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Single Motherhood by Choice, Libertarian Feminism, and the Uniform Parentage Act

37 Pages Posted: 6 Feb 2008  

Bernie D. Jones

Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts


Recent census data indicates that the rate of single motherhood is increasing among non-married career women in their thirties and forties, while the rate of teenage pregnancy is decreasing. Older women are choosing motherhood after divorce or failure to find a marital partner, upon realizing that these factors mean they might never fulfill the two-parent family idea. Realizing that their fertility will not last forever, these women subverted the traditional norm of marriage and motherhood and declared their right to become parents, notwithstanding their single status.

Women's greater economic independence, as a result of the liberal feminist movement, has enabled many to embrace a libertarian feminist view of motherhood grounded in perceptions of their maturity, financial capability and freedom of choice. Nonetheless, federal and state policies continue to treat single mothers as irresponsible young women on the verge of becoming public charges. Self-supporting single mothers, however, have subverted this image, insisting that they are responsible enough to support a family.

This paper will first discuss the history of motherhood in America and the status of single mothers in American culture. It then addresses contemporary trends in government policy that affect single mothers. Finally, policy recommendations in birth registration policies, social services law, and tax law will be offered.

Suggested Citation

Jones, Bernie D., Single Motherhood by Choice, Libertarian Feminism, and the Uniform Parentage Act. Texas Journal of Women and the Law, Vol. 12, p. 419, 2003. Available at SSRN:

Bernie D. Jones (Contact Author)

Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts ( email )

138 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02111
United States

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