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If a Man Doesn’t Want a Baby, Why Should He Have to Support It?

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Another week, another celebrity being taken to court. Former Oasis singer Liam Gallagher has been accused of dragging his heels in a long-standing child support battle. He was fined $5,000 last week by a New York judge for failing to attend a child support hearing with Liza Ghorbani, the mother of his “love child.”

Apparently Gallagher had been signed off by his doctor from flying as he was “too ill” to attend the disposition, but was later allegedly spotted in a pub with his new girlfriend. Liza’s father Danny Ghorbani spoke to the New York Post and was clearly angered by Gallagher’s behavior, saying:

“I can no longer maintain my silence. Mr. Gallagher has been given every opportunity to do the right thing by my granddaughter. He has had plenty of time to do so voluntarily, but unfortunately, he has failed. […] The American legal system, that Mr. Gallagher continues to dodge and disrespect, in my opinion, will now step in to assure that Gemma has all the same rights that a child with her father’s abilities deserves.”

Oddly enough, my sympathies lie with Gallagher in this case, which I know is a controversial opinion. In case you aren’t familiar with the case, here is the background: Journalist Liza first met Gallagher in 2010 when she wrote an article for The New York Times entitled “A Night Out with Liam Gallagher.” Their daughter was born in 2012 and according to the New York Post, their affair ended shortly after her birth. At the time, Gallagher was still married to his wife of six years, All Saints singer Nicole Appleton. According to press reports at the time, Appleton had read UK papers suggesting an unnamed rock star had fathered an illegitimate child, and Gallagher called her on holiday to break the news to her that it was in fact him.

Meanwhile Gallagher’s lawyer, Raoul Felder, told MailOnline: “We believed that the case was resolved on an extremely generous basis to the lady until we got to court when she apparently received advice from others that prevented this. Liam always wanted to be more than fair and has always accepted responsibility for the child.”

My question is this: Did they agree to have a child together? If that is the case, then Gallagher deserves all this public criticism in my humble opinion. But if they didn’t, then I can understand why Gallagher isn’t rushing to the States to pay up for a child that he never wanted.

I find it ironic that the term for children born of affairs is “love-child.” They haven’t been born out of a loving relationship, but a fling on the side. A fling that no doubt did not involve the man saying, “Let’s have a baby.” Shouldn’t they both have taken precautions not to get pregnant? I know that accidents happen, but if the woman alone decides to have the child, why is the man responsible for supporting her?  In this day and age there are options for women: the morning after pill, termination, adoption. If you choose to have a child outside a relationship — without the consent of the father (which is of course your right) — it should be your responsibility.

I’m not suggesting for a minute that in Gallagher’s situation it is a case of entrapment. But this can happen. Years ago I interviewed the basketball player John Amechi who told me he knew of cases where NBA players had slept with women and later found them trying to take the used condom home with them. He told me players often talked of the dangers of women who deliberately wanted to get pregnant for the financial compensation they would receive from the millionaire players.

It horrified me for several reasons: that women could be so conniving; that anyone would think of bringing a child into the world in such a casual way. Stealing sperm from a condom isn’t about deciding as a couple to have a child; it is a case of deciding how to con someone into funding a lavish lifestyle for yourself.

In no way am I denigrating women who choose to have children alone — who bravely go to sperm banks and get a donor and know exactly what they are doing: going it alone. I am talking about the women Amechi is describing. Yes, of course the men are responsible up to a point; it takes two to make a baby after all. But the law seems to favor women. A friend’s son accidentally got his girlfriend pregnant when they were in the last year of school. She wanted to keep the baby, and being a good guy, he wanted to support her. They subsequently split up, and she refused to let him have any access to his child although he desperately tried to have some. Yet he had to pay a large chunk of his salary every month to the women and his child. He was devastated; he hadn’t run from his responsibility and yet he was paying for a child he was never allowed to see. Is that fair?

Believe me, I am a feminist and I am not disputing that men should have to take responsibility for their children, but there is something wrong when women of a certain age have a “fling” and deliberately use no contraception. When they decide, “This may be my only chance of having a child” — regardless of what the father wants. Do men not get a say in what happens anymore? I don’t mean that women shouldn’t have a right to choose what happens to their bodies and their pregnancies, but if they do choose to go it alone, then surely that is their choice and not one that should involve a father if he never signed up for parenthood in the first place.

Isn’t bringing a child into the world a decision usually made by two people? That together they know if they have the right circumstances and finances and abilities to raise a child together? My dear friend got pregnant by accident when she was semi-dating a friend of hers. They made the decision together to have a child and have raised their son brilliantly, despite never being a couple. Yes, it is a woman’s right to choose, but if she does, then financially shouldn’t it be up to her, too?

Of course, things are never black and white, and often one person has an idea of what they want to happen which opposes the other’s. Life is rarely simple. But in Liam Gallagher’s case, I can’t help but feel slightly sorry for him and his daughter.

Image courtesy of Liam Gallagher via Twitter

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