Senator Rick Santorum — long known for his insightful analyses of same-sex marriage (a mere gateway, as he alluded, to human-dog couples) and more recently for his repudiation of education — proclaimed in 1994 that before single mothers continued on their heedless quest to destroy the “fabric of the country,” they needed a swift “kick in the butt.”

I was a single mom, living separately from my child’s father or any other adult, until my son was four. I worked full-time in order to support myself and my child and, during that time, there were many things I needed: child care that I could both trust and afford, health insurance (I worked freelance and was responsible for paying for own medical care), and the occasional night off. Topping that list, I now realize, should have been a kick in the butt.

I want to create every opportunity for women to be able to serve this country … but I do have concerns about women in front-line combat. I think that could be a very compromising situation, where people naturally may do things that may not be in the interest of the mission because of other types of emotions that are involved. It already happens, of course, with the camaraderie of men in combat, but I think it would be even more unique if women were in combat. And I think that’s not in the best interests of men, women or the mission.