Sen. Grothman backs up stance discouraging single parenting

Glenn Grothman. | Photo: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Sen. Grothman backs up stance discouraging single parenting

By Jay Sorgi. CREATED Mar 9, 2012

MADISON - A Wisconsin state senator is responding to nationwide criticism for comments he made about single parenting choices and potential effects on children.

Those comments are in a support of a bill he has co-sponsored.  That bill required a state board to emphasize single parenting as a risk factor for child abuse and neglect.

"What we're trying to point out here is that you can do it, a lot of people do it well, but it's not the best decision for your children if you care about your children," said West Bend Republican Glenn Grothman on Friday during Newsradio 620 WTMJ's "Wisconsin's Morning News."

He cited what he claimed to be a number of statistics to show that a greater chance of child abuse exists in families with one parent raising a child instead of a married couple.

"An extreme example: if you are raised by your biological parents who are married as opposed to a single mom or single dad with their boyfriend/girlfriend, the second situation...20 times more likely to be a victim of sexual abuse."

Grothman's bill doesn't particularly target or mention women.

He said American society was better off when people more strongly discouraged having children outside of marriage.

"Right now, our society is encouraging single parenting with a variety of welfare programs," said Grothman.

Particular women's groups have responded to Grothman's comments about unplanned pregnancies being a mistake.

"Women are really really getting fed up by all of this kind of legislation, they want it to stop and we're seeing them really raise up their voices," Tanya Atkinson, the executive director of Planned Parenthood, told TODAY'S TMJ4.

Many women have raised their voices at Grothman.  He tried to use statistics Friday to explain his reasoning.

"We're at a point in America where 60% of the births to women under age 30 are what used to be called illegitimate births," said Grothman.

"I don't think women are very stupid.  I think when you have 60% of the births to women under age 30 out of wedlock, decisions are being made here.  This isn't happening by accident."

However, Grothman did make it clear that in his mind, men play a role as well in these decisions.

"The decision to have single children as opposed to children in a marital relationship is made by both a man and a woman, and they should both be aware of the consequences," said Grothman, who tried not to paint a broad picture about single parents.

"I know a lot of single mothers.  They're very wonderful people.  I'm not going to be critical of the average single mother, but I am going to say that it is a risk factor (for child abuse), and I don't think any honest person would say that's a good thing."