Perhaps many of us have gained the impression over the last few years that the federal government was championing Planned Parenthood and contraception and abortion to a degree that was…well…weird.
I mean, tens of millions of Americans remain unemployed. Racial divisions have been visible and painful. Wars and other tense military situations overseas are continuing to cause the deaths of many and the forced migration of many more. But there was the Obama administration spending who knows how much money, running 300 religious plaintiffs–including the Little Sisters of the Poor and the sweet families running Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood–up and down the courts (including twice to the Supreme Court!) in order to force them to pay for contraceptives and abortifacients for a few thousand employees who could already get them pretty darn cheap if they wanted them.
This odd obsession with the idea of sex disconnected from children and from marriage too, caught my eye and inspired me to write a book which will come out in the fall.
It caught my eye not only because it’s weird for the feds to get so involved in championing sexual expression for its own sake, but even more because we are beyond aware in the twenty-first century that children born outside of marriage, on average, suffer real losses.
The book, therefore, chronicles the legal development of this movement I call “sexual expressionism”: valorizing sex without any relationship to children and marriage.
It then sets forth the evidence of the difficulties faced by nonmarital children. In this chapter, I also take on the way that the “marital childbearing” gap between races and socioeconomic groups is tearing our social fabric.
Then, I chronicle the government’s attempted responses to this fallout: social programs of noble intent, and great expense, but with little to show in the way of closing gaps between the haves and the have-nots. I also chronicle the federal government’s attempt to have its cake and eat it too–that is, to have sexual expressionism, the feminist label, and to end poverty as we know it–by means of contraception. But of course this has failed too, and since the feds became highly involved in contraception distribution, rates of unintended pregnancies and nonmarital births have increased instead of decreased, and increased precisely among the poor.
I then perform both anthropological and ethical critiques of the government’s behaviors, and make some suggestions for improvement at the end. Throughout the book, I take on again and again the contradiction between separating sex from even the idea of children, and hoping that this will promote women’s and children’s freedom.
Clearly, my view will “go against the grain” of a great deal of legal and family scholarship. I will look forward to introducing it to you near the end of the year.