Mary Cheney's pregnancy affects us all

Janice Shaw Crouse

12/7/2006 12:00:19 AM - Janice Shaw Crouse

Mary Cheney’s pregnancy poses problems not just for her child, but also for all Americans. Her action repudiates traditional values and sets an appalling example for young people at a time when father absence is the most pressing social problem facing the nation. With 37 percent of American children born to fatherless families, Mary Cheney is contributing to a trend that is detrimental to all Americans who will live with the ramifications of millions of children whose anger and frustration at not knowing their father will be felt in the public schools and communities of our nation.

Mary Cheney is among that burgeoning group of adult women over age 20 that are driving the trend of women who don’t want a man in the picture, but want to have a baby. These older women are pushing out-of-wedlock birth statistics higher and higher. At a time when teen births and teen abortions are declining dramatically, older women are having more un-wed births and more abortions, including repeat abortions (indicating that they are using abortion as birth control).

Well-educated, professional Mary Cheney is flying in the face of the accumulated wisdom of the top experts who agree that the very best family structure for a child’s well-being is a married mom and dad family. Her child will have all the material advantages it will need, but it will still encounter the emotional devastation common to children without fathers.

One Georgia high school principal reported, “We have too many young men and women from single-mother families that don’t have the role models at home to teach them how to deal with adversity and handle responsibility. They’ve seen their mom work 60 hours a week just to put food on the table; they end up fending for themselves.”

When fatherless children get to be teens, the girls tend to start looking for love in all the wrong places and the boys tend to find as their role model the bad-boy celebrities of MTV, NFL and NBA.

As they grow older, fatherless children tend to have trouble dealing with male authority figures. Too often children in single-mother households end up angry at their absent fathers and resentful of the mother who has had to be a father figure, too. Typically, the boys who have a love-hate relationship with their mother end up hating all women. Numerous of them look for vulnerable women where they can act out their anger and be in control.

Mary Cheney’s action sets an example that is detrimental for mothers with less financial resources who will start down an irrevocable path into poverty that tends to be generational –– children in households without a father tend to themselves have unwed births later in life. Experts from both the left and the right cite a disastrous litany of negative outcomes that are predictable when a child grows up in a fatherless family. Such children tend to get involved in drugs, alcohol abuse, and delinquency; they tend to drop out of school and have teen pregnancies. An assistant principal in a Junior High School said that many of the behavioral problems that teachers face in the classroom stem from households without a father’s influence.

Mary’s pregnancy is an “in-your-face” action countering the Bush Administration’s pro-family, pro-marriage and pro-life policies. She continues to repudiate the work to which her father has devoted his life. Mary has repeatedly said that “studies” show that children only need a loving home. Her statement is incomplete because the experts agree that for the well-being of children, they desperately need a married father and a mother.

All those people who talk about doing what is best “for our children” need to get back to the basics: children need a married mom and dad. Children can do without a lot of the trimmings of childhood, but nothing can replace a home where the mother and dad love each other enough to commit for a lifetime and are absolutely crazy about their kids –– enough to be willing to sacrifice their own needs to see that their children get the very best.