Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Women Don't Want Men? Ha!

That is Glenn Sacks' reaction to the NYT Cheerleading for divorce. It's a great article. Read it here.
Glenn is an indispensible resource for the reluctantly divorced, especially, the reluctantly divorced man.

Cheerleading for Divorce?

A reader responds to my article debunking the NYT article. This is a single professional woman:

I wanted to comment on your latest release regarding the Cheerleading for Divorce. I was divorced in October of 2005. It was a very quick divorce and I really had no say in it. He had women on the side (one pregnant), and he wanted out..NOW! Since that time, I have had several friends, male and female experience the same thing. ...
In my past year as a new divorcee, I have been reading and researching what's really going on here. We're not being taught about relationships, committment, or honesty at an early enough age. As I found with my divorce, as soon as you express there might be something wrong with your relationship, you don' t hear.."you should get into marriage counseling." It's "off with the old, on with the new". And you better buck-up once you're single and show a brave face, as if you're enjoying single-hood, or you're going to hear about it. I've seen my 40+ friends getting on dating sites and the biggest thing I've noticed is...everybody wants someone 18-30 or 35, like that's going to help their situation any. ...
We have 60% of divorced women living in poverty and an unheard number of single dads raising children. So how much of that 51% can be really walking around smiling? The Boomers are the most significant number of people, we as a society has ever had to deal with and surprise, surprise...the "Me" generation hasn't gotten any better at sharing with each other either. 40+ers are out the door at the first sign of trouble....

Gay Adoption in the UK

Into the gay adoption row in the UK, comes this cheerful report: a group of gay social workers ran a pedophile ring for years.
Liam Lucas was just one of the children abused by predatory paedophiles who took advantage of far-Left Islington Council's childcare policies in the Eighties and Nineties, when it pro-actively recruited gay social workers.

Paedophiles exploited its well-intentioned commitment to equal opportunities and soon most of Islington's 12 children's homes had child molesters on the staff who cynically pretended to be ordinary homosexuals. Numerous children and other staff made allegations of abuse, but were branded homophobes and ignored.

Liam - now 29, in a permanent relationship and the proud father of year-old Isabella - was even falsely classified as gay by Islington social services, which decided he should be fostered only by single men.

This is the kind of professional negligence for which the Catholic Church has quite rightly been sued all over the US. Look at how much more easily this British Left-wing local government agency got off.
Quaker couple Brian Cairns, 57, and his wife Kate, 56 - who became friends with the future Archbishop when they were students together - fought to foster him instead. The horrors Liam later disclosed eventually helped end a 20-year regime of appalling abuse.

A lengthy investigation by The Mail on Sunday's sister paper, the London Evening Standard, resulted in government-ordered inquiries, but at least 26 members of Islington social services staff, despite being accused of grave offences, were simply allowed to resign, often with glowing references. ...

Islington admitted 32 'gross errors' in its treatment of Liam, and paid him £5,000 compensation.

His principal abuser quit Britain for a Third World country and is believed to have adopted a boy there. ....
During school holidays he was fostered by a man later imprisoned for abusing another child in his care. When Liam was nine, Islington placed him in its children's home in Grosvenor Avenue, run by two single males. Both were eventually accused of abuse but escaped investigation by moving to Thailand.

Last year, Thai police charged the deputy head, Nick Rabet, 57, with serious sexual offences against 30 Thai boys, the youngest six years old. He escaped trial by killing himself. ...

Liam was abused by a friend of Rabet's, a senior social services colleague. It is believed he backed the council's decision to find the boy a gay foster father.

Mr and Mrs Cairns spotted Islington's advertisement in 1990 in a fostering magazine.

Mrs Cairns was haunted by the then 13-year-old boy's photo, and the council's claim that he was 'suitable for a single man'.

She said: "I instinctively felt that the ad was aimed at paedophiles."

Mrs. Cairns explains why she decided to go public with this story that took place in the nineties. It was in part to defend the Archbishop of Caterbury, Rowan Williams, who is being attacked after expressing support for a religious exemption to the anti-discrimination statutes about to go into effect. But in part, it was this:

I have a close relative who is gay, and I am emphatically not opposed to gay adoption. I am, however, deeply concerned by the bullying, intolerant nature of the present attacks on people with religious or other concerns about it.

"It feels horribly familiar and I fear that rigid thinking about equal opportunities may again blind people to paedophiles who claim to be gay, when all they really want is access to vulnerable children.

"On radio and TV this week I have repeatedly heard politicians insist that every adoption agency, whatever its religious beliefs about the best home for children, must offer gay people "equality of access to all goods and services".

"My blood has run cold every time I have heard that. Children in care are not goods or services, chattels to be claimed or shared. They have, however, often been treated like that, as Liam's appalling experiences show.

Arguments for same sex adoption should not be made in terms of adult entitlements, but in terms of the needs of children. The cover-up by non-predatory gays, and intimidated bureaucrats is what makes this story so chilling.

Should the HPV vaccine be mandatory?

Evidently, Merck, the manufacturer of the vaccine thinks so. They have invested heavily in lobbying the state legislatures to make vaccinations against HPV, a sexually transmitted disease, mandatory for 12 year old girls. How much does Merck stand to gain?
Drug-industry analyst Steve Brozak of W.B.B. Securities has projected Gardasil sales of at least $1 billion per year — and billions more if states start requiring the vaccine. "I could not think of a bigger boost," he said.

Sorry to disagree with my friend Glenn Sacks

But I think he has it wrong here.
He is comparing the plight of a lesbian "social mother" with the plight of divorced dads: both are being excluded from their children's lives by birth mothers. True, but there is a big difference between these kinds of cases: the lesbian "social mother" has no biological connection with the child, while the father does. The test for paternity is straightforward. The "test" for parental rights for an unrelated adult is necessarily subject to judicial interpretation.
I'm writing a full column on it. More later.

End the State-Supported Separation of Parents

That's what this proposed bill would do: outlawing anonymous sperm donors. Think of it: the law creates a distinct legal category for men who donate sperm anonymously: they are "legal strangers" to their child. They have neither rights nor responsibilities.
The state should stop enabling this.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Overblown Reaction to the Gay Sheep Story

The scientist on the gay sheep story tells his side of the story here. Dr. Charles Roselli is a much more sympathetic character than his detractors. I'll take an honest scientist over gay radicals and animal rights extremists any day of the week.

Score One Point for Dinesh D'Souza

The Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church in the UK are both requesting a religious exemption from the non-discrimination law regarding same sex adoption. The govt is unlikely to grant it. An outrage, comparable to that perpetrated in MA.
Guess who weighed in on the side of the Churches? The Muslim Council of Britain.
One of D'Souza's points is that traditionalists of all faiths have enough in common with each other that they sometimes need to ally with each other against assaults by radical secularists. Here is a case where he is correct.

What happens when you separate the procreative from the unitive aspects of sex.

Artificial Insemination child still belongs to the husband. A couple has two children. The husband gets a vasectomy. The wife wants another child. She gets an anonymous sperm donor. The husband consents. Two years later they divorce. He tries to claim the child is not his so he has no responsibility for her. The judge says no: the kid is his. His consent, while omitting one of the legal forms, was sufficient.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Cheerleading for Divorce

One of my readers had his own experience of how our culture encourages divorce:
I agree with your message, Dr. Morse. Some time ago I interviewed for a professional job in Florida. During the interview, the boss mentioned that he could get me in contact with several very good divorce lawyers. The long hours I would be spending at work, plus all the temptations of a Florida beach community, would inevitably lead to a divorce.
I declined to take the job and I'm happily married with two little children in Kansas City, Missouri.


What does she know anyhow?

Great article. What does she know about raising children - she's single and has no children but thinks she and the government should tell parents how to bring their children up in this world. There's a lot of other areas that the state government should be involved in such as cutting back on welfare recipients, etc.

Another reader.

In a way, this is the real question of that article: what business does a childless woman have telling other people what to do and not do with their kids? The original article in the Murky News stated that 10 European countries have banned spanking. But that doesn't impress me. Most European countries are not having enough chidlren to reproduce their societies. Some, like Italy and Spain are at disastrous levels of 1.2 chidlren per woman, which means the society is almost dropping in half every generation.
I would love to know which countries in Europe have banned spanking. Does anyone out there know?

Does this count as abuse?

Another reader tells his story:

For a two year old in the middle of a screaming tantrum a glass of cold water in the face is much better than a spanking. First time i saw it was while in college in a grocery store. A young mother asked a clerk for a glass of water and then she silenced her screaming kid. I used it fifty years later on one of my grandsons who, at the time, was temporarily in my care. It worked on him the same way. It isn't cruel, doesn't hurt them a bit, and gets their attention big time.

More on Spanking

Is all "violence" created equal? Are we really unable to make distinctions amongst different contexts and uses of force? That is the question this reader poses:
I wonder ... Suppose that a child, say, hits his sister, and the parent responds by spanking him. If the parent is convicted under this law and ordered to report to prison, and the parent refuses to surrender to authorities, would the police use physical force? If not, then why should anyone obey the law? If they will, then we are being told that physical force as a punishment is immoral ... unless it is used as a punishment for someone who used physical force ... even if that person used physical force to punish someone for using physical force.

Spanking Ban?

Readers are starting to react to my townhall column today on the proposal to ban spanking in CA.

Legislating for Divorce?

A reader sends me this recollection from the 1980's:

I can recall back in the early 80's when the California senate, was pushing on the heels of the report that showed women's sharp decline in income following a divorce. At the time, I was an angry second wife and read/analyzed this nationally published study, pounded into the consciousness of America. It was bunk then, and it is now. However, I still recall a conversation I had with this aide, as a flurry of bills were introduced to hold men increasingly economically accountable but joint custody was fought 'tooth and nail' . I remarked to her that this would encourage women to divorce (a disaster and trap I thought) to which she responded casually, "What's wrong with that?"

If this reader figured that out in the 1980's, she was way ahead of the academics. They are still trying to deal with the fact that the combination of women getting sole custody, and men being held financially accountable, is a recipe for encouraging women to divorce.
A little known fact: women initiate between 2/3rds and 3/4ths of divorces in the US.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Why Women Can't Find Husbands

One of my correspondents had some insights into why so many professional women have difficulty finding husbands.
I'm a veterinarian and before I retired, I was a manager in clinical research for a large pharmaceutical company. So most of the women I worked with were highly educated professionals, many with multiple doctorate degrees (DVM, PhD., etc). I never saw so many unhappy women in my life. Believe it or not I'm kind of a sympathetic fella and at least twice a week I would have a single, frustrated woman in my office wondering why she could not find a suitable man. You're right about many men wanting sex on their first or second "date". But it's more amazing, at least to me, how many women are agreeable (totally hearsay, I assure you). After a couple of dates they would be taking weekend vacations together, with their newfound beau, for sking trips or some such. The relationship would typically last a month or two and then on to another.

These observations are consistent with my hypothesis in Smart Sex: finding lifelong love in a Hook-up World. Our sexual practices prior to marriage are sabotaging our attempts to get married and stay married.

Cheerleading for Divorce

is the title that National Review Online gave to my article on the NYT. I have received many supportive comments. Here's one that is self-explanatory:

Good article. I'm an 8th grade teacher, and I deal with the happy results of divorce every day -- young boys and girls running wild. The boys have no authority in their lives, the girls looking for acceptance and affection in the same ways their mothers do, kids in therapy, kids who should be in therapy, and a whole bunch of Ritalin -- they should make a T-shirt, Mom and Dad Got A Divorce, And All I Got Was 20mg Of Ritalin.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Is There a Post-Abortion Trauma Syndrome?

asks a lengthy New York Times magazine article. The author lists the studies that say there isn't, interviews the scholars who say there isn't. But she evidently is unaware of any article published last year that shows a significant risk of mental health problems associated with abortion. The study is "Abortion in Young Women and Subsequent Mental Health," by David Fergusson, L. John Horwood and Elizabeth M. Ridder, and published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 2006; 47 (1) 16-24.
This study was widely discussed when it came out last summer. They control for previous mental health problems, as well as things like early sexual initiation and drug use. They also test the hypothesis that more depressed women are more likely to have abortions. Even controlling for these possible confounding factors, they find that women who were not pregnant, or who carried a pregnancy to term, had overall rate of mental disorders between 58% and 67% of the mental health problems experienced by women who had abortions.
This study showed that women who didn't get pregnant and women who had a baby had similar kinds and levels of mental health problems, and that both these groups had fewer mental disorders than women who terminated a pregnancy. Pregnant women who carried to term had 35% of the level of depression, 24% of the level of suicidal fantasies and 15% of the level of illicit drug dependence than did women who terminated pregnancies.
I wonder why the New York Times reporter didn't find this study?

I Have Always Loved Clarence Thomas

This WSJ article tells why.

Speaking of a Long-term Commitment

The Franciscans have been Custodians of the Holy Places for 800 years. The Minister General of the Franciscans gave an address in anticipation of their anniversary. Here is the opening and conclusion. And the American media thinks that 5 years is a long-term commitment! Read the whole thing at for January 13, 2007. Or send yourself the article by clicking here.

Almost 800 years have passed since Francis came to this land in 1219. Since then our presence in this land -- called, with reason, "the fifth Gospel," because it was blessed with the presence of the Son of the Almighty and his holy Mother, and bathed with the blood of the Redeemer -- has been constant in despite of the many difficulties and the all kinds of persecutions....

The Custody of the Holy Land has been and should continue being a presence that bridges the East and the West, the Eastern Churches and the Catholic and Latin Church. It is, and should continue being, an important cultural presence in the Middle East, in the name of the Catholic Church. There are new challenges that we, Franciscans, face today in this land so dear to us. We cannot limit ourselves to be mere passive spectators in a world that changes faster and faster. In many occasions, during almost eight centuries of presence in land of Jesus, we have been creators of history in this land.

Why shouldn't this continue?We trust that the Providence, that has brought us to this land, would continue showing us the new paths that we are called to walk in order to respond appropriately to the signs of the times and the places. And that the brothers -- including you commissaries of the Holy Land -- that
work with much dedication and sacrifice in this beloved field of the Order of the Friars Minor enter into the climate of conversion and discernment, keeping always on the journey, to be able, in this way, to offer new answers to the new questions that are posed for us today.

Boundless Self-Absorbtion of the American Media

Today was the third deadliest day in the Iraq war. Thus spake the AP, the Washington Post and their allies in the MSM Echo-Chamber. Did these casualities arise from deadly insurgent attacks? Failure of military intelligence? Faulty strategy or tactics?
No, my friends, the 19 deaths in this "third deadliest day of the Iraq war" resulted from a helicopter crash. Read all about it at MilBlogs, here.
I call this American self-absorption for this reason: a handful of American deaths are supposed to count for more than hundreds of Iraqis that Saddam killed on a regular basis during his reign of terror. These few deaths are evidence that we are losing, or that the cause is too hard, or that we don't know what we are doing. But at the same time, the enemy is losing more men, and suffering more confusion than we are. Most of Iraq is pacified and stable. Kurdistan is prospering, thanks to American efforts.
Thank you to the families of the dead and wounded American soldiers in Iraq. Some of us appreciate the value of your sacrifice, and are not ready to throw in the towel because of a helicopter crash.

Memo to Jessica Lynch: Get Married Already!

Jessica Lynch, celebrated POW, gave birth to a healthy baby girl. She named the baby Dakota Ann Robinson, after a fallen comrade, Army Spc. Lori Piestewa of Tuba City, Ariz., who was the first woman to be killed in combat in Iraq. Piestewa's middle name was Ann, and Dakota means friendship or ally.
Congratulations on a healthy birth and a touching commemoration of your friend. But do your child a favor: marry her daddy! "Lynch and her boyfriend, Wes Robinson, named Dakota in honor of Lynch's friend." Children of married parents do FAR better than the children of cohabiting parents. See my fact sheet: Why NOT Take her for a Test Drive, for details.
Jessica, don't be afraid: get married. Mr. Robinson, be a man: marry your baby's mother.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

A Possible Explanation for Infertility: donuts?

I don't know how seriously to take this story from the UK. The article reports on findings that an increased consumption of transfats may be correlated with impaired fertility. It is possibly true, since it is certainly conceivable that diet plays a role in ovulation. Or, it could be that people would prefer to blame the Villain of the Month, namely transfats, rather than focus on the delayed age at first marriage and subsequent older age at first pregnancy attempt as the primary causes of infertility.

In the study, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston looked at 18,500 women trying to conceive and found 438 cases of ovulatory problems.
If a woman does not ovulate there is no egg for sperm to fertilise and so she cannot become pregnant. The scientists found that those who took two per cent of their energy intake from trans fats, instead of carbohydrates or polyunsaturated fats such as sunflower oil, had a 70 per cent greater risk of infertility through lack of ovulation. Those whose energy came from trans fats instead of monounsaturated fats such as olive oil were twice as likely to have problems. The amount of trans fats needed to reach the two per cent levels was just four grams a day in a 2,000-calorie diet. People could easily eat that much in a meal of pie and chips or just one doughnut.

I'll be watching for more details on this intriguing study.

Out of Control (and Clueless) Nanny State

A childless legislator here in California (where else?) has proposed a legislative ban on spanking. Sally Lieber, Democrat (naturally) from Mountain View, which is in Northern California (why am I not surprised?) believes this is a proper function of state government.

The bill, which is still being drafted, will be written broadly, she added, prohibiting ``any striking of a child, any corporal punishment, smacking, hitting, punching, any of that.'' Lieber said it would be a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail or a fine up to $1,000, although a legal expert advising her on the proposal said first-time offenders would probably only have to attend parenting classes.

The San Jose Mercury News reports that child rearing experts generally do not agree with a ban on spanking. The "two-swat spank" has been extensively studied. Two swats on a covered bottom do not constitute child abuse, and in fact, can be an important adjunct to reasoning in disciplining a child. The Murky News (as the locals call it. Actually, it isn't a bad paper, as MSM outlets go) interviews one of the leading scholars of corporal punishment, Dr. Robert Larzelere.

Experts in child psychology disagree over whether spanking is a legitimate or effective way for parents to discipline their children. Professor Robert Larzelere, who has studied child discipline for 30 years, said his research shows spanking is fine, as long as it's used sparingly and doesn't escalate to abuse.

``If it's used in a limited way,'' the Oklahoma State University professor said, ``it can be more effective than almost any other type of punishment.'' He added that children 18 months old or younger shouldn't be spanked at all, because they can't understand why it's happening.

As for Lieber's proposal, the professor said: ``I think this proposal is not just a step too far, it's a leap too far. At least from a scientific perspective there really isn't any research to support the idea that this would make things better for children.''

I happen to have an article by Dr. Larzelere and some co-authors in my filing cabinet. It is relatively old, 1998, but still interesting, because it is a comparison of a variety of discplinary strategies: reasoning, and two types of punishment, non-corporal punishment, such as time-out, and non-abusive corporal punishment. Here is his summary:

Parents should use the least aversive disciplinary tactic that is likely to be effective in gaining compliance (i.e. reasoning). When that tactic does not receive appropriate compliance, then parents should back up the initial tactic with a slightly more aversive tactic (e.g. non-corporal punishment such as time-out). Only for continued defiant noncompliance should a parent resort to nonabusive corporal punishment to back up the noncorporal punishment.... (Citing another author) Roberts has shown that a back-up such as a two-swat spank is necessary to make time-out effective with the most non-compliant preschoolers.

(Journal of Marriage and Family, 60, No. 2 (May 1998) 388-403. Note to self: this study looked at children 25 to 38 months of age.)

In other words, if you are dealing with a sweet, even-tempered child who wants to please, you can reason with them and they will comply. But there are some little stinkers who need something a little firmer. When Dr. Larzelere wrote the above article, his affiliation was listed as "Boys Town." Presumably, he observed some troubled kids during his time there.
I too, have observed some troubled kids. There are indeed kids who will not comply with adult instructions, no matter how nicely you talk to them. (Parents who talk too much have been studied too. The experts call them "natterers.") The presumption that spanking is always and everywhere a form of child abuse or violence assumes that whatever harm the child endures in the spanking is more serious than the harm he endures by being allowed to continue in his defiance. This is the core assumption that has to be challenged.
In point of fact, preschool aged children need to comply with adult instructions. They do not need to learn to negotiate, or to find ways to evade authority. Children need limits and structure. The most disturbed kids need limits most of all. You can't heal the kids without setting limits.
As foster parents, we were prohibited absolutely from any corporal punishment. We coped. But there are plenty of kids who would have been much better off with the ocasional "two-swat spank" than they were with the systematic learning that they could defy adult authority with impunity.
Assemblywoman Lieber seems to think that the current standards of child abuse impose insufficient limits on parental behavior. The truth of the matter is that social workers are already, in effect, placing limits on parental behavior. I feel sure that people are inhibited about swatting their kids by the thought that they could be reported by a stranger or a vindictive neighbor.
So here is the essence of Sally Lieber's proposal. Otherwise competent parents will be presumed abusive if they swat their children. The parents will be put in prison for a year and the kids will be put in foster care. The parents of tempermentally difficult children will be the most likely to run afoul of this system. Those difficult kids will be given to foster parents, who will have more constraints on their disciplinary tactics, and more supervision by the state, but who have less direct interest in the well-being of the child. These difficult kids will be less likely, not more likely, to have appropriate boundary setting and limit setting in the absence of a) their parents' ability to swat them once in a while and b) the presence of the parents at all.
This benefits kids, how? This is a cost-effective use of state resources, how? This sends what kind of message to the parents of California?

Now You Tell Us...

that condoms are not particularly effective at preventing the spread of some Sexually Transmitted Diseases. Here is Dr. Richard Schlegel, responding to questions in an on-line forum about the vaccine for HPV. Dr. Schlegel was involved in developing the vaccine.

Washington, D.C.: About two years ago, I found out I had HPV and then had to
have surgery to remove pre-cancerous cells. I had only been with two partners in
my lifetime, and always used condoms.
So even if you are responsible, you can contract HPV. While I was lucky and no longer have HPV, it was an extremely difficult time for me, very scary experience. I'll make sure my children receive the vaccine.
Dr. Richard Schlegel: Unfortunately, condoms are not particularly effective in preventing the transmission of HPV. The virus is found in genital cells not covered by the condom.

And they say that abstinence is not practical....

Religious Freedom is Solution for Iraq, Prelate Says

This is the headline from Zenit on January 18. "Chaldean Archbishop Louis Sako, the archbishop of Kirkuk warns that a division of boundaries will lead to more conflict, with Christians caught in the middle." He says "a divided Iraq will not be a peaceful Iraq. ...Archbishop Sako fears that possible plans for a Christian safe haven on the Nineveh plain will not succeed. He said: "They would have their own territory, but to be viable, the idea of a protected zone, a safe haven, which is viewed sympathetically by the Kurds and even the Americans, needs an end to the violence and remains in any event, a dangerous plan. The Nineveh plain is largely surrounded by Arabs, and Christians would serve as a useful and undefended buffer zone between Arabs and Kurds."
In other words, Christians would be caught in the cross-fire between Arabs and Kurds, unless something is done to curb the violence.
"According to the archbishop the best solution is religious freedom: "In my opinion it would be preferable to work at the constitutional level and each area to guarantee religious freedom and equal rights for believers of all faiths throughout the land, including Christians, who can be found everywhere."
Note: San Diego County, where I live, has one of the largest concentrations of Iraqi Catholics outside of Iraq. They are known as Chaldean Catholics, and they use Aramaic as their liturgical language. That is the language Jesus Himself used. It would be a shame for Iraqi Christians to be purged from their country.
Cross-posted at the acton institute blog.

More on the NYT

The outrage continues over the NYT marriage distortions. Here Mike McManus, founder of Marriage Savers, makes the connection between No-Fault Divorce and the decline of marriage. He proposes as an alternative, Mutual Consent Divorce, which is what many people believe No-Fault is. When you explain that No-Fault means Unilateral divorce, and that many people are divorced against their wills, people are usually shocked.

There has been an alarming increase of never-married people. In 1970 there were
21 million never-married men and women aged 18 or older. By 2005, the number was 52 million. That is a 148 percent hike, more than triple the growth of population. Of those aged 30-44, the percentage of never-married men and women has also tripled since 1970.

What is not widely recognized is that these trends feed upon each other. The tripling of divorces makes young people fearful of marriage, particularly the 35 million since 1970 who saw their parents divorce. That experience fueled the number of cohabiting couples10-fold from 523,000 in 1970 to 5.2 million in 2005. In choosing a "trial marriage" they have unwittingly chosen a "trial divorce." Eight of ten will either break up before the wedding or after. The divorce rate for those who live together first is 50 percent higher than couples who remain apart until the wedding.

The Growing Sex Imbalance

The Population Research Institute publishes a weekly briefing, which unfortunately, is not always posted on their website. I receive these briefings by e-mail. This week's is particularly important. The author, Joe D'Agostino, calls it "Feminism's Triumph: The Extermination of Women."
Here are some key passages:

In the last two years, international organizations and Asian nations have stepped up their efforts to eliminate sex-selective abortions, which have created a massive dearth of girls in many nations over the past 20 years. With the new year, some new statistics have been released. The result of these efforts? The sex imbalance continues to worsen, not improve, thanks to the ever-increasing spread of cheap abortion and ultrasound technology into more and more areas of China, India, and other countries.
One expert who spoke at the United Nations estimates that up to 200 million women and girls are missing worldwide because of sex-selective abortion and female infanticide. Some experts put the figure as low as 60 million. All agree it gets bigger every day.....
Feminists like to blame this rapidly-worsening situation on "patriarchy," but that has been around for thousands of years and is less powerful today than ever before. What is new, is the access to abortion in so many places. And this has long been a paramount goal of feminists: To grant the "right to control her own body" to each woman on Earth via unrestricted abortion. That, combined with falling prices for the
ultrasound machines that can reveal an unborn child’s sex, has produced the disastrous situation that the Asian world is in now.
And just how, exactly, are men on the whole supposed to benefit from being unable to find wives? By 2020, 30 million Chinese men of marriageable age are expected to be in that situation because of 30 million "missing" young women. Many historians warn that a large number of unmarried men in a society is a recipe for social unrest and war. The kidnapping of women for forced marriage and prostitution is already
increasing exponentially in Asia. This is a disaster for both sexes and society as a whole.
The great experiment of feminism, just 40 years or so old as a social force, has produced this wonder: The ever-growing elimination of more and more girls worldwide. And so far, nothing can stop it. Indeed, from the feminist perspective, how or why should it be stopped? If women have a right to an abortion, why can they not exercise it on the basis of sex selection? Is the abortion her choice, or the government’s?
Also, beyond mere personal preference, many women and their husbands have rational reasons for preferring sons over daughters. For example, most Chinese still live on farms barely above subsistence level. A son is better able to perform the hard work that farm life demands than a daughter. Sons and sons’ wives traditionally care for the sons’ parents, while daughters join their husbands’ families. When you consider that China’s Communist government forcibly limits Chinese families to one or two children, it’s no surprise that Chinese couples employ abortion to ensure having a son while staying under the limit. They murder their own children to comply with the law while ensuring their own survival in old age. Some Indian states, too, employ coercive practices to limit family size to two. Western feminists supported population control from the very beginning, believing that fewer
children would liberate women from the "oppression" of motherhood. And tax,
spending, and economic pressures all over the developed world have made
child-raising very expensive. ...
Let’s look at some of the statistics for the sex imbalances that the brave new world of abortion has wreaked in just two decades. According to China Daily, 118 Chinese boys were born for every 100 Chinese girls last year, up from 110 just five years earlier. The maximum natural imbalance is 107 boys per 100 girls. The 118-100 Chinese split is just for births and doesn’t account for the far greater number of girls
than boys who are allowed to starve to death as children, or who are sent off to ill-managed government orphanages (95% of Chinese orphans are girls). In prosperous Guangdong province in southern China, the ratio has reached 130 boys per 100 girls, proving that financial hardship is not the primary cause of this phenomenon. UNICEF estimates that there are only 832 girls per 1,000 boys in China, making the world’s largest country also its most sex-imbalanced. India, the world’s second-largest nation, has the second-worst sex ratio, with 927 girls for every 1,000 boys. ... Sex imbalances in China and India really matter, because together, these two countries have over one-third of the Earth’s population. UNICEF, no opponent of abortion in general, says 7,000 fewer girls are now born in India each day than nature would dictate, and ten million have been killed during pregnancy or just after in the past 20 years....
The Toronto Globe & Mail has noticed a slight tendency toward sex-selection among South Asian immigrant communities. Focusing on the areas in which many of these immigrants have chosen to settle, the newspaper reported, "Figures from the 2001 census supplied by Statistics Canada suggest a slight skew in the usual gender ratio
among people with South Asian backgrounds. . . . According to the 2001 census
data, the proportion of girls under 15 in the South Asian communities of
Mississauga and Brampton is two percentage points below the ratio for the rest
of the population in those municipalities."...
Sex imbalances are worsening in Middle Eastern and African countries as well, with abortion and ultrasound gradually penetrating traditional cultures there. Can Europe, with its expanding immigrant communities and shrinking native populations, be immune?
China and India outlawed sex-selective abortion years ago, to no effect, and their societies are headed over a cliff. Here in the United States, with our more effective regulatory structure, we should outlaw this practice and seek to eliminate it elsewhere around the world before this crisis gets any worse.
The worsening sex ratio of the world in general, and Asia in particular, is proof that abortion-on-demand isn't practical.
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No Wonder they need gay foster parents....

This report from the UK gives a new spin on why social service agencies need to recruit gay couples as foster parents. The agencies discourage certain kinds of straight parents.

Under Labour, social workers have been pressing for more gay adoption.
Advice from the councils' umbrella body, the Local Government Association,
has praised authorities that encourage gay adoption and instructed social
workers to strike off from their list of potential adoptive parents anybody who disagrees with gay adoption.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

NYT digs for bad marriage news

The New York Times gleefully celebrated the claim that 51% of women are not living with a husband. What's wrong with this picture? First, go to the numbers themselves. These data come from the American Community Survey for 2005, whose home page is here.
If you go directly to the simplest table, table S1201, you will find, contra the NYT, that 51% of women are married. (Run your eye down the first column to the row which lists "females." Scoot over one column to the column labeled "Now married, (except separated)".) Voila: 51% of women are now married.
Not, as the NYT reported with thinly disguised glee, that 51% of women are NOT married. To get to the conclusion that the unmarried outnumber the married, our intrepid reporter of social trends has to do some digging.
First problem is right in that table: this number is based on all women over the age of 15. Hmm. Let's look at the 15-19 age group: 2.5% of them are married. What a surprise, that 15 year old "women" are unlikely to be married. By including this age group, we artificially lower the percentage of the population who are married. The next age group, from 20-34 years old, has 44.2% married, and all the other age groups are even higher percentages until you get to the very oldest, over 65, which is surely dominated by widows, and driven by the simple fact that even women who are happily married for a lifetime, are likely to outlive their husbands.
If we exclude the 15-19 year olds from the population, what percentage of women over 20 is married? The teenagers constitute about 8% of the total population of women. My back of the envelope calculation suggests that throwing out the teenagers would raise the percentage of women married by about 4% points to about 55%. Looking at only the women in their child-bearing years, that is, throwing out the over 65 population, we find that 58% of the women between 20 and 64 are married. This is the most significant group for social policy concerns about the well-being of children, demographic growth and the like.

Next problem: Remember I said that Table S1201, reports that 51% of women over 15 are married. So how did the NYT come to the conclusion that 51% of women are not living with husbands? He did it by going to Table B12001, which breaks down married people into categories of "Married, spouse present" and "Married, spouse absent." Run your eye down the table to the Females, and you'll see about 5.5 million women were Married, spouse absent. The 3 million who were legally separated were already accounted for in the previous table. The "other" category includes about 2.4 million women who were married, not legally separated, but who were not living with their spouses at the time of the survey. These women could include those whose husbands are on military deployment, an extended business trip, or in prison or another kind of institution. These 2.4 million women comprise 2% of the population.
And 2% is just the number you need to shift the numbers from "51% of women are married, but not legally separated" to "51% of women are not living with husbands."
Only the New York Times could make a headline out of a footnote.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

If You are Considering Divorce...

Today's column of The Ex-Files gives an idea how subtle the conflicts can be. Here is a stepdad who was trying to do the right thing, and got an outcome he didn't expect:

QUESTION: My wife and her ex-husband share custody of their 9-year-old son. My bonus son loves the L.A. Lakers. His dad and he never miss a game. When trying to figure out what to buy him for his birthday, I found a jersey I knew he would like, so I bought it for him. In my attempt to coordinate efforts, I called his dad and told him about the jersey. He was very nice and thanked me. Three days later, his mom and I see Dad and child at the mall and child is wearing the exact jersey I bought him and it was brand-new. I'm trying to support this guy, and he stabbed me in the back. How can I cooperate if he doesn't?

Here is the answer from the experts:

ANSWER: What we're about to tell you we ask you to listen to with an open mind, because it hasn't been explained quite this way in most of the information you read about bio/bonus co-parenting – and it's a little subliminal, so go with us on this one. One of the keys to successful co-parenting is for the bio and bonus parents to establish their niche with the child and not cross over it. The father's niche is basketball with his child. That's what they do together.
Without knowing it, you crossed over into Dad's niche with his son. As it was, Dad was polite to you, which was commendable, but he also one-upped you because his perception was that you one-upped him by buying the jersey in the first place – you entered his territory.
Here's the really crazy aspect: If Mom would have called Dad, told him about the jersey and explained that she was going to give it to support Dad and son's mutual love of the Lakers, the response may have been different. You, on the other hand, are a different story.
Even if you all get along, you're direct competition when it comes to his son. This unspoken competition gets less as the kids get older, but when they're at the age of your bonus son, you're right in the thick of it. Of course we all do our best to put our insecurities aside in the best interests of the children, but it certainly isn't easy – especially if you're sharing custody with an ex who has remarried and your child actually likes this new guy.

So, our advice to you is to figure out what you like to do with your bonus son, and make that your niche. For now, don't pick basketball. If you like basketball, too, of course, you can't help that, but keep your eyes open and follow Dad's lead. Plus, look for something else that you can share with your bonus son that's completely different and can't be perceived as a way to step on Dad's attempt to stay close to his son.

ME: They're right, you do have to keep an open mind about this. Both these men are trying to do the right thing. But they are competing for the love and affection of this child. The birth father loves his son and wants to be close to him. The stepfather loves the child's mother, and hopes to be close to the child for her sake. Look at how much we are asking of both these men: the stepdad is supposed to treat this boy as if he were his own, except when he isn't. The father is expected to continue to be the father to his child, and simply take it in stride that another man is occupying his place in his son's life.

And they say that advocates of life-long married love are unrealistic.

Friday, January 12, 2007


My review of Unprotected the new book by a UCLA psychiatrist is here on Mercator Net. Money quotes:
The author recounts the evidence that sexually active teenage girls are
about three times more likely to be depressed and to have attempted suicide than girls who were not sexually active. ...This refusal to face inconvenient facts cries out for explanation. One of the author's patients asked her, “Why, Doctor, do they tell you how to protect your body from herpes and pregnancy, but they don’t tell you what it does to your heart?”
Why indeed? Read it all here, or subscribe to my newsletter and get the whole thing in your in-box on Monday.

If You are Considering Divorce...

Today, January 12, 2007, a letter to Dear Abby provides a cautionary tale about the impact of divorce.

My husband, "Noah," and I are being divorced. He moved out nine months ago. We have a 7-year-old son and a 3-year-old daughter.
Last month, Noah revealed that he has had a girlfriend, "Dana," since last June, and they're moving into an apartment together this week. He said the children won't have to meet Dana until I'm comfortable with it. Noah also promised it would be gradual."
I took the kids to see his apartment a couple of days later. The next day he called me and announced he was taking them to a birthday party for one of Dana's relatives. He also said some co-workers would be there. (He and Dana work for the same company.)
We're not even divorced yet! I don't want to teach my kids that people live together before marriage. By moving in with Dana, Noah has created a secret I can't tell my kids.
Abby, I had to meet many of my father's girlfriends. They all fell by the wayside, each time creating more loss in my life. I don't want that to happen to my children. I'm thinking of making a rule: One year of committed relationship before either Noah or I introduce them to a potential partner. Personally, I'm waiting until after the divorce is final before I start to date. Am I right? --

DEAR PROTECTIVE MOM: Create all the rules you wish, but that doesn't mean Noah will abide by them. If he took the children to a birthday party for a relative of Dana's, it's logical to assume that they have already met her.

Abby has more to say, but here are my comments.

1. The mom really has no control over whether her children's father introduces new loves into their lives. Whether the new love interest is a good person or a dreadful influence over her kids, the birth mom has very limited options in controlling the kind of people her children's father brings into their lives. When they were married, they had both the opportunity and the ability to cooperate with each other about issues of this kind.

2. This mom is an example of something social science has documented for years: divorce continues to be a dark cloud over children's lives, well into the adulthood. This mom remembers very well the pain of connecting with her dad's new loves and then losing those relationships when her dad broke up with them. From a child's point of view, each new love interest is like a remarriage. And each break-up is like a divorce. Not identical in their impacts, of course, but powerful experiences in their own right.

3. This case illustrates one of the problems with no-fault divorce. "We aren't even divorced yet." If this woman lived in a state which considered marital fault as a factor in dividing marital property, and access to the children, the husband would be much more circumspect about getting involved with a new partner even before the divorce was final.

If You are Considering Divorce

If You are Considering Divorce is a new feature of this blog. In my interactions with my audiences, I have heard this lament many times, "If I had known how difficult divorce was going to be, I would have worked harder at staying married." Just yesterday, I gave a talk, "The Marriage Crisis: Why it is There and Why You Should Care", at a Rotary Club in San Diego County. A man came up to me afterwards with the sad story of a friend's son whose wife has served him with divorce papers. The parents/grandparents are devastated, because they genuinely liked their son-in-law and want him as part of their family. The man in the audience wondered whether I had anything they could read that might help preserve the family.

If You are Considering Divorce is an attempt to meet that need.

The purpose of this feature is to try to give people a more realistic perspective on what divorce will mean for the quality of their lives and their family's lives. I will post items periodically under this heading. Please send people who are considering divorce to browse this site. Invite them to have an open mind, and consider the information carefully.

I welcome your input into this feature.
Dr J