Samantha Torrence says: "One of the major societal epidemics in America today is the lack of respect for not only the sanctity of life, but a lack of love for our own children." No surprise that this comes during an epidemic of self-indulgent, irresponsible behavior. Suffering the consequences for one’s actions, it seems, is no fun. So why bother?
The purpose of Torrence’s post is to promote this bill put forth by Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) and his co-sponsors and similar legislation. Ryan’s bill, which has yet to have a vote, would:
(1) reduce the abortion rate by reducing the number of unintended pregnancies and supporting women facing unplanned pregnancies;
(2) prevent unintended pregnancies from occurring in the first place–
(A) by reducing teen pregnancy through education, after-school and other programs, and involving parents; and
(B) by extending Medicaid family planning services to more low-income women; and
(3) support pregnant women, new parents, and their children, through measures that address domestic violence and sexual assault, provide health care services, information about pregnancy, and other supportive services for pregnant women, and provide supportive services for new parents.
Certainly these are worthy goals, as well as being a fiscally-sound investment: The bill specifically states: "By helping couples avoid unintended pregnancy, Medicaid-funded and Title X contraceptive services are highly cost-effective, and every public dollar spent on family planning saves $3 in the cost of pregnancy-related care alone." It’s a logical argument and would make for sound policy, I think.
But I still can’t help but wonder about the fundamental reason why poor women – 73% of women having abortions cited financial fears as a contributing factor – allow themselves to become pregnant. Yes, mistakes get made. But so many? If I’m too poor to have a child, I’m certainly too poor to have unprotected sex.
It’s a fallacy to think that education is the problem. The Ryan bill states that 49% of all pregnancies are unintended. Are we to believe that this is because of ignorance? Obviously not. Virtually every person living in America who is over 10 years of age knows how babies are made. Access to cheap birth control might reduce pregnancies, but I doubt it for one simple reason: Birth control is not expensive, even at market rates.
Another strike against sex education as the core of an unwanted pregnancy reduction strategy is that "only" 20% of abortions are performed on teenaged girls, which means that 80% of abortions are performed on women who fully understand the facts of life.
That’s why I don’t think that Sex Ed is that meaningful in terms of solving the problem. Feel free to shoot me down.
Even so, I believe that schools ought to offer Sex Ed programs. Every little bit helps. Adults have the information and there’s only one valid reason for us not to share it with our youth: parental objections. So let people opt out of the classes and start holding them, by all means. Just don’t plan on distributing birth control through schools – that’s a bit much.
Torrence goes on to link unwanted pregnancies to child abuse and infant homicide, two very probably follow-ons to a mother carrying to term a child who isn’t wanted :
There must be something we are missing here as a society, obviously there has been much progress in the concerns over unplanned pregnancies with minor setbacks. … Why are 14 year olds killing their children or clueless to being pregnant, for that matter why are they sexually active? … Why are Americans killing viable fetuses and then are surprised when someone kills a newborn?
There are a lot of things that we could blame our dysfunction on – Vietnam, hippies, drugs, Bill Clinton, CNN, etc. But it really all boils down to a fundamental reduction in the amount of character people in this country have, compared to previous generations.
George H.W. Bush tried to campaign on this issue in 1992 against Bill Clinton. As a young man I remember hearing his speech when he called for more "personal responsibility" on the part of every American. I laughed. Who could possibly think that was a viable campaign issue? Turns out that he was right. Like a good portion of Americans, I just wasn’t mature enough to understand what he was talking about. The Clinton presidency was our reward for shallow thinking.
Many women who face an unwanted pregnancy do so because their so-called "man" fails to live up to his obligations. That’s a character issue that transcends race and age boundaries. Children who grow up without a father often do so for the same reason – lack of character on the part of their sire. In other cases both parents are utter failures and doom their children to repeating a life like their own.
No government program or well-intentioned bill will change that until individual men – and some women too – decide that children, who should be the pride and joy of every parent and are the hope of this nation, matter enough that they will sacrifice some of their time, money, and even happiness now so that their son or daughter can grow up in decent environment.
It’s hard being a parent. Sometimes it is a job that’s miserable beyond words. But a man who abandons his child is no man at all, regardless of how cool his ride is, how much he can bench, or how many notches he’s got on his bedpost.
Too many boys in America don’t know this. They don’t have a clue how to be a man. So show them. Meet your obligations to these boys, whether they’re your sons, nephews, grandsons, or neighborhood strays.
Love them. Keep your promises. If you don’t know how to do that, start here. Be a man. Jesus would. There’s no reason why we can’t.