Dr. Crouse delivered the following speech at Princeton University on October 7th on the intersection of conservatism and feminism.
A recent CBS poll revealed that three out of four women described the word feminist as an insult.
Another study found that the number of working women who believe that a career is as important as being a wife and mother has fallen 23 percent since the 1970s.
What has caused such a dramatic change in women’s attitudes?
Cindy Crawford, the supermodel, dislikes the word “feminist.” An interview in the September 2000 issue of George magazine explains, “The word feminist has such negative connotations to me.”
Cindy is not alone. Experts agree that women are growing more and more uncomfortable with the current feminist movement.
What has happened to a movement that was supposed to make it possible for women to “have it all?”
Feminism has gone the wrong way, baby!
Feminism is out of step with mainstream women.
“Having it all” — for most women — doesn’t mean: hatred for men, lesbianism, and radical politics. — most women can’t relate.
I could spend our time together giving you facts and data about the outcomes of modern feminism.
Instead, you can access and study that data in a report I wrote called, “Gaining Ground: A Profile of American Women in the Twentieth Century,” which can be found on our website: www.cwfa.org. In that report you will find 100 years of data about women’s well-being — much of it previously unpublished.
But let’s make it more relevant to your own lives. Your generation has seen the personal disaster of the feminist movement and so-called sexual freedom in the lives of the women you know. Many of you are yourselves children of divorce. Many of you have helped a friend deal with a surprise pregnancy — perhaps even walked that friend through her abortion. STD’s . . . broken hearts. . . the list could go on and on.
Let’s ride the feminist wave backward a bit, and revisit the foundations of modern feminism, back to the Second Wave of the Sixties and Seventies. Let’s look at the effect feminist ideals had on the lives of three founders of modern feminism. You know these women’s writings; they are feminist icons. But how much do you know about their personal lives? As they say, “The proof is in the pudding.”
Betty Friedan — Friedan, the mother of the feminist movement, gave us “The Feminine Mystique” — and the “problem that has no name.” That problem – according to Friedan – is that women are victims. Being female means having delusions and false values and being forced to find fulfillment and identity through husbands and children. Friedan worked 9 hours a day – declaring that being a wife and mother was “not going to interfere with what I regarded as my real life.” Even her friends describe Friedan as difficult, ill tempered, disagreeable, ego-driven, rude, nasty, self-serving and imperious. Unhappily married for 21 years, her three children had to undergo therapy to deal with what was called “the emotional fallout.”
Gloria Steinem — Steinem was the beauty queen of the feminist movement. Steinem, a Phi Beta Kappa graduate, was engaged to her college boyfriend. After breaking up with him and discovering that she was pregnant, she had an abortion. Later, Steinem founded Ms. Magazine and coined two phrases — “reproductive freedom” and “pro-choice” — bringing a brilliant sense of marketing to a movement that glossed over the realities of promiscuity and abortion and propelled so-called “sexual freedom” into the mainstream. Steinem famously declared that a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle. She remained single until her 60s — when she recently married a divorced man with grown children.
Germaine Greer — Known as the diva of feminism, Germaine Greer is, like Gloria Steinem, now in her 60s. Greer has two books: “The Female Eunuch” kick-started her fame and “The Whole Woman,” published recently basically repudiates everything Greer had said previously. Known for her bawdy diatribes, Greer preached that sexual liberation is the path to fulfillment. Greer has had “several” abortions — leaving her unable to have children. She was married — briefly — for a week, during which time, she brags, she cheated on her husband 7 times. She has stooped in recent months to getting attention by being an apologist for female genital mutilation. Greer was married once for three weeks. She bragged that she cheated seven times that week. But at age 60, she mused: “The finest time in your life was when you fell asleep in someone’s arms and woke up in the same position eight hours later. Sleeping in someone’s arms is the prize.” Inevitably, she sleeps alone.
What do these women — and other disparate personalities like Patricia Ireland, Alice and Rebecca Walker, Hillary Clinton — have in common? All of these women are Utopians. They scorn the lessons of history.
The First Wave of feminism won the right to vote and the right to own property.
The Second Wave won no-fault divorce and abortion on demand.
The Second Wave drove their political ideology, but its not just about being Democrats. I want you to think beyond partisan politics and see the motivating ideology at work.
Tonight, look beyond the surface debates over the issues that capture the headlines and roil the waters – abortion, gay rights, eating disorders, comparable worth — and think about the animating spirit – the gravitational pull, if you will — that keeps the waves crashing on the beach.
Perhaps that is why the Organization of Women Leaders has as part of its mission statement to rewrite the definition of feminism, transform people’s perceptions, and challenge the conventions about women’s roles. You are a group of remarkably gifted, talented young women. The goals and aspirations you have for your lives are exciting. And you will, just as you have planned, change the world in many ways. Living in American society today offers unprecedented opportunities for women. These opportunities were hard-won. We owe a great debt to the early feminists. Because of their work years ago, women today have incredible horizons.
But from my vantage point, having walked ahead of you through many of life’s opportunities and challenges, I am equally aware of the pitfalls you face because modern feminism ignores the relationship between decisions/choices and consequences. For instance, more than 10 times as many women cohabitate now as when I graduated from college. And most have no idea that these relationships generally last a mere 18 months. Most are clueless about the fact that when living together turns into marriage it is almost always the guy who makes the decision and those marriages are 50% more likely to end in divorce than are the marriages where the couple did not live together before marriage.
So, the so-called sexual freedom — a basic tenet of modern feminism — has been disaster for women. Your generation recognizes that even better than mine. And, you are leading the effort to reconstruct feminism, to repackage, and reposition the movement into a Third Wave of feminism. I understand that OWL recently had a discussion about “what is feminism?” I am going to guess, from looking at your goals and activities as an organization, that you would broadly describe your agenda as falling under a rubric of empowering women. Frankly, most people would join you in that admirable goal. As you pursue that laudable goal, I want to challenge you NOT to repeat history.
To that end, tonight, let’s review two historical 20th century Utopian experiments — communism in the east and feminism in the west.
Both movements originated as a result of discontent with flawed social, economic and political systems.
Communist Discontent originated over the barely subsistence wages given to labor and the unequal distributions of wealth. Marx, in writing “Das Kapital,” his monumental critique of capitalism, argued that capitalism was fundamentally exploitive and so hopelessly flawed that it would collapse under the weight of its contradictions. Marx offered a shining vision of an egalitarian socialistic society where the output of the community would share according a noble, altruistic principle: “from each according to his abilities to each according to his needs.”
The feminist theorists of the mid 20th century also put forward a Utopian vision of the “good society” based on often-savage critiques of the existing progressive social order. Feminist Discontent originated in women’s dependence on men and their unequal opportunities. The feminists’ Utopia was a blend of sexual and economic equality, borrowed from earlier First Wave champions of women’s rights, and social justice borrowed from the civil rights movement, which had just come into full flower with the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964.
Both movements rebelled against deeply entrenched obstacles.
It is worth noting that communism first came into being via the Bolshevik revolution in 1917 — a rebellion NOT against a system of free market capitalism — but against the dictatorial monarchy of Tsar Nicholas II.
The Marxist rebellion, then, was against a dictatorship and a cruelly class-stratified society; it was an attempt to end poverty. To communist thinkers, once the workers’ paradise was fully established, poverty would disappear and the temporary dictatorship required by the transition to socialism would become unnecessary and the state would wither away.
The feminist revolution rebelled against inequality and the domination of patriarchy. To feminist thinkers, the great obstacle to progress toward a sexless, egalitarian society- where women could be free to realize the fulfillment of their heart’s desires-was patriarchy and all elements of the social order that supported it, particularly marriage and religion. The males in society had to be reeducated as to their proper roles relating to women and, where necessary, coerced into letting women pursue their professions on a “level playing field.” In the event that sexual activity resulted in an unwanted pregnancy, abortion on demand would be readily available. In those instances where a woman chose to have children, institutional arrangements had to be put in place so that the rearing of those children would not be burdensome or interfere with career aspirations.
Note that in both of these systems of thought, the source of the problems-the obstacles to progress-were faulty institutional arrangements, factors external to the individual. Defective institutions produced defective behavior that produced negative outcomes. The solution was not individual moral accountability for greed, oppression, and exploitation. The solution was to change the institutional arrangements, which would then produce positive behavior and outcomes.
Who is not inspired by the thought of an egalitarian society, where an equal distribution of wealth, power and influence is the norm . . . and NOT a mere utopian dream? Who is not inspired by the elimination of poverty? The elimination of patriarchy?
But, everywhere that Communism has ruled, it has been via a totalitarian regime established by force, never by free elections. As Mao famously said, “All power comes from the barrel of a gun.” Well, let us visit Utopia and see the outcomes. Let us ask the residents of Russia, China, Cuba, North Korea, Vietnam, and Cambodia.
In Russia, to usher in the worker’s paradise, Stalin engineered a famine in the Ukraine, which is estimated to have killed 7 million. Mao’s man-made famine in China killed more millions than died in the USSR. Pol Pot was responsible for the deaths of up to 2 million Cambodians, 25 percent of the population. He literally emptied the cities in his attempts to produce an agrarian Utopia during the mid-1970s. Another 2 million are estimated to have died in North Korea . . . so far!
Stalin is quoted as having said, “A single death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic.” Utopian schemes produce a lot of statistics.
Let’s try to grasp those statistics:
Line up a million people in a column 10 abreast with each row 3 feet behind the one in front of it; the column would reach the 51 miles from Princeton to 5 miles beyond New York City. If the column marched by us at 3 miles per hour (that’s 20 minutes to walk a mile), it would take about 19 hours for it to pass. This is just one million. Some estimates of the total number who died under communism in the 20th century put the number as high as 100 million. We are not talking about war casualties here; we are talking about totalitarian regimes killing their own people. And why? This was done in the name of establishing a Utopian workers’ paradise.
How ironic. Marx had promised: Workers of the world unite; you have nothing to lose but your chains.
It didn’t work out quite that way.
The Marxist rhetoric was high sounding and noble, but in the forced labor camps, individuals are insignificant and expendable.
How does this relate to feminism? We are confronted with another utopian ideal, whose animating principles —- women’s rights, sexual equality, and the fulfillment of women’s potential- are high-sounding and noble.
But like the tragic irony of communism, feminist ideals have betrayed us and produced massive damage both to women and to their children:
Divorce upon demand since 1970 has meant millions of homes have been pried apart, leaving some 35 million kids bereft, longing for the return of their absent mother or father, and the majority of them living in poverty. Abortion upon demand has meant the end of life for 43 million babies. . . and untold pain for the women who would have been their mothers. To the abortion provider these babies are inconvenient bits of tissue whose removal is a source of revenue in the same way that the removal of tooth decay is a dentist’s livelihood. But to the woman, it is the beginning of a recurring nightmare that knows no end. 10 million adults under the age of 25 will contract an STD this year. The skyrocketing increase in out-of-wedlock births is the defining characteristic of the demographics of the 20th century — one-third of children are born out-of-wedlock.
How is possible to start out with high sounding, noble ideals and end up with so much wretchedness? What are we to learn for the examination of these two massive Utopian experiments? There are two sources of difficulty.
The first is metaphysical: the origin and nature of evil. I’ve already alluded to this issue by my observation that both of these systems of thought ascribed negative, evil outcomes as being the result of faulty institutional arrangements external to the individual.
The second source of difficulty is the fact that you cannot ignore nature, specifically human nature.
The Utopians deny the fact that human nature makes demands on all of us — that there are realities that we all have to deal with in life. They naively believe that they can shape the world to fit their utopian vision. They want a world where they can control both their actions and the consequences of their actions.
But of course, choices do have consequences and we have to lie with them – for good or ill. We frequently use that phrase when we want to emphasize avoiding negative consequences. But tonight, I want to emphasize to you, that there is a tried and true path to positive consequences in your life. Not to Utopia – but to a life of fulfillment and positive accomplishment that benefits both you and society.
I chose a different path than Gloria Steinem, Betty Freidan, and Germaine Greer. But my circumstances were not all that different; nor were the ambitions and inner drive any less compelling. I want to share my story because your generation needs to hear from someone in my generation how you CAN just about have it all.
I grew up the oldest of 7 children. My teenage parents were happily married and provided an ideal childhood in very modest circumstances. I was gregarious and driven to succeed from my earliest memories. Even though my friends dreamed of marriage, white picket fences and children, I knew that marriage meant full-time responsibility — preparing 3 meals a day, laundry, housecleaning and staying home. In short, to me, it meant the end of “fun.” During college, my friends counted 67 guys that I had dated. I was definitely NOT going to “go steady” and get serious. I had places to go and things to do and marriage, household drudgery and a passel of children did not fit into that picture.
THEN ALONG CAME GIL
Gil Crouse decided that he wanted me for his wife and he set about to win my heart.
He studied me; he asked questions and probed my psyche until he knew me better than I knew myself. He understood what made me tick. And, over two years time, I learned to trust him and knew beyond any doubt that he would put my interests and needs ahead of his. I began to care about him so much that I wanted to put his interests ahead of mine. I chose to limit my career options in order to marry a man of integrity and character. I made the decision fully aware that it meant compromise. Neither of us brought into our marriage sexual experience or emotional baggage. And while we have had other marriage adjustments and problems typical of two hardheaded, hard driving individuals, I will frankly tell you that the sex has never been a problem; it’s always been superb. Ironically, whatever elusive “freedom” I gave up by loving Gil was far overshadowed by the opportunities I have had by forging a partnership with him. Each of us is a stronger more successful person because of the influence of the other.
THEN ALONG CAME KIDS
Neither of us was in a hurry to have children; with my teaching at one of the best schools in the city and his graduate studies, it simply wasn’t something we were ready for. But after a couple of years, as they say, I “found” myself pregnant. We were both relieved when I miscarried at about 3 months along. Don’t think for a minute, however, that that was the end of it! I have relatives with children the age that miscarried child would have been and I have not forgotten. Strange how those hormones affect our emotions and how long lasting are those feelings. Imagine our shock then, about 6 months later when in the middle of the night I began crying in Gil’s arms wanting to have a baby! Where in the world, we wondered, had THAT urge come from? This was an instinctive drive that had no basis in logic or planning – we were surprised by the instinctive need for children. We ended up with two children: Our daughter is finishing up her dissertation for a doctorate at the University of Virginia. Her area is political science and she is a writer and television commentator. Our son is a Ph.D in aerospace engineering; he is founder and president of Davinci Technologies. He has produced award-winning software packages for designing airplanes. They are both happy and well adjusted. They are both happily married. Our son has 2 little boys and our daughter is expecting baby #5 this month.
From this brief overview, you can see that the things motivating me were not different from Betty, Gloria or Germaine. You can also see the different values, priorities, and the different choices we made and the different outcomes. All four of us started out with the same hard-driving ambition, but we had different priorities and different goals.
I don’t have the fame or fortune of those feminist pioneers. I do have a husband who cherishes me and whom I cherish. I have children who love to come home and grandchildren who squeal in delight when they see me. I have a career that is very fulfilling. While some of my goals are out of reach and some of my dreams remain unfulfilled, I have more opportunities than I have time to accept. Three out of four is not too bad! On my scorecard; the three 2nd wave feminist icons have, at most, one!
WHAT MADE THE DIFFERENCE?
Like the three feminist icons, in this country I had the freedom to make choices, to determine my priorities and establish the beliefs and values that would guide my life – and so do you. I chose to marry a man of integrity and character — I made certain that he was a person I could trust and respect. Also, I determined to be a person that he could trust and respect. Together, we made a covenant to make our marriage a priority, to put each other first, and to grow together in our interests and activities. Together, we made the sacrifices necessary to nurture our children, to instill values and to develop character in them. Together, we made the sacrifices necessary for both of us to get the education, credentials and experience that would prepare us for excellence wherever our careers took us.
What do I think is wrong with feminism? I think somewhere along the way, feminism lost its way. The movement forgot that “having it all” included the personal dimension. Life is not just profession and career. Success is not measured JUST in paycheck and status.
The 2003 young businesswoman of the year, Gabrielle Molnar, explained that she didn’t want to be called a feminist because feminism doesn’t support the cause of women.
I couldn’t have said it better myself. Feminism has lost sight of what it is that women REALLY want. Most women want to love and be loved. They want the freedom to be all they can be and they want to be treated with dignity and respect. They also want the opportunity to have meaningful careers and productive lives — but most aren’t willing for their ambition to harm their relationships or damage their children.
I’m grateful that you are working to change people’s perceptions of women – bright, talented women have plenty of opportunities for professional growth today and you have more flexibility than the women who preceded you. What is needed most — at this point in history — is the chance to revel in being feminine and to relish a fulfilling personal life.
More power to you as you take all that into account as you redefine what it means to be a woman and what it means to “have it all.”
I’d like to conclude with a brief story:
A couple of years ago, I was speaking at a liberal arts college convocation. The President of the college and I stood at the front of the auditorium watching the students as they arrived. He turned to me and said, “Janice, do you realize – THERE IS THE FUTURE OF AMERICA?”
I’m tremendously impressed by your ambition; by your talent and your dedication to excellence.
I admire your willingness to accept the challenges of leadership.
Tonight as I look out at you, I am very much aware that:
“YOU ARE THE FUTURE OF AMERICA.”
May God bless you and, through you, may God bless America.
Washington, D.C.Data released today assessing the impact of welfare reform programs reveal that they worked exceptionally well. The just-released report “Reducing Child Poverty: Did Welfare Reform Work?” also eliminates economic expansion as the primary reason for decreasing poverty among children. The economic expansion of the 1980s reduced unemployment by more than 4 million persons but this produced no decrease in the number of poor children in mother-only families in poverty. The economic expansion of the 1990s, on the other hand, reduced unemployment by only about 3 million persons, but with reforms in welfare the number of poor children in mother-only families decreased by 2.25 million.
“Contrary to the dire predictions of the welfare advocacy community, welfare reform has worked,” said Dr. Janice Shaw Crouse, author of the July Data Digest published by the Beverly LaHaye Institute: A Center for Studies in Women’s Issues.
After the 1996 Welfare Reform Act, the total number of poor children living in poverty declined by nearly 3 million. Also, welfare rolls were cut in half and poor mother-only families declined by nearly one-third. “The sincere belief of many liberals that the way to help the poor was by expanding handouts proved to be based on a false understanding of human nature,” said Crouse. “The cycle of dependency on government handouts is beginning to be broken.”
Obscured by the good news of the dramatic decrease in the number of poor mother-only families, which yielded a significant decrease in child poverty, there are two negative trends that have prevented the total number of single parent families from decreasing. First, there has been an increase in the number of non-poor, upscale mother-only families with children and second, there has been a sharp increase in the number of father-only families with children; the combination of the growth in these two has off-set the declines in poor single-parent families and resulted in a net increase in the total number of single-parent families.
See a two-page report with Executive Summary and three 3 graphs showing these trends at: www.beverlylahayeinstitute.org.
To schedule an interview:
Contact Angie Vineyard at (202) 289-4182.
Note: Reauthorization debates begin on Capitol Hill in late July.
Angie Vineyard, Research Fellow with the Beverly LaHaye Institute, implored the Arlington County school board to offer the newly approved sex education curriculum as an “opt into” rather than “out of” course. Offering the new sex curriculum as an “opt into” class gives parents an opportunity to first view the material and makes the decision to abstain from the class easier for the students.
The already approved course, ‘A Teen’s Guide to Sexuality,’ contains only six pages of information on abstinence, and it follows with 41 pages on birth control methods and graphic images. Vineyard pointed out that the curriculum sends a conflicting message to students giving them one standard for which to aim and then over a dozen ways to miss it.
“[It] is the equivalent of telling a teenage boy not to vandalize, but then teaching him 16 different ways to break into a building,” Vineyard told the board.
The messages sent to students about sex play a vital role in their health and safety. A study released this week by the Heritage Foundation found that teens who are sexually active are more likely to become depressed and attempt suicide than teens who practice abstinence. According to a Zogby poll recently released by the Coalition for Adolescent Sexual Health in which CWA and BLI are members, 73.5% of parents approve or strongly approve of abstinence-centered sex education. Parents need to know what their children are being taught in school and they need to be supported by the school in educating their children with their family values.
Coalition for Adolescent Sexual Health
Press Conference Remarks
February 13, 2003 10:00 a.m.
2226 Rayburn House Office Building
Janice Shaw Crouse, Ph.D.
Thank you, Peter. As he said, I am Janice Crouse and I come to you from an academic background. Prior to coming to Washington, I was a professor and debate coach and then an academic administrator at a Midwestern university. Here in the nation’s capital, I was first a speechwriter for Dr. Louis Sullivan at HHS; then I served as a presidential speechwriter for the first President Bush. Currently, I am Senior Fellow of the Beverly LaHaye Institute, the think tank of Concerned Women for America.
Since the previous speakers have given you the hard data about the Zogby Poll, let me summarize what the previous public opinion surveys have communicated. There are three basic messages: that comprehensive sex education is good; that abstinence until marriage is unrealistic and that parents want “safe sex” messages taught to their children.
Why would there be such a discrepancy between what Zogby found that parents overwhelmingly support abstinence based sex education and what previous surveys supposedly found?
Because there is a lot of money involved. $219 million of federal funds underwrite comprehensive sex education programs. President Bush is advocating an allocation of a little more than half of that $135 million for abstinence based programs, yet liberals are complaining about that amount!
Also, there are discrepancies between this poll and previous ones because truth is too often dispensable. The pictures and posters of the comprehensive sex education programs are particularly egregious. In that regard, the latest example is a poster of two phallic-shaped blimps: a large one labeled “with” and a smaller one labeled “without.” The caption? “It looks bigger . . . when you wear a condom.” It is unconscionable that adults would feed into adolescent ignorance and fears with such blatant lies and in such an irresponsible manner, but the liberal standard operating procedures continue use any means, including lying, because achieving their special interest “ends” is the only important thing
Because that is true, I want to focus on two contemporary clich.
The first clichis, “Follow the Money.” Sex education funding has gone almost exclusively to liberal organizations like Planned Parenthood and SIECUS (Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States). These groups focus on condom distribution not character development; sexual mechanics not relationship maintenance. Their ostensible goal is to provide information, but the result is to destroy innocence. Their agenda is to legitimize promiscuity rather than instill personal responsibility. The central message is that teens are going to “do it anyway” so give them a condom. If the condom doesn’t work, we’ll provide an abortion.
Once again, the sad, sad, tragedy of low expectations dooms our children to a heavy load of sexual baggage, an accumulation of bad memories that rivals the barnacles on an ancient ship’s hull and, too often, unplanned pregnancies and a lifetime of battling STDs.
For this, we hand out hard-earned taxpayer money to condom-based comprehensive sex education programs to the tune of $219 million a year. And, the liberals are waging a war against abstinence-until-marriage programs programs that are guaranteed to protect our children’s health, innocence, well-being and develop their character for a price tag of a little more than half that given to condom-based, “safe-sex” sex education programs. President Bush is asking Congress to allocate $135 million for abstinence programs in the 2003 budget.
The second clichis “You Get More of What You Subsidize.” We have to ask what have been the results of the $219 million dollar investment in comprehensive sex education. Has it been worthwhile? Well, currently there is a public health epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases among 12 to 18 year olds. It is not coincidental that, at the same time, among college students depression cases have doubled, the number of suicidal students has tripled and the number of sexual assault cases has quadrupled. One in five teens tests positive for genital herpes. Nearly half of girls who have even one episode of sexual intercourse contracts HPV (human papilloma virus) and 14 percent will develop cervical cancer which causes more deaths per year than HIV and AIDS. [ New England Journal of Medicine ] After more than 20 years of condom-based sex education to adolescents, we’ve added more than two-dozen sexually transmitted diseases to the two known STDs of 1960, syphilis and gonorrhea. The National Institutes for Health state that 100% consistency in condom usage produces only an 87% reduction in risk of HIV and even less protection for other STDs.
What about changes since the rise of abstinence-based education? The unwed teen birth rates have begun to decline. Condom purveyors will try to say that it is a result of condom expertise. You know, all those sessions about how to unroll condoms and cover cucumbers? Let’s see, how does that go? Suddenly teens who can’t control their sexual impulses have discipline and “take time to condom?” I don’t think so!
When will folks wake up and take notice that the very people pushing condoms support themselves by providing abortions? What’s wrong with that picture? Obviously, there are organizations whose existence depends upon convicing children that their sexuality can’t be controlled and that it is O.K. to give in to their urges because a condom will protect them. If it doesn’t, then there is abortion.
These views are not merely a dispassionate corporate agenda. Rather, they stem from sometimes well-meaning individuals who are very, very passionate true believers whose angst compels them to legitimize irresponsible behavior. They are often people who are driven to eradicate the moral standards that produce guilt.
Abstinence promotes the health and well-being of teens and is their best lifestyle choice until marriage. Young people are capable of developing the character, integrity, self-control and personal responsibility necessary for remaining abstinent before marriage. We do young people a disservice when we expect less. We endanger their health and well-being when we perpetuate the myths that “their hormones are uncontrollable; they are going to do it anyway” and “condoms provide protection so promiscuity won’t be harmful.” No responsible adult can, in good conscience, seriously want to encourage teenagers to jeopardize their future by short-circuiting their character development and endangering their health and well-being.
# # #
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Beverly LaHaye Institute today released a report documenting the glaring omissions in the U.S. Census Bureau’s presentation of the 2001 poverty figures. The bureau’s report was released in September. The data summaries provided by the Census Bureau noted how poverty has risen after four years of decline, but did not reveal that the largest increase in poverty was among single-parent families.
“The Census Bureau is ignoring the elephant in the room; family structure has been and continues to be a major factor contributing to poverty,” said Dr. Janice Shaw Crouse, Senior Fellow at the Beverly LaHaye Institute.
Dr. Crouse released BLI’s findings at the 3rd annual Veritas Policy Forum, held today on Capitol Hill. She noted the Census Bureau’s 35-page report, Poverty in the United States 2001, estimated that the poverty level had increased by 591,000 families since the year 2000. The official press release noted that poverty had increased in married-couple families (the accompanying report put that increase at 122,000 families). Yet the press release and accompanying briefing did not even mention the 469,000 increase in the number of poor single-parent families. The increase in the poverty rate for single-parent families was eight times larger than the increase in the poverty rate for married couple families.
“Since the landmark 1996 welfare reform bill we have seen much progress in getting people from welfare to work. Still the current recession reveals the vulnerability of single-parent families. The pending legislative debate on TANF reauthorization needs to be informed by all of the information available. How can policymakers address this issue if the Census Bureau gives incomplete reports to the press and the general public?” Dr. Crouse said.
Yesterday, the United States took a principled, firm and courageous stand for women and against political correctness by “disassociating” the United States from consensus on the resolution supporting the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). This action put the United States on the record as disagreeing with the resolution. The accompanying statement made it clear that the United States is fully committed to promoting the rights and freedoms of women and that those principles are an integral part of our nation’s foreign policy. The statement illustrated the American commitment to women by citing our efforts in Afghanistan and it expressed concern about both the text of the CEDAW treaty and the record of its implementation in countries that have ratified the treaty. The U.S. statement also expressed concern about the U.N. presenting the resolution as a demand it was sent to countries to “ratify” rather than being sent to them to “consider ratifying.”
This step is significant forward progress in letting the world know that the United States will not be bullied into taking steps that will ultimately be harmful to its citizens and its sovereignty. Advocates for the treaty have positioned the treaty as a “women’s rights” issue when, in fact, the treaty would be detrimental to women. Advocates have depicted the treaty as an innocuous rallying call for nation’s to unite on women’s issues when, in fact, the treaty would enable an implementation committee to dictate policy to the United States, thus surrendering our national sovereignty to 23 women appointed by the United Nations from non-democratic countries whose record on human rights is abysmal.
“The Beverly LaHaye Institute applauds yesterday’s action by the White House and considers it affirmation of America’s willingness to stand up for women when ‘wolves in sheep’s clothing’ from around the world are seeking to devour us under the guise of ‘women’s rights.’
As American women we are privileged to live in a land of freedom at a time of unprecedented opportunities for women. And, we are savvy enough to know that we have to look ‘gift horses in the mouth.’ CEDAW is a stalking horse that will ultimately destroy women’s freedom and well being. Thank you, Bush Administration, for doing the right thing for women!”
Janice Shaw Crouse, Ph.D.
Senior Fellow, The Beverly LaHaye Institute
Here is the White House announcement:
On October 24, 2002, the United Nations General Assembly’s Third Committee (Humanitarian, Social and Cultural) passed by consensus [which means that it approved without a vote] a draft resolution supporting the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). The effect of the action is to forward the resolution to the United Nations General Assembly for consideration. The United States “disassociated” itself from this consensus, thus signaling our disagreement with the resolution. In so doing, the United States entered the following statement into the record:
“The United States is committed to ensuring that promotion of the Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of Women is fully integrated into American Foreign Policy. Our actions in Afghanistan underscore this commitment to promote the Rights of Girls and Women who suffered under the Draconian Taliban rule, including in education, employment, healthcare, and other areas. It is for these and other reasons that the United States supports CEDAW’s general goal of eradicating invidious discrimination against women across the globe. We note that the question of ratification of CEDAW is being examined by the United States. However, the text of CEDAW and the record of the CEDAW Committee raise a number of concerns that the United States is currently reviewing. Moreover, we are concerned about language in the resolution that calls on states to ‘ratify’ CEDAW, rather than to ‘consider ratifying’ CEDAW. Accordingly, the United States disassociates itself from consensus on this resolution. I would like to request that the text of this statement be entered into the record.”
CEDAW Preys On Needy Women
Political Maneuvering is Sheer Opportunism
June 6, 2002
“This new push to get CEDAW ratified is sheer opportunism. Sadly, the legitimate needs of women around the world are being shamelessly used as cover to push a frivolous and morally corrupt agenda.”
Dr. Janice Crouse, Senior Fellow, The Beverly LaHaye Institute
The movement to ratify the treaty known commonly as CEDAW and more formally as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) is obviously a political maneuver with political timing. On the surface, what is not to like about a treaty that would supposedly “end discrimination against women.” Who among us wants discrimination against anyone and especially against women in this era of political correctness? As with most important documents, it is necessary to read the fine print. American women don’t need the treaty. It won’t enhance the rights and privileges that we already enjoy. Dr. Crouse said, “The CEDAW treaty is just a red herring that cloaks radical social engineering in so-called women’s concerns in order to draw attention away from its heavy-handed imposition of a radical ideology.”
CEDAW and “Discrimination.” CEDAW contains some very troubling provisions including at the outset the definition of “discrimination.” Discrimination would include “any distinction, exclusion or restriction” based on sex. Such a broad-based interpretation has been used already to decry “sex-role stereotypes” and lament the celebration of Mother’s Day. In addition, the definition of discrimination has been used to advocate legalizing prostitution and to recommend “equal protection” for prostitutes in terms of labor and civil laws. Perhaps more problematic, is the vague phrase, “based on sex” which opens the door to the homosexual agenda. Indeed, Kyrgyzstan received an order to “re-conceptualize” lesbianism so that it would be a “sexual orientation” rather than a sexual offense in that country’s Penal Code.
CEDAW and the Family. Equally troubling is the redefinition of the family. This battle, of course, is taking place in many arenas, but CEDAW is up-front about wanting to “change the traditional role of men as well as the role of women in society and in the family” in order to “achieve full equality between men and women.” To that end, the CEDAW committee has complained to some countries that their men “are not assuming an equal share of family responsibilities.” Other nations have received complaints from the CEDAW committee about their “stereotypical” portrayals of men as heads of households and women as mothers and homemakers.
CEDAW and International Treaties. CEDAW reinforces the Beijing Platform for Action and the Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC) in several negative respects –such as advocating children’s autonomy from parental decision-making, promoting federally funded day care in order to facilitate “women’s re-entry into the labor market.” CEDAW mandates sex education and gender mainstreaming. One of the most insidious aspects of CEDAW is the demand for quotas and the insistence upon “comparable worth.” Like similar international treaties, CEDAW supports universal abortion-on-demand.
Abortion Industry Bows to Law of Supply & Demand
Decline in Business Forces Closure of Philadelphia Clinic
February 28, 2002
Washington, D.C.-Pro-life activists in the City of Brotherly Love are rejoicing today that at least one less abortion clinic will be carrying on its grisly business in their midst. According to a report in The Philadelphia Enquirer, The Elizabeth Blackwell Health Center for Women, in operation since 1975, has shut its doors, citing declining revenues due in part to a decline in demand for abortion. Jennifer Vriens, executive director of the Center, said, “The financial situation and the changes in the health care landscape did what the anti-abortion protesters could never do to us-shut us down.”
The Blackwell Center, whose website-still up and running, as of this writing-features abortion in its menu of “reproductive health services” for women, reportedly performed approximately 1,500 abortions last year. Even so it had managed to build up a $300,000 budget deficit. Since its main source of revenue was abortion fees, it is reasonable to assume that 1,500 figure obviously represents a sharp decline from the number of abortions the Center once performed.
According to information from the Alan Guttmacher Institute, the number of abortions has steadily declined in recent years, especially since 1990, and the number of abortions performed in the U.S. is currently at its lowest level since 1980. “Pro-abortion activists tend to attribute this to the decline in the number of facilities willing to provide surgical abortions,” said Janice Shaw Crouse, Ph.D., Senior Fellow of the Beverly LaHaye Institute. “They often paint a picture of desperate women victimized by pro-life efforts to shut down abortion clinics, who will be forced to obtain illegal, ‘back alley’ abortions from unlicensed butchers. But as this story indicates, the reality is that the abortion clinics are closing because of a decline in demand for their services. Pro-life efforts to educate women about the reality of abortion and the potential long-term emotional, psychological and physical effects of abortion have borne fruit.” Crouse added, “Pro-lifers are telling women the truth, and the abortion industry is in decline because their lies are being exposed.”
Reported Findings of Study are Distorted
Results are Contaminated by Lumping Together “Partners” and “Parents”
February 28, 2002
A just-released study from Johns Hopkins University found that the major problem facing poor children is what the study’s author called “churning”-the sheer number of transitions children undergo in their living arrangements. Most of the churning comes from the break-up of live-in relationships. The instability of such break-ups causes “serious problems” for children. But that is not what made the headlines. The New York Times‘ headline about the study trumpeted “2 Parents Not Always Best for Children, Study Finds.” No, actually, the opening sentence in the Times’ article reported that “Two-partner households may not necessarily be better for poor children than single-parent households.”
Janice Shaw Crouse, Senior Fellow of the Beverly LaHaye Institute: A Center For Studies in Women’s Issues, the research arm of Concerned Women for America, said, “A careful reading of the Times article reveals that the two concepts (two-parent families vs two-partner households) are used interchangeably. Research literature clearly shows that there is a world of difference between the attitude and actions of a live-in boyfriend and a biological father who is married to the mother of his children.”
Crouse continued, “Reports about the study are confusing because scholars increasingly are not differentiating between ‘two-parent’ families and ‘two-partner households.’ Despite all the findings to the contrary, the latest attitude is, ‘What difference does marriage make as long as two adults are present?’ Lacking that distinction, the reports about the study are misleading.”
The study specifically notes that about “two thirds of these new two adult households were people living together, not married.”
The researchers reported, “Virtually all of the cohabitating and marriage that began during the 16 months of the studies involved a mother and a man who was not the child’s biological father.”
In fact, “the percentage of children living with both biological parents did not increase” and “only a fifth of the children in the study lived with married, biological parents.”
The author of the Johns Hopkins study, Andrew J. Cherlin, has serious doubts about the Bush Administration’s emphasis on marriage programs for low-income people because “children might not benefit as much from the trend toward two-parent families as we might think.” Crouse said, “Cherlin’s comment is a dramatic example of the importance of keeping the definition of family consistent. The experiences of a child growing up in a two-parent family are distinctly different from those of a child growing up in a household where there are two adults with one partner periodically being replaced by another partner.”
Crouse concluded, “While sophisticated researchers might not be able to tell the difference between a household consisting of two married parents and their biological or adopted children and a household consisting of a mother and a boyfriend, a child instinctively knows and is deeply affected by the difference between a father and a boyfriend.”