LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Stop incentivizing unwed motherhood

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It is not surprising that approximately 50 percent of the children in the United States are born to unwed mothers; unwed mothers can get numerous benefits by having children out of wedlock.

Seventy-five percent of black American babies are born to unwed mothers. It looks like our society gets what it rewards. Uncle Sam is now the “father” of all those babies, and Americans who work must pay the bills — not only for their own children, but for the unwed mothers’ children as well. How soon will those currently working and paying start wondering: Why work, why marry? How soon will they decide to have children and retire on the programs for unwed mothers? It looks like adequate food and housing are provided.

The following are just a few of the programs available for unwed mothers: Temporary Aid for Needy Families (TANF), a cash grant for needy families for up to two years; Medicaid, free health care for low-income persons; food stamps; and the Section 8 low-income-housing program. Eligibility for Section 8 requires a household income below 50 percent of the median income for the recipient’s area. Recipients are only required to spend 30 percent of their income on housing. The assistance is a voucher that covers the discrepancy between that 30 percent of income and the actual cost of rental housing.

How many more American women will be tempted to become unwed mothers and let Uncle Sam be the “father” of their children? Or will those who are struggling to pay the cost of raising their own children finally demand that unwed mothers be responsible for their children?

LOUISE CATE

San Jose, Calif.

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