METAIRE, La., Sept. 24 (UPI) --
A Louisiana state legislator, worried that women on welfare are having more children, is considering offering them cash payments for sterilization.
State Rep. John LaBruzzo told the New Orleans Times-Picayune that he is not ready to sponsor legislation yet. But he said that voluntary sterilization might be combined with tax incentives to encourage those with more money and education to have bigger families.
"What I'm really studying is any and all possibilities that we can reduce the number of people that are going from generational welfare to generational welfare," he said.
LaBruzzo said that his proposal has already led to charges that he is racist and sexist.
"It's easy to say, 'Oh, he's a racist,' " LaBruzzo said. "The hard part is to sit down and think of some solutions."
His plan would include incentives for women to undergo tubal ligation or to use some other form of birth control and for men to have vasectomies. He said he opposes abortion and would not encourage it.
This article really made me think. Where I originally read it was on a board where I was shocked to see people say that some people should be sterilized, that some people just shouldn't have children. While that may be the case, their kids are
around, and the poverty of parents is not the children's fault... Not when it's on the level being referred to here.
There are many causes of intractable poverty, and it has more to do with systems than with individuals. So, maybe instead of sterilizing women who happen to be in poverty, we should have people who will look at root causes of intractable poverty and find ways to stop *that*. The problem that he's trying to address goes deeper, and is far more complicated than his suggested solution.
I haven't ever been on welfare, and I *have* seen lots of kids whose home life is crap, but at the same time, to suggest sterilization as such a nonchalant thing seems to do the situation terrible disservice. Like abortion and childbirth in general, there is a deeper struggle in the woman's psyche; one a man will never comprehend. Thus, the thought of a man
mandating whether or not I get to have children; because my husband and I fall on hard times, well it's terrifying to me, especially as I have had nightmares of having been sterilized after E's birth. Let me tell you, it is *not* a pleasant thing to wake up the next morning convinced of.
On a different tangent, my husband and I have considered leaving our 'riches' (because face it, compared to most of the world we are insanely rich) and go live in the slums, to draw alongside those whose lives are a spiral through intractable poverty. By that very choice to go live in community, then, to become neighbours in a full sense and thusly make those concerns our own, I should be sterilized, according to this. I don't know that it would go that far, but the possibility is there.
For me, as a taxpayer, as a young mother whose husband works hard to keep us clothed, housed and fed, I would still rather see some people take advantage of the system/live off the system than end up on the streets. Yes, those children were born into poverty, and yes it's intractable and it can be incredibly hard for them to get out of it, and it's often the case that they don't... but sterilization will do nothing to change that. It'll just keep the rich, rich, and the poor not only poor, but also hopeless, and more driven to drinking or drugs. There is a hopelessness that comes with intractable poverty, and beyond that, some people like to play off their circumstances and use them for excuses, a terrible cycle of victimization that spirals on and on.
In a society where it is still suggested that our worth is our children (I've had it said almost word for word to my face), sterilization is just another sick way to keep people trapped in both a sphere of victimization and disenfranchisement. I just simply can't believe that it would in any way benefit society. I think that it would only keep people *more* trapped by their poverty and destitution.
That said, I don't know what the solutions are to intractable poverty. Even if I did... I think that'd be a topic for another day.