What do you call it when a woman stops taking birth control pills, without informing her partner?
It’s a common occurrence to trap a man into marriage or fatherhood, and a lifetime of support payments.
The Male Side
The phrases “birth control sabotage” and “reproductive coercion” have both been used to include what you’ve described.
In such cases, a woman may have stopped using birth control available to her, or poked holes in her partner’s condoms, in order to get pregnant without her partner’s consent.
According to a 2015 study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, which focuses more on women’s experiences, it nevertheless makes the point that males are affected, too:
“Most often, women are the victims of reproductive coercion, but men can be victimized as well.”
As a deceitful act of one person to another, it doesn’t seem that different on the surface, from a man removing a condom or damaging it intentionally… until a pregnancy occurs and there’s a question of legal wrongdoing.
There have been some civil lawsuits dealing with birth-control sabotage, though a number have been directed at a third party, i.e. a health provider having been negligent.
But for those men who’d clearly expressed that they didn’t want a child, and had depended on a woman’s stated use of birth control, it’s personally felt as a financial assault.
Any direct similarity to sexual assault is more elusive.
Canadian courts, for example, have been reluctant to see it as sexual assault, like “stealthing.”
The reasons mostly revolve around the legal matter of whether consent was not only fraudulent, but also risked bodily harm.
Pregnancy and childbearing do bring risks to the body and health of a woman. By contrast, having an unwanted child doesn’t directly expose a man’s body to physical harm.
When it comes to a legal pursuit of damages for child support, which the man must then pay, Canadian courts have upheld the trend in family law away from fault-based claims.
The prevailing belief is that parents are equally responsible for maintaining a child.
Example: Last March, in the case of PP v DD, an Ontario Court of Appeal judgment declared that, “no damages were recoverable for involuntary parenthood.”
As well, the man’s consent to sex despite the woman’s misrepresentation that she was using birth control did not warrant a “sexual battery claim.”
The California Court of Appeal, referred to a 1980 case, which considered granting financial damages to one parent over an unwanted child, would end much of that parent’s financial support obligation.
“It would seldom, if ever, result in a benefit to the child.”
In other words, lawsuits over support payments are counter to current North American family court emphasis on “the best interests of the child.”
However, as noted in Ontario’s PP v DD case this year, some jurisdictions such as Quebec, New Brunswick, and Australia have allowed for some form of recovery for the cost of raising a healthy child.
Here’s a major difference in how birth control sabotage affects men differently from women:
A man, who’s determined not to have a child with someone, can use a condom (safer than most other methods, though still not 100%) even if she claims birth-control use.
Or, he can decide not to have sex with a woman he doesn’t trust implicitly.
Simply put, a man has the power to refuse sex, unless he’s sexually assaulted to the point of physical harm.
Our friend, 71, has sent her online “boyfriend” thousands of dollars she doesn’t have (maxed out her credit cards, has no real assets or collateral).
He’s said he’s a businessman, trying to leave an Asian country that’s restricted his travel back home until he’s paid employees there.
Neither her friends, family, pastor, nor co-workers can convince her he doesn’t even exist.
He sends her loving texts, prayers and emails daily. The police say nothing can be done.
Would an intervention help her, or alienate her from us?
It’s a risk but one you have to take.
Someone needs to contact him online and alert him that you think he’s a scammer.
Tell him there’s nothing that backs up anything he’s said, and that the police will be looking into the matter.
If he persists, ask a lawyer if there’s a different authority than police, which can track him on the basis of fraud and coercion.
Tip of the day:
What we teach young people holds true for adults and all genders: Sex has consequences. Be prepared.