The Democrats' War on Women

How the Left confines women and children in poverty.

The so-called Republican "war on women" currently being trumpeted by Democrats (with ample help from an ever-accommodating media) has exposed the absurd depths of the leftist entitlement mentality and its disdain for the concept of religious freedom. It was highlighted by the testimony of Sandra Fluke, who contended that her birth control should be underwritten by others regardless of their religious convictions. Yet if war is defined as something that does genuine damage to the interests of women, it is Democrats, via the sexual revolution and its all-out attack on traditional values, who have waged a war against women for decades. What has the Democratic war on women brought us?

First and foremost, it has brought us the wholesale destruction of the nuclear family, and the resultant poverty and crime that attends it. Currently 41 percent of children are born to single mothers, most of whom are low-income women in their early and mid-20s. In the black American community, that percentage soars to a staggering 72 percent. Male child abandonment is now a rampant aspect of our society. These trends are directly connected to Democrats' and president Lyndon Johnson's "Great Society," and the critical changes they made to the Aid to Families with Dependent Children Program (AFDC). A program once reserved for funding once-married women who had lost the primary male supporter of the family was expanded to include any household where there was no male family head present.

In 1965, Daniel Patrick Moynihan predicted where such a change would lead--when the out-of-wedlock birthrate was 24 percent among black Americans and (4 percent for white Americans). He was excoriated by liberals saying that a "lack of equal education and opportunity" were the true root of the problem. 47 years and triple the number of out-of-wedlock births later, liberals are still using the same rationale to defend their position.

It is a weak argument. Education and opportunity, no matter how widely available, requires at least a minimal effort on the part of the individual to attain either. Yet various studies reveal the utter chaos that informs the lives of an alarming number of children raised by single mothers: they comprise about 70 percent of juvenile murderers, delinquents, teenaged mothers, drug abusers, dropouts, suicides and runaways.

One might think that such a cultural reality would chasten those Democrats dedicated to the idea of "alternative family lifestyles." One would be wrong. A steady stream of cultural sewage "celebrating" single motherhood remains the order of the day among Democratic allies in Hollywood. From Candace Bergen's fatherless child on "Murphy Brown" in 1993, to "Jersey Shore" and the out-of-wedlock pregnancy of Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi in 2012, such lifestyles continue to be promoted.

Yet such promotion ought to be completely anathema to a political party dedicated to class warfare and the growing divide between the rich and the poor. Why? One of the outcomes of the sexual revolution was the "equalization" of sexual mores, as in women have been encouraged to adopt the same kind of sexual promiscuity for which men have been routinely excused, or even applauded. Yet reality intrudes: only women can get pregnant and men can, and do, simply abandon their offspring. And while the advent of the pill and the Roe v. Wade ruling 1973 relieved much of the potential calamity of unwanted pregnancy, it also introduced a much greater level of promiscuity.

Unfortunately, it is a level of promiscuity, despite the prevalence of birth control, that has been handled much better by middle and upper class women: between the years 1994 and 2006, the number of unintended pregnancies among higher-income women fell by 29 percent. Lower income women? A 50 percent increase. And since single motherhood produces children six times more likely to live in poverty--and 80 percent of long-term poverty occurs in single-parent homes--the same class divide denounced by Democrats is the one they are simultaneously promoting.

Such promotion has reached absurd levels. A 17-year-old girl at Pilgrim High School in Warwick, R.I. painted a mural depicting the progression of a boy from childhood to adulthood that ends with a man and woman wearing wedding rings, and standing hand-in-hand with child. She was forced to paint it over when school officials contended that it might be offensive to students who don't come from a “traditional” family. Perhaps he should have been depicted dropping the woman and child off at the social services department and skipping town. Last May, when Texas decided to bar Women’s Health Program funding from abortion providers, including Planned Parenthood, the Obama administration retaliated in March, deciding to withhold $40,000,000 the state received for its Medicaid program. Liberals in general have disdain for the idea that marriage is one of the most reliable antidotes for poverty as evidenced here and here. Their solution? More government spending on anti-poverty programs.

Yet like much of their agenda, the necessity of "more government spending" is nothing more than an attempt to counteract both programs and a cultural ethos championed by Democrats themselves. A 2008 study led by Georgia State University economist Benjamin Scafidi conservatively estimated that single motherhood and male child abandonment cost the U.S. taxpayer $112 billion every year. While making no policy recommendations he further noted that reducing these costs "is a legitimate concern of government, policymakers and legislators." Syracuse University economics professor Tim Smeeding countered that argument. "I have nothing against marriage--relationship-building is great. But alone it's not going to do the job. A full-employment economy would probably be the best thing--decent, stable jobs," he said.

Which argument makes more sense? Certainly higher levels of employment would help the nation. But as noted above, 70 percent of the children who drop out of high school are raised by single mothers. The less education one has, the higher one's level of unemployment. In other words, Democrats have the argument exactly backwards.

Yet it remains viable. Despite the ravages engendered by the erosion of traditional values such as marriage and family, substantial numbers of American women remain convinced that government programs and policies are viable substitutes for responsible behavior. And while "alternative family lifestyles" are no doubt attractive to those who can afford them, the pathologies engendered by many of those lifestyles suggests the "anything goes" culture endorsed by liberals in general, and the Democrat party in particular, is far more destructive than advertised. And make no mistake: when 41 percent of women are having children out of wedlock, Democrats are not just waging a war against women.

It's a war against children as well.

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