socially acceptable shape.

    This is going in my quotes folder, for use the next time somebody earnestly blah-de-blahs at me online about how their life will be forever void of meaning and purpose if they don’t get the experience the ‘wonder of pregnancy and childbirthtm’ just once. Or maybe twice, so the first little wonder will have someone to play with. And then again, to make the wonder of it all complete.

    I personally find the argument about one’s innate ‘need’ to reproduce about as compelling as the clearly fatuous argument that in a world overrun with unwanted cats and dogs, one should let one’s own animals spawn ‘just once’ so the kidz can experience the miracle of birthtm (subsequent ‘mirakle of death’ euthanasia tour at local shelter optional extra).

    One of the least attractive qualities of humans is their ability to rationalize humdrum desires into biological needs which one is therefore conveniently unable to resist. ‘Baby rabies’ aka the biological clock is, as far as I’m concerned, a purely social (if powerful) construction, far more do do with the desire to fit in and find approval from society and one’s peers than a sudden flood of ‘impregnate me!’ hormones. I often feel the same way about marriage, for what it’s worth. I think many people do it because they’re informed from the time they become sentient it’s what they’re supposed to want and have by a certain age and to not want or have it by a certain age implies lack of achievement or worse (in the case of women) unwomanliness. a.k.a unfuckability.

    As someone who has never, ever wanted children and finds the idea of being with-fetus utterly repugnant, I’ve had to spend more time than I would wish defending myself from charges of unwomanliness and selfishness from both men and women who have seized upon and swallowed the convenient ‘biological imperative’ line whole to justify their own choice in these matters.

  53. Feminist Avatar

    BUT TWISTY life is sacred…

    Hahahahaha…sorry couldn’t resist.

  54. Feminist Avatar

    To be honest I think a lot of my questions on this issue come from my own ambivalence towards having kids. I am ‘reliably’ informed by my mother and female relatives that having kids is a reward in itself, but I have no ‘drive’ to have kids, although sometimes I am curious to see what the fuss is about.

    At some level, the ‘not having kids’ is actually total selfishness as I like my lifestyle, lack of responsibility, career and I am quite happy to admit this. So it’s kind of interesting to turn this on its head and say not having kids is enviromentally responsible, and in fact is driven by selfishness in another form.

    Food for thought, no doubt.

  55. Edith

    I love you Twisty. I know I say this all the time, but srsly.

  56. Twisty

    Mang, the power differential in a parent-kid relationship, as prescribed by the patriarchal nuclear family model, at any rate, right off the bat makes the supposed “rewardingness” of the relationship completely one-sided. The kid maybe “rewards” you with love and by being a chip off the old block and being cute as a button as it learns to wobble around and by winning the science fair, but it has no choice. See? No choice. No agency, no personal sovereignty, and no choice.

    Sound familiar?

    Regardless of how “rewarding” you find being a parent, if the kid finds you unsatisfactory, it can’t very well go off and seek a more rewarding relationship for itself, can it?

    And by “you” I mean the general you.

    The nuclear family set-up sucks chunks through Hefty bags.

  57. kiki

    Frumious B, I address not the straight girls, but the dykes, who unless they are raped, have no reason on this earth to be pregnant.

    Half of the parents (and the Head of School) at the nearby Montessori school are dykes who have been pregnant. It’s a cottage industry in New Mexico.

    As for birth control failure: I’m all for Plan B and everything, but if you can’t afford the kid that results from failed BC, what’re you doin’ playin’ hide the salami?
    Obviously, rape victims are another story.

    Oh, crap Twisty, you sound just like the damn Catholic church now. This is right out of their play book. Sex has a unitive as well as reproductive function. I had no idea that sex was only for the rich. Go figure.

  58. Spit The Dummy

    H. said: the next time somebody earnestly blah-de-blahs at me online about how their life will be forever void of meaning and purpose if they don’t get the experience the ‘wonder of pregnancy and childbirthtm’

    Send ’em to me. I used to think like that, at least until I experienced the “wonder of pregnancy and childbirth” for myself. Let’s just say that nature was trying subtly to let me know that having children wasn’t the best idea I’d ever had in my life! Did I listen? No. Trouble getting pregnant, trouble staying pregnant, IVF procedures, rotten pregnancies, emergency life-threatening deliveries and rotten post-natal depression – you name it, I had it. And you know what the kicker is? I’m totally unsuited to be a parent and I loathe about 90% of my job description but here I am, with two children under 12 and I did it all to myself – I can’t even BTP, just my own stupidity for falling for its crap.

    And I thank whoever’s responsible for Twisty that here is a place I can say all that out loud.

  59. Twisty

    Kiki: Who said sex is for the rich? I’m not sayin’ “don’t have sex.” I’m sayin’ “don’t have kids you can’t afford.” Unless you’re a sadist.

  60. PhoenixRising

    Adoption *repairs* a tragedy: the people who are responsible for the child can’t exercise their responsibility, so other people do it for them. Sperm vending on the understanding that the vendor then walks away *engineers* a tragedy.

    Mamasquab, thanks for summing up the argument against lesbian couples having kids so neatly.

    Anything else you’d like us to give up doing, so that your not-terribly-examined biases about genetic parents being the only right kind of parents need not be offended?

    Families that are freely chosen are not ‘tragic’. How arrogant.

  61. kiki

    …but if you can’t afford the kid that results from failed BC, what’re you doin’ playin’ hide the salami?

    Kiki: Who said sex is for the rich? I’m not sayin’ “don’t have sex.” I’m sayin’ “don’t have kids you can’t afford.

    I totally agree that you shouldn’t have kids you cannot afford but that’s one of the very reasons women use birth control. Your first post seems to imply that only individuals who can “afford the kid that results from failed BC” should engage in sex in the first place. That would mean that only individuals of a certain economic (and health and age)level would be able to have sex even with BC because it might fail. This type of focus on the procrative aspect of sex while dismissing the unitive is one of the foundations of Catholic doctrine and it is a very destructive to relationships and families especially in my neck of the woods.

  62. Pinko Punko

    TF- this is why parents use the universal “life is not fair” argument RE: kid wanting more ice cream, cell phone, stay up late reading IBTP, etc. Those are the breaks for the zygotes, they are created as little parasites, then when they have the gall to erupt painfully onto this earth, no matter how evolutionarily programmed they may be to demand resources and attention they will be symbolically without choice. Chumps! All they do is poop and cry all day and create power imbalances. Life is the ultimate in Stockholm Syndrome, in the womb we are lampreys, then we are born as hostages, then we become captors.

    Oh hey, PP Jr., how’s it hanging? Whatta cutey.

    *This might even be too dark for me. La lalalalalalalala! I can’t hear me!

  63. TruthAndDare

    On not having kids and “selfishness” — I love all of the analysis calling into question the whole argument about biological drive. Yes, finally, a place to speak with great sanityness about this!

    But on the question of happiness and children — I heard a long report on a research study about this, and then went and looked it up. It turns out that nearly all parents will tell you how incredibly happy they are to have children, even though it is exhausting, etc, but if you actually measure what makes people happy, they are way low on the scale, far below those without kids, and their ratings go up as soon as the kids are out and they get their lives back. Unreliable narrators, all of them. But of course, having kids is _supposed_ to be fulfilling and bliss-inducing and rewarding, generation to generation, l’dor vador, and so on and so on, so people report that it is and don’t let themselves ask the real questions or look for real answers.

    I used to have a friend who called these situations FOD — “Fear of Death” — the questions that, if you asked, you might have to change your entire life or worldview, so you just never ask them, and you don’t even ask why you don’t ask them.

  64. Rugosa

    Well, yeah, I don’t believe in the “mystical drives” line of bs either, so I’m still not disagreeing with anyone here. I meant that the urge to spawn, for those who feel it, is biological, much the same as the urge to take a dump. While the drive can be channeled into a socially acceptable form, not many people succeed in never taking a dump at all. That’s why I singled out the quiverfull nutters as not doing the socially acceptable channeling. They’re doing the equivalent of shitting all over the place without regard to the results.

  65. Twisty

    Kiki, if it is Catholic doctrine to hold that all human reproduction must cease, then color me Catholic.

    I agree with your asessment that human rights should not be contingent on class, but I do not agree that reproduction is a human right.

  66. Pinko Punko

    There is a biological drive to have orgasms. There are cultural reinforcements regarding dudes having orgasms and the possible side-product of non-sock contained spunk.

  67. RadFemHedonist

    Kiki, if it is Catholic doctrine to hold that all human reproduction must cease, then color me Catholic.

    Twisty, I know you are kidding. Besides, would you support forcing a woman to have an abortion (note I hate to mention this as I have never once heard of it not being a red herring used by forced birth advocating foetus-humpers) under this doctrine?

  1. Well said, Twisty Faster. « Our Descent Into Madness

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