In the department of why sex ed and legal abortion are important comes this story carried widely in Montana newspapers. For those of you who don't want to make the link jump, I'll summarize. An 18-year-old mother left her infant--clad only in pajamas--on the doorstep of a neighbor in the middle of the night so that she could go to a party. Later in the evening she pounded on other doors in the neighborhood because she couldn't remember where she'd put him. Unsurprisingly, she's now being charged with child endangerment, since the neighbor called the police after finding the baby.
It's incidents like this one that make me spew bordering-on-eugenic phrases, against my better liberal judgment. I remember horrifying my French colleague a few years ago when I trotted out my well-worn (half) joke about developing technology to allow mandatory reversible sterilization at birth. Every child deserves a healthy, happy upbringing. That doesn't mean Leave-It-To-Beaver-land mother-father familes to the exclusion of everything else, just that kids deserve better than what they're getting now in far too many cases.
Raising a child is hard work, harder than anything else I've ever done. Why are there so few supports in place for people? I'm not saying state-sponsored daycare for 18-year-old mothers who want to go to parties, but how about guaranteed paid maternity leave? How about subsidized childcare for women who want or have to work? How about jobs that pay a living wage?
None of that would have helped that poor baby on the Great Falls doorstep, but maybe if there were more value attached to parenthood we wouldn't entrust a baby with a woman like that in the first place.