The saddest thing about out-of-wedlock pregnancy in the United States is the children are, for all intents and purposes, fatherless.
A man is more emotionally and financially invested in his children when he lives with them and is married to their mother. Children who don’t live with their biological fathers are at higher risk for such social pathologies as out-of-wedlock pregnancies, school truancy and drop-outs, and criminality. The majority of juvenile delinquents and adult prisoners grew up in female-headed households. Fatherless children are much more likely to suffer physical abuse, including sexual, because of the men their mothers bring home.
I was surprised when I saw a trailer (posted above) for a new documentary about this issue. The “72 Percent Film” is special in the unusual sense. Rather than mostly white people or conservatives talking about the problem, the documentary is about black people talking about the problem (as depicted in the trailer, at least). One man even brings up the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s report (published in 1965) that warned of the female-headed household crisis among blacks. Unfortunately, an early form of what would become insidious political correctness shut him down for publishing inconvenient facts.
In the formally titled “The Negro Family: The Case For National Action,” Moynihan said that the rising rate of illegitimacy in the black community, about 24 percent at the time, would have devastating social consequences.
And we hear and read about some of those consequences every day. Just watch your local news or read it online.
The rate at which black children are born into unmarried homes in the U.S. has gone from a quarter to three quarters. There are more black children living without biological fathers in the home than children who do. Illegitimacy rates have risen across the board, but it impacts black children the most. (To pre-empt liberal naysayers, anecdotes about how you or someone you know or a celebrity grew up without a father and turned out “just fine” don’t change statistical facts.)
Some liberals point to “the legacy of slavery” and Jim Crow, but back when blacks had to enter establishments through separate doors, about 85 percent of black children were born to married parents. Ironically, as integration increased, so did black out-of-wedlock pregnancies.
Perhaps documentaries like “72 Percent Film” and others will get more blacks talking about this issue and bring much-needed change. Children, especially boys, need their fathers to love, teach, discipline, and protect them.
The problem of fatherless children is one of many the government cannot fix. Tax breaks for married parents are nice, but the issue goes much deeper. People–individuals–need to learn and practice self-control and consider long-term consequences. If we lived our lives the way God intended and waited until marriage for sex and baby-making, the whole country would be better off, not just the individuals.
But we live in an increasingly permissive and godless world. We’d need something like another Great Awakening, a moral revival, where people turn back to God. The problem is not just economic or social; it’s spiritual.