The Price of Pleasure: Children Hurt Too
Parness, Jeffrey A.
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In her two recent articles on pregnancy support, “Preglimony” in the Stanford Law Review and “The Price of Pleasure” in the Northwestern Law Review, Professor Shari Motro argues that American laws should no longer treat “lovers as strangers.” To minimize “the fundamental gender imbalance,” she urges that the relationship between an unwed heterosexual couple whose sex prompts pregnancy “demands it own legal category.” She calls for a new paradigm that generally holds men financially responsible to women for the burdens of pregnancy, employing both contract and tort principles. Professor Motro invites conversation on her self-described utopian notions. Most curious for us is Professor Motro’s failure to discuss children. Any conversation about the price of sex when children are born must include the children as well as their mothers. They are inextricably linked, as are the paternity opportunity interests of genetic fathers. In accepting Professor Motro’s invitation to converse, we urge new dialogues about expanded duties and rights of prospective fathers, including new prebirth monetary support obligations; enhanced opportunities for prebirth paternity acknowledgments; and, greater protections of “unitary” families into which children are born. Our conversations should also include couples with children where sex did not prompt birth.