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Rep. Linda Sanchez: Pregnant Now, Marriage Later

**An updated version of this story appears in the print edition of Fri., Nov. 21 and online here.**

Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.) is pregnant with her first child, the Los Angeles Times reports this morning. Which is hardly unusual -- several other congresswomen have given birth in office -- except for the fact that Sanchez isn't married . . . yet.

The dad is Sanchez's serious beau of more than a year, Connecticut consultant Jim Sullivan, and she tells LAT op-ed columnist Patt Morrison that they're "unofficially engaged." But since she's 39, they didn't want to wait any longer to start making a family.

So, no wedding date set yet. Their baby is due May 21, the Times reports.

"I don't know how it'll be received," Sanchez told Morrison. "I hope people will recognize that to be able to plan that in your life -- I don't think that marriage and childbirth are black and white. There are certain instances in which you have to do things in reverse order."

Sanchez -- who with older sib Rep. Loretta Sanchez is half of Congress's first sister act -- easily won reelection in her SoCal district this month; it's a pretty safe seat. Still, her decision is a powerful sign of the times, Morrison writes:

Twenty years ago, it simply wouldn't have been possible -- pregnant, single and a member of Congress? Oh, the scandal! But Hester Prynne has morphed into Juno MacGuff . . . and "unwed mother" has been recast as "single mom."

Who do we have to thank for that? Thousands, from Madonna to Dan Quayle. In 1992, Quayle waged moral warfare on the sitcom character "Murphy Brown" -- famous, rich, single and pregnant. . . . And, of course, Bristol Palin.

Read more about Sanchez in The Reliable Source on Friday..

By The Reliable Source  |  November 20, 2008; 8:00 AM ET
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Look people.....just because everybody's doing it doesn't make it right!!! It simply doesn't set a good example and IT IS NOT ALRIGHT TO EMBRACE THIS KIND OF FOOLISHNESS all in the name of "a sign of the times! This is the reason that these kids are the way they are now WHERE IS THE STOP BUTTON??

Mother of a 30 year old professional daughter who has NO kids and will be marrying a 30 year old professional man with NO kids on June 6, 2009. Thank God some of us are instilling good foundation in our kids.

Posted by: TeresamMiller | November 20, 2008 1:05 PM | Report abuse

At least he "did right by her" and married the congresswoman.

Posted by: Phil6 | November 20, 2008 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Lighten up TheresaMiller. Your choices are your choices. Other people have their own choices. This post doesn't mention it, but the brother of Congresswoman Sanchez recently passed away, and I'm sure the family is now eagerly celebrating the miracle of life.
Congratulations Congresswoman.

Posted by: lostinthemiddle | November 20, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Congratulations to Congresswoman Sanchez on the impending baby and marriage.

Posted by: ASinMoCo | November 20, 2008 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Just another "choice". My goodness, I am sick of this. Yes, people can make choices. But choices, like ideas, have CONSEQUENCES. One of those consequences has been, in the past, the good or bad opinion of others. So saying "other people have their own choices" is like saying "the sun comes up in the morning". TeresamMiller is expressing an OPINION, one which many people, I'm sure, share. Congresswoman Sanchez has "chosen" to set a BAD EXAMPLE for those contemplating single motherhood who may not have the resources afforded to a Congresswoman (not many of us have, actually). So THINK before you speak and act.

Posted by: Backaby | November 20, 2008 2:35 PM | Report abuse

did sanchez get pregnant shaking her booty at the playboy mansion...
hope the father gets a dna test to make sure it's his...
after all we don't know where she has been and we don't know what she has done...
otherwise, we wish her well...

Posted by: DwightCollins | November 20, 2008 2:52 PM | Report abuse

You're so right, Backaby. I was sure I'd never have a child out of wedlock, what with the horrible stigma and all, but Rep. Sanchez's courageous example has given me the will to live my dream.

Posted by: smashhittom | November 20, 2008 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Ms Miller, did you throw stones at Bristol Palin too?

I also think that the good congresswoman would be flattered to have you think she was still a kid. 40-ish year old women can be sensitive about feeling old.

Posted by: skramsv | November 20, 2008 3:29 PM | Report abuse

The only objectionable thing I see here is that this 39 year old woman refers to the father of her baby as an "unofficial fiance". She sounds like a trashy 22 year old who's either engaging in wishful thinking or refuses to consider herself engaged until the boyfriend shells out for a rock worth more than their combined annual income.

You're either engaged, or you're not. You don't need a ring or anything else to be engaged - just an agreement to get married.

What a twit.

Posted by: burntnorton | November 20, 2008 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Oh, good grief. The only reason there was any "shame" about this was based on religion and people who have issues with sex. I notice no one's saying her partner is either an "unwed father" or "single Dad" here. And who cares, really? She wants to have a child and be a Mom. Given that she lost her brother, I can doubly understand why she wants to do this now. And good on her! I wish her, and her family, all the joy her heart and hands can hold.

We've got children who go to bed hungry and people without healthcare, but the busybodies choose to be upset that a woman isn't "shamed" because she's pregnant without a ring. Great priorities. Really wonderful.

Posted by: ednt4606 | November 20, 2008 5:08 PM | Report abuse

And she sets an example....

Posted by: PalmSpringsGirl | November 20, 2008 5:49 PM | Report abuse

The result of a dirty sanchez!

Posted by: 95flhtcu | November 20, 2008 10:00 PM | Report abuse

i have a very good single girl-friend who just had twins at 39 - artificial insemination - the right guy never came along and she wanted children - she has a solid job, and a supportive family - her choice

so, the Senator is having a baby and she's still technically single - she doesn't have to get married if she doesn't want to - she's a grown woman - her choice

my husband and i have been married for 12 years and have chosen not to have children - our choice

enough with all the sanctimonious speak

Congrats, Senator:)

Posted by: eviltwit | November 21, 2008 7:48 AM | Report abuse

Marriage is not necessarily a prerequisite for having children. It is an institution of the state and religion to control women. In church, a father or other male relative "gives" the female in marriage to the groom. This is utter nonsense, as no woman "belongs" to a man as would his cattle, sheep, goats, boats, car or land. It is a remnant of chattel mentality. Madame Congresswoman, have your child, live long and prosper.

Posted by: lorrainemiller1951 | November 21, 2008 10:33 AM | Report abuse

If the example Linda Sanchez is setting is that of financially secure, mature woman making the choice - with her partner - to have a child, then I'm all for it. I prefer this "example" for my daughters over that of VP hopeful Sarah Palin's teen daughter and her accidental pregancy via a highschool drop-out boyfriend.

Posted by: emmi66 | November 21, 2008 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Lets stop being saintimonious; some of the best and long lasting unions are of people that are not married; stop criticizing people because they don't act like you, if their conduct is good, live them in peace.

Posted by: fedup6 | November 21, 2008 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Lorraine Miller describes it well: the father gives the bride away to the groom in the Victorian marriage ceremony. What nonsense! Men have had choices for many centuries. Why should it bother anyone that some women in the world now have choices? It might be better if all women rallied behind this right. It isn't available everywhere. Thank you Linda Sanchez for the courage to make yours. Yes, we Californians are wicked, aren't we?

Posted by: rebarb14 | November 22, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

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