- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 19, 2004

On this Fathers’ Day, I am sure everyone can agree men’s health is important. Everyone can agree in a divorce the father should gain custody if he is a better parent. As feminists proudly proclaim, it is “our bodies, and our choice.” Everyone can agree a man’s life is just as worthy as anyone else’s.

Yet, according to Diana Thompson and Glenn Sacks, authors of “When Men’s Health Doesn’t Count,” though the average man is as likely to die from prostate cancer as the average woman is from breast cancer, prostate cancer receives one-third the amount of federal funding. Men, on average, die six years earlier than women, and the average age of a black man’s death makes certain he will never see a dime from all the money he contributed to Social Security.

According to the Selective Service governmental Web site, men between ages 18 and 25 must register with the Selective Service in case of a future draft. If a man fails to register, he can be fined up to $250,000, be jailed for up to five years and will be disqualified from federal student aid, job training benefits and most federal employment.

Women are not subject to this law, so clearly, there is not equal justice. Since men can be drafted into a war, it is certainly not “our bodies, and our choice.”

As decided by the Supreme Court, women are guaranteed the right to choose whether to become a parent. Essentially, a woman can opt out of parenthood by having an abortion or giving her child up for adoption after birth.

A man, however, is forced to face the death of his child if the mother aborts, and will be held legally responsible if the child comes to term. He cannot opt out of parenthood.

Opponents of this line of thinking will argue a man does not have to carry the child 9 months nor go through labor. Thus, he should be given no rights, only responsibilities. I am eternally grateful for the labor that my mother went through, but I am also eternally grateful of the 18 plus years of labor my father went through to feed, clothe and educate me.

When I joined the Mensrights2004 Conference Committee of the D.C. chapter of the National Coalition of Free Men to hold a conference in our nation’s capital this Fathers’ Day weekend, many people I knew laughed at the idea. Even many men’s organizations that advocate some of the above issues felt uncomfortable sponsoring our conference because they did not want to label their issue “men’s rights.”

When I mentioned the conference to a friend, he understood the issues intellectually, but wondered why I wasted my time when there are more important issues. He told me life is unfair. His words were exactly the words I learned growing up.

I grew up in when girls were told they could do anything they wanted. I wondered why, as a boy, I was left out of the “Take your daughter to work day.” I quickly learned, as other boys do, to “walk it off” and “suck it up” when it came to my feelings.

I learned in history class that I, as a male, am the cause of the world’s problems. Experts in education were convinced girls faced injustice with lower math and science scores, but did not exhibit the same concern when boys had lower verbal scores and entered college at lower rates. In cases where the girls got the advantage, such as “ladies first,” it was smiled upon as tradition. I was told this new culture was created to erase past injustices, and I suppose it is human nature to be ignorant of new injustices being created.

Slowly, but surely, men and women are waking up to this new reality. On this Fathers’ Day weekend, the Mensrights2004 Conference will have men and women participants from all over the United States and even the United Kingdom. Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham, California Republican, has sponsored H.R. 1734, to amend the Public Health Service Act and establish an Office of Men’s Health. Rep. Charles B. Rangel, New York Democrat, has sponsored H.R.163 in the House and Sen. Ernest F. Hollings, South Carolina Democat, has sponsored S.89 in the Senate to establish a universal draft including women.

These politicians are pioneers as are the men and women at the Mensrights2004 Conference this Fathers’ Day weekend.

Mom and Dad, thank you for coming to the conference and happy Fathers’ Day, Dad.

BRETT ADAM FREEMAN

Mr. Freeman will enter the master’s program in social sciences at the University of Chicago this fall. For more information on Mensrights2004 conference, visit www.mensrights2004.com.

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