Monday, February 27, 2012

Do You Need a “Legal Condom”?

We often receive strange things in the mail here at NFI. But today, I received one of the strangest things yet. It is called the “Miss Legal Condom.”

The Miss Legal Condom is the size of a business card, and it is designed to “empower” single women to protect themselves from having a child that is not supported financially by the father. Sounds good in theory… but the way the “legal condom” achieves this is where things get weird.

The front of the card is pictured above. The other side of the card contains a sealed ink spot with two blank spaces for the potential father to give his fingerprints. He is also supposed to sign the card indicating that he will pay child support for 18 years should a child result from the "coupling" he is presumably on the verge of entering into… Talk about a buzz kill…

As I said, I think it is admirable that there are folks out there – in this case Girls Leading Change, LLC – that seek to help women and children avoid being left in the cold by unsupportive fathers. But the devil is in the details, and this idea appears to be a bad one for three reasons.

First, from the potential father’s perspective… How many guys, when they are about to have sex with a woman, are going to be willing to give their fingerprints and sign a card that essentially binds them in an 18-year contract? And how many guys, if they do sign and a child does result, will actually take seriously the obligations this pink business card binds them to, despite all of the legalese on the card?

Second, from the potential mother’s perspective… If you feel that you need to get the fingerprints and signature of a guy you are about to sleep with in order to have some level of trust with him, shouldn’t that be a signal that you should not be having sex with him in the first place?

Finally, from the couple’s perspective… Anyone who would be willing to take the time and responsibility to fill out the “legal condom” card is probably already using some other method of birth control anyway. So, they won’t need the legal condom. In other words, the people who would actually need the legal condom (those not using birth control responsibly or having irresponsible sex) are not likely to use this card.

But maybe I have been outsmarted… It has occurred to me that perhaps the real purpose of this card is not to provide insurance for unwanted pregnancies, but to prevent the sex from taking place altogether. Referring to my first point above, when a guy sees that a woman is willing to go to such lengths to “protect” herself from being hung out to dry, he may just decide that the “benefits” he will get from the relationship are just not worth the trouble. The card, simply put, may scare him away. In that sense, this could be a work of genius.

What do you think of the idea of a “legal condom”? Bad idea or subtle but effective sex preventer?


  1. Thank you so much for writing this very insightful blog post regarding our product Miss Legal Condom™. We truly appreciate your perspective. More than 750,000 teenage girls will become pregnant this year. Unplanned pregnancy has become an epidemic, solutions are needed, and we are here to do our part. The purpose of Miss Legal Condom™ is to be a deterrent for unplanned pregnancy and hold males equally accountable for their actions. Miss Legal Condom™ is designed to make both females AND males seriously consider the consequences of sex. For some the card will serve as a deterrent. For others it will protect the financial future of the mother and child. It will cost around $200,000 to raise a child born in 2010 to the age of 18. A portion of the proceeds from all sales will benefit the Girls Leading Change Foundation, which provides educational and leadership opportunities for girls and women. We believe this product is not only needed but will also positively change lives. Be sure to visit our website, Follow us on Twitter @MissLegalCondom, and LIKE us on Facebook. Thank you!

    Girls Leading Change

    1. Thanks for the thoughtful response. As I said in my post, it is admirable that folks are trying to come up with solutions for the unplanned pregnancy epidemic. However, I think the legal condom makes a statement that is counterproductive. It reduces fatherhood to the provision of child support. There is nothing on the card or on your website indicating that it is important for fathers to have any level of involvement in their children's lives beyond the financial. That is not what kids need. They need involved, responsible, and committed dads in their lives. As that child grows and asks, "who is my father?" is the mom supposed to show the child her signed legal condom card and say, "here's your dad"? Children deserve and need more than that, and the legal condom seems to diminish fatherhood in ways that are not helpful.


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