Yesterday FRC released their Third Annual Index of Family Belonging and Rejection.
The report, by Pat Fagan, Ph.D., Henry Potrykus, Ph.D., and Nicholas Zill, Ph.D, grants comprehensive evidence for the continued and critical importance of family structure today.
As Dr. Pat Fagan explains: “This year’s new derivative study from the ‘Index of Family Belonging and Rejection’ shows that the intactness of the family is immensely important in determining the success and failure of a child, a state, and our nation itself… Family structure has profound effects on an area’s economic wellbeing. There is no more important factor in determining dependence on welfare programs that aim to fix organic poverty, such as TANF and food stamps. Our analysis shows family intactness is the second most important factor in an area’s level of poverty among women and children, as well as the top factor in determining an area’s teenage out-of-wedlock birth rate – a source of poverty itself. Family strength is as important in determining an area’s employment rate among men as the fraction of its adults that have completed high school… Many, if not most, public spending streams decrease family intactness. This is totally irrational as a long-term strategy for the social infrastructure of the nation and guarantees decreased productivity and education attainment and increased dysfunctions in every measured area of social concern… The biggest challenge facing the nation is solving the problem of how broken families (where mother and father no longer raise their children together) can raise children who will have intact marriages. If we do not learn how to solve this problem, the U.S. will continue to decline.”
Some of the report’s main findings include:
- “The Index of Family Belonging for the U.S. is now 45 percent, meaning only 45 percent of U.S. teenagers aged 15 to 17 have grown up with both biological married parents. The biological parents of the remaining 55 percent are no longer together.
- In the average large city, just over three in ten teenagers have grown up with both married parents (36 percent) – significantly lower than the national average Family Belonging Index.
- In the five cities scoring lowest on Family Belonging, fewer than two in ten teenagers have been raised by both married parents. These cities were Cleveland, Ohio (15 percent); Baltimore, Maryland (16 percent); Washington, D.C. (17 percent); Memphis, Tennessee (17 percent); and Detroit, Michigan (18 percent).
- Utah has the highest state Index of Family Belonging, and Mississippi has the lowest.
- Portions of Middlesex County, Massachusetts; Bergen County and Hunterdon, New Jersey; and Nassau County, New York, have the highest Index of Family Belonging. In these areas, the Index of Family Belonging is around 70 percent.
- Portions of Cuyahoga County, Ohio; Baltimore, Maryland; Bronx County, New York; the District of Columbia; and Shelby County, Tennessee, have the lowest Index of Family Belonging. In these areas, the Index of Family Belonging is just over 15 percent.”
To read the full report, a related study or to view the release event click on the links below:
Full Report: ”Index of Family Belonging and Rejection”
Related Study: “U.S. Social Policy: Dependence on the Family”
Report release event: Index of Belonging and Rejection Press Conference.
An article in BBC News confirms the suspicion that sex-selective abortion in India continues despite the 1994 ban on sex-selective abortion. As the number of girls in India continues to decline (an estimated 914 girls for ever 1,000 boys) it is interesting to look back at what was said about the issue in the past.
The trend towards female feticide came to light in the 2000 census. Since then, political efforts have continually failed to prevent the continued decline of the female population in India. In 2011 Ranjana Kumari, the head of the Center for Social Research said, “I think the more women become aware of their rights, the more they become stronger in terms of economic rights, political rights.” After that, she said, women “will not go for such abortions, because to save the women species, women have to come forward.” That was a year ago. And we know as well now as we did then that progressive ideas about women’s rights, those which include pro-choice attitudes, coexist with real economic and political rights in the Western world. We also know that women here in the United States and in Europe practice sex selective abortions as well.
No doubt there are contributing factors such as poverty, social stigma and cultural practices which contribute to sex-selective abortions in India. However as the dire effects of this practice upon families and entire societies becomes apparent in many other parts of the world, we can only hope more people will recognize the grave wrong of abortion, population control, and the world-views which drive them.
As an intern with C-FAM, I’ve had the opportunity to attend some pretty neat events, from a Statesmen’s Forum with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (on my first day!) to the Congressional hearing on the status of Chen Guangcheng, which I blogged about earlier. The most meaningful event for me, however, has been The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation’s ceremony and wreath laying. I’m a survivor of communism.
My grandparents fled Lithuania during World War II to escape death at the hands of the Nazi and Soviet armies; my parents devoted much of their professional lives to the resistance movement in America as the Soviet Union held Lithuania and other nations in a stranglehold for forty-five years. While it’s easy to romanticize the bygone Cold War era of spies and international intrigue, Women’s Rights without Frontiers president Reggie Littlejohn’s remarks on forced abortion and the one-child policy in communist China yesterday drove home the reality that communism continues to inflict suffering on innocent lives. She highlighted the recent and brutal forced abortion on a woman seven months pregnant whose dead child was placed on the bed next to her (Warning: the photo below is graphic).
Littlejohn also noted that “the hallmark of communist governments is peacetime killings of their own citizens.” While The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation counts 100 million as the death toll under leaders such as Stalin, Mao, and others, Littlejohn pointed out that there is a hidden category of victims: the 400 million lives destroyed in China under the one-child policy since 1979. She contended that through forced abortion, sterilization, infanticide, and sex-selective abortion, the one-child policy has engendered more violence against women and girls than any other official government policy. Because of the preference for male children, there are currently 37 million more men than women in China. The gross gender imbalance has fueled sex trafficking of women not only in China, but in surrounding Asian countries as well. Finally, China has the highest female suicide rate in the world, and it is the only country in which female suicides outnumber those of males. (For more statistics and their sources, visit the All Girls Allowed website.)
Littlejohn continued that China’s problem isn’t overpopulation, but rather an aging population with too few young people. She believes that the Chinese government is unrelenting in enforcing the one-child policy, however, because it is a form of social control that ensures the Communist Party’s power. She explained that the policy is used as an instrument of fear; because informants paid to report violators are everywhere, people cannot trust each other and thus cannot organize for democratic causes. As another speaker, Annette Lantos of the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice commented, in communism there is no room for dissent or compromise; its ideology commands control through fear, intimidation, and indoctrination.
Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who received the Foundation’s Medal of Freedom, expressed his hope that the U.S. would be “a beacon of light in the world.” Though it’s hard to see America that way when, as the freest society in the world, it has allowed the destruction of 50 million lives since 1973 in the form of legal abortion, there is hope; after all, this is the same country that overcame slavery. A democracy may err grievously, but at least its citizens can trust their government not to violate their rights as they seek to protect the rights of others.
Although I was born after Lithuania’s freedom and sovereignty were restored, my heritage has taught me never to take for granted the basic human freedoms that communism continues to strip away, such as free speech, religious liberty, and most importantly, life—all in the name of an ideology that promises to raise up the common man but instead enables the powerful to tyrannize the masses. Thus, as Littlejohn commented in closing, China’s future is crucial for preventing any more unnecessary human suffering:
Whether China will turn and become a free, democratic nation, or whether China will continue down the path of totalitarian destruction, is the greatest issue of the twenty-first century and has vast implications for our own national security. Supporting democracy in China should be among the highest priorities of the leaders of the free world.
On December 13 1968, Garrett Hardin, an American ecologist, published The Tragedy of the Commons, one of the most quoted and talked about papers on overpopulation, which presented the problem of the Tragedy of the Commons, and proposed “relinquishing the freedom to breed” as a solution (Science 1248). The Tragedy of the Commons, an idea first introduced by William Forster Lloyd in the early 1800s is an agricultural allegory for the current state of overpopulation in the world.
As depicted in the cartoon, four farmers find themselves unable to keep adding cows to the common because overpopulation depletes the resources of the land. While the cartoon then seeks to compare humans to the farming situation, it does not propose a solution. Hardin, when interviewed about his views proposes two solutions to the problem: either reduce the American standard of living, or reduce the number of people living.
He claims that since there are no natural variables controlling population growth, the responsibility finds itself in the hands of the public interest, especially that of the then “Planned Parenthood-World Population Organization” (Science 1246). He suggests “mutual coercion, mutually agreed upon by the majority of people affected” (Science 1247) as the means of guaranteeing the loss of the freedom to breed and “openly deny[ing] the validity of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights” (Science 1246), set forth by the UN in 1967. “Freedom to breed,” Hardin reiterates, “will bring ruin to all” (Science 1248). In other words, our rights to reproduce should merely not exist, and the decision to have children should rest on that of a governmental organization such as Planned Parenthood or the UNFPA.
Now you might ask, “what do the abrasive mutterings of some ecologist from the 60s have to do with the current state of affairs?” Yesterday, I had the pleasure to attend my first meeting as a C-FAM Intern, at which Wendy Wright, the Interim Executive Director for C-FAM in New York, presented recent updates concerning the upcoming Rio+20 Summit from June 20-22 on Sustainable Development. It seems Planned Parenthood is at it again, but how do reproductive rights relate to climate change? Remember the two solutions Hardin proposes to fix this “Tragedy of the Commons”: Planned Parenthood, an organization founded on a philosophy of death and characteristic of taking the quick-and-easy fix over a more difficult or longer approach, has chosen the solution to reduce the number of people over the solution of reducing the American standard of living. The fewer the people in the world, the less overpopulation there is, and therefore the greater the sustainability of the earth.
Planned Parenthood disregards reducing the American standard of living or simply increasing our efficiency for the cheap and easy fix: abortion, contraception, euthanasia, and sterilization.
Forced sterilization campaigns have been going on for years. In the 1990s, for example, UNFPA supported Fujimori’s forced sterilization programs in Peru: systematic and brutal, the government invited rural Peruvian women to participate in “litigation festivals” turned sterilization clinics, in which they sterilized 300,000 women.
While the US has since enacted investigations and laws prohibiting future funding of organizations which promote such forced sterilization, the question should still be proposed, “does Planned Parenthood or UNFPA have a connection to forced sterilization?” Considering Planned Parenthood’s approach of population control- climate change, connections to forced sterilization epidemics may not be far off.
Reading this, you may feel inclined to do something. Pope Benedict offers a solution:
Today the great gift of God’s Creation is exposed to serious dangers and lifestyles which can degrade it. Environmental pollution is making particularly unsustainable the lives of the poor of the world … we must pledge ourselves to take care of creation and to share its resources in solidarity.
It is our duty as Catholics and Christians alike to protect this great environment God has given us. Why take the easy way out and reduce the population size, when everyone can live in peace with better sustainable living techniques? Whatever the case, St. Francis had it right in his Brother Sun and Sister Moon Canticle when he said, “Praised be You, my Lord with all your creatures“.
To follow in his footsteps towards Jesus, check out the link below to take the St. Francis Pledge. As patrons of God’s creation (Gen. 2), we must daily reaffirm our promise of responsibility for this incredible world God has given us by respecting it not by destroying it!