November 15, 2013 by Robert Franklin, Esq.
Hot on the heels of a couple of posts on the idea of a man’s being legally permitted to “opt out” of his child’s life under strict circumstances, comes this from the BBC’s This Morning show. It’s an interview with Daily Mail columnist Liz Jones who’d recently detailed her own theft of her boyfriend’s sperm and unsuccessful attempt to become pregnant thereby. It’s old news, having been published in 2011, but the topic is always current and important.
It seems Jones was in her late 30s or early 40s and dating a man several years younger. She found him
“wildly unsuitable” as husband material, and he didn’t trust her when it came to contraception. So, when they had sex, he was careful to use a condom. Good for him, but intrepid Liz was not to be denied. When he wasn’t looking, she took the condom and used its contents to try to conceive a child.
Fortunately, she was unsuccessful, but she used her experience to pen an article entitled “The Craving for a Baby that Drives Women to the Ultimate Deception.” Based on that, she appeared on This Morning along with two other women and a male host.
All in all, the show was good and worthwhile. That’s because it helps to achieve exactly what Jones and all the others wanted — to get men to wake up to the idea that women can and sometimes do utterly deceive and manipulate them for the sole purpose of conceiving a child.
Of course we know that. As I’ve mentioned recently, when a researcher asked 500 college women if they’d ever lied to their boyfriends about being on the pill in order to trick him into fatherhood, a hefty 33% said they had. What Jones did was a bit more complicated than just lying about the pill, but, as all on This Morning agreed, there’s no real difference. Both constitute deception to rope an unwilling and unknowing man into fatherhood.
As much as we might loathe Liz Jones for her outrageous deception of her boyfriend, her article and her appearance on This Morning are well worth taking in. While the study referred to above gives us an idea of the scope of the problem, there’s nothing quite like seeing and hearing “up close and personal” a woman who actually lied to her boyfriend in order to become pregnant.
For example, Jones said she did it because she was reaching the end of her childbearing years and was feeling “a bit desperate.” Tellingly, she also did it because she wanted a year’s maternity leave and she believed a child would make her boyfriend “more likely to stick around.” To their credit, the other guests on the show, particularly Liz Fraser, were appalled, and said so.
Had her trick been successful, would Jones have told the father the truth? “No, I don’t think I would,” she said. Jones interviewed women who’d tricked their husbands/boyfriends into fatherhood and none of them told the men the truth. Indeed, they sounded a bit amazed that she’d even asked them, the common response being some version of “Of course I didn’t tell him.” Jones points out that, when it comes to children (and, I suppose, relationships) “women think they know better than men.”
Boy, is that ever the truth, but it’s not confined to women; family courts heartily agree. That’s why courts seem to endorse pretty much whatever a woman does or says about her children or their father. Men know they have to be twice as good just to get a second look from a family court judge deciding custody. And indeed, throughout our culture, women are considered to be the final word on everything relating to children. It’s what keeps men out of children’s lives in a thousand different ways, it’s what keeps women earning less, it’s what keeps children pining for their dads. That very pro-mother/anti-father bias is precisely what needs to change in this culture. Until it does, a whole host of social ills will continue to plague us.
Enter Liz Fraser, who’d been mostly silent up until the midpoint of the show. She was not at all kind to Jones or other women who use their ability to conceive against the men in their lives. She called what Jones did the “complete manipulation of a person’s life,” and added that it’s “completely high-jacking his life.” Good points, but not as good as her saying that “we as women hold the trump card when it comes to having children.”
She got that right. The fact that women are the ones who become pregnant means that they can use various stratagems to do so, many of which can be conducted entirely in secret. Once that’s happened, and they’ve conceived a child, the law steps in to hand all power to them. Does she want to keep the child? She may. Does she want to terminate her pregnancy? She may. Does the man have the slightest input into her decision? That too is entirely up to her. And if she does carry the child to term, she can demand support for up to 21 years.
Which brings us to another issue addressed by This Morning — child support. Had she been successful, would Jones have demanded support from the father who was dead set on not fathering a child? She had to mull that one, but eventually said she “probably” wouldn’t have. She added, though, that one woman she talked to had “chased a man through the CSA (Britain’s Child Support Agency)” for support of a child conceived via her deceit.
So, Liz, why not just use a sperm bank? Why go to the trouble and shame of lying to your boyfriend? She never answered that one, which is telling. After all, she’s got the money to pay a sperm bank and the doctors required for assisted fertilization. And her claim that she wanted to get the man to “stick around” rings false too. Remember, he’s the same man she called “wildly unsuitable” as a mate and father. He’s the guy she’s desperate to get to stay with her?
No, from here it looks like the manipulation, the exercise of that unique power, was a key part of what motivated Liz Jones. She had other options, ones that were honest and easily within her reach, but she refused them all. What she opted for was to try to coerce her boyfriend into fatherhood and marriage. She admits she could have told him the truth — that she wanted a child and heard her clock tick, tick, ticking. But she didn’t. What she chose was an exercise of power over him, and that, I suspect, was at least half the fun.
Jones says that her article on the subject and her appearance on This Morning are all about warning naïve and trusting men. To that I say “Good for you.” It’s a topic that can’t be too much discussed. Too often men put the decisions about children in their partner’s hands, instead of taking care of themselves. That needs to change. Men don’t have many contraceptive choices, but until they’re ready for fatherhood, they need to use the one they have. Every time.
Liz Jones emphasizes that, when women get to be her age and begin to anguish about children, their male partners need to look out. They need to be extra vigilant because those women are particularly prone to the type of utterly unacceptable behavior Jones engaged in. That may be true, but the study I referred to earlier tells us woman of Jones’s age aren’t the only ones who lie about contraception. The women in that study were in their early 20s and hadn’t even begun to think about infertility.
Facts are facts and men need to understand them. Time and again the women on This Morning repeated that men need to be suspicious of their female partners, that women do what Jones did far more often than men believe. They’re not always successful, of course, but when they are, the man is a father whether he likes it or not, with all that entails. That means 18 — 21 years of child support while possibly seeing little or nothing of “his” child. It doesn’t matter if he’s not ready, it doesn’t matter if he doesn’t have the money, hasn’t completed his education, doesn’t have a job, doesn’t particularly like the woman. The law cares about none of that, so he has to.
Thanks to Kevin for the heads-up.
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