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Unwed Teen Parents and Welfare

* Caryl Rivers’ article “Is Any Husband Better Than None?” (Commentary, April 19) was interesting and informative. However, like so many recent articles involving men and women, it was written to portray the female as the victim and the male counterpart as the culprit.

This is not a sexist issue. The answer, if there is one, is pregnancy reduction. Education and access to contraception are certainly part of the answer to this problem, as is responsible parenthood. Each of these teens have parents, where are they?

Women who have children out of wedlock are no more and no less irresponsible than the biological father, they are simply the sex that gets pregnant. Is a 15-year-old girl who gets pregnant from her gang-member boyfriend or a woman who gives birth to a child of a crack addict, any more mature than the gang member or the crack addict?

The answer to the question, “Is any husband better than none?” is obviously, no. The same answer is appropriate to the question, “Is any wife better than none?” or “Is any mother or father better than none?” I do agree with Rivers’ conclusion that marriage under such circumstances is not the answer. As a divorce attorney, I get my share of business from those who think otherwise.

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I am not offended by a young woman who has one child and is on welfare (provided she is attending school or making some effort to become self-supporting). I am offended by a welfare recipient who has three or four children, is pregnant and whose parents and grandparents were also on welfare. That is a lifestyle, not an interim solution.

The real problem in our society is lack of responsibility.

C. LARRY FANCHER

Anaheim

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* There are half a dozen references to unwed teen-age pregnancy, and about as many to welfare payments for unmarried mothers, but not one mention of the words maturity , responsibility , or commitment . The word love does manage to get in.

Rivers ends: “Marriage is a wonderful institution, the source of love, joy and nurture. But it’s not a quick fix for social problems.” If Rivers is right, what happens when she convinces us that teen-age unwed pregnancy and parenting are all right; who will work to pay the taxes to support the welfare to pay the children having children?

LAWRENCE BERG

San Gabriel

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* Lisbeth B. Schorr’s column “Help the Parent, but Not at the Child’s Expense” (Commentary, April 18) misses the boat on many important points. First, it takes parents rather than a parent to have a child. Two, although Schorr’s article purports to have the child’s interest paramount she only wants to maintain the status quo position of the government being the substitute husband for single mothers by providing welfare checks. The interest of the child is best served by having two parents, a mother and a father.

I propose that only families with a father and a mother present receive welfare benefits. And only for a limited time. Let’s put the father back in the family where he belongs.

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SUSAN B. ANTHONY

Whittier


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