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NPO publishes blog articles to inform and to stimulate conversation about issues of importance to NPO's mission.  All blog articles express the opinions of the authors as individuals and do not necessarily reflect the views of National Parents Organization, its Board of Directors, or its executives.  

We all remember "Octomom," Nadya Suleman, who conceived and gave birth to eight children last year. They were in addition to the six she already had. Most people, including me, were highly critical of her and the irresponsibility of her choice. Well, now the shoe's on the other foot, as this article shows (Associated Press, 9/24/10). It seems a man named Howard Veal of Muskegon, Michigan has fathered 23 children with 14 different women. I wouldn't object to that if he provided support and fatherly care, but apparently he provides neither. He doesn't have a job, receives unemployment compensation and pays a little to one of the mothers out of that meager amount. Currently he owes over half a million dollars in support and interest. There's not a chance he'll ever pay a significant portion of it. He's been sent to prison for failing to pay. I guess he'd better get used to it because he'll be forever in arrears. So, this guy never heard of a condom? It's true that his paramours could have taken responsibility for contraception, but so could he. His behavior is disgraceful and irresponsible. Here's the memo Veal must not have read: when you have sex, conception can occur; if you can't support a child, do what's necessary to prevent conception. That's a memo for men and women, boys and girls. The National Campaign Against Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy says here that almost half of all pregnancies in the United States are unintended, so apparently a lot of people didn't get that memo. But few if any are as irresponsible as Veal. County Judge Dennis Leiber summed up my thoughts exactly when he said to Veal in his courtroom,
"You're an insult to every responsible father who sacrifices to provide for their children."
Countless hard-working men and women fight for fathers' rights in family courts across this country and across the world. Our cause is just, but that doesn't make it easy. Howard Veal just made it harder. The anti-dad crowd has shown time and again that they're willing to use any tactic to keep fathers separate from their children. One of their favorite falsehoods is that fathers aren't responsible, that they can't be trusted to care for children. And plenty of people buy into their claims, including the current President of the United States. Every Howard Veal is a setback for the vast majority of fathers who are kind, loving and responsible, just as Judge Leiber indicated. Well, at least Howard Veal won't lack correspondents while he's in the joint. Is he already getting love letters from the likes of Marcia Pappas and Terry O'Neil? My guess is that he'll become the darling of anti-father advocates everywhere, the poster child for everything they claim fathers to be.

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