Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Law of Unintended Consequences & Feminist Social Engineering

Todays Opinion Journal had an article written by Freakonomics author, John Lott. In his article, It's Not Enough to be Wanted, Lott reviews the statistics and points out all of the unintended consequences fostered by the passage of Roe vs. Wade almost 35 years ago.

The abortion debate usually centers on the morality of the act itself. But liberalizing abortion rules from 1969 to 1973 ignited vast social changes in America.


Roe did substantially increase abortions, more than doubling the rate per live birth in the five years from 1972 to 1977. But many other changes occurred at the same time:

• A sharp increase in pre-marital sex.

• A sharp rise in out-of-wedlock births.

• A drop in the number of children placed for adoption.

• A decline in marriages that occur after the woman is pregnant.

Lott gives us some interesting food for thought...but I believe he has not touched on other aspects that explain much of the societal changes that he attributes largely to the federalized legalization of abortion. Although I believe he's got a real case for attributing PART of the drastic changes due to Roe v. Wade, a large share of responsibility for the drastic changes in demographics concerning marriage, pre-marital sex and illegitimacy has just as much to do with the proliferation of no-fault divorce laws coupled with the widespread availability of cheap and relatively effective birth control methods.

California first enacted No-fault divorce laws in 1969, and the rest of the nation soon followed suit. So by the time 1975 rolled around, per-capita divorce statistics hit an all time high of 5.3 per 1000 people.

However, Lott does make an essential point that is really the root of much of modern societal problems, and for which the changing social mores on pre-marital sex, illegitimate births and abortion:

But all these changes--rising out-of-wedlock births, plummeting adoption rates, and the end of shotgun marriages--meant one thing: more single parent families. With work and other demands on their time, single parents, no matter how "wanted" their child may be, tend to devote less attention to their children than do married couples; after all, it's difficult for one person to spend as much time with a child as two people can.

I'm still amazed when I encounter people that believe that Fathers are not necessary to the successful rearing of children. The basic MATH of the common sense statement "
after all, it's difficult for one person to spend as much time with a child as two people can." would seem obvious to any normal thinking person.

Than again, who said feminists are normal thinking people?

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