To be honest, when we first read this "Action Alert" from N.O.W., we thought it was some very cleverly crafted satire.
Please note this article is more than 10 years old. Don't bother calling your Congressman or Senator.
Imagine our surprise and disgust when we found out that it actually is from N.O.W. If you ever had ANY doubt as to whether or not N.O.W. truly hates men and fathers, here is your proof. Straight off their web site, this N.O.W. "Action Alert" demonizes men, fathers, and fathers rights groups with inflammatory rhetoric and outright lies.
Our commentary is in bold text.
October 20, 1999 Fathers' Rights Bill Advances in the House
Please Call Your Member of Congress and Vice President Gore:
Urge your Representative to vote against The Fathers Count Act of 1999, H.R. 3073, as this bill will funnel millions of dollars over the next five years to local and national organizations, many of them likely to be father's rights groups and right wing religious organizations. For example, promoting marriage is a required part of eligible program services.
We have to ask: What is wrong with "promoting marriage"? Would it be better to promote divorce? As you'll see throughout this "Action Alert", the people from N.O.W. seem to regard marriage as an some sort of social evil that must be brought under control.
In this next section, notice how N.O.W. casually paints all men with the same brush- if you want to pursue your marriage, you're labeled "violent or irresponsible":
We know that in some cases, marriage to a violent or irresponsible person is what caused the mom and kids to be in poverty to begin with - yet only groups who will actively pursue marriage as a goal in itself (you can guess who those groups are) can receive and use these federal funds to promote their agenda.
Did you catch that? You might have to read it a couple of times before you can really appreciate it: "marriage to a violent or irresponsible person is what caused the mom and kids to be in poverty to begin with". N.O.W. makes a deceptive attempt to appear gender-neutral with this statement, starting off with "a violent or irresponsible person", but they clearly mean that to be a man's role, as they show by finishing the sentence with "the mom and kids". The message is: Men are irresponsible and/or violent, and they're the ones that caused "the mom and kids" to be poor.
The legislation will soon be moving to the House floor, when finalized by the Ways and Means Committee. H.R. 3073 has moved quietly through committee, with the text of the bill not appearing on the website for Congress until just last week. There now appears to be a concerted push to quickly pass this questionable legislation.
There is nothing "questionable" about this legislation. The bill's measures are spelled out plainly and clearly. Even a member of N.O.W. could understand it.
In recent news, Vice President Gore has endorsed most of the provisions of the bill; please urge him to take a closer look and withdraw his support. Why this bill is bad for women and children:
This bill comes at a time when welfare-to-work programs are both limited and underfunded in helping custodial parents become economically independent so they can support their children. The rationale seems weak for prioritizing federal assistance to non-custodial parents when the need is far greater for custodial parents, although either could qualify for help under recent revisions to the bill. The overwhelming majority (84%) of single-headed households with children under 18 are maintained by women.
Custodial parents get child support, tax breaks, federal assistance and a host of other benefits. It's ludicrous to suggest that custodial parents are somehow at an economic disadvantage compared to non-custodial parents. (If you want to see people at a true economic disadvantage, visit some non-custodial parents and watch as they struggle to support two households on one paycheck.) It might also be noted that the reason that 84% of single-headed households are headed by women is because of the pervasive anti-father bias in Family court, but don't look for the folks at N.O.W. to point that out.
The Fathers Count Act would authorize over $150 million in grants to organizations that will do ALL THREE of the following:
"(1) promote marriage through counseling, mentoring, disseminating information about the advantages of marriage, enhancing relationship skills, teaching how to control aggressive behavior, and other methods:
Again, what is wrong with "disseminating information about the advantages of marriage", "enhancing relationship skills", and "teaching how to control aggressive behavior"? Isn't it likely that doing these things would result in fewer divorces and a better quality of life for all involved?
Hasn't N.O.W. preached non-stop about how violent men are, and how all men are "potential batters"? If they believe this is true, they should be applauding the idea of "teaching how to control aggressive behavior, and not just to men, but to ALL parents. (After all, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics reportChild Victimizers and Their Victims, "87 percent of all neglected children and 93 percent of physically neglected children suffered their neglect at the hands of female perpetrators". Perhaps teaching control of "aggressive behaviors" should be a required course for mothers.)
(2) promote successful parenting through counseling, mentoring, disseminating information about good parenting practices, training parents in money management, encouraging child support payments, encouraging regular visitation between fathers and their children, and other methods; and
What's wrong with promoting "successful parenting" and "good parenting practices"? Is there something sinister here that we're missing? And who (besides N.O.W.) could possibly object to "encouraging child support payments" and "encouraging regular visitation between fathers and their children"? What in the world is wrong with that? It seems clear that N.O.W. is on a mission not just to eradicate fathers, but the very idea that marriage can be good, or that having two involved parents is best for the child.
(3) help fathers and their families avoid or leave cash welfare . . . And improve their economic status by providing work first services, job search, job training, subsidized employment, career-advancing education, job retention, job enhancement, and other methods."
Wouldn't these things help the state of the family? Wouldn't "job training" and "career-advancing education" benefit both parents and children in the end? Does N.O.W. oppose these measures because they WANT people to be unable to support their children? Or is it that these programs would threaten the cherished "victim status" that N.O.W. promotes for all women? It's odd- N.O.W. has always been quite vocal about fathers paying child support money, but here they oppose the very programs that would assist them in doing so.
Some of the provisions of the bill are narrowly written so that specific national father's rights groups will be the only ones to qualify for the funds.
Just like the same way N.O.W. drafts bills that can only benefit specific women's groups?
A provision in the bill would also allow a state to cancel child support arrearages in certain situations; other aspects could undermine state efforts to collect past due child support payments. Other changes to state and federal child support enforcement programs need to be more carefully evaluated.
The bill would allow a state to cancel child support arrearages in certain extremely specific situations (just as they can do now). There are NO provisions that would "undermine state efforts to collect past due child support payments", this is a carefully crafted lie by N.O.W. designed to sway public opinion through emotion, not reason.
Further, H.R. 3073 may not survive a constitutional challenge for gender discrimination. Even though a section was added -- at the request of women's groups -- to say that both men and women are eligible to receive assistance, every other aspect of the Fathers Count Act indicates that programs are intended to help only men. Any bill tying federal benefits to gender would be unconstitutional as it violates equal protection guarantees under the Fifth Amendment.
So even though the bill was amended to eliminate gender disparity, N.O.W. still isn't happy. Instead, they make vague a reference, claiming that other aspects of the bill "indicate" that it's intended to "help only men". Aside from the fact that they don't mention what these "other aspects" are, what's wrong with helping "only men" in certain situations? Do gender-feminists have to get a piece of every pie?
Call (202) 224-3121 today and ask your member to oppose this bill. Some of the goals of H.R. 3073 are laudable, but the approach is all wrong. Groups that actively oppose women having custody of children should not receive federal funding for counseling or mentoring, nor should any organization "fronting" for these interests be awarded public funds. With scarce funds, tell your Representative that when every custodial parent is receiving needed assistance for training, job placement, child care and transportation, then we can start spending money on non-custodial parents who aren't currently taking responsibility for their kids.
Excuse us, but aren't both parents supposed to help support the children? Since the custodial parent already receives tax breaks, child support and other government benefits, exactly what is wrong with helping to ensure that the non-custodial parent can get a job and stay employed?
Finally, we're DISGUSTED at the way N.O.W. labels all non-custodial parents as people "who aren't currently taking responsibility for their kids". This is nothing more than an offensive slap at all non-custodial parents, the majority of whom are men.
The National Organization for Women believes that Congress should slow down the process to develop a bill that is carefully conceived, protects children and their mothers, and assures that irresponsible men's custody groups do not receive millions of taxpayer dollars. Please call your Representative today and follow this up with a call to your two Senators as the bill may move quickly to the Senate.
N.O.W. believes Congress should slow down ANY bill that might help fathers or that might threaten the father-subsidized pocketbooks of N.O.W.'s members. Furthermore, to make the unsupported claim that the Father's Rights groups who helped draft this bill are "irresponsible" is both incorrect and misleading. More Background on the Father's Rights Movement:
The Fathers Count Act could direct over $150 million in federal dollars to private organizations which have been leaders in the so-called men's rights movement. For those of you not familiar with the term, it refers to loosely knit organizations which have sprung up in the wake of tougher enforcement of child support orders and whose goals are to remove physical custody from the mother and award custody to the father (thereby negating his child support obligations).
Here we see what really worries N.O.W.: the "so-called men's rights movement". Hundreds of thousands of men are uniting to address the pervasive gender-discrimination issues that have erased them from their families' lives, driven them into poverty, and branded them as criminals without any charges or trial. We'd say that's more than a "so-called" movement.
We also see the N.O.W. Feminazi's trotting out one of their favorite lies, namely that "fathers only want custody so they won't have to pay child support". Remember, it's unfair and sexist for anyone to say that "mothers only want custody so they can get child support", but it's okay to say that "fathers only want custody because they don't want to pay child support." (Again, the unspoken assumption here is that fathers don't get custody.)
Unfortunately, custody is sometimes awarded to parents who are documented batterers or child sexual abusers. The National Organization for Women has received (and continues to receive) thousands of letters and calls from women who have lost custody, often after blatant violations of due process, false allegations and biased testimony.
Oh boy, talk about the 'pot calling the kettle black'. The message here is that fathers never get custody fairly, they can only get custody through "violations of due process, false allegations and biased testimony". No father could ever be the "better parent", according to the N.O.W. party line. Also, if N.O.W. is so concerned about false allegations (98% of which are made by women), why won't they support penalties for false reporting of allegations? N.O.W. has consistently opposed any kind of penalties for false reporting, and the reason is because they know that it's mainly women who level false allegations of domestic violence and sex abuse. Many women use false allegations to their benefit in divorce and custody battles, and N.O.W. doesn't intend to lose this powerful tool.
These men's groups have organized effectively at the national level to convince key members of Congress and Vice President Gore (who has taken a leadership role on this issue) that they are respectable and responsible entities. Several national "fatherhood" organizations have close ties to fathers' rights groups and have among their membership many extremist activists. These activists maintain numerous websites and chat rooms on the Internet which spout hatred towards women and counsel men on how to get out of child support obligations.
If N.O.W. can organize women at the national level to promote gender bias, men are going to organize to fight it, simply in an effort to avoid being obliterated by the N.O.W. propaganda machine that seems to run night and day. These are men who simply want equal treatment in divorce and custody- and they're labeled "extremists". (And seriously, who do you think is more organized at the national level- the National Organization of Women, or fathers rights groups?) But speaking of "extremist activists", you can find some here and here and here -all courtesy of N.O.W.
The Fathers' Count Act purports to help poor under- and unemployed fathers -- many of whom may be absent parents -- by providing parenting training, maintaining child/access visitation centers, counseling on how to control aggression and anger, become a better marriage partner, improve their credit records, and meet child support obligations. Undoubtedly, these are worthy goals. We question whether any of the men's custody groups who have been instrumental in writing this legislation are appropriate entities to provide such services. We further doubt that they would be effective counselors in assisting fathers on how to meet child support requirements.
If you can't find anything mean to say, just make something up. That seems to be the order of the day for the N.O.W. cadre, who casually link the words "unemployed fathers" to "absent parents" without any justification whatsoever. As to whether men's groups will be "effective counselors" to advise fathers in child support matters, who better to advise than those who are paying? No matter what, N.O.W. always seems to come back to MONEY, and specifically child support money. What matters most to them isn't the welfare of families or children, but money. Money is what they're most concerned about, and maintaining that the status quo of mother-custody at all costs. The proposals in the Fathers Count Act are about making things better, but because these benefits won't go exclusively to women, N.O.W. opposes it vehemently with hate-filled rhetoric and outright lies.
Also, there is insufficient appreciation of the pervasive problem of domestic violence and question whether Congress, in promoting marriage (as the bill specifies), would place more women and children at risk. Right wing religious groups backing this bill have an agenda of promoting marriage at all costs, regardless of the risks some marriages would pose to the safety of women and children.
In the closing paragraph, N.O.W. takes another potshot at ALL men by portraying marriage as dangerous for women and children. (Remember, only women are allowed to have "victim" status.) This may be one of the most offensive ideas, because it's expressed casually as if it were an accepted fact. In fact, it's just another example of the broad-based demonization of men and fathers that N.O.W. works so hard to promote.
Thank you for taking action and for participating in NOW's Action Alert network!
(End of Now Action Alert)
The fact is, the Fathers Count act would give tools and assistance to both mothers and fathers so they can improve their parenting skills. The goal is to reduce the number of divorces and the resultant single-parent households.
Instead of supporting this legislation, the N.O.W. leadership spurns it because it doesn't have a strictly pro-woman orientation. They then put out an "Action Alert" full of lies, half-truths, and distortions. The N.O.W. "Action Alert" slams men, fathers, and marriage in general.
With a stance like this, can the N.O.W. leadership really claim to represent women? We find it hard to believe that the majority of women have the same views as the political leadership of N.O.W. does.