Caperton covered the Elizabeth Smart speech about abstinence already, and my Guardian column this week is on a similar topic: How an emphasis on purity is bad for women, bad for men and bad for rape survivors:...read more
It’s not a surprise that the internet situation here is less than perfect, and I’ve had days so packed that by the time I get back to the hotel I just want to pass out, but a few quick observations before I have to run off to another meeting:...read more
Journalist Kathryn Joyce has a new book out called The Child Catchers: Rescue, Trafficking, and the New Gospel of Adoption about (guess what) the Evangelical Christian adoption movement. It’s a fascinating read, enlightening even for those of us who thought they knew something about the problems with the adoption industry. I interviewed Kathryn for Buzzfeed; here’s a bit:...read more
A high-school senior and her classmates speak up for accurate information and against a terrible abstinence-only speaker. An eight-year-old girl chases down a Tennessee state senator to get some answers. And an Oscar nominee shows she’s more than just an exceptionally talented young actress. Today, on Today in Badass Young Women....read more
An ad campaign by the NYC Human Resources Administration would like you to know that your kids hate you for being a teen mom. Or, more accurately, that your future kids will hate you if you become a teen mom, much like the kids of current teen moms hate them. Because Daddy left, and now he’s absent and stuck with child support, and Mommy’s alone and poor, and the kid will never make anything of herself, and why did you not just keep your legs together, Mom?...read more
Go read this piece about how the NYPD can arrest you for carrying condoms and someone please explain to me in what universe any of this makes sense. Trans and carrying condoms? You must be a prostitute, and condoms are the proof! Wearing a tight t-shirt and carrying condoms? You must be a prostitute, and condoms are the proof! A sex worker who is trying to keep herself safe in her work? You are actually a prostitute, so go to jail, or at the very least get your condoms taken away so your work is more dangerous. The condoms-as-evidence policy serves absolutely no one....read more
This entire story about a surrogate mother, Chrystal Kelley, pregnant with a fetus with severe abnormalities, is disturbing and heartbreaking. A low-income woman, desperate for money, agreed to be a surrogate for a wealthier family, something she had done before. Everyone was excited. Then, an ultrasound showed the fetus had several abnormalities — heart problems, organ problems. The parents, who had given birth to two premature babies before and knew the difficulties of raising children with health issues, wanted to terminate the pregnancy. Kelley did not....read more
By now you’ve probably all heard about the baby who was born with HIV in rural Mississippi, and now, at 2 1/2 years old, is HIV-free. The child was given an aggressive round of retrovirals upon birth — s/he was born prematurely to a mother who was HIV-positive but didn’t know it. The child was supposed to continue treatment, but the mother stopped coming to appointments, and the baby didn’t receive treatment for a year. Now, in a miraculous turn, the baby is HIV-free....read more
In 2010, a devastating earthquake hit Haiti, and people around the world mobilized to raise funds for recovery. Nearly three years later, much of Haiti is still in ruins. Part of the problem is that while there are many development groups on the ground, their works are disparate. Unemployment is high, and while there are enormous numbers of Haitians working to rebuild their communities, there isn’t a place for them to come together. JCI, an excellent community-based nonprofit, conducted a detailed needs assessment and is now working on building a community center in Haiti. The center will offer employment opportunities not just in its construction but in its ongoing mission to provide economic empowerment, child care and project development. It’s a great and important project. More details are below. And getting involved is simple. Sign up, shop online and make money for your giving fund....read more
My latest column in the Guardian is about the latest move from a group of conservatives to call a truce on gay marriage and get back to blaming single moms and poor people for destroying marriage itself. They say that poor and middle-class people aren’t getting married, and that’s hurting them financially and socially, keeping them poor. I say that working-class and middle-class people are marrying less often precisely because of economic insecurity: Outdated views of men as breadwinners mean that men who aren’t making enough to support a family may be less enthusiastic about marriage; increases in gender equality mean that working women no longer need to get married for social status and may not want to take on a husband who doesn’t pull his own weight inside the home and out; and with divorce being financially ruinous for women in particular, it’s probably a good idea to avoid marriage if you aren’t reasonably sure you’re hitching yourself to a good horse. If conservatives actually care about the things they say are the purpose of marriage — a good environment for children, family stability, accumulation of personal wealth — then they should support policies that directly promote those things instead of claiming marriage is the one and only solution, because it’s clearly not. A taste:...read more
An elementary school teacher told a story to me once. I was still struggling to learn English, so over the course of the year I asked her often to retell the story.
Years ago in Alabama, the wife of a young preacher received a delivery of red carnations from her husband. They were beautiful, but as she touched them, she noticed they were artificial. When her husband came home, she asked about the flowers. He said, “I wanted to give you something that you could always keep.”...read more
My latest in the Guardian is about that “Rise of Post-Familialism” study that has everyone in a tizzy, panicking that Western nations are facing a baby-shortage and selfish, indulgent single people are ruining the world. I take the position that the very things the study and conservative commentators brand as “selfish” are actually just smart, and the logical responses to both social progress and continued constraint. It’s one of my favorite columns so far, so I hope you’ll read the whole thing. A bit of it:
But the moral case against individualism and choice doesn’t have legs. It’s a moral good when people have a wide array of choices and increased personal freedom – not just for the individual, but also for children, family and society. And the evidence backs that up.