Wisconsin State Senator Glenn Grothman is concerned about child abuse and neglect. He sits on a state committee that makes recommendations on how to handle the problem. The problem for Grothman is that he sees the problem in simplistic terms. Grothman sees marriage as some sort of automatic cure to child abuse. His solution was to introduce SB 570 which would require “The Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board to emphasize nonmarital parenthood as a contributing factor to child abuse and neglect.”
While it is a good idea to help unmarried couples or single or widowed parents, this is not what Grothman is trying to do. His effort is not to provide education, training or other guidance to parents and children in high risk categories. It is his idea to simply get these parents to wed because the problem will then lessen magically.
Grothman is right that 40% of the births in the U.S. are outside of marriage. He is also right that most of those births come in unstable situations. In the past, when almost all births were from married couples, there was still plenty of child abuse and neglect. That was because failed marriages stayed intact. Violence and abuse was endemic in those situations. Today, those bad marriages either never happened or ended quickly.
It is not accurate to say that just because a couple in a bad family situation is married then the children are safer. The problem of a poor family environment still exists whether a couple is married or not.
Nevertheless, Grothman sees this as simply a matter of choice. In Grothman’s eyes, the “unwanted or mistimed pregnancies” are the “choice of the women.” Yes, these are Grothman’s thoughts: Single women are getting pregnant by the millions deliberately. Grothman has done everything but throw pity at the poor men entrapped by these mischievous and lustful women.
Grothman put it another way. He said “I think a lot of women are adopting the single motherhood lifestyle because the government creates a situation in which it is almost preferred.”
According to Grothman, the problem has twin causes. Government is creating a society where single motherhood is the standard. Despite no political agenda pushing this idea, it makes for a good sound bite for Grothman’s pro-family allies. Pro-family, by the way, only applies if one is married.
With this view, it would seem that Grothman might support widespread availability of contraceptives. Not surprisingly, Grothman introduced a bill a while back promoting abstinence, not contraceptives. Instead of promoting concrete solutions to lessen unwanted pregnancies, Grothman thinks people should go against human biology and suppress their natural desires. That is just another of Grothman’s simplistic solutions.
As mentioned earlier, Grothman sees this problem as simply one of choice. “Unwanted pregnancies” are decisions made by women. Of course, most people take “unwanted” to mean something that a person doesn’t want. In Grothman’s doublespeak, “unwanted” means wanted. The “unwanted” part is just a ploy, according to Grothman.
“I think when you have an epidemic of this great proportion; people are not so dumb that it’s surprising when they get pregnant. I think people are trained to say that ‘this is a surprise to me,’ because there’s still enough of a stigma that they’re supposed to say this.”
So Grothman sees this epidemic of births outside of marriage as a desire by women to get government benefits so that they can live comfortably. These women then wryly profess surprise at what is actually a planned pregnancy.
Grothman’s solution is at the 4:25 mark in the video listed below. He sees women holding off having children until married or putting them up for adoption. That’s quite a solution to have 40% of the births in this country deferred or placed for adoption. Of course, Grothman would never back having single parents adopt, and probably not any of the same-sex couples either. Perhaps in Grothman’s world the unadopted can sit in orphanages. After all, with the millions put up for adoption in Grothman’s world, it is going to take sometime to find homes for them.
Anyone who thinks that all of the births outside of marriage are coming by choice is living in a fool’s world. That’s almost as bad as thinking that marriage in a relationship where the couple doesn’t want to get married is going to reduce child abuse. Grothman’s plan is more about blaming women than protecting children. It is political posturing and hot air that won’t solve a single case of child abuse or neglect.