Newsweek magazine writer Lorraine Ali quotes from my co-authored column Rise in Out-of-Wedlock Births Is Bad News for America”s Kids (Washington Times, 12/4/06) in her new piece Knocking Yourself Up–Some women laugh about turkey basters replacing Mr. Right. The ongoing debate over going it alone (Newsweek, 11/5/07). The piece centers around Louise Sloan, author of the new guidebook Knock Yourself Up: A Tell-All Guide to Becoming a Single Mom. Sloan now has a fatherless 16-month-old son.
As you could guess, the piece favors women who decide to have fatherless children–the only named opposition to the practice in the piece is my short quote. Ali also quotes Rosanna Hertz, author of Single by Chance, Mothers by Choice. Hertz and Peggy Drexler, author of Raising Boys Without Men: How Maverick Moms Are Creating the Next Generation of Exceptional Men, are the leading feminist gurus of voluntary single motherhood.
[To read my previous critique of Hertz and her book, see my co-authored column Are Single Mothers the ‘New American Family?’ (World Net Daily, 9/28/06). To see my previous critique of Drexler and her book, see my column Raising Boys Without Men: Lesbian Parents Good, Dads Bad (World Net Daily, 9/10/05)]
Obviously I disagree with much of what Ali (and Hertz and Drexler) have written, but I’ll limit myself to just two:
1) Ali tries to denigrate the importance of fathers in children’s lives by downplaying the numerous studies which show the vast differences in child well-being between single mother and two-parent households. She is correct that this difference is narrower when looking only at highly-educated, economically-secure mothers. However, the difference is still there.
2) Not all “well-being” can be measured by social scientists. Are there any adults who really believe that it won’t matter to Sloan’s 16-month-old boy that he doesn’t have a father?
Ali’s article is below.
Knocking Yourself Up–Some women laugh about turkey basters replacing Mr. Right. The ongoing debate over going it alone
By Lorraine Ali
Sex And The City’s” Carrie Bradshaw once asked, “What if Prince Charming had never shown up? Would Snow White have slept in that glass coffin forever? Or would she have eventually woken up, spit out the apple, gotten a job, a health-care package and a baby from her local neighborhood sperm bank?” Though it’s hard to say how Disney would have grappled with a no-show prince, if Ms. White were to awaken alone today, it’s possible she’d take the advice of Louise Sloan, author of the guidebook “Knock Yourself Up: A Tell-All Guide to Becoming a Single Mom.”
Sloan found herself single at 41, though she’d always considered herself “definitely the marrying kind.” Determined to become a mother, the Brooklyn-based writer inseminated herself with sperm from an unknown donor she refers to as No. 2, “a tall, handsome green-eyed actor (Favorite color: blue. Favorite pet: dogs)” in the attic of her conservative family’s Kennebunkport, Maine, summer house. Sloan now has a 16-month-old son, and uses her experience–as well as those of almost 50 more unpartnered, educated and financially independent straight and gay females over 30–to propel her humorous “how to” book for aspiring single moms. She offers practical advice on choosing the right donor and informing prospective grandparents in chapters titled “Oops, I Forgot to Have a Baby” and “Trysts With the Turkey Baster.”
Sloan’s amusing take on this provocative subject is already spurring caustic feedback online, though it’s the lightest offering among several recent books that include Rosanna Hertz’s academic account, “Single by Chance, Mothers by Choice,” and Mikki Morrissette’s firsthand account/guide, “Choosing Single Motherhood.” “We’re in a transition period–people are not just getting married because that’s what you do if you want to have kids,” says Sloan. “Women now have careers, are financially independent and waiting until they find the right guy. Most of us want to meet the perfect person and live happily ever after, but sometimes we don’t.”
Whether by choice or circumstance, the evidence suggests that more and more women are considering single parenthood. Unwed births among 30- to 44-year-olds rose 20 percent from 1991 to 2006, and last year alone, four in 10 U.S. babies were born outside of marriage even though teen pregnancies hit their lowest point in 65 years. Fairfax Cryobank, one of the biggest sperm banks in the United States, says its single-female clientele jumped 20 percent in the last decade and now accounts for 60 percent of its customer base.
Not everyone is embracing the unorthodox version of mommy. Fifteen years after Vice President Dan Quayle admonished TV’s Murphy Brown for having a baby out of wedlock, a recent review of “Knock Yourself Up” on Salon.com generated plenty of criticism, like that from someone who identified himself as “straight, married white male, three biological children.” He wrote that Sloan is an “upper-middle-class white woman pursuing her pregnancy fantasies.” And recently, blogger Glenn Sacks wrote on the Fathers & Family Web site that the rise of single mothers by choice was a “disturbing” phenomenon and is “bad news for America’s children.” “It’s provocative, this question of ‘Do men bring something unique in the raising of a child?’?” says Hertz, chair of the women’s studies department at Wellesley College…
Read the full article here.