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What Men Say About Unwed Moms

July 22, 1993| Times staff writer Abigail Goldman and free-lance writer Kathleen Doheny contributed to this report.

"My gut-level reaction to (older) single women having babies out of wedlock is, they're selfish. They seem to be saying: 'I don't want anyone controlling my life. I want my career. I don't want a man telling me what to do.' I am saddened by it."

--Emilio Urioste, 32

unmarried, teacher at John Burroughs High School, Burbank

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"When I hear about that, I think it's stupid. Because what if the kid grows up without knowing his dad? What if the kid grows up and wants to meet his dad and the mom doesn't know where he is? The kid would feel bad."

--Boy who requested anonymity, 15 Burbank

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"As a man and not as a doctor, I don't have a problem with it. These women who purposely make a decision to have a child are more giving than the women to whom pregnancy just happens . . . They are totally generous and committed to the idea of sharing themselves with someone else.

"I don't feel threatened at all by a woman having a child (alone). If I didn't have two great kids, I would have no hesitation in securing a surrogate and having a child."

--Dr. Richard P. Marrs, 45 single parent, medical director of The Center for Assisted Reproductive Medicine at Santa Monica Hospital Medical Center

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"It is everyone's choice to fulfill a dream. If a woman can't find Prince Charming and wants a baby and is ready, society should not dictate what is acceptable. I agree with older women who choose (single motherhood), but I worry about the teen-agers. More seasoned women understand better what it takes to raise a child.

I am really disappointed in the fact that a lot of these young ladies will have to raise kids on their own. It's going to be a difficult task because many drop out of school and become socially isolated. It's difficult enough for babies to be born without a father, but it adds fuel to the fire for a black baby boy to be without a father in the home--the system is already against him."

--Sean Stewart, 23 unmarried, assistant minister, First AME Church, Los Angeles

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"My first response would be that this just does not fit the way I was brought up to believe a child should be raised, with the traditional two parents and stability. . . . I know of several situations where women have chosen to have a child out of wedlock, without a father. I think you have to change with the conditions. If the parent can handle it financially, I'm changing my mind. Where there is an abundance of love and caring, I would guess that a child can do as good as if he had a mother and father present. We're not going backward, we're going forward. I think people get tied up on tradition too much . . . Free choice. As long as (the single mother) measures up to all the responsibilities that go along with it, I'd say go for it. My daughter would be quite surprised at this, but I hope she doesn't get any ideas."

--Richard Frankel, 52 married father of three, stockbroker, West Los Angeles

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"I don't think a woman has to be married or in a relationship with a man or anything to have a child in this day and age.

"If someone wants to have and raise a child--or has to have and raise a child on their own--then that's their prerogative. It's just that things also get a little tricky in peoples' minds when you also throw in race and class. It would also depend on whether we were talking about the 'Murphy Brown syndrome' or poor, minority, inner-city people. It's about: Is it a choice or is it a necessity. But I think in either case it's not wrong, it's not a bad thing. It's not immoral or destroying family structure, it's just a different family structure. Those kind of choices need to be supported."

--Jason Sperber, 19 single, college student, Los Angeles

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"I don't care what they say, you need the father image just like you need the mother image. Just like they say in the Boy Scouts: a boy needs a mother figure up until he gets about 10 years old, then you wean him off and he needs a man figure. I've been a Scout leader for 50 years. When a boy gets to be 10, he needs to move away from the den mother and get a man--someone that's going to be buddy and partners with him and explain things from a man's point of view.

(A single woman), I don't care how rich, cannot give a child what he needs. There have to be two (parents) and they have to set the example for them. Even if it's a girl, she needs a father figure."

--Eddie Valmore, 66 married father of one, car wash manager, Los Angeles

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