Why aren’t we supporting single mothers?

By Karly Dunn

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(Bill O'Reilly Official Facebook Page)

(Bill O’Reilly Official Facebook Page)

On the Jan. 18, 2008 episode of “The O’Reilly Factor”, Bill O’Reilly explained that children born out of wedlock are worse off than those who aren’t. Claiming that it’s “not good for the child,” O’Reilly then proceeded to say that single mothers should not have to ask for child support from their children’s fathers because they should be able to provide for their children independently.

The full conversation can be seen here. Much of what O’Reilly discusses is still a prevalent issue seven years later.

As a woman born out of wedlock and the child of divorced parents, I had a lot to say in response to O’Reilly’s assertions. My parents had me at the ages of 19 and 20; not early teenage pregnancy, but just as challenging in regard to balancing a job, an education and parenting a child.

My parents have since graduated from college, married, given me two little sisters and separated. I have had, in my opinion, one of the best childhoods I could have been given, and the separation of my parents has been more rewarding than it would have been to watch my parents begin to resent each other together.

So, it is in my nature to provide anecdotal advice to O’Reilly and his supporters on how not to judge the way people start families and the way in which they support them.

O’Reilly interviewed a man who, essentially, victimized men who have been asked to pay child support for their children. He and O’Reilly agreed that since it was a woman’s decision to have the child, a woman should be independently responsible for providing to the child financially.

Now, what possesses a man to refute the idea of supporting his children? Since when has it not been a man’s responsibility to care and provide for the child he helped bring into the world?

Women are absolutely not 100 percent responsible for the child they participated in making. And if a woman does not want to have children because of financial barriers, traumatic experiences and health-related issues, she does not deserve to be judged for terminating a pregnancy.

It is not a woman’s job to allow herself to be subjected to judgment for asking for financial support for her children. If a man helps to make a baby with a woman, he should help to support one.

Although O’Reilly agreed that it takes two to make a baby, he’s living in another century. It does not require marriage to healthily support a baby. It requires love, financial support and mutual respect for and from both parents.

Also, the fraction of women who have children solely to receive financial benefits from men are not representative of the population of single mothers who deserve the help, or the population of those women who have children outside of marriage. And it’s offensive to think they are.

Karly Dunn is a Collegian columnist and can be reached at [email protected]