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The Human Toll Behind Out-of-Wedlock Births

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The Human Toll Behind Out-of-Wedlock Births


The numbers are staggering. Out of 120,000 live births in New York City in 2010, more than 54,000 babies were born out of wedlock. The human toll behind the numbers is devastating. Children raised without two parents face much higher odds in every facet of life. It’s as if they are forced to swim with one hand tied behind their backs. Some succeed, most don’t.

Now comes the good news. Mayor Bloomberg is trying to do something about this preventable tragedy.


In a bid to further discourage teen pregnancies, City Hall is plastering a series of provocative ads on subways and bus shelters. With heart-rending shots of distressed children, the posters aim to shock boys and girls into thinking about the consequences of making babies too early in life.

“Dad, you’ll be paying to support me for the next 20 years,” large text says next to one baby boy. A yellow slash serves as a footnote: “Think being a teen parent won’t cost you? NY state law requires a parent to pay child support until a child is 21.”

Another ad features a little girl who says, “Honestly Mom, chances are he won’t stay with you. What happens to me?”

In smaller type, it adds, “90 percent of teen parents don’t marry each other.”

It is a bold program, in message and mere existence. Out-of-wedlock births represent a national epidemic, and the city’s track record is worse. Like clockwork, about 45 percent of live births in the city are born to single mothers each year, against a national rate of 41 percent.

As I wrote in January when I learned the ad campaign was in the works, Bloomberg once rejected my suggestion that he tackle the problem by saying, “You know it’s something we can’t touch,” presumably because of the racial implications. Nationally, 73 percent of black children are born to single mothers.

But the mayor decided he could touch the problem, and deserves praise for leading the way. Perhaps someone pointed out to him that being born out of wedlock is a greater handicap for children than having too many sugary drinks or even smoking.

Children with only one parent do worse in school, are more likely to commit crimes and be poor. They often pass the disadvantages to another generation by having their own children outside of marriage.

My only quibble with the ad campaign is that it focuses on teens, despite the fact that births by unmarried teen mothers represent only 12 percent of the out-of-wedlock total, or about 6,600 in 2010. Most come when the mother is between ages 20 and 29.

Yet with the posters so visible on mass transit, and with social-media efforts to come, it will be hard for any New Yorker to miss the message. That’s fine with Robert Doar, the human-resources commissioner, who pushed for the campaign.

“The implications are similar in terms of the message we want to get out,” Doar told me yesterday. “It’s focused on those who are young, unmarried and out of work.”

Indeed, the crux of the campaign is summed up in a poster that says, “If you finish high school, get a job and get married before having children, you have a 98% chance of not being in poverty.”

Not incidentally, nearly 90 percent of teen births are covered by Medicaid or other programs funded by taxpayers.

Before it launched the ads, the city held focus groups to test the messages. One theme that emerged was that many teens had, as Doar put it, “a higher sense of confidence about their ability to be successful parents than the facts justified.”

“We wanted to push back on that and expose the overconfidence,” he said. “We want people to understand how hard and complicated it is in the long run.”

This being a touchy-feely era, the children on posters are a Noah’s ark of races and ethnicity. Although there is no mention of abortion, the city, in schools, clinics and through the 311 system, offers condoms, contraceptives and morning-after pills.

The ad campaign will cost about $350,000 and run for more than a month. It’s probably too small for its effectiveness to be judged, so here’s hoping Bloomberg will fund a follow-up.

One idea is to go straight at the advantage of marriage and get churches involved. Parents who get married are more likely to stay together than those who don’t and, all other things being equal, that’s far better for children.

Given the stakes, it’s worth a try.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/2013/03/06/the_human_toll_behind_out-of-wedlock_births_303353.html

by on May. 11, 2013 at 12:26 PM
Replies (41-50):
lga1965
by Ruby Member on May. 11, 2013 at 3:21 PM
2 moms liked this

 

Quoting PinkButterfly66:

I would be more impressed with this article if the issue were teen moms, not single moms which encompasses adult females.  Michael Goodwin has no business sticking his nose in the adult female bedroom, vagina or anywhere else.  If he wants to curtail teen pregnancy, I'm all for that.  But it sounds like a patriarchal misogynistic diatribe, and he can go suck rocks.

 But being a single adult mom is not so good either, if she decided to do it all alone and never intended to marry the father. Unless she has a great lucrative career and excellent childcare, single mothers struggle and the kid does too. I know a few. I'm not  being judgmental. I'm being realistic.

I doubt that divorced or widowed moms are a part of this discussion.

Carpy
by Ruby Member on May. 11, 2013 at 3:22 PM
It is probably fairly accurate. When I worked for CPS, I know those stats are kept by welfare depts

Quoting TruthSeeker.:

I wonder how many of the 54000's father's are still I'm the picture or if that is the number of truly single parents.
parentalrights1
by on May. 11, 2013 at 3:25 PM
I didnt slut shame them

I said people need to stop teaching them to feel more manly by their number of partners. Cuz then they just don't care. They don't care about the feelings of the girls and they use them (then blame them for being sluts)

Girls are already slut shamed largely into submission. It might be different if boys werent seeking it out to get as many as possible.

And I not once ever said women should go out and try to be as womanly as possible by ducking everyone. I said their sex lives are their business and they boulder be deemed lesser beings for it

Don't try to twist my words.


Quoting Carpy:

Yet women who do the same thing get your seal of approval. Why do you want to slut shame boys but not girls?



Quoting parentalrights1:

Might help too if we stop teaching boys to associate manliness with scoring. Then maybe they wouldn't seeking every opportunity to have sex

chchchangez
by on May. 11, 2013 at 3:27 PM
1 mom liked this

What about educated, independent, well-off adults who choose to be parents without the social institution of marriage? Where is the tragedy there? Judge not..

Rosesandlilys
by Member on May. 11, 2013 at 3:30 PM


Quoting Jack_Squat:

I think the 54, 000 whatever is misleading. A baby born out of wedlock doesn't necessarily mean it's being raised without its father.

That is a very valid point.

Carpy
by Ruby Member on May. 11, 2013 at 3:30 PM
So? You still show a double standard.

Quoting parentalrights1:

I didnt slut shame them



I said people need to stop teaching them to feel more manly by their number of partners. Cuz then they just don't care. They don't care about the feelings of the girls and they use them (then blame them for being sluts)



Girls are already slut shamed largely into submission. It might be different if boys werent seeking it out to get as many as possible.



And I not once ever said women should go out and try to be as womanly as possible by ducking everyone. I said their sex lives are their business and they boulder be deemed lesser beings for it



Don't try to twist my words.




Quoting Carpy:

Yet women who do the same thing get your seal of approval. Why do you want to slut shame boys but not girls?





Quoting parentalrights1:

Might help too if we stop teaching boys to associate manliness with scoring. Then maybe they wouldn't seeking every opportunity to have sex

PinkButterfly66
by Silver Member on May. 11, 2013 at 3:31 PM

That is a bigoted thing to say.  If that is the case, then why not bash minimum wage earning couples because they're not making enough money to support a family?  Or tell couples that don't make a lot of money and have more than one kid and get food stamps that they're wrong too.

Quoting lga1965:

 

Quoting PinkButterfly66:

I would be more impressed with this article if the issue were teen moms, not single moms which encompasses adult females.  Michael Goodwin has no business sticking his nose in the adult female bedroom, vagina or anywhere else.  If he wants to curtail teen pregnancy, I'm all for that.  But it sounds like a patriarchal misogynistic diatribe, and he can go suck rocks.

 But being a single adult mom is not so good either, if she decided to do it all alone and never intended to marry the father. Unless she has a great lucrative career and excellent childcare, single mothers struggle and the kid does too. I know a few. I'm not  being judgmental. I'm being realistic.

I doubt that divorced or widowed moms are a part of this discussion.


Rosesandlilys
by Member on May. 11, 2013 at 3:34 PM
1 mom liked this


Quoting lga1965:

 

Quoting PinkButterfly66:

I would be more impressed with this article if the issue were teen moms, not single moms which encompasses adult females.  Michael Goodwin has no business sticking his nose in the adult female bedroom, vagina or anywhere else.  If he wants to curtail teen pregnancy, I'm all for that.  But it sounds like a patriarchal misogynistic diatribe, and he can go suck rocks.

 But being a single adult mom is not so good either, if she decided to do it all alone and never intended to marry the father. Unless she has a great lucrative career and excellent childcare, single mothers struggle and the kid does too. I know a few. I'm not  being judgmental. I'm being realistic.

I doubt that divorced or widowed moms are a part of this discussion.

As a single mom myself, let me just tell you what exactly bothers me about this, if you dont mind? Because what you say is true, in some instances, single mothers DO strugle. As one myself, what bothers me about this premise that there is an epidemic, and it needs to be taken care of, is the shame behind it. My son is not a mistake, I wouldnt ever call him that. Was his father a mistake? Maybe. But he wasnt. I dont feel ashamed for having him outside of wedlock, and I shouldnt be made to feel as such. Thats what this article seems to want, is for me to feel ashamed. I have no qualms about telling a young teenage girl who is thinking of having sex, how HARD it is to be a single mom. But I work my ass off for my kids sake, and he is healthy and happy and we are just fine. We certainly dont have every single thing we could ever desire, but we have everything we need.

chchchangez
by on May. 11, 2013 at 3:36 PM

My husband and I were married recently and our daughter is 7.5. He is hands down a model father and the piece of paper and the ring had nothing to do with that fact.

parentalrights1
by on May. 11, 2013 at 3:36 PM
1 mom liked this
No you are mistaken. Boys can have sex and their number is their business too.

It would just be better not to teach them to associate manliness with it because they turn into users and the ones that don't score are treated like dirt. Sex is not a game to keep score and hurt people to get why you want

There's no double standard. I think you don't like the idea of girls not being treated like lesser beings for having sex.


Quoting Carpy:

So? You still show a double standard.



Quoting parentalrights1:

I didnt slut shame them





I said people need to stop teaching them to feel more manly by their number of partners. Cuz then they just don't care. They don't care about the feelings of the girls and they use them (then blame them for being sluts)





Girls are already slut shamed largely into submission. It might be different if boys werent seeking it out to get as many as possible.





And I not once ever said women should go out and try to be as womanly as possible by ducking everyone. I said their sex lives are their business and they boulder be deemed lesser beings for it





Don't try to twist my words.






Quoting Carpy:

Yet women who do the same thing get your seal of approval. Why do you want to slut shame boys but not girls?







Quoting parentalrights1:

Might help too if we stop teaching boys to associate manliness with scoring. Then maybe they wouldn't seeking every opportunity to have sex


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