Thursday, March 19, 2009

U.S. births broke record in 2007; 40% were out of wedlock

From the AP via the Houston Chronicle:

However, the teen birth rate was up for the second year in a row.

The birth rate rose slightly for women of all ages, and births to unwed mothers reached an all-time high of about 40 percent, continuing a trend begun years ago. More than three-quarters of these women were 20 or older.

For a variety of reasons, it’s become more acceptable for women to have babies without a husband, said Duke University’s S. Philip Morgan, a leading fertility researcher.

Even happy couples may be living together without getting married, experts say. And more women — especially those in their 30s and 40s — are choosing to have children despite their single status.


Meanwhile, U.S. abortions have been dropping to their lowest levels in decades, according to other reports. Some have attributed the abortion decline to better use of contraceptives, but other experts have wondered if the rise in births might indicate a failure in proper use of contraceptives. Some earlier studies have shown declining availability of abortions.

Cultural attitudes may be a more likely explanation.

More here.

A few observations.

1. It's time for white racist assholes to shut the fuck up about the problem with black single mothers. This isn't a black problem, if it is indeed a problem at all; this is an American problem. But like I said, it may not even be a problem. If single women want to have children, they should be able to do so without shame or social stigma, and with a great deal of help from the government, you know, free day care, free health care for both mothers and children, for everybody really, steep increases in the minimum wage, which tend to drive up all wages, and on and on. We really need to craft a society that is family friendly. Damned shame that all those "family values" idiots are dead set against such a thing.

2. It's well past time to define the word "family" as being something that includes much more than groups of people consisting of a father, mother, and their children. Really, in practice, that's happened some time ago. It's only the corporate media and asshole politicians who haven't caught up yet. Unfortunately, that also means the law hasn't caught up with reality yet, either.

3. Regardless of whether we have the will or ability to make the US more family friendly, you know that some of these single mothers didn't want to be mothers at all, especially the teenagers: "abstinence based" sex education has got to go, got to be replaced by comprehensive sex ed, which teaches kids how to use condoms, and why they are so extraordinarily important, rather than ignoring them, or lying about birth control failure rates. Likewise, forty years of anti-abortion propaganda has to be reversed. There is no shame in having an abortion if you don't want to be pregnant. Society shouldn't guilt people into having children they don't want.

And if we can get everybody on the birth control bandwagon, abortion, as an issue, would be exceedingly rare in incidence. Why can't the "pro-life" people understand that?