My last post was about a new law in Mississippi that requires the collection of cord blood under specified circumstances. (Read the post for details.) I want to further develop some of the ideas there and actually tie it all back to a discussion of “human nature” that came up recently in a series of posts about putative father registries. (I’ve linked to the first in the series. You can read as many as you want and either read or skim the extensive comments, too.)
The proponents of the cord blood collection statute say that their primary concern is teen pregnancy. I think that reducing the rate of teen pregnancy is then tied to increasing prosecution of men who commit statutory rape–which is to say older men who have sex with women who are 16 or under. The way MS law is written, “older” there must mean men over 19.
Let’s assume for a moment that older men are deterred by the prospect that the cord blood DNA will serve as crucial evidence to support their prosecution. (I think this is open to question for some of the same reasons I’m about to discuss in a different context.) Continue reading
Once again I offer apologies for unavoidable inattention. I’ve been in transit again and now face a whole bunch of major family events. All of this means I cannot keep up with comments and it’s hard enough to post. It will be a while longer and then it should all settle down.
Still, this item caught my eye this AM and I wanted to say something about it. I’m sure you can find other versions of it (as I did) but I like the AP one for its summary.
As reported in the papers, a new Mississippi law requires that anytime a girl younger than 16 gives birth and won’t name the father (the genetic father, they mean), the hospital must collect and retain cord blood for DNA testing. Continue reading
Yesterday I wrote about the release of the newest statistics on whose giving birth in the US. There’s a lot of information to digest there and of course, it isn’t easy to figure out what it all means. You can spend some time reading the actual CDC release. But after that you might turn to the media to help give the statistics some meaning. I just wanted to offer a couple of quick notes on the coverage I’ve seen.
I linked to a couple of media reports yesterday–the NYTimes and MSNBC, which is running AP’s story. I think the AP version is the more widespread story. The lead in that one is about the rising number of unwed births. The NYT gets to that point pretty quickly, too.
It’s noteworthy that the rise in unmarried births isn’t immediately portrayed as a bad thing. Indeed, the AP story notes both that some happily unmarried couples have children and that some women are having consciously choosing children on their own. (It seems to me that AP misses an obvious point when it doesn’t note that some of the happily unmarried couple parents are surely same-sex couples who would actually like to be married couples.) Continue reading
Perhaps it is because I’ve been thinking a bit about single motherhood recently, but the new Center for Disease Control stats on births in the US caught my eye. These are statistics for 2007, but they were just released within the last day or so. The statistics themselves and the press coverage of the stats are both interesting. That first link is to the actual report, which I’ll concede is a bit difficult to pick through. There are media stories pretty much everywhere, but here are a couple to look at.
One significant piece of news in the actual report is that “[a]ll measures of childbearing by unmarried women rose to historic levels” in 2007. That one sentence says a lot. “All measures” includes:
- birth rate (the percentage of unmarried women who are having children),
- number of births (the actual number of children born), and
- proportion of births (the percentage of all births that are births to unmarried women).
The report goes on to slice and dice these statistics in a lot of different ways, including breaking them down by age groups. Thus, we learn that births to unmarried women in each age group over 15 increased. Continue reading
I’ve been resisting the coverage of Bristol Palin’s big break-up for several days. But after several days, some of the coverage has actually become just a trifle more reflective. This has actually made me think a bit more and I’ve decided that there might be something for me to say.
Now that it is clear that Bristol Palin will not be marrying Levi Johnston is she a “single mother?” Of course, technically she was always a single mother–as in an unmarried mother. I think part of the reason for the emphasis on her wedding plans during the past presidential campaign was to keep her out of the dread “single mother” category. At the very worst, she was only passing through it briefly, on her way to the more respectable “married mother” category. (Which, by the way, isn’t a category at all. If she had gotten married she would not be a “married mother” but instead a simple, pure and unmodified “mother.”)
Thinking about this seems to demonstrate that the label–“single mother” is deployed for a variety of reasons, some of which are clearly political. I’ve taken to wondering about what it means–what is summoned up when you hear “single mother?” I think it can mean many different things, and that can be unhelpful or confusing. Continue reading