Virtual Library of Newspaper Articles

The Los Angeles Daily Journal

Shouldn't Men Have a Choice, Too?

The Los Angeles Daily Journal and the San Francisco Daily Journal, U.S., by Glenn Sacks, February 18, 2002

Jennifer was crushed when she was told that a baby was on the way. She wants to have children, but the right way--after she has found the right person and is married. But in Jennifer's country, she has no choice. "Jenn" cannot give the child up for adoption, and she cannot terminate the pregnancy. It is her burden to bear, for the next two decades, like it or not.

What country is it which compels a person to have a child they don't want? Afghanistan? Saudi Arabia?

No, it's the United States--not for Jenn, but for Ken.

Ken Johnson, a 10 year veteran of the Seattle Fire Department, wanted to be a father, but with the right woman, and at the right time. Three years ago he and his wife separated after six years of marriage, and each began to date. During this time, according to court documents filed in Snohomish County, Washington, Ken had a brief affair with "Cathy," which resulted in a pregnancy. Ken's legal complaint alleges that he begged Cathy to put the child up for adoption or to terminate the pregnancy, but Cathy refused. Now Ken and his wife, who reconciled two and a half years ago, can't start a family of their own because almost half of Ken's net income from the Seattle Fire Department goes to support the child he didn't want to have. He says:

"People tell me that Cathy should have the choice whether to keep the child or not because it's her body so it's her choice. I agree. But what about my body? I make my living rushing into burning buildings. I put my life and my safety on the line every time I go to work, and now I'm on the hook for 18 years. With the child support demands on me, there's no way I'll ever be able to quit. What about my choice?"

Johnson is part of a growing movement of men who bristle at being "coerced fathers," and who have enlisted in a "Choice for Men" movement whose goals are every bit as legitimate as the goals of the women's reproductive rights movement. They note that one million American women legally walk away from motherhood every year by either adoption, abortion, or abandonment, and demand that men, like women, be given reproductive options. They point out that, unlike women, men have no reliable contraception available to them, since the failure rate of condoms is substantial, and vasectomies are generally only worthwhile for older men who have already married and had children. And they emphasize that, with long backlogs of stable, two-parent families looking for babies to adopt, there is no reason for any child born out of wedlock to a "coerced father" to be without a good home.

The Choice for Men movement seeks to give "coerced fathers" the right to relinquish their parental rights and responsibilities within a month of learning of a pregnancy, just as mothers do when they choose to give their children up for adoption. These men would be obligated to provide legitimate financial compensation to cover natal medical expenses, the mother's loss of income during pregnancy, etc. The right would only apply to pregnancies which occurred outside of marriage.

Some of those who fought for women's reproductive choices agree with choice for men. Karen DeCrow, former president of the National Organization for Women, writes:

"If a woman makes a unilateral decision to bring a pregnancy to term, and the biological father does not, and cannot, share in this decision, he should not be liable for 21 years of support ... autonomous women making independent decisions about their lives should not expect men to finance their choice."

To date, courts have refused to consider fathers' reproductive rights even in the most extreme cases, including: when child support is demanded from men who were as young as 12 when they were statutorily raped by older women; when women have taken the semen from a used condom and inserted it in themselves, including from condoms used only in oral sex; and when women concealed the pregnancy from the man (denying him the right to be a father) and then sued for back and current child support eight or ten years later.

"It doesn't make sense to me," Ken's wife Patti says. "The courts force my husband and I to support a child he never agreed to, but make it financially impossible for him to have a child with the woman he loves and married."

Copyright 2001 - 2004 Glenn Sacks All Rights Reserved.

National Post

Father's suicide becomes rallying cry for fairness in court

April 1, 2000

BRANDON, Man. - Thirty-five years ago today, Lillian White gave birth to her youngest son. Yesterday, she knelt down and kissed his coffin at his graveside.

Darrin White committed suicide two weeks ago in Prince George, B.C., after a judge ordered him to pay his estranged wife twice his take-home pay in child support and alimony each month.

In death he has become a poignant symbol of family courts gone awry, of a divorce system run by people with closed minds, hard hearts and deaf ears. Read More ..

Teen depression on the increase in U.K.- teen suicide statistics

Teen depression on the increase

More and More teens are becoming depressed. The numbers of young people suffering from depression in the last 10 years has risen worryingly, an expert says.

BBC, UK, August 3, 2004

Government statistics suggest one in eight adolescents now has depression.

Unless doctors recognise the problem, Read More ..uld slip through the net, says Professor Tim Kendall of the National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health.

Guidelines on treating childhood depression will be published next year. Professor Kendall says a lot Read More ..eds to be done to treat the illness.  Read More ..

Family Conflict and Suicide Rates Among Men

by Dr. Hazel McBride Ph.D. June 9-10, 1995

Violence and Abuse within the Family: The Neglected Issues

A public hearing sponsored by The Honourable Senator Anne C. Cools on June 9-10, 1995 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Transcript of Dr. Hazel McBride's presentation on the relationship between family conflict and suicide rates among men.  Read More ..

SUICIDE

Reasons Why Young Men Commit Suicide

PA News, U.S.A., By John von Radowitz, Science Correspondent, September 28, 2003

Broken marriages, living a single life and lack of income are the three factors chiefly to blame for a surge in suicides among young men, a new study has shown.

Suicide rates in England and Wales have doubled for men under 45 since 1950, but declined among women and older age groups of both sexes.

Researchers trying to discover why found that between 1950 and 1998 there were worsening trends for many suicide risk factors.

These included marital break up, birth and marriage declines, unemployment and substance abuse.

But those most associated with young men aged 25 to 34 were divorce, fewer marriages, and increases in income inequality.

National Post logo

Quebec men more likely to commit suicide than women

Rate is especially high among baby boomers, statistics reveal. Read More ..

Centre for Suicide Prevention

Centre for Suicide Prevention 

The Centre for Suicide Prevention has three main branches:

The Suicide Information & Education Collection (SIEC) is a special library and resource centre providing information on suicide and suicidal behaviour.

The Suicide Prevention Training Programs (SPTP) branch provides caregiver training in suicide intervention, awareness, bereavement, crisis management and related topics. Suicide Prevention

Research Projects (SPRP)  advocates for, and supports research on suicide and suicidal behaviour.

invisible suicides

Invisible Suicides

StatsCan recently reported on a 10% increase in suicides. But StatsCan persists in ignoring the group of Canadians at greatest risk for suicide, as do the media and professional reports.

Suicide is a microcosm for those most under stress and most at risk of unresolved crisis in society. Suicides may logically be categorized as 100% citizens of Canada, and then as 79% male. The most critical measure of depression - suicide - is counted overwhelmingly in male corpses. For over 23 years widespread media and professional attention concentrated on 12,500 AIDS deaths, compared to little concern with 92,000 suicides.  Read More ..

Presentation to the Standing Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs of the House of Commons concerning Bill C-68 - Firearms Act.

by Brian L. Mishara, Ph.D. Past President, Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention and Professor of Psychology at the Université du Québec a Montréal.   Read More ..

CYF project halves child suicide rate

The New Zealand Herald, BY LEAH HAINES, October 10, 2004

A three-year project by welfare and health agencies has halved the rate of suicide among some of the country's most at-risk children.

Researchers say the project has the potential to put a massive dent in New Zealand's youth suicide rate - currently the highest in the developed world.

The results of the Towards Well Being suicide monitoring project were due to be presented to an international conference on youth suicide this weekend and are expected to gain global attention. Read More ..

Family Conflict and Suicide Rates Among Men

by Dr. Hazel McBride Ph.D. June 9-10, 1995

Violence and Abuse within the Family: The Neglected Issues

A public hearing sponsored by The Honourable Senator Anne C. Cools on June 9-10, 1995 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Transcript of Dr. Hazel McBride's presentation on the relationship between family conflict and suicide rates among men.  Read More ..