Reproductive rights relate to deeply held views of morality, religion, and human purpose. How we decide to have children profoundly determines the world we create. Child advocates argue that currently children occur substantially as the happenstance byproduct of adult sexual pleasure. Surveys indicate that a majority of American babies born were not intended by either biological parent; fewer are the result of a commitment by two parents who intend and prepare for a new human being. Births to unwed mothers have risen to a 30% rate overall, and make up close to two-thirds of African-American births. The increase in unwed births (and single parenthood in general) is not confined to the poor, but has occurred across all income groups.
Because of continuing high rates of divorce and unwed births, over onethird of children in America will live with only one of their biological parents for most of their childhood—usually a mother. As discussed below, the financial assistance paid by absent parents subject to child support collection and received by the families caring for America's 19 million eligible children amounts to $45 per month per child.
Children living in two-parent families consistently have median household incomes three to five times the amount in female-headed single-parent households. The disparity holds for all ethnic groups.1 The median income of a
Table 2-A. U.S. Income of Families with Children: Married vs. Single Parents