03 January 2011

The Plight Of Accidental Single Parents

When an unmarried woman (who may be single, divorced or widowed) finds herself pregnant but does not wish to marry the biological father of the baby she is carrying, she can allow the pregnancy to progress and raise the baby.

There were 495 children born to accidental single parents in 2005.  In each of the past three years, the number has averaged 550 (Get Real: Single By Choice, Channel News Asia, 27 December 2010).

Such single mothers are denied certain financial entitlements that are otherwise available to married mothers.

The government's rationale is that the family unit as a key pillar of society and it does not want to be seen encouraging single motherhood.

Many people consider the sexual behaviour that led to such women becoming accidental single mothers as morally incorrect.

It is very unlikely that any one of the accidental single mothers wanted to conceive a baby in the first place.  Once the baby is conceived, however, the woman has to make a choice — become a single mother or abort the foetus.  For many people, abortion is morally wrong, even though it is legal during the first trimester.

Should society punish these women for choosing to be accidental single mothers — that is, for choosing not to abort their babies after they became pregnant accidentally?

These single mothers and their children are as Singaporean as other families.

If society chooses not to treat them inclusively, these children may grow up to form the future underclass.

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