Of the father Murray says: As far as I can tell, he has approximately the same causal responsibility as a slice of chocolate cake has in determining whether a woman gains weight.
In 1992, when Dan Quayle condemned the television character Murphy Brown for giving birth out of wedlock, he reopened an old debate that quickly became highly polarized.
Some people claimed that growing up in a fatherless home was the major cause of child poverty, delinquency, and school failure, while others denied that single motherhood had any harmful effects.
Some might suppose family disruption to have a larger effect on black and Hispanic children since on average they come from less advantaged backgrounds and their underlying risk of dropping out, becoming a teen mother, and being out of work is greater than that of whites.
Alternatively, others might expect the effect of family disruption to be smaller on minority children because single mothers in black and Hispanic communities are more common, more widely accepted, and therefore perhaps provided more support from neighbors and kin.
Many people hold strong opinions about these issues.
For example, conservatives such as former Education Secretary William Bennett and Charles Murray, the author of Losing Ground, believe that single motherhood is so harmful and public support is so significant an inducement for unwed women to have babies that it is time to get tough with the mothers.And some objected even to discussing the topic for fear of stigmatizing single mothers and their children.Not talking about single motherhood is scarcely an option.The long-range consequences could have enormous implications.But what exactly are the consequences -- how large and concentrated among what groups?If the parents live apart, the probability that their children will drop out of high school rises by 11 percentage points.