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 Civil Rights for All: Choice for Men
 By: Ronald D. Burke

The ACLU should consider Choice for Men and equal rights for  all people to be a subject worthy of their attention. I am not on any  list of deadbeat Dads; my interest in this subject is from the  perspective of an American citizen who is actively concerned with the  issue of civil rights. It is my most sincere desire to live in an  America that has rights for people, all people, instead of just  certain classes of people.

 There is a false public perception that Choice for Men is just  a bunch of Deadbeat Dads who are trying to get out of their child  support obligations. This kind of public image makes support of men’s  rights politically difficult. The real issue is equality for all  people-women and men alike.

 Both the ACLU and the Planned Parenthood Federation are  dedicated to preserving and enhancing women's rights including their  right to choose parenthood. Much to their shame, these organizations  have not supported the same rights for men. These two organizations  have tremendous influence in American politics, and could present a  formidable opposition, but it may be possible to shame them into  supporting equal rights for all people instead of just certain groups.

 Problem: Choice for Men  When the Supreme Court ruled in 1973 that women have a  fundamental right to control their reproduction, men became a  separate and inferior class-A class denied the right to choose. In  1992, the Supreme Court reaffirmed the Roe v Wade decision. The  opinion of the court was "The ability of women to participate equally  in the economic and social life of the nation has been facilitated by  their ability to control their reproductive lives"(ACLU). The problem  is that the ability of men to participate equally in the economic and  social life of the nation has been hindered by their inability to  control their reproductive lives. Currently, the law dictates that a  woman is free to choose an abortion, and the father has no right to  intervene. If, on the other hand, the woman chooses not to have an  abortion, then the father is obligated to eighteen to twenty one  years of child support with no choice in the matter.  In 1963, President Kennedy presented a stirring public speech  on the state of civil rights in Alabama. In that speech he said, "It  ought to be possible, in short, for every American to enjoy the  privileges of being American without regard to his race or his  color"(Kennedy). The same American privilege ought to exist without  regard to sex. 

Equality, by definition, can never be achieved unless it is for  everybody. Choice for Men is about giving all men and women the same  rights and responsibilities.


 The thirteenth amendment to the Constitution provides that  involuntary servitude shall not exist within the United States  (United States, "Constitution"). The 1973 Roe v Wade decision gave  women the rights to control their parental responsibilities, but men  have been excluded from this right.

 The thirteenth amendment to the United States Constitution  reads, "neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as  punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly  convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject  to their jurisdiction" (United States, "Constitution"). The  pro-choice people hold that sex is not a crime, and that it would be  involuntary servitude to force a woman to have an unwanted child.  However, in today's-no Choice for Men-world, men are held in  involuntary servitude to the product of a woman's free choice.


 In 1991, a Kansas State Court ruled that a seventeen-year-old  babysitter was guilty of statutory rape when she had sex with the  thirteen-year-old boy she was caring for. The absurd thing is that  the Kansas Courts also ruled that the thirteen-year-old rape victim  was required to pay child support for the baby that resulted from his  rape. The appeals court affirmed the decision of the lower court and  ordered the young boy to pay the portion of the child support that  the lower court had forgiven (State of Kansas). The baby sitter could  have chosen an abortion, but the victim of rape has no choice if he  is a male. This is not an isolated case; in fact, this ruling has  become a precedent for many similar cases.  In Indiana, a man agreed to help a female coworker have a baby.  They had a written agreement that he would not be liable for any  support, but the courts ruled that fathers must support any child  that a mother chooses to give birth to-fathers have no choice  (Lambert). According to the Friends of Choice for Men, government  figures indicate that each year 500,000 unwed fathers are ordered to  pay child support. It is mind boggling to realize that at the  equivalent rate of nearly one per minute, men are forced-without  choice-into two decades of financial responsibility because of a  woman's constitutional right to choose ("Keep Your Pants On").
Causes: Class Structure

 America has had a long history of talking about equal rights;  unfortunately equal rights have usually been for a particular group  instead of being for all people. When the Supreme Court handed down  the Roe v Wade decision, they created a separate right for a separate  class-women. With knowledge of the entire world history of class  struggle, America's highest court still creates classes of people  with separate rights.

 Separate Rights

 The current U.S. abortion laws represent a despicable example  of separate and unequal rights.  In a futile plea for justice in a North Carolina Court, an attorney  points out that women have the right to choose either to be or not to  be a parent.  Men have the right to be a parent (State of North Carolina).


 According to current law, when a mother says that a man is the  father of her child, the man is guilty as charged until he is proven  innocent. If the man chooses to go to court, the case is declared a  civil matter, denying the man the right to counsel if he can not  afford it, even though the woman is given free representation by the  state attorneys. After the court rules on paternal responsibility, the  case becomes a criminal action and the man is subject to criminal  prosecution for non-payment (State of North Carolina).  Paternity laws are enforced by their own police forces with  special police powers similar to those of the IRS. The special police  force, Child Support Enforcement Offices, is present in every state  of the nation and is staffed with tax-supported attorneys and  enforcement officers. These special officers are empowered to demand all personal and  financial records from the defendant and any member of the  defendant's household. In addition, these special officers can  require a defendant to make periodic personal appearances before the  court, and require the payment of a cash deposit or performance bond.  Noncompliance can result in imprisonment for contempt (State of North  Carolina).

 Effects: Unequal Rights

 In much the same way as minority groups have been treated  through much of our less than ideal history, men have become victims  of inequality.  Historically, unequal rights have allowed one segment of the  population an unjust domination over another segment. Unequal rights  often result in un-American systems such as slavery, no voting rights  for women, and no choice for men.


 As many as one half million men per year are being subjected to  the Child Support Enforcement Offices. Since they are facing seizure  of assets, garnishment of wages, loss of professional and driving  licenses, unemployment, extradition, and imprisonment, it would be an understatement to say that national productivity is being diminished.

 Solution: Restoration of Equal Rights

 According to Lawrence Ehlenberger, a psychiatrist and men's  rights activist, Choice for Men would involve the man being served  with papers when the woman learned she was pregnant. He could  relinquish parenthood, losing all rights to visit the child as well  as obligations to pay child support, or he could accept paternity,  and have all rights and obligations of fatherhood. Either way the  decision would be irrevocable and give men the same freedom of choice  that women enjoy (Sine).

 Over one hundred and fifty years ago, the first Women's Rights  Convention was held in Seneca Falls, New York. At that convention the  idea that "All men and women are created equal, and are endowed by  their creator with certain unalienable rights?" was adopted (Rynder).  This ideal, although considered radical at the time, was reasonable  then and now. If men and women were equal under the law, Choice for  Men would be unnecessary.

 Effective Equality is at the very core of the democratic system of  government, the most effective system of government ever devised.  Equal rights, equal choices, and equal pay, equal responsibility,  equal whatever, presents a far more effective system of government  than inequality ever could.
Works Cited
 ACLU. Briefing Paper, Number 15. The Right to  Choose: A Fundamental Liberty. Winter 1999. 10 June 2000  <

www.aclu.org/library/right_to_choos e.pdf

. Ireland, Patricia. "Women's less than full equality Under the  U.S. Constitution." Online Posting. National Organization for Women.  11 June 2000 <www.now.org/issues/economic/cea /ireland.html.
 "Keep Your Pants On! (On All Day, On All Night)." 1994-1995.
 Online Posting. Friends of Choice for Men. 10 June 2000

 Kennedy, John Fitzgerald. "Radio and Television Report to the  American People on Civil Rights." 11 June 1963. Online Posting. John  Fitzgerald Kennedy Library. 11 June 2000  <www.cs.umb.edu/jfklibrary/j061163.htm< /A.  Lambert, Wade. "Child Support:." Wall Street Journal 5 January  1994:B8.  "9 Reasons Why Abortions are Legal." March 1989. Online  Posting. Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc. 10 June 2000
 <www.plannedparenthood.org/ab ortion/9reasons.htm.
 Rubin, Sam. "Civil Rights Leaders and the President." Online  Posting. John Fitzgerald Kennedy Library. 11 June 2000
 <www.cs.umb.edu/jfklibrary/civil_rights_documents_index.html.  Rynder, Constance. "All Men & Women are created Equal."  American History April 1999. 11 June 2000

 Sine, Richard. "Revenge of the Deadbeat Dads." Metro 14-20
 November 1996. 5 June 2000

 State of Kansas. Supreme Court of Kansas.  Colleen Hermesmann, appellee, Vs. Shane Seyer, a minor, and Dan and
 Mary Seyer, his parents, Appellants No. 67,978. 5 March 1993. The  National Center for Men. 10 June 2000 <www.nas.com/c4m/rape_case.html
 State of North Carolina. County of Sampson.  Zella C. Shumaker vs. James G. Hamilton, M. D. File  Number: 86CVD690. 9 January 1998. 10 June 2000

 United States. "Constitution for the United States of America."
 Online Posting.  USConstitution.net. 10 June 2000
  Copyright © 2000 Ronald Duane Burke
  Ronald Burke is a 48 year old hippy, farmhand, bus driver, business
 owner, entrepreneur, and student.
 After a disabling injury in 1997, he returned to school through the
 state vocational rehabilitation program. His goals are to sharpen his
 writing skills and fine tune his business knowledge.
 Gregory Romeo <gromeo747@yahoo.com wrote:
 All –
 Our Campaign continues to gather momentum:
  True Equality.org in North Carolina has now signed on to our  Resolution, making us 25 organizations strong – welcome aboard,  Terri! I’m attaching the current Resolution, in case you want to  share it with others or post it on your website.
 KRights Radio has just signed a syndication deal.  Our first 2 interviews will be featured. Richard  writes, “We are sending the first two interviews in a consolidated  show to our syndicators. They are going to be running on 24 am and fm  talk radio stations.”
 Our lobbyists hit Capitol Hill today, visiting members of the  House Judiciary Committee, asking them to hold hearings to  investigate restraining order abuse. We met with 11 legislative  assistants today. This is how the LAs responded:
  Hostile to our concerns: Louie Gohmert, TX (his LA said it didn’t  bother her that so many restraining orders were being issued because  “verbal abuse can easily escalate into physical  abuse”)
 Polite and willing to listen: Mike Pence, IN; Dan  Lungren, CA; Conyers, MI; Goodlatte, VA
 Concerned about our issues and likely to be  supportive: Steve Chabot, OH; Darrell Issa, CA; Mark
 Green, WI; Jeff Murray, FL; Bob Inglis, SC; Steve  King, IA
 So in this coming Monday’s Alert, we will be targeting  Sensenbrenner, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and Steve Chabot,  chairman of the Constitutional Subcommittee. Chabot is really the key  person in this.
 Also, as we get further into our Campaign, I will be asking groups  participating in the Campaign to help us work with key elected  officials.

--- Dennis Avery <averydennis@yahoo.com wrote:

 From: Dennis Avery <averydennis@yahoo.com
 Date: Wed, 22 Mar 2006 21:49:09 -0800 (PST)
 Subject: [MassachusettsMillionDadsMarchNetwork] ACLU Action
 Hi Gregory, Today I called the Massachusetts arm of the ACLU and also  faxed them a brief that outlined the arguments for Men's Choice and  for the discrimination against men in courts. The ACLU person on the  line stated that the Men's Choice issue that wanted addressed was an  issue he was unfamiliar with. He suggested that I fax a letter  stating the issues and why I thought the ACLU should pursue legal  action to remedy the condition.
 You seem to have a large following and a large voice in the men's  community, why don't you encourage all the men on the mailing list to  contact the ACLU? You could put forth a boiler template for all to use  when they write to the ACLU.