Where are these people coming from?
Before women gained control over their reproductive organs, we were forced to stay in marriages that all to often were unhealthy or downright abusive. We couldn’t find work that paid us enough to live on if we did leave, and men were very adept at not paying child support.
That is not an understatement or a lie; it is true. I knew women who were battered and unable to leave. It’s only been in the last 30 years that public opinion on domestic violence has changed to recognize that it’s not the victim’s fault, at least until these clowns got into positions of power and started turning back the clock on women’s rights.
Once we were able to leave, controlling men hated it. They had no way to keep women as their personal housemaids and sex slaves.
Now they want to regain control by denying us access to contraception and making single parenthood a crime.
Well, it is not a form of abuse.
I was a single mother for several years, and I can tell you it’s hard as hell to be both parents to children, especially when he absent parent (most often, but not always, the father) doesn’t pay his (or her) share of the child-rearing costs.
After work, I picked up the kids, went home and fixed supper as the kids played or watched TV. After supper, it was homework time as I cleaned up. By the time that was done, it was bath time, then bedtime. I never could take them anywhere that cost money because I had none, so we went for picnics or hikes when the weather was good.
My children would have been deprived of Disney World had it not been for their father, who could afford such things. The only reason there was a television in their room was because their father bought it after I asked him not to. They had to suffer through eating home-baked snacks instead of Twinkies or Little Debbie cakes. They had to eat supper at home instead of McDonald’s.
So, were they abused? If you asked them at the time, they probably would have said they were because of the home-baked snacks and my aversion to theme parks, fast food and consumerism.
But they both grew up and moved out and realized I had been right about some things. They both developed a good work ethic and became honest men.
Being the sons of a single mother, they both had to help with household chores. They learned to do laundry and cook, sew on buttons and clean their rooms. They became more resourceful than kids whose mothers did everything for them, and they learned to respect women.
So, why would one want to criminalize single parenthood?
I think it comes down to control. These men who support such laws (and they are overwhelmingly men) don’t want women in control of their own destinies. They don’t want to have to share in the duties of keeping a home and raising a family, they want to be in charge of every aspect of our lives, and God forbid we should produce more strong, Democratic men.
Leslie Boyd, a former newspaper reporter, is president of the health care advocacy nonprofit, Life o' Mike Inc., named in memory of her son, who died in 2008 because he couldn't access health care. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about Life o' Mike or to read Boyd's blog, visit lifeomike.org.