According to an article in today’s USA Today 47-million Americans will see an average cut of $36 from their average benefit of $668 per month for a family of four. In the article they write, “Two factors are driving the fiscal squeeze. The first is the windup of additional SNAP allocations under President Obama’s 2009 stimulus bill. The second is the inability of Congress to agree on a new farm bill.” SNAP is the Federal program administered by the Department of Agriculture that oversees the benefits program.
So…you may ask…what does the headline of this blog have to do with the facts I just shared? I’m glad you asked.
When I was growing up in the 70s and 80s to be asked the question Should single young women have sex, ever? The answer from a majority of people on this planet was not “No”. The answer was, “Of course not.” In fact prior to the past 10-20 years there was not a time or place in human history when the answer to that seemingly simple question was anything but negative. In virtually every culture and every religion young ladies were expected to “save themselves” for marriage. Of course, not every woman did. Nor did every young man (BTW- the hypocrisy of society’s views of sexually active single young men versus women is something of which this author is aware. I ask your forgiveness and understanding for not addressing it as a point in this blog). But for women, failing to adhere to society’s established social mores carried derision and rejection and harsh labels should the fact that they had sex outside of marriage become widely known; something that became certain were the woman to become pregnant. And becoming pregnant happened with greater frequency before birth control.
But in the past 20 years nobody bats an eye at the thought of young women and young men enjoying sex. And doing it frequently. As a result the number of babies born to unwed mothers in this country is at an all time high of 40.7%. According to a report called, “Knot Yet: The Benefits and Costs of Delayed Marriage in America.” by the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia (hardly a home for Conservative political thought) 44% of women have given birth by the age of 25, but only 38% of them are married.
And the results are sadly predictable. While the economy slowly improves and poverty levels off a new report in September 2013 showed that poverty is increasing sharply for single-mother households. 4.1 Million are in poverty. And that number is growing. Census demographers said that single motherhood, while on a steady uptick since the 1940s, has accelerated in recent years. The birth rate for unmarried women in 2007 was up 80 percent in the almost three decades since 1980, the report said. But in the previous five years alone, between 2002 and 2007, it was up 20 percent.
The report also said Asian women were the least likely to have kids out of wedlock 11%; whites were below the national average too- 29%, Hispanics 43%. 68% of black women recently giving birth were single mothers. Corresponding with this data is the poverty rate by race. Whites and Asians make up the lowest percentage of those in poverty. Blacks and Hispanics along with Native Americans make up the highest. Can anyone really be surprised by this information?
I recently engaged in a Facebook comment debate with an unknown woman over the subject of raising the minimum wage (Again a related but separate subject which I won’t discuss here for the purpose of brevity). In the discussion the woman stated that she financially supported her working daughter and two grandchildren. I praised her and pointed out my feelings, that is exactly what family is supposed to do, help loved ones when they need help or get in trouble. The woman went on to write: “I am on a fixed income and it means that I can’t pay for all the things I would like to fix around the house. Helping family is what comes naturally to most people, but I wish she could get paid a decent wage.” What this woman failed to understand was that her daughter’s wage wasn’t what made her poor or at least unable to fully support herself financially. It was being a single mother of two children that made her a financial burden to her family. Based on statements made in the comment-string I learned the woman made too much money to qualify for food stamps. Through pure conjecture I can surmise that the young woman would be financially capable of supporting herself with such an income were she a single woman, or if she were married to the children’s father and he also was bringing in an income.
2012 Republican Presidential candidate Rick Santorium stirred up some controversy when he pointed out a Brookings Institution study that as he put it: “Graduate from high school, work hard, and get married before you have children and the chance you will ever be in poverty is just two percent. Yet if you don’t do these three things you’re 38 times more likely to end up in poverty!”
This all leads me to my question, “Should Single Young Women Have Sex, Ever?” Isn’t the answer obvious? Short of being independently wealthy, or educated and employed with a HIGH income the answer is “absolutely not”. It’s true most religions advocate men and women refrain from sex prior to marriage. But this has nothing to do with religion or morality…other than the morality of being a self-supporting asset to society versus someone feeding from the public trough who selfishly decides to engage in sex when you were financially incapable of dealing with the consequences. It takes discipline. It’s hard. But we would say the same of all worthwhile endeavors.
People make mistakes and should always be helped and supported when they do, by family first, and society. We shouldn’t ever negatively label single mothers or condemn them. In fact they should be praised for giving their child life, versus the alternative. But where we can do better for these women, and society as a whole is to call intentional single motherhood what it use to be, a poor decision that should be discouraged and avoided. And the only sure-fire way to avoid it, is to avoid sex out of marriage. Calm down. No one is taking your rights away. Not now, and hopefully not ever. But pointing out better behavior versus behavior that can be destructive is what all of us should be doing at all times for the love of the people we most care about.
Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.
- Noble motherhood and women (durbam2002.wordpress.com)
- Bombshells and Baby Daddies: How Single Moms Are Destroying Kids and Society, Part 1 (pjmedia.com)
- Census: No sign of economic rebound for many in US (thehartford.com)
- Christian Single Mothers Remain Faithful In Tithing to God Despite Being on Food Stamps (blackchristiannews.com)
- Almost Half Of Young Japanese Women Are Not Interested In Sex (businessinsider.com)
- Why young women are going off the pill and on to contraception voodoo | Hadley Freeman (theguardian.com)
- Pastor’s refusal to bless child of unwed mother was wrong (jsonline.com)
- More young women trapped in low-paid, low-skilled jobs (theguardian.com)
- Young women ‘trapped’ in low pay (bbc.co.uk)
- Food stamp benefit cuts to hit Ohioans (toledoblade.com)
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