Statistics Canada shows that almost 53 000 babies were born in 1983 to single women, compared to 38 600 in 1979 and 17 700 in 1974. The “single woman” category does not include separated or divorced women, only those who have never been married or those whose baby is from a common-law relationship.
The federal data reflects the incidence of teen-age pregnancies as well as the decision of older unmarried women to have a baby, often using artificial insemination. The number of babies born to unmarried, women aged 30 to 34, jumped to more than 3600 in 1983 from 544 in 1974. Single women between 35 and 39 years of age had 936 babies in 1983, compared with 175 a decade earlier.
According to the Globe (May 23), several Toronto doctors have confirmed the increased demand for artificial insemination among single career women in their thirties. “They want to be mothers without being wives,” one of them stated.
Ontario is one of the few provinces to have abolished illegitimacy. Consequently, no distinction can be made for support and inheritance rights between children born in and out of wedlock. This bill was passed on the supposition that society no longer frowns on children born outside the married state.
The Catholic Church and other religious communities continue to reject artificial insemination, just as they oppose sterilization, contraceptives and abortion at the other end of the spectrum.