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  • Price of Unwed Births Far Greater than the Hospital Bills

    A recent piece in The Wall Street Journal noted that “Unintended pregnancies likely cost the federal and state governments more than $11 billion a year,” based on research published by the Brookings Institution.

    A major reason for the cost to government, notes the author, is that “women who unintentionally get pregnant are more likely to be low-income” and thus “are more likely to be eligible for government-financed medical care.” The Brookings report also notes that the majority (57 percent) of these births are to women who are unmarried: one of the greatest predictors of child poverty in the United States today. The strong link between unwed childbearing and poverty creates little wonder that the majority of births to unmarried women are financed by Medicaid.

    However, the costs don’t stop at birth. In fact, it’s only the beginning. As Heritage Foundation analyst Robert Rector asserts, “Once the taxpayer has paid for the childbirth, aid to the [low-income, single] mother and child will generally continue through a wide variety of programs for years to come.”

    In fact, roughly 75 percent of all families on welfare are single-parent families. With the number of unwed births skyrocketing over the last five decades (more than 40 percent of births in the United States today are to single moms), the cost of federal welfare has mushroomed. Currently, Washington operates more than 70 welfare programs at a cost edging toward $1 trillion annually.

    Yet poverty and government dependence aren’t the only problems connected to single-parent families. Children raised without fathers are at greater risk for a host of negative outcomes, such as poorer social and emotional behavior, delinquency, and lower academic outcomes.

    However, the answer to preventing unwed births for these low-income women is not more birth control, as Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood, proposes in The Wall Street Journal.

    In fact, women from low-income neighborhoods report that a lack of access to birth control is not why they became pregnant. While some of these women say their pregnancies were indeed unintended, many report that they wanted to have a child or at least that their becoming pregnant was not completely unintentional.

    However, while these women may be well versed in birth control, the message on the importance of marriage is often never heard. As Robert Rector notes:

    “…young people in low-income communities are never told that having a child outside of marriage will have negative consequences. They are never told that marriage has beneficial effects. The schools, the welfare system, the health care system, public authorities, and the media all remain scrupulously silent on the subject.”

    The growing rate of unwed childbearing is putting more families at risk for poverty, welfare dependence, and a host of other ill outcomes, leading to increased welfare spending and debt for the nation. Men and women in low-income communities must understand the critical importance of waiting to have children until marriage. Campaigns to promote marriage and warn of the risks associated with single parenting are an important step in strengthening marriages and communities. Furthermore, the United States must also take steps to eliminate marriage penalties prevalent in many welfare programs.

    Without the secure bonds that marriage provides, communities will continue to struggle, and the cost of government welfare will continue to rise.

    Posted in Culture [slideshow_deploy]

    11 Responses to Price of Unwed Births Far Greater than the Hospital Bills

    1. Ken Smith, Calif. Ho says:

      The 70 welfare programs consist of people; public employees who work in a system dedicated to perpetuating their departments and expanding when possible. "Work yourselves out of a job by eliminating the need for your services is not a public sector motto"!

      Since Daniel Patric Moynihan first reminded them their policies were counterproductive and would encourage the behavior they were sworn to eliminate, the problems have, with department help, grown to the point that it is now destroying the marriage customs of Hispanics as well.

      A recent article appearing in the Huffington Post estimates the cost of raising a child to be 235 thousand dollars. So here is the rub.

      When a man impregnates a single girl or woman he places on someone in our society, an obligation of 235 thousand dollars to provide for the childs needs till they become 18 or so. Therefore, if he "does the right thing" and marries the lady he is liable for child support, even if he is later divorced from her.

      But if he walks away to impregnate a few more single girls, our system happily allows him to avoid his obligation, receiving a de facto gift of 235 thousand which will now be happily provided by a welfare department assuring "Full" employment for that department and even growing same.

      Like many of our problems, at least one viable solution is available although the will to implement is not.

      Single mothers give birth with the funding of Medicaid. A condition of that free birth could be to provide the identity of the natural father and record same with Child Services. That done, the existing legal mechanisms are in place to collect child support.

      This system would give further incentive to the male who presently gets off so easy he doesn't even bother to carry and use a condom. (Now someone will surely tell me condoms are only for disease control).

      As presently practiced, males are rewarded for not raising their children; richly rewarded, I would say and no one wants to change any welfare or medicaid program, that affects public employees. We would rather sell an Aircraft Carrier to continue funding our social programs as they are.

      Socialism has no reverse gear.

    2. Luis P. says:

      Duh! Why not do research on how Gov. uses their "services" in order to win voters?

      You missed the part where the Gov. and other institutions reward women (more $ or incentives) if they have multiple children, from multiple absent fathers.

      You want to give me a hand out? Stop taking my money! Stop spending my childrens money before they have made it! When I am prospersous, I will gladly share it with those that deserve it.

      I think I hear the sizzling of a branding iron…it reads, "USDA Subsidized Voter"

    3. joseph cummins says:

      This may appear as being heartless and cruel, but the solution to this world-wide problem is to stop all aid (except non-forced charity) to anyone anywhere for having children whether they are single, married or poor.

      If a man or woman cannot afford the luxury of a child or children then nature has a way of dealing with reality. After a few years people will begin to make better choices in their behavior and if not they will continue to suffer the consequences of their actions. Then, eventually the harsh truth will emerge and the world will be a better place for all inhabitants.

    4. george peckham says:

      I respectfully request that Heritage F. get a strong agriculturist on staff.

      America's best defense and economic recovery plan can use a diversified system of ethanol production units. (think small)

      Stills 3 miles apart means 1.5 mile substrate haul and back-haul of soil building


      Diversity means supply security, jobs, inovation, multiple inovaters, recuced fuel distribution costs and the end of foreign energy dependence.

    5. R Holland, Chandler, says:

      The Democratic Socialist Party is an advocate for the big government socialist welfare state. Having people on welfare and dependent on such handouts makes the Democratic Socialist Party the only source of income for the welfare recipients. Our Campaigner-in-Chief is making his own people slaves again.

    6. Slick in Nebraska says:

      The first assumption made in this article is that pregnancies are unintentional – you are kidding me, right? Talk about someone putting a positive spin on one of the major problems in our society! Many of these women know EXACTLY what they are doing when they have children so they can increase the amount of assistance they get from State and Federal government . . . . in ADDITION to being "eligible for government-financed medical care.”

      Does anyone besides me wonder about the enormous amount of money spent on sex education in our school systems over the last 30+ years? I often wonder just exactly what the point is to paying all that money for information that basically goes unused! We educate children 10 years and up (whether they are ready or not) about HOW to have sex, WHAT they need to do to keep from getting pregnant, and then if all else fails, we offer abortions, without parents' knowledge, to get "rid of the problem" because the child did not apply what they learned. I don't know about anyone else, but it seems to me that we are teaching our children from a young age that making good decisions doesn't matter because there is ALWAYS a way out!

      And now we have a writer who thinks that the main "unintended consequence" is going to be the additional medical expense? Boy, I am PRAYING that the only "unintended consequence" is childhood medical expense. My worst fear is that we will have a whole generation of young people who have NO ONE to bond with and learn from, someone who sets a good example and gives them solid morals and a good worth ethic!

      I could not tell from this article what the writer thought the long-term solution is but unless we are willing to support a strong value system, our society will continue to deteriorate. And thinking that the government is able to provide us with a solution to this problem is what got us into this whole mess to begin with!

    7. Renny, Maryland says:

      Amen!!!! Proper education, especially from a "spiritual" perspective!!!!!!!!!!

    8. Brad S., Detroit, MI says:

      Goes back to the old adage. "Subsidize poverty and failure and you will get more of both." If we could only figure out a way to incentivize the correct behavior . . . . or by not making poverty too comfortable.

      A recent lottery winner here in Michigan who was written a check for over $800K, called the state and asked if he could continue to use his Bridge card (food stamp program). Since he did not have a job/steady income, they said yes, that he could. What ?!? It's loopholes and waste/fraud like this that will never go away because it is rewarded. Why is this guy able to use welfare money in the first place to buy lottery tickets ? I say the law should state that if you were given any government assistance and you win the state lottery, your winnings would deduct any aid you were given AUTOMATICALLY before you could collect a dime.

    9. Pingback: The M.Guy Tweet « Family Scholars

    10. Katr says:

      Interesting article, but I wish some of these statistics would shed light on marriages that don't do all this magic for the family it is touted to do. If your husband doesn't give you any money and avoids the children and any home duties as much as possible and refuses to move his growing family out of his mother's house, then what? The reason most of the welfare moms are single is because if your husband has an income then the family is not eligble, but that income means nothing to the family if the husband is irresponsible,immature and bad with money. I guess you'd think the lady shouldn't marry that type of guy, but on the surface and in the beginning everything looks okay until the guy has you locked down with marriage and kids. Why don't they talk about that in these statistics?

    11. Mark Loftin, Dyersbu says:

      My wife and I have had many foster children live with us and have adpoted two girls. The common factor in the lives of these kids was that their biological parents did not follow God's plan for a family. In most cases, the parents were never married and in almost all cases these kids had a "disappearing dad." I wrote about this sad epidemic in my book, titled "Front Line Observer."

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