We know beyond a reasonable doubt that children thrive best when they have the stable support of their married mom and dad. We also know that the first several years of a child’s life (including their prenatal life) are incredibly important to their long-term health and achievement. And that the thousands of government programs designed to assist kids don’t come close to closing the gap between kids with stable families, and those without.
While our intent should never be to demonize adults in different circumstances, in matters of public policy we must try to get everyone to put kids front and center. This is our duty as citizens and human beings, given kids’ profound vulnerability and their dependence on the adults who brought them into this world.
Recognizing the benefits of married, biological parenting is not a prelude to an argument to refuse public and private resources to help children and families who are in less than ideal circumstances. That’s not who we are! Instead, remember that we are the folks who invented the crisis pregnancy centers serving tens of thousands of women annually!
Rather, it’s the premise of a question: given what we know, and given that children’s family structure is more or less established from the time of conception, why don’t we hear more about a “children’s rights” case for sexual integrity between adults?
My husband (cynical Washingtonian that he has become…) tells me that it’s because children don’t vote or give money to political campaigns. There’s some truth in that for sure. As for me, I wonder whether there’s something almost “evolutionary” going on: maybe people are “built” to care for their own kids, but don’t have the same intense motivation regarding other people’s kids?
Today, with the evidence rolling in (and screaming from the top fold of every newspaper) about the worsening financial and educational gaps between rich and poor, about racial gaps, and about boys falling behind – all driven in large part by the loss of stable marriage among the poorer – maybe, just maybe sexual integrity and marriage could again rise to the top of the national agenda? At the very least, maybe the current federal administration will stop promoting sexual expression as if sex doesn’t affect the children conceived?
I will never stop believing that it’s worth arguing. I’m writing a book on it too. To be shared next year.