Saturday, November 29, 2014

“Fixing” the family

“The destiny of humanity passes through the family.” –Pope John Paul II

At Public Discourse, Rachel Sheffield looks at the brokenness of said family and liberals’ quixotic plan to “fix” it with sterilization. That it happens to further the corporeal license the sexual revolution gave us is mere coincidence, I’m sure.

[Isabel] Sawhill believes that “we may have reached a tipping point” of unwed births. Now “something must take [marriage’s] place.” She proposes replacing the norm of married parenting with a new norm: waiting to have a baby until you are “ready.”

“Social norms that used to stigmatize unwed parenting now need to stigmatize unplanned parenting,” she writes. The way to accomplish planned parenting is by disconnecting sex from childbearing, to “change the default from having children to not having children until you and your partner want them and are both ready to be parents.” She posits that the disconnection of sex from childbearing can be accomplished through “new low-maintenance and long-acting forms of birth control.” These types of birth control require people to “opt-in” to parenting (for example, by having a doctor remove an intrauterine device), rather than “opt out” (by remembering to take a daily birth control pill).

No doubt a doctor paid for by Obamacare, administering the state’s requirements for couples wanting to have children. This would be like the one-child child policy, in which Chinese couples “apply” to the Communist government to have a second child. In this American liberal’s vision it’s worse: You need permission for the first child as well.

Sheffield continues:

But “planned parenthood” is a poor replacement for marriage. Sawhill’s plan to promote long-acting birth control fails to address the core problem of unwed births: the breakdown of relationships between men and women in lower-income and working-class America. Those in the higher income portions of the population continue to participate in marriage at high rates and to reap its benefits. Officially lowering the bar for the other two-thirds of America would put more people at risk for the consequences of family breakdown.

As David Blankenhorn of the Institute for American Values wrote recently in response to Sawhill, “abandoning marriage as a social standard will do nothing to address the actual problems caused by the weakening of marriage. ... An abundance of evidence tells us that marriage matters, whether we say so or not.” He also notes, “Individual responsibility doesn’t begin and end with the individual—it also depends for its success on social institutions that encourage and guide it.”

Marriage provides stability unlike that of any other human relationship. Marriage connects parents, particularly fathers, to their children. One major reason children in married-parent homes are so much less likely to be poor—80 percent less likely—is because the father and his income are connected to the child.

And marriage provides more than money. Children raised by their married, biological parents are more likely to thrive and to avoid behaviors that would hinder their ability to succeed. Children from married-parent homes do better academically, and are less likely to go to prison or participate in negative behaviors like early sexual activity. Other family forms like cohabitation don’t deliver the same benefits.

Sawhill’s strategy leaves all responsibility on the woman. It says a woman can have a baby when she is “ready,” but it says nothing to a man about making a lifelong commitment to that woman and that baby. It also perpetuates a culture of anything-goes sexuality that contributes to poorer marital quality.

George Akerlof and Janet L. Yellen wrote in 1996 for the Brookings Institution about how the proliferation of the birth control pill facilitated the lowering of the expectation that a man should marry a woman if she became pregnant. They explained:

By making the birth of the child the physical choice of the mother, the sexual revolution has made marriage and child support a social choice of the father.

Many men have changed their attitudes regarding the responsibility for unplanned pregnancies. As one contributor to the Internet wrote recently to the Dads’ Rights Newsgroup, “Since the decision to have the child is solely up to the mother, I don’t see how both parents have responsibility to that child.”

It is doubtful that promoting the newest version of birth control would somehow reconnect fathers to their children. Really, the problem is not that there hasn’t been enough focus on birth control, but that there hasn’t been enough focus on marriage.

But marriage is a binding of flesh, a constricting of liberty in its modern interpretation. That anyone could find such permanent sexual arrangement desirable!

This is how sterilization will be sold to men: “You don’t want her to make you a father the rest of your life, do you?” This is how sterilization will be sold to women: “You don’t have to put off your career. Freeze your eggs. You can have it all.”

“Egg freezing allows women more freedom to have a baby later” is the headline:

Dr. Retzloff says egg freezing can literally allow a woman to ‘have it all.’ He says when the woman gets older and has made her professional reputation, she can then decide to have the children.

“The egg is typically fertilized in the laboratory with her partner’s semen, and then that is inserted into the uterus,” he said.

Assuming the partner is male. If not, the lesbians require equal access to male gametes.

Dr. Retzloff says the process of egg freezing to put off childbirth for professional reasons is relatively new, but women who have suffered from certain types of cancer, and undergoing cancer treatment which effects fertility, have engaged in egg freezing for a decade or more, and he says the babies are born without complications, and the process proceeds just like standard conception and childbirth.

“Her health and her ability to carry a child can easily be maintained easily into her fifties,” he said.

Some large companies, including Apple and Facebook, anxious not to lose key employees to maternity leave during their most productive years, have actually held ‘egg freezing parties’ to familiarize women with the process. Many include the expensive process in their company health insurance plans.

He says women no longer have to make choices based solely on their biology; a choice men in the work place have never had to make.

No, no man ever left a job because he couldn’t physically do it. The bigger the lie, the more faithfully people pledge themselves to it.

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