The photos of the immigrants pouring across the border certainly tug at our heartstrings. We've heard stories of the desire of these immigrants to escape threatening conditions, obtain desperately needed medical attention and seek a better life. The exhausted look of the women and frightened faces of the children speak volumes.

Also filling the news lately have been stories about the government's unfairness to women in allowing employers to exempt themselves from paying for certain contraceptives if this runs against their religious beliefs. We are told this is yet another war on women.

Often, the Republicans are blamed for the lack of unconditional acceptance of illegal immigrants and the lack of provision of all types of contraceptives for women. Newspapers like The Sun advance this view. Yet in their analysis of responsibility for these issues there is no mention of a group who should be held considerably more accountable than they have been: men.

Carefully examine the photos of the recent immigrants crossing our border and you will see children and women — often pregnant women. Where are the men who fathered these children? How could these men watch women with minor children they fathered make a treacherous journey with minimal protection and support?

With the contraception issue men tend to be missing from the picture as well. I'd venture to say that except for prostitutes, most women have sex with men who they know, care about and believe care about them. Yet a responsibility on the part of women's sexual partners' to assist with the payment of contraceptives seems not to be considered.

Some politicians and the media are quick to blame Republicans or "closed-minded people" for not wanting to take care of immigrant children or provide free contraception to all women. Yet they give men a free ride. Why?

As a woman who came of age during a time when women had to fight for equality with men it concerns me to see men released from responsibility for taking care of children they created or contributing to the cost of contraceptives for women with whom they enjoy sex.

Women who do not hold their husbands, partners, and lovers responsible for contributing to the cost of contraception and supporting the children they father are bearing an unequal burden and allowing men to have unfair advantage.

While the government does have a role in assisting the truly needy, men have a responsibility for their children and the cost of preventing pregnancies with their sexual partners. Women should expect men to share equal responsibility and the government should foster women's rights by promoting this.

Perhaps the real war on women involves an insidious effort from our government to give men an unfair advantage by allowing them to escape their responsibilities, and to cause women to become dependent on a new husband: the U.S. government.

Charlotte Eliopoulos, Glen Arm

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