Sunday, February 22, 2009

Wondering about Crime and Unwed Mothers

The dilemma is that Christianity is a religion that begins with a pregnant unmarried woman. We honor pregnancy and childbirth and try to help unwed mothers so that they will not abort their babies.

But we also know that children of unwed mothers are significantly more likely to commit crimes. That's bad for society. Doug Ross has a great discussion of this on his blog and included this chart:

Our government wants to provide more support for unwed mothers in raising their children. That's good for society.

But we also know that increasing support for unwed mothers increases the number the children born our of wedlock. And decreasing support for unwed mothers decreases the number of children born out of wedlock.

What's a compassionate conservative Christian to think?

Is it possible that we need to go back to orphanages? Is it possible that the children of unwed mothers do better in that environment than in multi-generational public supported single mother households?


now said...

Interesting questions.
Should we stop giving food to the poor in developing countries where the birth rate is high? If we did, would the birth rate go down due to increased morbidity and mortality? Is the answer just let the poor die? Sounds impersonal and harsh. Policy questions regarding population (and crime) control are puzzling.

Perpetua said...


I don't understand your response. How does your comment relate to the post?

However, regarding aid to developing countries, there was an interview in the New York Times magazine this week with a woman from Zambia who argues against food aid and for micro-loans.

now said...

My responce is going to be somewhat illogical as am writing from work on my phone.
The discussion about unwed mothers and the number of births reminded me of the population growth problems elsewhere. Policy decisions regarding births and unwed mothers affects the poor mostly - and pulls up class issues for me. It's like the poor are having too many babies. Let's regulate it so that they don't use up our resources.
I actually think the orphanage idea is interesting. But I've never thought about population and crime before.

If you'd prefer responses that are more directly related to the articles posted, I understand and won't post unless more related. It's just that I'm likely not going to comment that much on stuff I hadn't been thinking about aside from blog.

Perpetua said...

Hi now,

I love your comments. They are often thought provoking. I just didn't understand the connection you were making.

A mother bringing a child into the world without the biological father in the home can be shown to increase the child's chances of being raised in poverty and the child committing crimes. I was surprised that researchers could control for the poverty effect and find a seperate crime effect.