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PDF Editor FAQ

If a woman chooses to keep a pregnancy when her partner prefers that she have an abortion, why should he have to pay child support?

If your solution to this is “Well, men who don’t want to pay child support shouldn’t have sex”—you are making an argument in favor of banning abortion.It’s the same logic. Same argument.I, for one, am in favor of legalized abortion.Because I’m in favor of legalized abortion, I’m also in favor of legalizing “paper abortions” for men—where men can opt out of paying child support and waive all parental rights to the child.But.I’m in favor of paper abortions being just as difficult to acquire as actual abortions.If a woman has to travel hundreds of miles, spending thousands of dollars on hotels, medical appointments, and travel in order to get an abortion—So do men.If a woman has to sit through counseling, through education and lectures which are not legally required to be accurate—So do men.If it’s okay for women to be harassed, called murderers, told they’re immoral, looked down upon—Same for men.Ideally, we would make sure neither men nor women went through such things, but until that’s the case, I would only advocate for paper abortions that require the same investment as real abortions.If women have to slog through shit to get their abortions, then men shouldn’t get to put ink to paper and be done with it.Now, the reason a man currently has to pay child support, even if he’d’ve preferred an abortion, is that the whole situation is biologically unequal.The vast majority of men can’t carry a baby in their womb, so the burden of actually growing the baby is almost always on women.Meaning that abortions should be a woman’s decision, because it’s their body pregnancy impacts. Men should only have as much say as their partner (or the person they impregnated) wants them to have.Abortion is about the parents. The two adults.Child support is about a child that already exists and now needs things like diapers, and child care, and clothes.So both people who made the baby pitch in.It is a weird, uneven situation no matter how you consider it.But that’s the logic. That’s why abortions are up to the woman but child support is on both parents—because abortion physically impacts the woman, while child support is a 50/50 activity focused on the child.I’d be down to remedy that inequality if, and only if, men actually face the same struggles as women in this regard.Men shouldn’t get to opt-out like it’s nothing when abortion rights are still being constantly curtailed for women. That’s not an even solution.

Why do the parents of Charlie Gard have to ask to bring Charlie to the US after they've raised the money to fund his travel and treatment?

The money isn’t the issue at hand here.Leave aside whether it is ‘better’ or ‘worse’ for the child to go to the US for treatment - this isn’t known - and being unknown, when the parents and the medical staff don’t agree on what is ‘best’ for the child, to safeguard the child there is a legal process.The parents, the medical staff and the courts are all motivated by the child’s best interest.To take a sick child out of a UK hospital requires the child to be discharged.NHS staff have legal duties towards the child - and in this case it would be a Discharge Against Medical Advice (DAMA). Put simply, medical staff cannot discharge a child without assurance that the child will be getting appropriate, safe healthcare. They cannot know that in this case.Which is why it went to court.It is not a case of medical staff making a call and wanting to defend it to the last - we are doctors and we are right. It is not about being right. It is about safeguarding the child - what else could they do?At the heart of this are medical decisions being made for someone else.It is a constant and almost unbearable weight of constant decision-making for a sick vulnerable person - child or adult - for all parties. We do our best.In the UK, we talk about ‘capacity’ to give ‘informed consent’ to medical treatment (which includes stopping it, or doing nothing). If a person has capacity, they decide.Adults have a legal right to make their own decisions, even if they are unwise, as long as they have capacity to make that decision (which must be free from coercion or undue influence).However, if an ‘adult repeatedly makes unwise decisions that put them at significant risk of harm or exploitation, or makes a particular unwise decision that is obviously irrational or out of character’. There might be need for further investigation. Moreover, the wishes of victims of crime can be overridden in the public interest, which includes responding to suspected offences against them or the suspected abuse or neglect of others .When children, or those with parental responsibility for them, reject measures that could save them from significant harm, their wishes can be overridden. This is part of the statutory principle that makes the welfare of the child the paramount consideration subject to that, decision-making power relating to children lies with those who have parental responsibility for the child.However, when a child understands fully the choice to be made and its consequences, based on the Gillick competency, the child's decision prevails - and informed consent are key to any medical decision in the UK.We talk about Gillick Competence - Gillick competence - WikipediaOne 12 year old child may be Gillick competent - another 12 year old may not.A baby, a non-Gillick competent child of 12 - an adult in a coma , an elderly patient with advanced dementia, someone sectioned under the Mental Health Act - are all the same, all vulnerable and all safeguarded in law.To say that a parent should be able to discharge their child against medical advice is to say that, the minute those medical staff stop providing care for the child, that’s it. They have no responsibility towards the child.But also, when anticipating that discharge by the parents, they have no responsibility towards the child. They have to practically end the care they are providing to the child, knowing that the child could be going anywhere.Which is not the legislation we have now. It would have to be changed.What conditions would we put upon any legislation where the parents’ wishes automatically over-rode the medical opinion of those caring for the child?The state has responsibility towards children. Parents can’t not send their child to school: they can arrange home-schooling, but they can’t just not bother to ensure their child is educated. They will be prosecuted.Similarly, there are laws against neglect, physical abuse and harm.Should we legislate that a parent can discharge a child against medical advice - and take any course of action they think is best? Where does the child’s best interest tie in with that? Or does the state abdicate all responsibility?There is a spectrum here:Parent wants to take their child abroad for FGM? Easy, not in child’s interest.Parent refuses life saving blood transfusion for child? Again, easy.Parent brings child to A and E with what could be a ‘non-accidental’ injury? It could be entirely innocent or abusive parents - and it isn’t always clear. Parent wants to take the child home - what is best for the child and can we know?Parent wishes to discharge child to take them abroad for treatment against medical advice? How do we determine the child’s best interest there?Which leads to another compounding factor:There is far less data and evidence for children than there is for adults.And children are very different, much more so the younger they are.The ethics around clinical trials with children are key. Who wants to perform double-blind placebo trials on children? Especially when life, and quality of life, are at stake.The difference in a child’s metabolism and physiological maturity means that it’s not necessarily the case that you can adjust dosage by body weight.It isn’t easy to tell what is ‘best’ for the child - you can go off evidence if you have it, but what do you do when there isn’t any, and there’s a real risk of harm?A child or adult with capacity can take risks with informed consent - they weigh up their own risk/benefit. They can choose to refuse treatment, even if it means they die. They can choose experimental treatment with little evidence, if a doctor is prepared to offer it ( - subject to ethical approval).It is about the person.Starting treatment, changing treatment, stopping treatment, refusing treatment are all the same - they are all medical decisions - doing nothing is a medical decision - it is the person that is affected by them that is important.Looking at a sick child whose parents want to take them abroad for experimental treatment against medical advice, the parents see opportunity for the child (albeit very, very small risk of benefit, based on lack of contrary evidence) and the doctors see suffering for the child ( no evidence for the experimental treatment). Both are acting in the best interests of the child as they see it, of course, they are. It is in the child’s interest that there is an independent judicial process, where all the evidence is heard and analysed.This is what has happened.It is unimaginable.It was right that it go to court, for the child’s sake - it was right that it go all the way to the ECHR. One aspect that should be considered going forward is that the baby’s parents could not get legal aid - it is frightening that other families might not be able to afford to go to court in cases like this. It was surely in the public interest - and certainly in the child’s.The parents and the medical staff have disagreed, but both for the right reasons.There are so many unknowns.It was handled in the right way by all sides and it is unbearably tragic.

What will happen if I make a 14 year old pregnant and I'm 25 years old?

I can’t speak for other countries, but in most US states you will be charged with rape, as the child has not reached the age of consent.You will go to prison, where you will quickly come to understand the meaning of “forcible rape,” even though you nay not have committed it. The prison nickname for child rapists is “short eyes,” and news travels fast. Many short eyes don’t live very long in prison.Whether you go to prison or not, you will be responsible for at least half of the prenatal, birth, and infant medical expenses. If anyone else pays for them (for example, the government), you will be responsible to them for repayment.That can add up to quite a large debt, which will be difficult to pay from prison.You will also be responsible for supporting your child until s/he is 18. That includes all educational and medical expenses, in addition to normal living expenses like food, clothing, and lodging.Again, hard to do from prison, if you live.Depending on where you are, you will be permanently labelled a “sex offender,” and you will have to let everyone you live and work with that you raped a child.You may be put on a sex offender registry, and be required to keep your work and residence addresses current. If you do not comply, you will accrue further criminal charges. You could be banned from being near schools or playgrounds.If and when you get out of prison, you will find it impossible to find a job or a place to live as you will have to tell everyone you are a sex offender. You will also have to attend therapy with other sex offenders.

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