Not Cheaper By The Dozen: Tenn. Man Who Fathered 30 Children Seeks Cut in Child Support

By Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger

Desmond Hatchett is petitioning the court for entry of an order reducing his child support. In tough economic times that is not uncommon. What is uncommon is that Hatchett has fathered 30 children by 11 different women. The children range in age from toddlers to 14-years-old. Hatchett earns minimum wage and half of his check is apportioned among the children. That means some mothers receive as little as $1.49 per month for one child. The prolific father has previously appeared in court in 2009 to answer charges of failing to pay any support. Then he had 21 children and promised to stop procreating.  Hatchett explains the current situation this way, ” [W]ell you know what we mean, I had four kids in the same year. Twice.”

The law regards procreation as a fundamental right. Most religions support the ideal of large families with the Catholic Church banning all  but the most fundamental type of birth control. Americans have long recoiled from China’s “One Child” policy to combat population explosion. Given that backdrop how does society deal with such irresponsibility? Do children have to suffer poverty or becoming wards of the state simply because some people can’t suppress their urges or behave irresponsibly? Do conservatives have a point when they argue that welfare benefits based on the number of children to be supported breeds this type of behavior?

The state has no right to order Hatchett or his “Baby Mamas” to stop making babies. Should it in such an extreme case? If not for Hatchett, for the children that he obviously cannot support?

Source: WREG (via Yahoo)

~Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger

63 thoughts on “Not Cheaper By The Dozen: Tenn. Man Who Fathered 30 Children Seeks Cut in Child Support”

  1. Bruce, are you from New Jersey? Do you know who your parents are? You can’t make that choice.

    Arthur, do you want to do what Germany did? Make a decision. I’m third generation American, but my ancestry is half German.

    1. Once again Matt proves his lack of logic. Thank you. So sterilizing institutionalized people is the same as Nazi Germany. Not only do you lack logic but are ignorant of history. The Nazis sterilized those of races they deemed subhuman and defective, NOT just people who were in institutions. They also emptied those in institutions by murdering those people there. Once you are declared incompetent you lose all of your rights now. You cannot vote, drive, own firearms, or in some cases cannot even leave the institution. I guess we must be like Nazi Germany NOW according to you.

  2. One might ask, why is this nation powerless to stem the enormous growth in out-of-wedlock births (most of them fated to grow up with no effective father) that is turning the USA into a Nation of Bastards? With all the social pathology that goes with it? In my view it’s the result of an unholy confluence of four movements that would not consider themselves allies: the Right to Life movement, the libertarian impulse, compassionate liberalism, and the “family values” campaign of the Christian Right.

    Here’s what’s happened: You can’t legislate compulsory sterilization because that infringes personal liberty. (This is the same impulse that emptied the state mental hospitals; now we have psychotic homeless people who are “free” – to sleep on steam vents.) You can’t teach effective sex education because that offends the “family values” folks. You can’t encourage pregnant single mothers to abort, because that will bring down the wrath of the Right to Life movement. (We no longer ostracize unwed mothers – that might cause them to choose abortion – so we have made it socially acceptable to bear children out of wedlock; naturally, we get more unwed mothers.) And to complete the picture, welfare – created out of compassion – subsidizes the little bastards, because we, as a society, are not heartless enough to let them starve to death.

    The result is a classic Mexican standoff where no one can change anything. I do not know how to get out of this stasis. I wish I did, because I am pretty certain a Nation of Bastards cannot long thrive.

  3. Art,

    She does not have to agree, but she will not get any more public support for that new kid after two.
    What about the kid? It isn’t their fault.

    1. Matt, the kids will be put up for adoption or go to foster homes or state homes if the mother cannot provide for them. Open ended welfare for multiple kids is NOT a solution since we have seen that it only produces more kids who get a very bad start in life. We do not need more of that kind of thing.

  4. Pete,

    Arthur is quite specific. This applies only to poor women. Rich women can have as many children as they want but poor women can have only two while being denied access to contraception and abortions. Eugenics in action.

  5. who decides how many is too many? you? can religious people cite the bible and have more? can the rich have larger families? if you lose all your money in the stock market who do we sterilize you or your wife?

    historically, forced sterilizations tend to have negative connotations.

    1. Actually you also missed the point that women would NOT be denied contraception since that is the point of sterilization. Also, shw would not be forced to get her tubes tied. If she wanted to keep on producing kids, she is perfectly free to do so, only on HER dime. She only gets welfare for two kids. If she cannot support them, she loses them. Simple.

      The alternative is for US to pay for her to have as many kids as she wants. No matter if she cannot support them. If and when she produces another child, while she is in the hospital, she can get her tubes ties, and can continue getting welfare.

    1. Talk about lack of logic pete. So sterilization is the same as mass murder, right! The fact is that we do owe our society some things, even for men, our lives if need be. So telling a woman that to continue getting welfare payments, she must be sterilized to prevent MORE kids being foisted onto the public support, is more than reasonable. She does not have to agree, but she will not get any more public support for that new kid after two.

  6. The judge should say “no” and include a lecture on what it means to be a responsible father, not a sperm donor. Someone from social services or his attorney or who? should encourage (not demand) him to get a vasectomy as an act of good faith and then request the judge to reconsider.


    The problem here is the man who can’t keep his zipper up. Or wear a condom. Or support his kids. Child support is about the absent parent providing support for his/her children regardless of the economic status of the custodial parent.

    So a 30-year old recently widowed/divorced mother of three must have a tubal ligation before she could get any help while she’s trying to reestablish herself and her family? That’s an awfully harsh penalty for becoming poor and needing some help.

    1. bettykath, I meant that an unmarried woman with one child out of wedlock and on public assistance and giving birth to another should have her tubes tied. If the woman with two or three kids gets divorced, and has another child whiel she is on state support, she should have her tubes tied as well. I did not mean to imply that all women in situations beyond their control should get their tubes tied. Right now we are giving poor women the incentive to have more kids. That is stupid.

      I would also advocate that women who are incompetent and in institutions should be sterilized and the same for men in such conditions..

  7. the women got themselves pregnant with a man they knew would not support their children. if we accept this behavior as a society, we must take care of their children for they are our societies children.

  8. The women should have kept their legs closed. Mr. Hatchett is going to do what he does.

  9. Hatchett’s child support payments should not be reduced by the court. If Mr. Hatchett is asking for relief because he has discovered that he can’t live on his income after paying child support, then Mr. Hatchett should be looking for a job that pays him more per hour.

  10. patricparamedic,

    The attitude I pointed out isn’t one of intellect but of perception, and “everyone knows” understanding.

    I agree that this guy has gone to extremes and he’s grossly irresponsible.

    Many young women end up getting pregnant b/c they don’t have hope for anything better in their lives. Nor do the men have hope for anything better. As a society, we need to improve their conditions so that they can hope for something besides making babies, e.g. finishing high school, going to college or trade school, getting a job, getting a job making more than minimum wage, being able to buy their own house.

  11. BettyKath:

    ““Many Black men understand the statistics that their life expectancy isn’t as good as white men. (That of Hispanics is even lower). Their perception is, given the level of violence and rates of incarceration, that they have few years in which to sow their seed, so they sow whenever and wherever they can.”

    And I submit that you flatter the mentality of this character and thousands like him. Trust me: The last thing he’s interested in is math

    I equate his rampant mating with anything that wiggles to child abuse. And further burdening cities & schools, ERs & traffic lanes, with 2 1/2 dozen more disadvantaged kids, smacks of criminally reckless indifference.

    At some point in the equation, I believe one forfeits the right to not have his wayward pee-pee whacked off.

    1. I think the solution to the problem of this guy is that if he wants his child support reduced, he has to have a vasectomy. The women who have too many kids to support as a condition of getting welfare, should have their tubes tied after two kids. Both partners know that the state will take care of them and their kids at a minimum level so that they have no incentive to act responsibly. If we took the kids away from the woman because she could not support them, then she could avoid tubal ligation, but the state most certainly has the right to set conditions upon getting public assistance and sterilization or loss of children is perfectly reasonable.

      No rights are absolute with no conditions attached. The right of freedom of speech and press is limited, the freedom of religion is also restricted by civil laws on what may be done as part of religion..Indeed even the most sacred right to arm bears is taken away after a felony conviction. In all things even including marriage, the state has the right to have its say as to what you do with others and can deny most rights for good reason in its eyes.

  12. Those who bemoan a lack of adequate “sex education” as the root cause of this problem completely ignore the incentives government entitlements have on real-world behavior… and acting as if these thirty children were some unforeseen by-product of the ignorant undertaking recreational activities?

    Nothing has done more to destroy two-parent families than government playing the role of universal spouse. These parents know exactly what they are doing, despite demeaning elitist rhetoric to the contrary.

  13. pete,

    You are such an optimist, but I feel compelled to point out that there is only one father’s day per year and at 30 children, this cat is looking at an average of two and a half birthdays per month.

    And what Mike S. said. Poor sex education causes a lot of social (and health) problems.

  14. no, no picnics. that could mean two or three more kids.

    but on the up side, fathers day is coming up soon

  15. All the mothers and children should go on a picnic with this guy. Perhaps, the sheer numbers of women and children will at least tell the women they are messing with a real jerk, who cares little for them or their children.

  16. How come the women kept getting knocked-up? Let’s be real, shall we. They didn’t do it by themselves.

  17. A minimum wage job doesn’t provide enough money to support a family of 4, let alone a “family” of 42. His libido and his earning power are a serious mismatch.

    In general, an increase in economic status leads to smaller families with the side effect of being able to better provide for the family. I’m sure there are studies that show why.

  18. In an enlightened country women would be in charge of their reproductive health and decisions, be educated about sex and reproduction starting early and have it be ongoing, and the government would support those decisions as a matter of simple health maintenance but this is Tennessee.
    Maybe they should stop getting pregnant. It doesn’t matter whether they’re in Tennessee or not.

  19. Puzzling is right, if you dont subsidize bad behaviour you will get less of it.

    Vasectomies and sex education are not going to change behaviour. All a vasectomy will do is stop conception. But you cannot, in a free society, call on men and women to be sterilized. Where is the outrage at an idea like that? It is worse than requiring a woman to undergo a trans-vaginal ultrasound prior to an abortion.

    Government subsidies have changed this man’s and these women’s reality. There are no longer consequences to negative actions.

    This story is just one more example of how collectivist philosophy changes human behaviour for the worse.

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