My heart goes out to all of the parents who have shared their stories here. Please, though, don't turn this into a fathers vs. mothers issue. There are many noncustodial mothers who have been destroyed by the court system as well, and who are aching with missing their children.
It is high time for change. One can only hope that the country will one day look back on these days as the dark ages in the parent-child relationship and wonder how we, as a society, could have allowed such horrors to have transpired. You do have the power to help this change happen. Don't be silent. Write to your congress-person, write to the governor, speak out.
Kali, thanks for your comments, I agree with much you wrote. The current situation is caused by a stereotype of all mothers being good parents and all fathers being bad parents I will try and supply evidence to show that the stereotype is wrong, don't take that as being anti-mother. I will fight for my rights as a parent, but I don't think the answer is to take away rights from fit mothers. The goal should be equal parental rights for both, and respecting a child's right to two parents.
It's too late to worry about turning this into a fathers vs. mothers issue - the courts and mothers have already made that decision for us, and it is a battle of one against the other, a battle over not just children but 39 Billion Dollars a year.
As long as the courts have the ability to dole out custody and child support to one parent vs the other it will stay a battle between fathers and mothers. However it is an issue that does leave some mothers in similar circumstances, several of whom I've met at the "fathers group" meeting. What the courts have been doing to non-custodial parents and children is a tragedy no matter what the gender of the parent is. I think the solution is to remove the courts ability to award sole custody and child support (the courts haven proven incapable of doing a fair job of it), perhaps then we could get everyone focused on what is best for the children if the parents have nothing to gain or lose.