Progressive Unintended Consequences

According to a NY Times article, more than half of births to American women under age 30 occur outside marriage – and an overwhelming percentage of the women who marry before having children are college graduates. It seems that single motherhood is becoming the norm in low and middle income neighborhoods.

Removing the stigma of single motherhood, the sexual revolution, and a government entitlement safety net combined to lessen the incentive to marry for many. It has reached the point where some women treat single motherhood as a goal. This may be considered to be a progressive “success”, but at what price?

That same NY Times article reports that “Researchers have consistently found that children born outside marriage face elevated risks of falling into poverty, failing in school or suffering emotional and behavioral problems”. The odds are stacked against these children, most of who come from low and middle income homes. Society is then burdened with the task of picking up the pieces.

Kattie Roiphe from Slate, a single mother herself, takes offense with the NY Times and argues (while seeing nothing good about a two-parent family) that one of the reasons these children suffer “…is the culturally ubiquitous idea that there is something wrong or abnormal about their situation”. This doesn’t jive with the facts that show single motherhood is commonplace and accepted, not abnormal, in their neighborhoods. Furthermore, her statement actually concedes that children of single mothers do, in fact, suffer because of it. That, alone, should give one pause in championing single motherhood – but not Kattie.

None of this is new. The entitlement culture cultivated by progressives has had the negative and unintended consequence of conditioning low income families to be dependent on handouts. That conditioning has been passed to the children, resulting in chains of dependent families. Adding to those entitlements does nothing to break that chain, nor does single motherhood.

More unintended consequences are sure to result from the progressive wish to make birth control mandatory for all and abortion an everyday household remedy. A little forethought, common sense, and moderation could avoid many negative consequences. That, unfortunately, doesn’t seem to have a snowball’s chance.

David J. Hentosh

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