Again, a relevant comment from Robert Rector: "[L]iberal politicians...have a vested interest in the growth of the welfare state, and nothing grows the welfare state like the disappearance of marriage." And what happens then? The bigger the welfare state grows, the more powerful it becomes. Beware a government bearing gift s, because every one of them comes with strings attached. Over time, those strings grow into heavy chains.
Basically, the decline of the family is a failure of personal responsibility. The personal rights of each one of us are sacred, a part of our connection to God, but they are linked to our personal responsibilities.
If we fail to live up to those responsibilities, we will lose our rights. And the state, following its own agenda, will take over.
The Worst of Both Worlds: Out-of-Wedlock Birth and Abortion
If we could hop into our "way-back machine" and travel to Washington in 1965, we might find a young Daniel Patrick Moynihan, then working at the Department of Labor in his presenatorial days, prepared to issue a report about the rate of out-of-wedlock births among African Americans. He is clearly dismayed to report that it's almost 25 percent. Now let's zip forward again to 2008 for the latest statistics then: almost 75 percent, or exactly the reverse of the 1965 ratio of illegitimate-to-legitimate births! I can hear Senator Moynihan now from beyond the grave, intoning, "I told you it was getting bad. . . ."
There's more bad news from 2008. Among whites, out-of-wedlock births were almost 29 percent, higher than the rate among blacks back when Moynihan sounded his alarm. Moreover, at 41 percent, the overall out-of-wedlock birthrate for all Americans was the highest ever, compared with just 5 percent in 1960. So it's safe to say that every group is moving dramatically in the wrong direction.
What to do? Well, when we compare out-of-wedlock births by state, those with higher incomes and education levels show lower rates. Some observers, as you might imagine, infer that this statistic suggests a socioeconomic problem that can be solved by helping more teens stay in school so that they can go on to college and higher-paying jobs. But wait: It's not quite so elementary, my dear Watson.
Let's look more closely at the situation. While red states do indeed have more out-of-wedlock babies, the blue states have—perhaps you've already guessed it—more abortions. In fact, pregnancy rates do not diff er all that much; it's abortion rates that do. As compiled by the Guttmacher Institute (using 2005 statistics, the most recent available), the abortion rate is 6 percent in Mississippi and Utah and 9 percent in Arkansas. But it's 24 percent in Connecticut, 30 percent in New Jersey, and 33 percent in New York. Shockingly, the nation as a whole aborts about 1.2 million babies each year. So no matter what you may have read or heard elsewhere (perhaps from abortion activists), higher education and income levels are not stopping young women from getting pregnant: Th ey're just turning to a different "solution." Of course, my view is that abortion, rather than actually providing a solution, is instead an even more awful problem.
So while we should be disturbed by the huge number of out-ofwedlock births, we should be even more disturbed that abortions are so common. As hard as it can be to grow up without a dad, there's a far worse fate: not growing up at all because one's life was snuff ed out in the womb.