Wisconsin Senator Thinks Single Parenthood Is Child Abuse—And Proposes Bill To Make It So

A Wisconsin legislator recently authored a controversial bill that would force the state’s Health department  to claim in literature that children from single parent homes are probably victims of child abuse. The bill, proposed by Sen. Glenn Grothman , a Republican in Wisconsin’s state senate, would force the state Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board to create campaigns that would “emphasize nonmarital parenthood as a contributing factor to child abuse and neglect.” In a state where 32 percent of the populace is comprised of single parents. Grothman’s bill reads, in part:


Section 1. 48.982 (2) (g) 2. of the statutes is amended to read:

48.982 (2) (g) 2. Promote statewide educational and public awareness campaigns and materials for the purpose of developing public awareness of the problems of child abuse and neglect. In promoting those campaigns and materials, the board shall emphasize nonmarital parenthood as a contributing factor to child abuse and neglect.

Section 2. 48.982 (2) (g) 4. of the statutes is amended to read:
48.982 (2) (g) 4. Disseminate information about the problems of and methods of preventing child abuse and neglect to the public and to organizations concerned with those problems. In disseminating that information, the board shall emphasize nonmarital parenthood as a contributing factor to child abuse and neglect.


When I come across silliness like this, I’m tempted to dismiss it—as I would some pesky little boy insulting me in the hallway at the middle school. Because surely, no sane, reasonable adult could propose such nonsense and think they should be taken seriously. It’s not even really worth it here to go into all the many different ways that this is ridiculous, except to say that a good 70 percent of the African American community, more than half of all moms under age 30 and a third of all moms, period, are, according to this fool, verging on criminality because they have kids but no ring.

But then I think about it some more and I recognize that I can’t just dismiss this kind of madness. The more that it goes unchecked, the more the Rick Santorums and the Newt Gingriches and the Virginia legislators of the world think that there’s widespread support in the public for insane ideas like this. It encourages them to keep at it—to get even more ridiculous in conjuring up these culture wars, designed to keep us fighting amongst ourselves and distracting us from the real issues that affect us, like the economy and unemployment, the banking industry and our 401Ks and the housing market—the dismantling of benefits and the unraveling of our country’s safety net for those in need. While we spend precious money, resources and brain power shooting down legislation that would allow the government to rape women seeking abortions, we Americans are being financially, physically, mentally and emotionally robbed by a bunch of men giggling all the way to the bank.

At this rate 100 arrogant bankers in New York have probably done more damage to American children of this generation than the whole lot of single moms put together, but I suspect that Mr. Wisconsin legislature is not trying to haul them off to the local jail.

Just a little food for thought today. Chew it, digest it and keep it in mind the next time your local elections come around. Stay home and the idiot next door will become the idiot in your state legislature—the one who will try to legally proclaim you’re a criminal because you had a baby but not a husband. Vote with YOUR BRAIN, and maybe we can keep these crazies out of office and get down to the real work of saving our country.

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Denene Millner

Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.


  1. This is a perfect example of the kind of leadership Republicans seem to be specializing in these days: largely symbolic gestures that accomplish nothing besides demonizing people who are not them. (Or who they believe are not them. As hard as it is for me to believe that a single mom would be so self-defeating as to vote Republican, I’m sure there are conservative single moms out there somewhere.)

  2. Not all of us republicans think this way, please dont generalize republicans thinking this is how we are! I am republican and I was a single mom to three boys, I am happily married to a man who is not their biological father but he has never shown them any less love… In fact he loves the boys as much as I do!

  3. Melinda Blondeaux

    PLEASE do not think that all republicans are like this (note: im not a conservative or republican)! My father, a republican, raised me on his own for a good chunk of my childhood, my biological mother was never been in the picture since a few hours after my birth as she was a drug addict and, as we later found out, a prostitute. He is NOTHING like these republiclown asshats that are in control. Infact, many republicans that i know personally are nothing like them either. Just like you cant judge a book by its cover, you cant judge someone by their political affiliation. These jerks in office do NOT represent everyone in their political party. Many republicans are single parents, many are for legalizing same sex marriage (my dads best friend and my godfather is gay), not all want to ban birthcontrol or abortion (my dad had me put on the pill when i was 16 as soon as he learned that the hormones in it would help me bleed less, i have non-clotting blood, and he also supported my husband and i a year ago 100% when we had to terminate a pregnancy in order to save my life. if i hadnt done that i wouldnt be here today and nearly 25wks pregnant with our son). The GOP and other republicans in power represent a very loud minority, not the majority.

  4. It’s all good and fine that you disagree with this guy even though you’re Republican, but silence equals assent. And as there appears to be practically no dissension among Republicans on these issues, I see no issue painting you with a broad brush. Until a critical mass of Republicans shows up and changes both the discourse and the actions, THIS IS WHO YOU ARE!!

  5. I have issues with my mother, but her raising me alone was a hell of a lot better than her staying with my biological father.

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