Glenn Reynolds, who is more libertarian leaning than most of your typical “values voter” types, has a post up about the bleak reality of single parent households.
A read through the whole report points to the unavoidable conclusion that a major goal of social policy has to be the formation of two-parent households.
This shouldn’t involve—as the occasional dorky pastor type or culture warrior might imagine—giving chastity and abstinence lessons to teens. Such lessons aren’t a bad thing necessarily; it’s just that over the centuries this kind of influence appears to be, well, limited.
One thing about having genealogy as a hobby is that it gives you a better perspective on past morals of everyday people than you’ll get from, say, reading books (mostly written by elites). While there was no doubt higher expectations on both men and women in morally strict times, such as the Victorian and Edwardian eras, there were without a doubt plenty of unmarried people getting it on. My own great-grandmother, the only one I remember (she died when I was 8), does not have 9 months between her parents marriage and her birthdate in 1900.
I think there was probably a good bit of resignation that young people were going to do what young people are prone to do, but there was a relatively non-negotiable expectation that if you knocked a girl up, you married her. I have more than a few ancestors who ended up married that way.