Wisconsin Republican Senator Proposes Bill To Label Single-Parenthood As Child Abuse

Not a day goes by in this topsy-turvy, mad-max eschatology that Republicans have created where a Republican politician isn’t uttering some certifiably insane, hateful malarkey that would make Charles Manson blush. Whether you’re gay, black, female, or a spore with feelings, Republicans do not like you unless you aspire to be a white christian b/millionaire.

Indiana Senator Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend), a Republican in Wisconsin’s state senate, thinks that children from single parents are probably victims of child abuse. In his world, a deadbeat dad (Joe Walsh, anyone?) is an American hero whereas the single mom is a disordered, unstable Harlot and should probably be raped by a state doctor. But seriously, Grothman recently authored a controversial bill that directly targets single parents, which the State Senator plans on presenting to the Senate Committee on Public Health, Human Services and Revenue.

A portion of the bill reads as follows:

“In promoting those campaigns and materials, the [Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board] shall emphasize nonmarital parenthood as a contributing factor to child abuse and neglect.”

No word yet on whether single parents are covert Muslims/socialists/Maoists.

Despite the fact that single parents make up 32 percent of all parents in Wisconsin, they are inherently evil, and if the state cannot imprison them at Guantanamo Bay indefinitely, they will at least make sure that they’re regarded with severe suspicion.

The remainder of the bill reads as follows:

Section 1. 48.982 (2) (g) 2. of the statutes is amended to read:
48.982 (2) (g) 2. Promote statewide educational and public awareness campaigns and materials for the purpose of developing public awareness of the problems of child abuse and neglect. In promoting those campaigns and materials, the board shall emphasize nonmarital parenthood as a contributing factor to child abuse and neglect.

Section 2. 48.982 (2) (g) 4. of the statutes is amended to read:
48.982 (2) (g) 4. Disseminate information about the problems of and methods of preventing child abuse and neglect to the public and to organizations concerned with those problems. In disseminating that information, the board shall emphasize nonmarital parenthood as a contributing factor to child abuse and neglect.

Once again proving that you’re better off with today’s Republicans if you tattoo “former fetus” across your forehead.

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  • johann7

    Indiana Senator Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend), a Republican in Wisconsin’s state senate…

    You might want to fix this bit. Also, I was wrong when I thought our Republican senators had completely lost touch with reality; they can apparently disconnect themselves to extents I hadn’t imagined.

  • freetobe

    What? Ok so you cannot abort a fetus you must be forced to have it and then what? Do they automatically assume the mother is going to give up her child for adoption? This is insane.

    I was a single mother but only because my very abusive husband left me for another woman THANK GOD and i ws left to take care of her alone. He lived right tdown the road and only came to get her for the weekend when his new second wife bugged him to death! (At least she had some decency).

    So I guess I would have been blamed- what?

    When are these “boys” going to grow up and start looking at their own many faults and flaws and realize that this is not just the fault of brazen women sleeping around with Tom, Dick and Harry but their own consciences (if they have any) that are eating away at them.

    To be fair not all men are jerks not all women are good little girls but it is the responsiblity not just for the man to pay child support( or woman ),if that is the case but he or she needs to BE THERE in full emotional form for his/her sons and his/her daughters to grow up to self confident adults.

    Since a man wrote this bull- I mean- bill take care of yourself and your children first before you put any ridiculous draconian law like this out to be laughed at.

    You know men can be real “sluts” as well.

  • prochoiceferret

    “Nonmarital parenthood” sounds like Mr. Grothman is also targeting unmarried parents.


    I look forward to his re-election campaign, when his Democratic opponent hammers him repeatedly for having authored this ridiculous bill. Assuming, of course, that his Democratic opponent has a functioning brain and vertebral column.

  • colleen

    “Nonmarital parenthood” sounds like Mr. Grothman is also targeting unmarried parents.

    It sounds as if Mr Grothman blames women for male irresponsibility.

  • junipersunshine

    “nonmarital parenthood as a contributing factor to child abuse and neglect.”


    Um, you do realize that this is a hypothesis that can be studied, right?  There have been scads of studies, all indicating that the best environment to raise a child in is a home with two married biological parents.  For example, a child NOT living with his biological father is FORTY TIMES more likely to be sexually abused.  (Yes, 40, not 4.  That’s not a typo.)  There is a difference between talking about what is statistically more likely and what makes people feel good.  Yeah, sometimes single parenthood is not anyone’s fault, and they raise healthy kids.  All parents, gay, straight, married or not, deserve respect and rights.  But single parenthood is simply not ideal for a child.  It’s actually a better predictor of juvenile crime than income or race.  I don’t point this out to be “mean”.  I point it out because we have forgotten that some things can actually be studied – and childhood outcomes are one of the easiest to study.

     Is it also mean to let people know that living in the ghetto is not ideal for kids?  Or that too much junk food is bad for kids?  These are all choices that parents make, and some of them serve children well while some do not.  Pretending that every environment is equally neutral for children only serves to make a few adults feel less guilty.


    No, he does not mean that single parents are evil, only that not living with two married parents makes it more likely that a child will be abused.  Which is 100% true and easily verified.  It is also true that some children are raised in poverty and do well, while some are raised middle class and do not succeed in life.  This does not prove that poverty doesn’t make a difference, and it obviously does not mean that you think poor people are terrible human beings if you point this out.  It’s easier to get a better outcome if your child is not poor, an is not raised by only one parent.  I fail to see why this bill is so controversial – he could have easily said that “we must teach which family situations are more or less likely to be associated with child abuse.”  Is that better?

  • junipersunshine

    “I’m a single parent: What’s your superpower?”


    Would you also compare a parent to a superhero if they sent their child to a terrible inner-city public school, while having enough money to choose otherwise?  Or does that parent only deserve admiration when he or she is truly stuck in that situation, and makes the best of it?  There is a HUGE difference between saying that widowed mothers deserve our respect and support and saying that a woman who decides that her future child doesn’t need a father (and decides to give birth using artificial insemination) is some sort of superhero to look up to.


    “I decided to give my child a disability to overcome because everything is all about me” makes a more accurate statement for some.  Not as cute on a bumper sticker, though.

  • crowepps

    There have been scads of studies, all indicating that the best environment to raise a child in is a home with two married biological parents.

    Can you provide more information on these “scads of studies” that reference children being better off with married parents or with biological parents?  The only ones I can find are those which say ‘children living in a home with TWO people do better than children living in a home with ONE person.’ Nothing at all about whether the two people are opposite sexes, legally married or the biological parents.


    The bill is controversial because it attempts to criminalize being a single MOTHER.  It implies that, just for instance, when a member of the military is killed in the service of his country and leaves behind a widow with small children or one who is pregnant, the State should PRESUME that she isn’t fit to raise his children and take them away from her.

  • basiorana

    In his excellent book The Blank Slate, Steven Pinker proves that it is actually not single parenthood that is the problem, but rather the neighborhoods that single parents are typically forced to live in by economic circumstance (which typically have a lot of young, unattached men who serve as a negative influence), when their parent cannot afford care programs and leave them unsupervised for a long time after school (thus allowing them to go off and play with older neighborhood children who are often a negative influence), and when their parents date and bring their significant others home before they are committed to the relationship.

    The latter is of course exclusive to single parents and is a problem, but could be solved relatively easily by education about dating for single parents. The former two are features of poverty aggravated by single parenthood, which need to be addressed by attacking poverty, not single parents. Of course children of single parents should be considered a high-risk group, but that doesn’t mean that it’s causative.


    Also, I will point out that “biological” parents refers only to studies that compare biological parents to foster parents, adoptive parents (including many who weren’t involved until the child was much older and had already suffered abuse or neglect), and stepparents. They do NOT include the many situations where a couple planned a child but were forced to use a donor of sperm or eggs because of biological issues. Lesbian parents, for example, who raise a child who is only the biological child of one parent, have been proven to have more successful and happy children on average than straight married biological parents.

  • colleen

    “we must teach which family situations are more or less likely to be associated with child abuse.”

    Did you know that the 2nd greatest predictor for child abuse and incest is a hierarchical, religiously fundamentalist  family situation in which the husband has all the power and control? The first is abuse of drugs or alcohol in the home.  Rather like the ‘ideal’ marriages described by the Southern Baptist Convention, Mormons and conservative Catholics. You’re right. We have a lot more information about what sorts of people abuse children. Perhaps if you understood what family situations lead to child abuse you would sound better informed. As it is you sound as if you get your ‘facts’ from life site news, Concerned Women for America  and Rush Limbaugh.


  • maiac

    Ice cream sales and crime are correlated.

    Eating ice cream does not cause crime.


    Correlation (which is what you’re citing) is NOT the same as causation.


    If you had actually read any peer-reviewed literature on this topic, your would know that the correlation between single parenthood and abuse is spurious (like the ice cream/crime thing). They do tend to occur together more often than random chance would suggest. However, the correlation is explained away by the effects of 3rd variables (like poverty, etc.)



  • wahyusamputra

    Women’s ownership of their own bodies.

    The bitter disputes between the occupants of what is charitably referred to as the clown cart, the Republican candidates for president of the USA, are the meat and potatoes of the infotainment industry, even in the Britain of ‘Walking eagle’. (Why an election almost a year away in another country should be the most important subject is a separate can of worms.)

    Most of the (fairly vicious) infighting is on the subject of what women should and should not be allowed to do with their own bodies.

    For the (all white, all male) contestants, we might as well be back in the eighteenth century: the one question never raised by any of them is what the devil it has to do with them what women do with their own bodies. They clearly own and control women’s bodies, according to the discussions taking place.

  • wahyusamputra

    The Wisconsin senator should be told, politely but firmly, that it’s always a mistake to assume that other people have the same customs and habits that you do.

  • jennifer-starr

    So Glenn Grothman wants to use the law in his state to penalize any family that isn’t Beaver Cleaver perfection.  ‘Small limited government’ conservatism in action here, folks–the government in your personal business, your child-rearing and your reproductive choices. I’m betting that Mr. Grothman’s own family life is far from functional, seeing as he takes such pains to hide it from the public.  Kind of like Rush Limbaugh lecturing people about the sanctity of marriage and family values when he’s had four marriages and is now married to someone young enough to be his daughter. 

    Hypocrisy, thy name is Christian Conservatism. 

  • erika1iruh

    Thanks for the article!

  • awren

    Research has shown that children are more likely to be abused by a step parent or unrelated adult in a home when compared to biological parents. So women who are single parents by choice or by accident should do what? Why focus on the one parent that is taking responsibility and caring for the child, while non-custodial parents are free to perpetuate the situation?
    Sometimes our political ‘leaders’ are just embarrasing…..