The man behind 'Roe vs. Wade for Men'
When I walked up to a modest home in Saginaw, Michigan, yesterday morning and knocked on the door, I expected a loud and emotional greeting from the man inside. After all, he's launched a lawsuit that's grabbing headlines
and could have national implications. As it turns out, I met a soft-spoken man, but what he has to say could impact how men are held accountable when they father a child.
Matt Dubay is 25 years old. He's single. And for now, he wants to keep it that way. But Dubay is also the father of an eight-month-old girl named Elisabeth. And that's the problem. Dubay is suing his ex-girlfriend, 20-year-old Lauren Wells, because he believes he shouldn't be forced to pay $560 a month in child support.
"During the time we were seeing each other, I made it very clear to her that I was not ready to be a father, and she made it very clear to me that she was incapable of becoming pregnant because of a condition," Dubay told me.
The ex-couple's battle here in Saginaw has become the centerpiece of a national campaign to allow men to reject the responsibilities of fatherhood. A rights group called The National Center for Men
is backing the lawsuit, calling its legal crusade "Roe vs. Wade for Men," after the landmark Supreme Court decision that gives women the legal right to an abortion.
Dubay told me that he feels he was shut out. "She was given the right to have an abortion, keep the child, put the child up for adoption, and whatever she chooses, I have to go along with....Under our laws, our constitution, that doesn't seem right to me."
Women's rights groups insist men like Dubay are not being forced into parenthood. They say child support payments are a fair, and modest, alternative to the lifetime commitment of being a father. But when I met with Dubay's lawyer, Jeff Cojocar, at his office near Detroit, he insisted the lawsuit isn't trying to create an easy way out for men. He says it's about trying to extend to men the freedom of choice the Supreme Court decision gave to women.