Mary Cheney’s pregnancy poses problems not just for her child, but also for all Americans. Her action repudiates traditional values and sets an appalling example for young people at a time when father absence is the most pressing social problem facing the nation. With 37 percent of American children born to fatherless families, Mary Cheney is contributing to a trend that is detrimental to all Americans who will live with the ramifications of millions of children whose anger and frustration at not knowing their father will be felt in the public schools and communities of our nation.
Yes, I’m sure Mary Cheney’s child will be at a significant disadvantage, being born into a wealthy and prestigous two-parent family.
Mary Cheney is among that burgeoning group of adult women over age 20 that are driving the trend of women who don’t want a man in the picture, but want to have a baby. These older women are pushing out-of-wedlock birth statistics higher and higher. At a time when teen births and teen abortions are declining dramatically, older women are having more un-wed births and more abortions, including repeat abortions (indicating that they are using abortion as birth control).
I think it speaks volumes that Janice believes females over the age of 20 are “older women.”
Given the fact that I’ve hit the ripe old age of 23, and at Feministe we respect our elders, allow me to impart a piece of wisdom upon you youngins*: the idea that women who have repeat abortions are “using abortion as birth control” is one of the dumber arguments ever made. Birth control, by definition, means controlling the number and spacing of your children, right? So any abortion would be a form of birth control. One, two, five, or ten, it don’t matter. Consider: if you use a condom once, is it not birth control, but use it twice and then it is?
I’m also amused at her apparent idea that “older” women like me are running around getting pregnant 15 times over and never, ever using contraception because they can just have expensive, invasive surgery instead. Abortion, as I understand it, is no walk in the park. But for a lot of women it is preferable to nine months of pregnancy, childbirth, and then either adoption or a lifetime of parenthood. Most women are fertile for a few days every month for a couple of decades. That’s a whole lot of opportunity to get pregnant when you don’t want to be, even if you do use contraception.
Well-educated, professional Mary Cheney is flying in the face of the accumulated wisdom of the top experts who agree that the very best family structure for a child’s well-being is a married mom and dad family. Her child will have all the material advantages it will need, but it will still encounter the emotional devastation common to children without fathers.
One Georgia high school principal reported, “We have too many young men and women from single-mother families that don’t have the role models at home to teach them how to deal with adversity and handle responsibility. They’ve seen their mom work 60 hours a week just to put food on the table; they end up fending for themselves.”
I don’t doubt that children from single-mother families have a harder time, but it’s clearly simplistic to assume that they have a harder time because they don’t have their dad around. Single mothers are more likely to be poor; they’re more likely to work long hours at low-paying jobs; they often have fewer financial resources to offer their children. But that’s a problem with poverty, with out country’s lack of a social safety net, and with the fact that we like to image ourselves as a meritocracy, when in fact our chances for success are deeply tied to the social position into which we were born. It’s a problem with sexism, wherein women as a group make less than men as a group, and wherein men are more often financially better off after divorce, whereas women are worse off.
Two-parent homes often mean two incomes, which allow children greater access to things like a private school education or a home in a neighborhood with well-funded public schools, recreational activities, academic assistance and private tutoring, a college education, etc. Even if there isn’t a dual income, two-parent families can often provide more support for children, since they’re better able to share childcare responsibilities.
That isn’t to say that single-parent families are deficient in any way. My mom grew up as the youngest of five raised by a single mom, and there was certainly no shortage of love or support in that house. I grew up in a two-parent household, but my parents divorced when I went to college. The love and the support is still as strong as ever — but the financial reality is definitely more difficult.
Of course, this doesn’t really apply to the Cheney-fetus, does it? That kid will be born into a two-parent household, to parents who have been together for 15 years. Mary Cheney isn’t a single mother.
As they grow older, fatherless children tend to have trouble dealing with male authority figures. Too often children in single-mother households end up angry at their absent fathers and resentful of the mother who has had to be a father figure, too. Typically, the boys who have a love-hate relationship with their mother end up hating all women. Numerous of them look for vulnerable women where they can act out their anger and be in control.
Typically, Janice makes totally unsubstantiated assertions about the mindsets of young men.
Mary’s pregnancy is an “in-your-face” action countering the Bush Administration’s pro-family, pro-marriage and pro-life policies. She continues to repudiate the work to which her father has devoted his life. Mary has repeatedly said that “studies” show that children only need a loving home. Her statement is incomplete because the experts agree that for the well-being of children, they desperately need a married father and a mother.
Damn right it’s an in-your-face action countering the Bush Administration’s policies, but not for the reasons that Janice lists. It’s an in-your-face counter-action because Mary Cheney is asserting that her body is her own, and that her decisions around reproduction are no one’s business but hers and her partner’s — and that she certainly isn’t going to allow her father and her father’s friends to dictate how her uterus should be used. She’s making the choices that are right for her. Like millions of other Americans, she’s part of a non-traditional family, and she’s expanding that family to include a child. She’s not apologizing for it. She’s not shaping her reproductive life around someone else’s value system.
That is indeed antithetical to everything the Bush administration stands for. Their policy is that there is one and only one way to live a virtuous life, and that their moral code should not only be universal, but should be the only moral code backed with government funding and support, to the point where they’re willing to flat-out lie and even be complicit in tens of thousands of deaths in order to maintain it. Conveniently, that moral code unilaterally benefits the wealthy, the heterosexual, the Christian, and the male among us (otherwise known as “people like them”). So while I’m no big fan of Mary Cheney, good on her for taking her reproductive life into her own hands, and refusing to tailor her life to the desires of the people around her. Even George has reportedly issued his congratulations. Now if only his administration would extend that same courtesy to women who aren’t the Vice President’s offspring.
*And now, to steal Zuzu’s joke, get offa my lawn.
Similar Posts (automatically generated):
- The Mommy Shift by Jill November 5, 2005
- Why the Life of the Mother is Not a Valid Exception for Abortion by Jill July 19, 2006
- The True Moral Majority by Lauren February 23, 2005
- Little People With Poor Deduction Skills by Lauren August 11, 2006
- Marry Me, Katha Pollitt by Jill October 1, 2005