Dear Huckabee, Getting Knocked Up Isn't A Sin (Blog) / by Shanelle Gabriel

I didn't watch the Oscars, but after seeing Black Swan, I knew Natalie Portman was a shoe-in for Best Actress. With her petite frame and expensive gown, I can envision her teeth sparkling and milky skin glowing as she gracefully glided up the stairs to accept the award she killed herself, both figuratively and literally, to earn. She probably thanked her management, the people that saw the movie, and her co-stars. I'd imagine she thought it would be sweet to give a shout out to her unborn  child and his or her father, fiancee Benjamin Millepied. What a touching moment for a new mother, to be standing holding a prize knowing there's a gift to the world growing inside of her.

I won't lie, I'm one of those people who rely on social networks to give me most of my news, especially Twitter. I was curious when Huffington Post tweeted an article on Mike Huckabee "Slamming Natalie Portman for 'Child Out of Wedlock.'" I braced myself for half-truths mixed with a little bit of sexism and a whole lot of racism, and I was right.

"Most single moms are very poor, uneducated, can't get a job, and if it weren't for government assistance, their kids would be starving to death and never have health care... it's unfortunate that we glorify and glamorize the idea of out of children wedlock. You know, right now, 75 percent of black kids in this country are born out of wedlock. 61 percent of Hispanic kids… And the cost of that is simply staggering."

I'm so curious to know if Mr. Huckabee knows any of the single moms I know: lawyers, doctors, and upper/middle class business professionals who make their kids breakfast, lunch, and dinner, pick their kids up from ballet in the evening, and take their kids to church every weekend. Many of the ones I know happen to be Black, several are Latina. Huckabee takes the discussion of a famous unmarried White woman (who's ENGAGED to the father)and turns it into one about minorities who get knocked up and live off the system ALL because their ring finger is empty. To him that situation then causes all the economic problems of the lower class which in his opinion puts a strain on the upper class who are all married (even if it's probably their second or third time around) and are all gainfully employed (although there are many cases of middle class families ending up in the lower class due to layoffs and the employment crisis of the last few years). Imagine, all minorities need to do is get married and the glass ceilings will instantly be broken! How dare these women with their wombs make the decision to STEAL a man's sperm, get pregnant, and use our tax money for government cheese to feed their bastard children! 

There are several problems with Huckabee's "single mom" theory. Funny thing is, "since 1990, births have declined among African-American teens and risen among white teens, who comprise two-thirds of teen mothers." In this day and age, the general definition of the word single is dated. While single is said to mean "not legally married," there is a rise in partners who chose not to put a ring on it and cohabit for many years. With the 88% increase of cohabiting unmarried partners between 1990 and 2007, we also see that 41% of first births by unmarried women are born to cohabiting partners, meaning they aren't exactly in a one-parent home. Someone apparently didn't give him the memo that the whole idea that Blacks and minorities are eating up the welfare system has long been proven as a myth since 61% of the population receiving welfare is identified as White while only 33% is identified as Black. Lastly, due to skewed ratios and ignoring the trends of Blacks and Hispanics who actually do have children within wedlock, we aren't getting the whole picture from these numbers that many ignorant people like Huckabee like to spew.

I come from a rather conservative Christian background which believes you should disfellowship (remove membership) of unwed parents because it shows a lack of morality and proves a case of iniquity. Never mind the text "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone" or consider David's talk with God that in Psalm 139:13 that stated, "For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother's womb." Yes, having sex with anyone that's not your spouse is Biblically considered a sin. However, the child itself is NOT a sin. How dare we view the gift of life as a curse because of the imperfect nature of how the child comes to be! I've watched friends of mine get married or even get abortions in fear of punishment from conservative leaders who would see if they looked around that many of their peers were raised in homes that either began or ended up becoming single parent situations. 

We live in a world where rates of miscarriages are high and women are taking out loans for in vitro procedures. Yet we shun the women who may or may not have a husband but have given birth to the Oprahs, the Maya Angelous, the Eric Claptons,  the Confucius', the Leonardo da Vincis, all who were born of unwed parents. One can't ignore the sexism that bashes the 'terrible' unwed moms and not the dads that helped create the children and refuses to bash the ones that decided not to stick around. Just because a woman has to bear the stomach doesn't mean she solely bears the blame for the situation. And while they speak ill of these women for getting pregnant, they fight to cut funding and refuse to support institutions and proven programs that work to prevent unplanned pregnancies. (A whole other discussion.)

Theories of morality are personal things which need not be inflicted upon others, especially to turn a joyous occasion into one of condemnation and prejudice. Congratulations to Natalie Portman for winning in both her career and her personal life. And to all the women (and men) who are expecting babies not born into 'traditional' ideas of the ideal, I say cut off or cuss out those who view your blessing as anything but a beautiful miracle. God decided a life needed to come out of your union. I wish nothing but health, love, and many blessings.