Tag Archives: religious conservatives

People who believe in hell are allowed to raise children?

First someone with a sociology PhD refers to a social institution existing “since time immemorial.” Now an economist pronounces on the eternal destination of homosexuals. What kind of expert witness operation are they running over there in Michigan?

The economist is Douglas W. Allen, testifying in a case over the challenge to Michigan’s same-sex marriage (let’s call it homogamy) ban. Allen recently conducted a study claiming to show that children of gay and lesbian parents in Canada are less likely to succeed in school; a study that, in my expert opinion, is worthless.

The plaintiff’s lawyer asked, and Allen answered:

Q: Is it accurate that you believe the consequence of engaging in homosexual acts is a separation from God and eternal damnation? … In other words, they’re going to hell?

A: Without repentance, yes.

This is just a repetition of an exchange during Allen’s deposition for the trial:

Q: What are the consequences of the sin of engaging in homosexual acts according to your religious beliefs?

A: The consequences of those sins would be the same as the consequences of any sin which is just a separation from God.

Q: He who is separated from God is condemned according to your religious beliefs; isn’t that correct?

A: Eventually.

Q: Okay. And being condemned means what, Professor?

A: Means eternal separation from God.

Q: In other words, going to hell; isn’t that correct? [an objection about leading the witness] You started to nod your head yes. Is the answer correct?

A: Yes.

Photo from Flickr Creative Commons by Christian Terboven

Photo from Flickr Creative Commons by Christian Terboven

A couple of thoughts on this. First, just thank God at how far we have come from the horror of theocratic society (however far that is). This claim by Allen was the news from the day in court. Not because gays and lesbians are actually going to burn in hell, but because someone said so in polite company. Which makes him a despicable person. If there was even the slightest shred of possibility that gays and lesbians would actually spend eternity suffering in some awful way as a result of the kind of sex they had in life, that would be so much worse than anything else at stake in this trial that the mundane legal proceedings would be pointless. What could matter more?

This brings me to the second point: People who believe this stuff are allowed to raise children? And teach it to them? Allen’s polite euphemism — “separation from God” — is the modern Evangelical way of saying “burn in hell.” Nothing could be worse. So if you are unfortunate enough to be raised by such a person, you have to either know that your father is a crazy, malicious liar (which is traumatic for a child to think about its father), or you have to actually believe this horror story of eternal suffering as a result of “any sin” not repented. Holy sh*t. And on his website Allen brags that he’s been teaching Sunday school for decades.

And we’re arguing about the grade point average of students raised by two men or two women? (Which, again, Allen’s study said nothing of value about).

This reminds me of the kerfuffle over Richard Dawkins’ claim that being indoctrinated into believing in hell was as traumatic — or more traumatic — for some Catholic children as it was to suffer “the temporary embarrassment of mild physical abuse” at the hands of priests. Although being provocative (and it was an off-the-cuff remark, the first time), I don’t believe Dawkins was minimizing sexual abuse when he said that; rather, he was calling out the severe trauma experienced by children who were raised on the literal existence of hell. There is no need to compare one trauma versus another to make either Dawkins or pedophile priests look bad — it’s enough to acknowledge that a lot of children suffer both ways. That’s important, because it means crazy hell-teachers may be harming children even when they’re not raping them (which of course they usually aren’t).

So, sure. Let’s have a whole trial about whether gay and lesbian parents are bad for children. And let’s allow someone like Allen to take the stand as an expert witness. And let’s allow any straight parent (or gay parent, for that matter) to shame their children to bed each night on tales of horror and eternal suffering. But if, after all that, we refuse to let gay and lesbian couples be married parents — that would be disappointing.


Filed under In the news

All opposed? (to family change)

Over on his Iranian Redneck blog, Darren Sherkat has an interesting series of posts on religion and attitudes toward same-sex marriage, using new data from the 2012 General Social Survey (fundamentalism, denominations, young Republicans 2x, race, and the 2004-2012 trend) — all extensions of his academic work on the subject (2x). All of this shows that, in addition to political conservatism, religious fundamentalists and people in sectarian Christian denominations are (or were) driving opposition to marriage rights.

But same-sex marriage (homogamy) is only one aspect of growing family diversity. I was reminded of a survey the Pew Research Center did with Time in 2010, called “The Changing American Family,” which asked a question I like:

These days there seems to be a growing variety in the types of family arrangements that people live in. Overall, do you think this is a good thing, a bad thing, or don’t you think it makes a difference?

I’m not sure what to make of the people who think it’s “good” versus those who think it makes “no difference.” But the people who think family diversity is a “bad thing” — 28% of the population — might be the definition of family conservatives. So who are they (or, who were they in 2010)? Think of them as the sky-is-falling set.

Couple looking up

The good people at Pew offer a data download, which (once you get it out of SPSS format) is pretty easy to use. Using religion, political affiliation, education, race/ethnicity, and some other demographic variables, I made a simple regression model that explained 19% of the variance in “bad thing” attitude. Rather than show the regression table, here are the bivariate relationships between “bad thing” and those characteristics (I also labeled the blocks with how much of the variance they independently explained).

bad-thingAs with Sherkat’s findings for same-sex marriage, the most important predictors of opposition to family diversity are religion and political affiliation – but religion is by far the strongest. For example, people who don’t think family diversity is bad were about 3-times more likely to never attend religious services. The absolute majority – 54% of people who chose “bad thing” – described themselves as born again Christians, and a quarter of them attend church more than once per week. The counter-stereotypical findings are:

  • Latinos are less likely to oppose family diversity than anyone else.
  • Those with high school education or less are the least likely to say “bad thing.” (In the multivariate model, college graduates also choose “bad thing” less, making the some-college crowd the most conservative.)

This is not a scientific study, but an illustrative exploration. I don’t know enough about the data collection to know how well these data could withstand peer review, or whether this could be done with a more rigorous dataset such as the General Social Survey. But I like the question, so figured I’d share the results.


Filed under Me @ work, Politics

‘More managerial than intellectual’: How right-wing Christian money brought us the Regnerus study

There is a new release of documents, obtained by the American Independent through a Texas Freedom of Information Act request, regarding Mark Regnerus, a sociologist at the University of Texas-Austin (UT). The new documents are excerpted here and here. This adds an interesting chapter to the ongoing story of the infamous paper published in the journal Social Science Research (even if you haven’t been following it so far.)

In that paper, Regnerus reported negative consequences of being raised by lesbian or gay parents. The study has been thoroughly debunked and substantively should be completely disregarded. Regnerus subsequently signed onto an amicus brief for the Supreme Court, using the study to justify continued denial of marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples. (Here is a review of the controversy with links, and here is the most recent debunking).

From my reading, the information in these documents shows that declarations by Brad Wilcox and Mark Regnerus were not true:

  1. Brad Wilcox was not truthful when he said he never served as an “officer” of the Witherspoon Institute, even though he was director of the institute’s Program on Marriage, Family, and Democracy – which funded the study – and when he implied that he did not have a direct hands-on role in it. In fact, Wilcox played a leading role in the original conception, the design, and the dissemination of the results of this study. His description of himself as, “one of about a dozen paid academic consultants,” surely was deliberately misleading.
  2. Mark Regnerus was not truthful when he said that the Witherspoon Institute “had nothing to do with the study design, or with the data analyses, or interpretations, or the publication of the study.” This assertion appeared in several public venues as well as in the article itself. In fact, Witherspoon, in the person of Brad Wilcox as well as its other officers, was heavily involved throughout the process.

We could have guessed that already; these new documents are merely confirming the probable. But the bad behavior of these individuals ultimately is not as interesting as the story of how Christian conservatives used big private money to produce knowledge in service of their political goals, and how the seemingly puny defenses of the academic establishment may be easily overrun by well-organized, well-funded interest groups.

(To clarify: I didn’t request or publish these documents; I am just discussing them. But the ethics of this exposure seem OK to me: Regnerus ran almost a million dollars in research money through a public university’s research center – this isn’t his private life we’re talking about. As a Maryland employee, incidentally, my own email may be subject to public records request. If you catch me lying and covering up my true motives in my emails, I will be embarrassed, and that’s one reason I try not to do that.)

Fall 2010: Witherspoon lines up its team

Witherspoon is a tax-exempt, right-wing think tank at Princeton University whose leaders have ties to the Bradley Foundation, and the Christian conservative Family Research Council, Ethics and Public Policy Center, Institute on Religion and Democracy, and so on. It also funds the Institute for American Values. In 2011, the New Family Structures Study – the Regnerus study grant – accounted for more than 70% of its external grants. Its president is Luis Tellez.

This is how Regnerus described the funding for the study in his self-Q&A:

Funding is hard to get these days. Witherspoon had nothing to do with the study design, or with the data analyses, or interpretations, or the publication of the study. To me, I treated it the same as if the funding came from NICHD or NSF.

Q: So why didn’t you go to NICHD or NSF for funding?

A: For two reasons. First, because in informal conversation about it, Witherspoon expressed openness to funding it. I was between book projects and it sounded like an interesting thing to pursue. I informed Witherspoon that if I were to run the study, I would report the results, whatever they may be. And honestly my bet was that it would be a far more mixed set of results, with many null findings. Second, I actually don’t think a study like this would fly at NICHD or NSF.

But this was not the idea of an independent researcher looking for funding to pursue his scientific questions. Rather, the early emails in the document release show Witherspoon president Tellez and Wilcox fundraising and developing the vision for the project.

On September 13, 2010, Tellez wrote to someone named David at Abt Associates, a research firm that has done work on marriage promotion: “At the request of Brad Wilcox, I am sending you a description of ‘The New Family Structure Study.’”

There can be little doubt Tellez and Wilcox were motivated by political goals. There are two indicators of that. The first is technical but important: the proposal Tellez sent, forwarded from Wilcox, described their plan to “sample 1000 young adults from same-sex households, 1000 young adults from adopted households, and 1000 young adults from heterosexual households.” As would become immediately apparent once actual experts were consulted, finding 1000 young adults raised by gay and lesbian couples through random survey sample methods would be next to impossible without a budget in the millions of dollars – there are simply too few of them in the population. Any researcher with substantive expertise and interests in this area would have seen that as an outlandish proposal. Substantively, they did not understand this area of research – but they understood the politics very well.

And second, in a Tellez email to Regnerus later that month – apparently working out the details of their new arrangement for Regnerus to conduct the study on Witherspoon’s behalf – he wrote:

“It would be great to have this before major decisions of the Supreme Court but that is secondary to the need to do this and do it well… I would like you to take ownership and think of how you want it done… rather than someone like me dictating parameters… but of course, here to help.” [ellipses in original]

You might think Witherspoon was motivated to discover the truth – whatever it was – so that it could inform the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage decisions. But I believe Tellez, Wilcox and Regnerus were sure they would find that children raised by gay and lesbian parents fare worse than those in what they smugly call “gold standard” families. They believed they would find that if they did do the research “right.” And when they were unable to get anything like that sample they imagined, they adjusted. Their decision was to boost the sample of children of gay or lesbian parents by including anyone who reported a parent ever having a same-sex relationship — a change certain to produce the negative-outcomes result. Believing in what they expected in the first place, and motivated to produce the result they were already planning for, they showed no hesitation in drawing the conclusion they initially expected – even though it was not supported by the evidence they actually got.

Anyway, on September 21, 2010, Regnerus sent Wilcox a detailed email, seeking his approval – on behalf of Witherspoon – for the plan he intended to bring to the director of the Population Research Center at UT. Wilcox responded, on September 22, with “YES” to each item. The message goes like this (excerpted):

Dear Mark:

This sounds right on target. My thoughts in CAPS. Thanks, Brad.

[then, quoting Regnerus’s message:]


OK, so let me process some of this. I need to have my stuff together before I approach Mark Hayward [director of UT's Population Research Center], perhaps early next week if I’m clear on things.

Tell me if any of these aren’t correct.

  1. We want to run this project through UT’s PRC. I’m presuming 10% overhead is acceptable to Witherspoon. YES [Wilcox’s reply –pnc]
  2. We want a broad coalition comprising several scholars from across the spectrum of opinions… [goes on to discuss individuals]. YES
  3. We want to “repeat” in some ways the DC consultation with the group outlined in #2. … [details of how the planning document will be crafted] YES
  4. This document would in turn be used to approach several research organizations for the purpose of acquiring bids for the data collection project. YES

Did I understand that correctly?

And per your instruction, I should think of this as a planning grant, with somewhere on par of $30-$40k if needed. YES

I would like, at some point, to get more feedback from Luis and Maggie [Gallagher? –pnc] about the ‘boundaries’ around this project, not just costs but also their optimal timelines (for the coalition meeting, the data collection, etc.), and their hopes for what emerges from this project, including the early report we discussed in DC. Feel free to forward this to them.

Just to be clear that the idea and impetus were coming from Witherspoon, two other emails from that day show the chain of command. Tellez wrote to Regnerus: “we will include some money for you and Brad on account of the time and effort you will be devoting to this.” Regnerus replied,

Got it; thanks, Luis, and Brad. … I have a light teaching load all this year, which is a significant help. Providential, perhaps.

On October 19, Tellez got back to David from Abt to say:

Mark Regnerus of the Population Research Center at the University of Texas-Austin is in conversations with us about PRC hosting the project. When I have more specifics I will let you know.

David responded, “Thanks for the update. A pop center as host sounds promising.” To which Tellez replied: “…you set me off in the search for that major university and it appears we have found it.”

Regnerus’s CV shows a $55,000 “planning grant” from Witherspoon starting in October 2010. (I don’t think Abt ended up working on the research.)

This is a beautiful illustration of the legitimacy-seeking nature of the Witherspoon project. By hiring Regnerus, and getting UT’s population center to host it, Tellez and Wilcox were buying their seal of academic objectivity – the tool they would later use to boost the political influence of the published study. (I’m not expert in this area of how elites construct “popular” opinion – all I know I learned from books like Domhoff’s Who Rules America, which describes this process pretty well.)

Starting in October, there are a series of emails from Regnerus attempting to recruit academic consultants to enhance that legitimacy. He offered professors a few thousand dollars and a paid trip to a meeting in return for their input. The requests are from Regnerus – not Tellez and Wilcox – and in them Regnerus distances himself from the well-known political bent of Witherspoon.

For example, he wrote to sociologist Stanford sociologist Michael Rosenfeld on October 25:

So my job here is more managerial than intellectual – to pull together a small team of ideologically diverse scholars who are serious about doing good science on this important subject. … This is *not* some right-wing conspiracy (I myself am moderate and largely apolitical); while the initial funding source is conservative, they’re actually pursuing (and are already getting) additional financial support from across the spectrum.

After listing some other possible consultants, Regnerus writes, “On the more conservative side, Brad Wilcox of UVa has agreed to be part of this…”

Rosenfeld sent an email declining to participate. (In it, incidentally, Rosenfeld advised Regnerus, “creating a new nationally representative sample of children raised by same-sex couples, with your proposed sample size of 1,000 is in my view an [sic] very ambitious, and maybe an overly ambitious undertaking.” Regnerus got the same response from Chintan Turakhia at Abt: “This is obviously an extremely rare population. Most probability based sampling methods are likely to be cost prohibitive.”)

In his attempt to recruit one professor, Regnerus wrote on December 2,

I’m an odd pick to run this thing… I didn’t know anybody at the Witherspoon before several months ago. Basically, was a friend of a friend who introduced me. … I’m between books and this hit at the right time, so fine, I can manage such a project, provided I locate good advisors … I realize the funder is conservative, but they are working hard as well to get funding from pro-GLBTQ orgs and donors, and are nearing that.

The emails I’ve seen contain no trace of this effort to find progressive donors, and none eventually were found, but the claim showed Regnerus trying to put a legitimate face on the project.

2011: How sausage is made

Regnerus and Wilcox did not sit around waiting for the study to be completed. They were working on packaging the results before the data collection started.

On January 21, Regnerus wrote to Wilcox,

Any new thoughts about Cynthia [Osborne -pnc] as co-writer of the report? I remain positively inclined toward it. What are the negatives?

Wilcox replied, apparently wary of Osborne’s potential liberal influence:

Great idea. No Negatives. … My suggestion for report: You coauthor introduction, lit review, data and methods, and results sections and THEN write your own distinct conclusions.

Osborne ended up a coauthor on an early presentation about the study for the Population Association of America, and also wrote a critical yet supportive comment in Social Science Research – and she is listed as a “key collaborator” on the study’s web page.

Meanwhile, Tellez was working to raise more money for the study, turning to the Bradley Foundation, which would eventually contribute $90,000. (The Bradley Foundation has a long history of support conservative pro-marriage causes.)

On April 5, Tellez wrote to Bradley vice president Dan Schmidt asking for $200,000:

to examine whether young adults raised by same-sex parents fare as well as those raised in different familial settings. This is a question that must now be answered – in a scientifically serious way – by those who are in favor of traditional marriage. … Our first goal is to seek the truth, whatever that may turn out to be. Nevertheless, we are confident that the traditional understanding of marriage will be vindicated by this study as long as it is done honestly and well.

That led to a planned conference call. On April 29 Tellez wrote to Michael Hartmann, Bradley’s director of research:

Mark Regnerus is in the process of preparing a proposal… I have asked Brad Wilcox to be in the call as well as Mark. The purpose of the call, in my view, is to update you as to the importance of the project, and to explore ways in which Bradley could assist in supporting this project.

Throughout 2011, Regnerus, Wilcox and Tellez stayed in touch on budget and planning matters. In a detailed budget report to Tellez on July 7, Regnerus wrote that, “Brad and I decided to pay [blacked out] $15,000 to co-analyze and co-author the report.”

He also reported that he would spend some Witherspoon travel money to visit with Glenn Stanton from Focus on the Family (author of Marriage on Trial: The Case Against Same-Sex Marriage and Parenting), and that he would pay for Wilcox to attend the NIH conference “Counting Families” that summer.

On August 23, Regnerus reported back to Tellez on his travels, subject: “with Brad”:

I spent the day yesterday with Brad and a couple other researchers (Glenn Stanton, Focus, and Scott Stanley, U of Denver), and spent some time discussing public/media relations for the NFSS project. Anyways, time well spent and we feel like we have a decent plan moving forward.

Tellez gently replied, “At some point, I would like to know the plan… at your convenience” [ellipses in original], and Regnerus promptly filled him in on the details on the media strategy, such as

Brad thinks we should invite three journalists then – an NPR reporter, an Atlantic monthly writer, and an AP journalist (I can’t remember the names of the last two – Brad does…).

The data collection had begun four days earlier, and already the media plan was ramping up. Another message, from Wilcox to Regnerus on September 12, shows Wilcox’s continued assistance with the media:

Michael Cromartie runs a big press gathering in Miami in the spring. Very informal, expansive, great access to top media players. Love to get you and [blacked out] there @ the time the report is released. He’s interested.

Cromartie is vice president of the aforementioned Ethics and Public Policy Center. In this ABC News clip his event is described as “maybe the best junket in all of journalism.” The clip happens to show Brad Wilcox speaking there (apparently about his work on divorce trends).


Finally, there is a message from Wilcox to Regnerus that I can’t find a date for.

Yes, I think you have to keep in mind that even getting a report from UT W [with –pnc] Paul Amato on board is a huge achievement.

BTW: I have an idea. Steven Nock’s good friend Jim Wright is editor of SSR [Social Science Research], a good peer-reviewed journal that does lots on family.

He might be open to a special issue on our dataset – esp because Steve had hoped to study the issue. Wright also likes Paul Amato.

So, down the road, I suggest we do a report AND invite a number of people from across the spectrum to contribute to a special issue of SSR on the new data.

This seems to be the point at which Wilcox plants the idea of publishing the study in SSR. Two things about it are interesting. The first is describing the report – coming from UT, and with Paul Amato, a respected Penn State sociologist “on board” – as a “huge achievement.” Why is it a huge achievement? Is it not just the natural outcome of a large-scale academic study? Maybe Wilcox sees every published article as a “huge achievement,” and he’s merely encouraging a junior colleague. But I think he sees it that way because it represents the accomplishment of legitimacy for the study.

And the second point is Wilcox calls it “our dataset.”

Inside outside

In the end, two academic insiders with PhDs, Wilcox and Regnerus – enabled by various PhD allies, credulous consultants, the journal editor and his reviewers – were the conduits for a million dollars’ worth of foundation-driven anti-gay marriage PR, disguised in legitimacy-laced peer review and served up to activists, courts, and legislators around the country with a media campaign and an animated web site.

Comments short and polite, please…


Filed under In the news, Me @ work

How can we save the church from divorce?

Unable to stop gay marriage, successfully promote straight marriage, or prevent divorce, the religious right is adopting a defensive posture. Maggie Gallagher has canceled her syndicated column. And the Institute for American Values has decided that, if it can’t save the family, it may as well try to save the church. (Or, as they call it now, in some weird nod toward diversity, “the churches.”)

A new pamphlet, by Elizabeth Marquardt, Amy Zeittlow, and Charles Stokes, spells out the problem of divorce — for the churches. It’s called, “Does the Shape of Families Shape Faith?”

David Smilde and Matthew May determined in 2010 that social science is increasingly studying religion’s effects rather than its causes — asking whether religion helps or hurts rather than what makes people religious. But churches are institutions, with bills to pay, zeal to project and ideological missions to fulfill. They have to worry about the bottom line. And divorce is hurting it.

Amanda Marcotte commented at Slate:

To read this paper, you’d think non-believing children of divorce are the walking wounded, barely able to make it through the day. Words like “schism,” “rupture,” and “alienated” abound, and the study’s authors warn that even having an amicable divorce leaves your child in danger of blowing off church, which we are meant to believe is a very dire fate indeed.


But more than concern for children, the document is animated by concern for the churches:

We have learned that when children of divorce reach adulthood, compared to those who grew up in intact families, they feel less religious on the whole and are less likely to be involved in the regular practice of a faith.

The main question is, how can we keep this structural change in family life from harming the churches:

The health and future of congregations depends upon understanding, reaching out to, and nurturing as potential leaders those who have come of age in an era of dramatic social changes in family structure. The suffering felt by children of divorce may actually offer a pathway toward healing and growth, not only for themselves but for the churches.

On helpful suggestion is to take advantage of people, especially children, when they are vulnerable:

Those who have experienced brokenness in their families of origin may have had early experiences of the imperfection and frailty of human beings. They may be open to the idea of a God who loves unconditionally, a community in which to seek meaning, or a practice that engages them with more universal truths.

This can be difficult, however, because divorced parents may be turned off by the churches (especially churches that threaten them with hell-fire for getting divorced, and now are coming after their children), and thus not even bring their children to the churches anymore.

When parents do not involve their children in an active life of faith, churches seem bewildered about how to reach them.

Besides reminding parents that giving children access to the internet is risky, this might lead some parents to say, “Good! How about this: leave my kids alone unless you have my permission to ‘reach them.””

I think the churches should consider that, if the children of divorced parents are feeling some pain, the churches themselves might not be completely blameless for that. After all, many children of Christian parents are raised to believe that:

…when a child is conceived the child is a one-flesh union of his or her parents that cannot break in two. Theologically [in Christianity], then, children whose parents divorce experience brokenness because the parental unity that they embody has been ruptured.

Not surprisingly, such children may feel torn by divorce.

And of course that can happen regardless of the parents’ religions. But here’s a suggestion: don’t teach children that they are the “one-flesh union” of their parents’ marriage. Rather, find a way to explain to children that they are the biological creation of two separately living organism which, upon achieving physical independence, has its own existence that survives its parents’ breakup. Maybe we could address the emotional challenges better if we weren’t standing in the pool of blood created by the rupture of the child’s tender body.


Filed under In the news

Yes, mothers and fathers still exist

On FamilyScholars.org, which (having retreated on opposing homogamous marriage) is busy promoting its “new conversation on marriage,” Elizabeth Marquardt writes: “Where do babies come from? The state of New York seems unsure.”

Her link to a “report” is to one of those “you wouldn’t believe what my friend saw” posts on the Christian conservative site First Things:

A friend’s wife recently gave birth. He reports that the New York birth certificate asks for the sex of the mother, and the sex of the father.

It goes on to mock people who think seriously about sex and gender. And so the thing starts spreading around the religious-conservative sky-is-falling blogosphere.


I’m not too embarrassed to say I spent 15 minutes trying to look this up. Live and learn.

It’s hard to find information about birth certificates, because everything online keeps steering you to ways to order birth certificates, not create them. But, in New York state it appears there is a state system, and a state system excluding New York City. On the New York City site, there is an Electronic Birth Registration System, described here. It asks for a lot of information about the mother and father, but not their sex or gender.

I didn’t find the equivalent for the rest of the state, but the state’s Department of Health reports that they follow National Center of Health Statistics (NCHS) guidelines, which seem to refer to this revised birth certificate recording form, which was revised in 2003. In addition to health information, it records the mother’s and father’s marital status (mother only), country of birth, education, Hispanic origin, and race. The mother is “the woman who gave birth to, or delivered the infant.”

The only mention of sex (or gender) pertains to the child: “Print or type whether the infant is male, female or if the sex of the infant is not yet determined.” And “not yet determined” is a temporary state, as the recording instructions clarify:

An N code for “not yet determined” should not be allowed for any record in the file at the time the file is closed. NCHS will query states to obtain the sex of the infant for all records still retaining the N code at the time the file is closed.



Filed under Uncategorized