Celebrating Single Parenthood in Hollywood

Did you hear the happy news? Jodie Foster and Calista Flockhart have new babies!

Camryn Manheim has a new baby, too. And Elizabeth Hurley is expecting! Whether adopting or giving birth, add them and Rosie O'Donnell to the long list of single moms who are celebrated in Hollywood.

But as all these new moms are celebrated, do you notice that there's no talk about any need for a father to guide these kids?

Sounds like Manheim's TV show.

"I'm going to be a single mom," Manheim's character on The Practice said, calling the baby's father "basically just a sperm donor."

"I don't believe I need a man in my life to raise a happy, healthy daughter," Manheim's character told millions of viewers.

Parenting: All-Consuming Job for Two

Hollywood keeps telling us that.

When TV's Murphy Brown gave birth with no father in sight, then-Vice President Dan Quayle complained: "Hollywood thinks it's cute to glamorize illegitimacy. Hollywood doesn't get it."

Quayle was ridiculed for his complaint, while actress Candice Bergen appeared on magazine cover after cover and won an Emmy.

Her producer, Diane English, even said at the 1992 awards ceremony: "As Murphy herself said, 'I couldn't possibly do a worse job raising my kid alone than the Reagans did with theirs.'"

Now Murphy alone, with her good income, might have made a great mom, but I notice that Candice Bergen in real life chose to be a married mom. Bergen also later said that Quayle's point was completely sound, though she thought it was arrogant of him to criticize a program he hadn't seen.

Now I know many single moms do a fine job raising kids. But it's not easy. Parenting is an all-consuming job for two people. And fathers, if not trendy, are useful.

Some studies show that girls with fathers are less likely to be promiscuous, while boys with fathers are less likely to be delinquent. But watching TV, you'd think single women like Elizabeth Hurley having babies is nothing but great news.

"A woman is never more beautiful than when she's pregnant," said the Today show's Matt Lauer, who later talked to a fashion columnist about how Hurley's pregnancy changed her fashion statement.

Role Models for Parenthood?

Celebrating single moms sends a bad message to the little girls who imitate stars. Today, a third of the children born in America are born to single moms. This is not a good thing.

Most won't have it as easy as Elizabeth Hurley or Calista Flockhart.

In Flockhart's case, since she adopted her son, you could say it's great that an unwanted child will now be loved.

But wait a second: 100,000 American couples are waiting to adopt. They'd offer love, too — love from a mother and a father. Yet many never get a child, while stars continue to adopt.

The stars aren't breaking any laws — they just have more money to give to adoption lawyers, and sometimes the stars' fame leads birth mothers to offer them their babies.

The character Flockhart plays on TV, Ally McBeal, often fantasizes about a dancing baby.

"I want a partner, I want sex, I want a house with furniture, I want to have a baby, I want to have all of it," said Ally McBeal.

I hope she gets it. But what will her real-life son get? Flockhart once collapsed during filming, and was then hospitalized for exhaustion. Her spokeswoman blamed workaholism, saying she puts in 17-hour workdays. This is a role model for parenthood?

Flockhart says being a parent, no matter how you do it, is wonderful. Excuse me: It matters how you do it. And doing it without a father is not the best way.

Yet Hollywood keeps gushing. When actress Dyan Cannon heard about Flockhart and her new child, she told Access Hollywood, "She needs something to love when she gets home and on her days off. "

She needs something to love? Get a dog. Give me a break.