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Coercive sterilizations for low-income women
Posted: 26 September 2008 11:41 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Paying for Sterilization - Click Here

Louisiana state Rep. John LaBruzzo announced he is “studying a plan to pay poor women $1,000 to have their Fallopian tubes tied.” He’s worried “people receiving government aid such as food stamps and publicly subsidized housing are reproducing at a faster rate than more affluent, better-educated people.”

He also wants to provide tax breaks for “college-educated, higher-income people to have more children.”

Has this man not read any history? We’ve, uh, tried all this before…it didn’t work out too well…

Now, providing free or low cost reproductive choices - that is something I can agree with! But paying poor women to be sterlized? That is disturbing.

[ Edited: 26 September 2008 11:43 AM by Jules ]
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Posted: 26 September 2008 12:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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In a libertarian sense, there’s nothing objectionable to this plan because it proposes inducements rather than coercion. However, in the broader social sense it has serious problems. It promotes a greater sense of class identification, which is definitely bad for society as a whole. But what really bothers me about it is the implication that wealthier women can provide better care for children than poor women. Since our citizenry is the basis of our economy and our body politic, doesn’t it make a lot more sense to insure that EVERY child gets a proper upbringing regardless of the child’s parents?

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Posted: 26 September 2008 12:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Paying the poor to sterlize, while giving tax breaks to the wealthy if they have more children… this seems like eugenics to me.

Given the historical class/race divide in Louisiana, I think it’s especially worth investigating this man’s true motives. I am highly suspicious of him.

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Posted: 26 September 2008 12:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I’m not sure we can conclude that it is eugenic in that we don’t know that the intent concerns genetics or child care. The piece you linked to made no statements with respect to genetic factors—race included—and spoke solely to income factors. The intent as stated by the author is to reduce welfare costs.

I still think it’s a bad idea; our only disagreement is over WHY it’s a bad idea.

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Posted: 26 September 2008 01:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I am making assumptions about this man, and I should absolutely wait to hear more information before jumping to conclusions. I am a bad girl!  red face

The class aspect of his proposed program, I am upset with. There are poor parents who do a wonderful job of raising children, and wealthy parents who do a terrible job.

He says the purpose of his program will be to help get families off of “generational welfare” through sterilization and other programs, and has proposed adding paid vasectomies, in the interest of gender balance. But what does that have to do with tax breaks for wealthy, educated couples who have more children under his proposal? How is that helping his agenda of “ending generational welfare?” I really don’t understand how that part of his proposal would help the poor children and their families get off of welfare.

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Posted: 26 September 2008 02:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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But what does that have to do with tax breaks for wealthy, educated couples who have more children under his proposal? How is that helping his agenda of “ending generational welfare?” I really don’t understand how that part of his proposal would help the poor children and their families get off of welfare.

Agreed. That’s definitely welfare for the rich.

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Posted: 26 September 2008 02:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Obviously income doesn’t imply the character of the parents, and the best way to help the children is to ensure they have the same opportunities. One way to protect children might be to sterilize convicted felons in exchange for 1k or a reduced sentence. That might also apply to people who have had their children taken away do to neglect etc.

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Posted: 26 September 2008 03:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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There was a time in America when prisoners were offered early release in exchange for sterilization. In Oklahoma, prisoners were given vasectomies against their will as part of their sentence. It ended with Skinner v. Oklahoma in a ruling that the law was unfair, as white collar criminals were not subject to sterilization as well.

America had quite a history of eugenics, starting with Buck v. Bell in 1927. Here’s the quip from Wikipedia on the ruling:

“Buck v. Bell, 274 U.S. 200 (1927), was the United States Supreme Court ruling that upheld a statute instituting compulsory sterilization of the mentally retarded “for the protection and health of the state.” It was largely seen as an endorsement of negative eugenics—the attempt to improve the human race by eliminating “defectives” from the gene pool.”

Their definition of “mentally retarded” (also loosely referred to as “feeble minded” in various courts) was broadly interpreted throughout the country to include most anyone undesirable.

There is a very good book called “Better for All the Word: The Secret History of Forced Sterilization and America’s Quest for Racial Purity.” It’s by Harry Bruinius. I highly recommend the book. It outlines how the quest to “save the poor from themselves” quickly turned into a violation of civil rights.

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Posted: 26 September 2008 03:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Sounds almost like what they did to Native American women in the early part of the 20th century.  After they had one child, they weren’t offered a choice, not even payment, though.  They were just sterilized.

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Mriana
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Posted: 26 September 2008 04:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Mriana - 26 September 2008 03:56 PM

Sounds almost like what they did to Native American women in the early part of the 20th century.  After they had one child, they weren’t offered a choice, not even payment, though.  They were just sterilized.

Really? When and where?

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Posted: 26 September 2008 04:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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On reservations.  It’s in Native American history text books or at least in the text books I had when I took Native American classes at a State Uni.  That period of time is more often than not the White man’s side of the story, but this class told both.  Kids were even taken from their families and placed in Carslie Schools and if they spoke a word of their native tongue they were beaten.  That is most definitely true for I’ve heard Natives talk about those incidents.  I also heard and read it in a Sociology class too.

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Mriana
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Posted: 26 September 2008 04:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Mriana - 26 September 2008 04:10 PM

On reservations.  It’s in Native American history text books or at least in the text books I had when I took Native American classes at a State Uni.  That period of time is more often than not the White man’s side of the story, but this class told both.  Kids were even taken from their families and placed in Carslie Schools and if they spoke a word of their native tongue they were beaten.  That is most definitely true for I’ve heard Natives talk about those incidents.  I also heard and read it in a Sociology class too.

Well, I mean which reservations and when. Can you find anything credible about this on the web?

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Posted: 26 September 2008 04:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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The links I found on Sterilization of Native American women mention reservations in the 1970’s. This is the only reliable looking one I came across. The rest seemed to be personal blogs/personal websites, or only mentioned it in passing, without any links or info.

Straight Dope - Were Native American Women Forcibly Sterilized in the 1970’s?

I’d like to find more info on this. Perhaps I’m not a very good web searcher. Anyone else have some links on this?

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Posted: 26 September 2008 05:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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What search engine did you use so I don’t repeat it?  What I learned in class was more like the 40s, 50s, and 60s and maybe even prior, but I do know for sure those years, which technically isn’t the early 20th century.

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Mriana
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Posted: 26 September 2008 05:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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I used Google on key words “Native American Sterilization.” It kept coming up with reference to 1970’s.

1920’s to 1950’s would include the period in that book I referenced earlier. He mentioned in the book that, in addition to blacks and poor whites, Native American women were often “targeted” for sterilization. They used the same “criteria” for them as other minorities and poor women - petty criminal acts, low level of education (so when the women were ‘tested’ for intelligence they appeared unfairly mentally slow, when they may have been bright but illiterate), health problems, even a women with a mentally disabled relative could be labeled as a “high risk” of birthing a mentally disabled child and sterilized! It was just horrible. It was really up to the court to interpret as they pleased.

But I read the book in 2006, so it’s possible he mentioned specific Native American abuses and I don’t recall. I only recall that he mentioned them as a targeted minority group along with the others.

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Posted: 26 September 2008 05:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Yes, and I’m really not surprised nor am I surprised someone suggested it in this day and age.  History often repeats itself.

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Mriana
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