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What Guys Need to Know About Pregnancy

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By , 16, Contributor Originally Published: June 6, 1998 Revised: May 1, 2013

Guys, beware. If you get a girl pregnant, you have no legal say in what she decides to do.

Just ask Saddique Brown.

Saddique is a 19-year-old father of three living in Trenton, NJ. He goes to a community college and works at an appliance store, trying to help his mother and his kids get by.

Saddique made one mistake. He never used a condom.

“We were kids. We were just fooling around and I didn’t even think about using protection,” he says about his relationships with three different girls, who all became pregnant with his children.

Saddique was 16 years old when two girls he had been seeing both became pregnant with his children at the same time. A third girlfriend got pregnant about one year later.

When he found out the girls were pregnant, he and his mother called the girls’ parents and suggested the girls have an abortion or put the babies up for adoption. The girls’ parents said they believed abortion was wrong, according to Saddique and his mother, Linda Brown.

As for adoption, the girls’ parents said, “They made their bed, now let them lie in it,” Linda Brown says.

So, even though Saddique didn’t want the babies, he became a father. The law gives girls the right to make the final decision about a pregnancy. And it forces boys who father babies to help pay for them.

Guys, beware. If you get a girl pregnant, you have no legal say in what she decides to do.

Linda Brown knows her son made some mistakes, but she argues he should not have been forced to become a father.

“They were minors,” says Linda Brown. “It should have been up to me and the parents of the girls to make the right decisions for the kids. The guy’s family has no say.”

Saddique used to agree with his mother. They went to court several times to fight the judge’s orders that forced Saddique to help pay for each child. They lost.

But, after participating in a program called Operation Fatherhood in Trenton, Saddique understands that he must accept the responsibilities of fatherhood.

“It’s up to the woman,” he says. “She can do what she wants—the baby’s inside the mother.”

Saddique also understands that being a father means more than sending money. It means being part of his children’s lives. He tries to see each child about three or four times a month, but it’s tough. With work and school, he barely has time to be a dad.

“I do what I can, when I can,” he says. “My father wasn’t around, and I know the feeling. I want to be there, but I’m not really a father right now. I haven’t established the role.”

Guys, the important idea here is that if we want any say in the decision to have a baby, we had better deal with it before we have sex. If you are not ready to be a father, then use condoms every single time you have sex. Or, wait until you’re older to have sex.

If you are careless now, your life is going to change later.

Am I the Father?

Say the girl you’re dating is seeing other guys. One day, she comes to you and says she’s pregnant with your baby. You wonder, “How do I know I’m the father?”

There is an easy way to find out. Genetic testing. It’s 99-percent accurate.

It’s done with either a blood test or a sample of your DNA. If the test says that you are the father, then you have established “paternity.”

Paternity gives you the right to ask to visit your child. It also means your child would have the right to get social security, health insurance or other benefits you might have.

Rights come with responsibilities. Once it’s certain you are the father, you will be expected to help pay the cost of raising your child.

It’s best when children have two parents to love and support them. Usually, it’s better to wait until you’re older to become a parent. But if you do have a child, know your rights–and live up to your responsibilities.

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