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Grothman bill co-sponsor defending bill's controversial language

Grothman bill co-sponsor defending bill's controversial language

By Annie Scholz. CREATED Mar 9, 2012 - UPDATED: Mar 9, 2012

MILWAUKEE- There is new fallout from a state Senator's controversial bill that compares accidental pregnancies to child abuse. 

While a colleague comes to state Sen. Glenn Grothman's defense -- others say the stats don't support the claims.

Senator Grothman is getting most of the attention, but Representative Don Pridemore is a co-sponsor of the bill.  In the wake of the controversy, he stands by putting his name on it -- but health officials say what's in the bill, isn't always what they see.

Senator Grothman claims there's an epidemic of single parenthood, and he's pointing a finger at women for it.

"There's been a huge change over the last 30 years, and a lot of that change has been the choice of women," said Senator Grothman.

The backlash has put his bill under a microscope.  Specifically, it cites non-marital parenthood as a contributing factor in child abuse.  The bill's co-sponsor, Representative Don Pridemore, told TODAY'S TMJ4 he thinks even in abusive relationships, there are other options than divorce.

"If they can refind those reasons and get back to why they got married in the first place it might help," said Representative Don Pridemore.

Health officials are firing back, saying while two parents might be ideal, it's not always a healthy reality.

Dr. Geoffrey Swain of the Milwaukee Health Department is also a professor at the UW-Madison.  He says surrounding a child with an unhealthy marriage can lead to not only abuse, but depression and anxiety.

"To the contrary one of the risk factors for child abuse and neglect is poor quality of marriage," said Dr. Geoffrey Swain.  "Marriage actually has nothing to do with it, it's the quality of the relationship that matters in terms of the child's health."

Pridemore says he thinks a single woman can take care of a family in some situations -- but he thinks fathers are usually the disciplinarians and without that, "kids tend to go astray."