A report “Love, Marriage, and the Baby Carriage: The Rise in Unwed Childbearing,” from Senator Mike Lee’s Social Capital Project disentangles some of the factors of how we got to approximately 40 percent of pregnancies occurring outside of marriage in the U.S.
The report data shows that in the early 1960s, 43 percent of unwed pregnancies precipitated a hasty, “shotgun” marriage. Today, only 9 percent of unwed pregnancies result in such quick marital arrangements. Young couples no longer see the necessity of getting married because a child is coming.
Unmarried people as a group had previously limited their sexual activity, concerned about both unwanted pregnancy and social stigma, the report found. But they, too, began having sex earlier and more frequently as they gained access to hormonal contraception and as changing attitudes made premarital sexual relations more acceptable.
“Further societal changes made unmarried childbearing, not just sex, more acceptable, such that half of births from nonmarital pregnancies today are intended,” VerBruggen observed [deputy managing editor of National Review].
The authors of the report do not think that abortion is a significant contributor to these trends, he explained. The abortion rate increased during the 1970s but dropped in the following decades and remains by all measures lower today than when Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973. CP
The report concludes:
But to date, we have tended to spend additional wealth to pursue individual and personal priorities. That has eroded our associational life—including the stability of our families, especially among disadvantaged families who have enjoyed the fruits of rising affluence less than others have. Continuing to make the same choices with our ever-higher purchasing power threatens to diminish the quality of life for rich and poor alike. Senate Report
It’s all about me!
A shift in mindset about sex has reorganized adult priorities while having grievous consequences on children, another scholar pointed out.
“People today generally believe that unlimited sex is an entitlement and that children have only the rights adults choose to give them. This is called ‘reproductive justice,’ because it neutralizes the impact of children on education and career, and supports ‘equality’ between men and women,” said Jennifer Roback Morse, president of the Ruth Institute, in an interview Tuesday with The Christian Post.
“But if you believe that kids need and are entitled to a relationship with both their own parents, the moral calculus changes considerably.”
Sex outside of marriage puts the prospective children at risk of experiencing at least one form of injustice, Morse went on to say. They are either killed via abortion; put at risk of a weak or nonexistent relationship with one parent, often the father; or are placed for adoption, separating the child from their biological parents, at least for the duration of their childhood, she explained. CP