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NOW Challenges Federal Grant Devoted to Fatherhood

The National Organization for Women (NOW) is making a play for part of the $50 million Promoting Responsible Fatherhood Initiative. NOW says the program illegal because women aren’t included.

According to The Washington Post, NOW and Legal Momentum filed complaints with the Department of Health and Human Services that alleged discrimination.

“What we’re asking them to do is to make sure that the grantees provide equal services to women and men,” said Kathy Rodgers, president of Legal Momentum. “It should be a parenthood initiative.”

Bush administration officials and those who received grants say helping men be better fathers most certainly benefits women as well as children. Beyond that, HHS officials say the programs are already open to women who apply.

Tara Walker, an HHS official, said if women are being turned away, she wants to know about it.

“Yes, fathers are the target group,” she said, “but at the same time allowing equal access is required.”