SHOULD MEN BE FORCED TO PAY FOR CHILDREN, THEY DIDN’T WANT
First, I think men should not be forced to pay for children they didn’t want. However, in some circumstances, I think men should be held responsible for their actions. An ordinary man and man having unprotected sex should be aware of the consequences of their actions. This was reinforced in P.P v. D.D 2017 ONCA 180, whereby PP, a male doctor, sued DD, a worker within the healthcare field, for fraudulent misrepresentation. The two had a casual sexual relationship, and PP was under the impression that DD was using oral contraceptives. However, that was not true, and DD conceived, and she gave birth nine months later to a healthy baby. PP tried to ask DD to abort the baby because he did not want to have a child with “some random girl,” but DD refused to have an abortion.
The judge, in this case, stated that to prove fraudulent misrepresentation, the plaintiff must establish the following things:
- The defendant made the representation;
- The defendant knew that the representation was false;
- The false information was material, and the plaintiff was induced to act by such information and
- The plaintiff suffered damages.
In PP’s claim, he stated that DD falsely represented that she was using oral contraceptives; also, she had implied that she did not want to have a child with PP. Based on DD’s representations, PP stated that his consent was vitiated and that the defendant should be held liable. The judge held that the emotional shock of becoming a father is not sufficient to claim that he suffered damages. Further, the judge added that every man who engages in sexual conduct is aware of the consequences, and as such, he should be held responsible for his actions. Also, Lord Millet in Rees v Darlington Memorial Hospital NHS, Trust (2003) UKHL 52 stated that where a father claims economic and emotional costs associated with birth of a child, such damages are fundamentally incalculable, a healthy baby should be a blessing and not a detriment.
In my opinion, when a man willfully engages in unprotected sex with a woman and does not bother to take the necessary precautions, i.e., using a condom the man it should be assumed that the man is aware of the consequences of his actions. As such, he should be held responsible should a child be born out of that engagement. In addition, as stated in D.B.S v. S.R.G, 2006 SCC 37; child support is the right of the child, it does not matter the manner of conception. Therefore, a man can be forced to be held responsible for a child he helped sire.
However, circumstances in which a man should not be forced to parent a child he did not want to have. For example, if a woman wants a child, she intentionally monitors her cycle and her temperature and knows when she is likely to fall pregnant. Since she has monitored her cycle and temperature, she intentionally misrepresents herself as either barren, under the pill, or has undergone tubal ligation. When she conceives and gives birth in these scenarios, the man should not be forced to support a child he did not want. In this scenario, a man should be released from responsibility if the woman made the representation that she was barren, under the pill; or having undergone tubal ligation, if he relied on the representation and if the representation was material.
However, some questions arise such as: what if the woman genuinely was under the contraceptive, she made the man aware of the same, but the contraceptive failed, should the man be forced to support the child in this scenario?
What of the circumstances whereby the man learns of the woman’s pregnancy and asks her to abort the child, but she declines to do so. Should men be forced to support their children? In this circumstance, men should not be forced to provide for their children because they expressly stated that they do not want to be a parent to that child. However, should they choose to be in the child’s life without supporting them, they should be allowed.
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