"This case has actually been more of a movement," Cojocar says. "I probably got four or five hundred e-mailsmany of them from females." The women Cojocar says he was hearing from were angry because their significant others were supporting exes who they suspected had pulled a sneak pregnancy. Cojocar is appealing the case to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati. In the meantime, Dubay is paying $500 a month in child support.
The case has become a cause celebre for the National Center for Men (NCM), a men's-rights advocacy group that counsels people like Dubay through its website, www.nationalcenterformen.orgso much so that the organization's picking up the tab for his court costs. It's even trademarked the case: "Roe vs. Wade . . . for Men."
"Matt is asking for the reproductive choice he would have had if he were 'Mattilda,'" the website says. The NCM doesn't have much contact with men who acquiesce to their role as new fathers. The guys who come to the organization see their situations as deception in its purest form.
"A lot of these men feel like they have no control," says Mel Feit, the NCM's executive director. "The courts are ruthless in enforcing getting money and not asking questions. Judges aren't allowing the fraud argument, either."
The NCM actually offers the "Reproductive Rights Affidavit" (think of it as the sexual equivalent of a living will), which challenges "any court order that seeks to impose a parental obligation upon me against my will." Unfortunately for Jeremy, a 35-year-old technical consultant and musician in New York, the affidavit doesn't provide a legal cover for now. He thought he'd found himself a nice girl. He had just split with his longtime fiancee but explains that this new woman was saying all the right thingseven when it came to practical matters. She was on the Pill. She was pro-choice. So she and Jeremy (who's using a fake name) enjoyed a couple of months of unprotected intimacy.
Then things got weird. She mysteriously quit drinking. She disappeared for days at a time. She told him she was considering going off birth control, though she assured him she hadn't yet. By July, Jeremy had had enough and broke things off. Then in August, he says, she told him she was pregnant and was keeping it. "She was pregnant all of May, all of June, and all of July," Jeremy says. "I said, 'Why didn't you tell me about this sooner?' She's like, 'I didn't want you to influence my decision.' Something that has potential impact on me for the rest of my life, she doesn't want me influencing her decision!?"
More than a year and $6,500 in legal fees later, Jeremy has a 7-month-old boy he's never met, a child-support case pending, and a judge who's less than sympathetic toward his allegations of contraceptive deceit. Even his own attorney told him he'd better ditch that dream of becoming a full-time musician and focus on the computer gig that he'd hoped would only supplement his income: "She was like, 'You know what? You gotta be a man. You're gonna have to have a job 40 hours a week, and you need to support this childthis is your responsibility and your obligation.' And I'm thinking to myself, like, 'How is all of this my responsibility and my obligation when none of this was my choice?'"