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Thursday, March 8, 2012

How do you judge the value of a family?

The political season always brings out the worst topics. People are fighting about stupid stuff. Well, it's not really stupid. Not at all. But it does seem silly that in 2012 we are arguing about a woman's right to have her insurance pay for birth control. And still the argument about abortion continues. It makes me all insane.

The latest news to horrify me comes from the state of Wisconsin. From The Patch:

State Sen. Glenn Grothman has proposed a bill that considers nonmarital parenthood a contributing factor to child abuse.

Grothman presented the bill to the Senate Committee on Public Health, Human Services and Revenue public hearing last week, according to the Huffington Post.

Senate Bill 507 states it is "an act to amend ... statutes ... relating to: requiring the Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board to emphasize nonmarital parenthood as a contributing factor to child abuse and neglect."

Grothman was unavailable for comment Monday afternoon but you can read more about his stance in anewsletter he published regarding his belief that the breakdown of the family is America's biggest problem.

The announcement of the bill has turned a lot of heads.

"Wisconsin State Senator Glenn Grothman, the Assistant Majority Leader and a close ally of GOP Governor Scott Walker in the effort to destroy collective bargaining in the Badger State, is taking crazy to new levels,"Forbes contributor Rick Unbar wrote.

A post on The New Civil Rights Movement web site also considers the bill an attack on gay couples who are raising children together.

Commentor Nikesha on TheRoot.com suggests that the bill is merely a political distraction from other important social issues.

A Rhode Island resident started a petition on Change.org: "Withdraw Senate Bill 507 and end the war on women."

In 2009 there were approximately 13.5 million single parents in the U.S., with single mothers outnumbering single fathers five to one according to U.S. Census Data posted on TheBostonChannel.com. Single-parent households make up a third of households in Wisconsin.

Huh. I am separated from my children's dad. That makes me technically a single mother, though he is actively involved in their life. But still, for all intents and purposes, I am listed as a single mom. Is it stressful? Sure. Am I more likely to hit my children now than I was when I was married? I seriously doubt it.

I guess more relevant to this discussion is my experience growing up. I grew up in a single parent family. Was it hard? I don't really know. It was the only experience I had. I guess my brother, ten years older and raised by two parents for the first 11 years of his life, could answer that better than I. It was my normal. My mother never abused me. In fact, I had more opportunities than a lot of my two parent family friends. This entire thought process is insane.

I assume that this state senator was raised in a two parent family. I get that everyone has their own assumptions and prejudices but he should try raising children alone before he starts casting stones. The more I read on his comments - and others like him (he's not alone in this thought) - the more annoyed I get. How about giving some credit to those who bust their asses daily to take care of their kids without the benefit of a partner? I'm betting they'd find this harder than they thought.

Another Queen of the World moment: When I'm Queen, politicians will address real issues like education, healthcare for all, taking care of our seniors. Not birth control. Not the definition of a human. Not judgment of families.

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