Sunday, November 23, 2008

Old-Fashioned Much?

by Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux

The gossip from the Capitol today: Representative Linda Sanchez (D-California) is pregnant. This would not be terribly remarkable (eight congresswomen have become pregnant while in office since 1973), except for the fact that (gasp!) she's not married.

Is it still 1960? Are we really going to be shocked by the fact that Rep. Sanchez (who is "unofficially engaged" to her boyfriend of a year and a half, the father of the baby) got pregnant out of wedlock? The L.A. Times columnist, Patt Morrison, who "broke" the story, tried to be positive, writing that "Twenty years ago, it simply wouldn't have been possible -- pregnant, single and a member of Congress? Oh, the scandal! But Hester Prynne has morphed into Juno MacGuff, the culture wars have been fought to a truce of exhaustion, and 'unwed mother' has been recast as 'single mom.'"

However, even she had to admit that, for Rep. Sanchez (and Bristol Palin), single motherhood is a temporary condition. What about a congresswoman who chose to have a baby outside of a heterosexual relationship? It's nice that a woman who seems to be months away from marrying her partner can announce her pregnancy with only a ripple of astonishment, but really, why should we even be talking about her baby, regardless of its legal status? I'm going to have to disagree with Ms. Morrison - this isn't really a sign of progress.

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