I’d like to make a case for fatherhood based on some facts that are frequently overlooked but that are relevant to the budget debate we’ve been having in Wisconsin lately.
This week as the state legislature debated the state budget, Democratic lawmakers berated the GOP for defunding Planned Parenthood in the state General Purpose Revenue for “family planning services.” They accused GOP legislators of being against poor women, of denying healthcare to underprivileged women and taking us back to the Stone Age, basically.
Aside from the many, compelling reasons that the state should not be funding an organization like Planned Parenthood, I would suggest that state-funded “family planning services” are really a short-term, short-sighted, dependence-creating solution to rising teen pregnancy and STD’s rates. When you have a problem, particularly like spreading STD’s, you need to implement immediate solutions, but more importantly, you need long-term solutions.
So what’s one of the most important long-term solutions? Fatherhood. Involved fathers can make all the difference in the decisions young girls make–whether they participate in risky (read typically life-altering) behaviors or not. Here are just a few examples:
- Teenage girls who have a close relationship with their father are less likely to engage in sexual conduct.
- Teenage girls in intact families are less likely to become pregnant compared to their peers in other family structures
- A strong father/daughter relationship is linked to less depression, sexual activity and pregnancy for girls.
- Remove marriage penalties in the state’s welfare programs
- Require a longer waiting period and extensive counseling for couples with minor children considering a divorce (in the absence of abuse, abandonment or adultery)
- Build incentives for premarital counseling into marriage licensing provisions