Is Natalie Portman, a Harvard-educated career woman having a child with her fiance, a bad example for America's young women? Former Arkansas governor and possible 2012 presidential contender Mike Huckabee thinks so, and after Portman won Best Actress at the Academy Awards last week, he called in to a radio show to say just how unfortunate it is "that we glorify and glamorize the idea of out-of-wedlock children."
But on MSNBC's The Last Word Friday night, The Nation's Melissa Harris-Perry says Huckabee is way off the mark: single mothers, Harris-Perry says, do have "restrictions and difficulties" that we should all recognize, but "our children, our lives, are not the scourge." Harris-Perry emphasizes that "more and more women are choosing to opt out of marriage through divorce or by delaying marriage," and what really impacts young women are the structural opportunities too often denied to them, opportunities such as a decent education, access to family planning and counseling for jobs and college. Marriage as an institution might deserve closer scrutiny, Harris-Perry explains, but people simply making "different decisions" about their own lives deserve to be left alone.