Wisconsin Senator Glenn Grothman has introduced Senate Bill 507, which would formally consider non-marital parenthood to be a contributing factor to child abuse and neglect.
As single parents make up a third of Wisconsin family units, the bill has provoked some controversy. Grothman is no stranger to such controversy, however, having previously equated the availability of financial welfare benefits to the rise in single motherhood among low-income families.
While the text of the bill would require the Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board to emphasize non-marital parenthood as a contributing factor, many commentators are taking it as a further attack on women from the senator who has openly stated that he believed social welfare encourages women to have children out of wedlock. Despite the gender-neutral language of the text, it is being interpreted as a de facto attack on single mothers because single mother outnumber single father by more than 5 to 1.
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.
The full text of SB507 can be found here.