Many people speaking on abortion, especially when the issue of men and parental obligations come up, mention the burdens of pregnancy. They’ll point out the dangers to the woman, and the fact that it co-opts her body for nine months. They then describe men’s financial obligations towards their children as “just writing a cheque,” or “just money,” implying that it’s somehow insignificant and unintrusive. But is it, really? Let’s tackle this with a little math. (Okay, a lot of math.)
We’ll assume for now that child support for a single child works out to roughly 1/4 of a man’s post-tax income. (This is generally reasonable, and in some cases it’s even on the low side, especially once we factor in a portion of potential alimony.) For a standard work week, that’s ten hours per week. (Actually slightly higher, as the average work week is 42.5 hours.) Ten hours a week, fifty-two weeks in a year and eighteen years adds up to 9,360 hours. Divide that by twenty-four hours in a day, and that obligation adds up to 390 days. That obligation is the rights to the man’s body, twenty-four hours a day as, effectively, a serf or slave…for about four months longer than the woman carries the child. Unlike pregnancy, this is also time he can’t be using to get anything else done. A pregnant woman can still work for most of the pregnancy, or do any number of other things (including sleeping at night), but this assumes a man at work, doing his job, 24/7, for over a year. Still sound like “just writing a cheque”?
In fact, if we deduct 8 hours a day for sleeping, and the first two months of pregnancy themselves (as those first two months represent minimal intrusion, if any, on her life) we find that her total commitment is 3406 hours, which is only 36%  as much time. Looking back to our 25% from earlier, this means that we could lower it by about two-thirds from 25% to 9%  and it would still be more intrusive. Even at this, we’re still presuming that for the remaining seven months of pregnancy it is the dominant force in her life for every waking moment of every day. As anybody who’s actually watched someone go through pregnancy can tell you, that’s utterly ridiculous. If we were to decrease it to being a full-time job, eight hours a day every single day for those seven months our number drops by half, and we could reduce the child support to 4.5%  of take-home pay and it would still be more chronologically intrusive. To be honest, even that’s too high.
Now take that eighteen years and divide it by four (because 1/4 of his income equals 1/4 of his working hours), 4.5  complete years of work. The maternal mortality rate in the U.S. is about 13.3/100,000 . In 2010, there were 4,192 male occupational fatalities in the U.S.  Currently in the U.S. there are approximately 69,556,000 male workers, of which 13,964,000 were part time . While this number is potentially skewed because it includes both men and women, the apparent average number of working hours for part-time workers is 22.25 hours . Since full-time workers average 42.2 hours, we can do the math and find that we have 7,379,000  effective full-time workers. This means our actual total male workers is 62,971,000  effective full-time male workers. This gives us a fatality rate of 6.7/100,000  male workplace fatalities per year.
Multiply that by 4.5 (years worked, remember) and we have a workplace fatality rate of 30.2/100,000 . That’s a bit more than twice the rate of maternal mortality, 227%  to be exact. Let’s note, too, that the U.S. has about the worst maternal mortality of any industrialized nation. Compare it to the U.K. (7/100,000), Switzerland (5/100,000) or god forbid Greece (1/100,000) and you get risks ranging from 431% to 604% to 3,020%. (Those latter ones aren’t technically valid without using LFP rates and occupational fatality rates from the other countries, but it certainly makes the point, doesn’t it?) For comparison, the U.S. rate has more than doubled from 6.6/100k in 1987 to 13.3/100k in 2006, the last year for which statistics are available . Factors include unnecessary C-sections and lack of insurance, among others. If we use the 1987 figures (which is where they really should be nowadays, and the occupational fatality rate was certainly a lot higher back then) we would get 458%, over four times the risk.
What about the little things, though? Minor complications, stretch marks, etc? According to the American Pregnancy Association there are about 6,000,000 pregnancies in the U.S. every year . Of those, slightly less than 2,000,000 are deemed “pregnancy losses”. Of those, 1,200,000 are “terminations,” which in practice means “abortions.” We must exclude complications from those because we’re looking at the risk of bringing a pregnancy to term, and if the pregnancy doesn’t come to term that’s obviously not going to accurately represent the risk. Of the remaining, 600,000 are miscarriages, 2/3 of which are before the end of the first trimester. We must exclude these as well, as most abortions occur between six and twelve weeks which means that any complications are probably inevitable even with abortion.
So, we have 4,000,000 live births, 1,600,000 invalid pregnancy losses and 400,000 valid pregnancy losses, for 4,400,000 cases total. According to the association, 875,000 women experience one or more complications, making the complication rate 20% . (This is actually unduly high for various reasons, most importantly that some of those 875,000 complications came from the 1,600,000 cases we excluded. However, this biases the number against what we’re trying to demonstrate, so it’s not really poor use of statistics.) According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2010 there were 3.5/100, or 3500/100,000 on-the-job injuries reported . Unfortunately the Bureau does not appear to track what percentages of those injuries are male, so we’ll have to make some assumptions. Statistics show that 94% of occupational fatalities are men, and we’ll accept that this holds true for injuries as well, which is not an unreasonable assumption. Even if the official figures did dispute this, we would have to consider whether there are male injuries going unreported. Men are the primary employees in fields like construction, logging and fishing, and injuries that would result in a report in an office setting are often simply ignored on a job site. Using this figure, 3290  of those injuries were male. Now, we need to adjust because we know the greater percentage of the work force is male. We have 62,971,000 male workers from above, and 52,649,000  female workers. This makes men 54%  of the labor force. Thus we have male injuries at a rate of 3290/54,000. Pushing that back to 100,000 we get 6,092/100,000  male injuries. Translate that to a percentage and we get 6% of men per year injured on the job. Multiply by 4.5 again and we get 27% . It’s not massively higher…only 135% of the risk .
We’re not going to discuss any putative bother or discomfort during pregnancy, because we’re comparing this against a man stuck at work 24-7. Any potential bother or discomfort is offset by the fact that the woman can still function while pregnant, whereas the man is at work with consistent time demands.
So what have we proven? We’ve proven that child support (and this is just until age 18, despite some states having mandated child support to age 21 or during post-secondary education) is a greater burden to personal autonomy than pregnancy, and we’ve also proven that the work required to pay is more dangerous, and indeed more likely to be fatal. In fact, with the numbers we got there we could lower the child support obligations by over fifty percent, and it would still be more risky, even in a country with ridiculous maternal mortality for a developed nation. Depending on how we looked at the time constraints, we could reduce the child support as low as 4.5% of take-home pay and it would still be a greater burden to men. Looking at fatality figures we could reduce it as low as 5.4% and it would still represent a greater risk of death. Even if someone were to dispute the 25% figure used originally, they’d have to argue that it’s five times too high before they’d have a case.
In short, we’ve proven that paying child support is in fact a greater burden in most senses of the word than pregnancy. From a moral standpoint, we can state that all arguments of rights aside, it is less moral to force a man to pay child support than it is to force a woman to carry a pregnancy to term. Should we be forcing women to carry pregnancies to term against their will? Of course not. However, if we feel that it’s immoral to do so, we have to accept that it’s equally immoral to force men to pay child support when they haven’t agreed to become parents. Anything else is just simple hypocrisy.
 10 hours/week x 52 weeks/year x 18 years = 9,360 hours
 9,630 hours / 24 hours/day = 390 days
 7/12 of a year x 365 days/year x 16 hours/day = 3406 hours
 3406 hours / 9360 hours x 100% = 36%
 25% x 36% = 25% x 0.36 = 9%
 25% x 7/12 of a year x 365 days/year x 8 hours/day / 9,360 hours = 4.5%
 18years / 4 = 4.5 years
 13,964,000 workers x 22.3 hours / 42.2 hours = 7,379,000 workers
 55,592,000 total male workers + 7,379,000 effective full-time male workers = 62,971,000 effective full-time male workers
 4,192 workplace fatalities / 62,971,000 workers x 100,000/100,000 = 6.7/100,000 workplace fatalities per 100,000 male workers per year
 4.5 years x 6.7/100,000 male workplace fatalities per year = 30.2/100,000 workplace fatalities per 100,000 male workers per 4.5 years
 30.2/100,000 male workplace fatality rate / 13.3/100,000 maternal mortality rate x 100% = 227%
 875,000 complications / 4,400,000 pregnancies = 20% chance of complication
 3500 overall injuries x 94% = 3290 male injuries
 41,795,000 full-time female workers + 20,540,000 part-time female workers x 22.3/42.2 part-time/full-time conversion factor = 52,649,000 effective full-time female workers
 62,971,000 male workers / (62,971,000 + 52,649,000) total workers = 54% percent male workers
 3290/54,000 male workplace fatalities x (100,000/54,000)/(100,000/54,000) = 6,092/100,000 male workplace injuries
 4.5 x 6% = 27%
 27% / 20% x 100% = 135%
Posting this for the simple purpose of nipping the myth that child support isn’t a flawed system in the butt.
- twomasksoneheart likes this
- badwasabi likes this
- fearandl0athing likes this
- clearisthydespair reblogged this from permutationofninjas
- finnolin likes this
- nobodyreadsyourfuckingblog likes this
- reallyshallow likes this
- tarheelbred likes this
- sylphaeon reblogged this from hospitalonguerrerostreet
- unrealisananagramfor likes this
- priceofliberty likes this
- runawayyy-love likes this
- the-liberty-republican likes this
- thehighcamp likes this
- mythicalredfox reblogged this from permutationofninjas
- mythicalredfox likes this
- faganchelsea likes this
- eudaimonistic likes this
- thescientificegalitarian reblogged this from permutationofninjas and added:
- permutationofninjas posted this