In a blog post yesterday, Wall Street Journal editor and columnist James Taranto opines on what's causing "widespread illegitimacy" (aka single motherhood, for those not speaking feudal English) in 21st century America. The idea that all single mothers "choose" their circumstances is a common theme for Taranto, who seems to see men ceding reproductive control to women as a glitch that's been messing everything up in the past few decades.
Taranto laments "female careerism," which has resulted in women having "less incentive to wed, since marriage no longer means trading in a job for a provider husband. Female careerism got a big boost with the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sex discrimination in the workplace," he writes, almost wistfully. But the pill is also to blame. That's right! The pill is to blame for more single mothers.
"With reproduction under female control, it became a female responsibility. Men no longer felt obligated to marry women by whom they fathered children. The paradoxical-seeming result is that a technology to reduce 'unwanted pregnancy' massively increased out-of-wedlock births."
Just so we're clear: Taranto seems to be celebrating the days before men ceded reproductive control, because when it wasn't our own faults for getting pregnant then at least men had to marry us to make it up to us. You know, the good old days. But now, "any woman who gives birth out of wedlock does so because she chooses to do so," he writes.
In Taranto's world, no father-to-be has ever walked out on a pregnant girlfriend/wife/newborn, apparently. Yes, some women may choose to become single mothers, but choosing to raise a family with a partner takes two. Taranto's suggestion that any woman who doesn't want to become a single mom should have had an abortion is illogical as well as awful. Some women consider abortion to be an option for them and others don't, and that is their rightful choice. Not to mention that, with changing restrictions on reproductive rights in the U.S., abortion isn't always readily accessible.
After attempting to assign single mothers full responsibility, Taranto twists the knife in just a little deeper, calling them bad mothers. "Taranto's sexism and misinformed attacks on women's reproductive freedom are a regular feature at the Journal," laments Hannah Groch-Begley at Media Matters. "There he has previously argued that a 'war on men' began with contemporary feminism in the 1960s, when women dared 'to be equal to men' and wanted 'sexual freedom.'" Media Matters compiled some of his worst offenses here: