mad in pursuit: greed & arrogance

2004 political season

mad in pursuit home

greed & arrogance index


7.4.04 Right to Have Babies

We have a judge in town who has caused a stir because she ordered a couple not to have any more kids. The parents are unrepentant drug abusers, whose 4 children are in foster care. She'd seen enough. But the drug abusing parents had the last laugh -- they were already pregnant with child #5 when the judge gave her order.

People are crying foul -- not at the parents, but at the judge. Eugenics is such an evil word. It smacks of Nazis and of American experiments with sterilizing "morons."

I am thinker enough to understand that when society starts dictating who can and who can't have children, it's a red flag (notwithstanding the fact that we are comfortable dictating who can or cannot get married).

On the other hand, I'm not wild about the idea of children being born to people who clearly cannot take care of them. Is having children our last absolute right?

As a society, we are racked by the abortion/choice issue. State by state constraints are being placed on this right. At the other end of the spectrum, as a few states relax their laws, the U.S. government is rushing in to put constitutional contraints on the rights of same-sexers to marry.

Meanwhile, we must have licenses to drive and health department approval to sell hotdogs on the corner. Suburban neighborhood associations freely restrict what you do with your lawn and what you park in your driveway.

Why is the right to not have children so passionately contested, while the right to procreate indiscriminately is so carefully avoided? I balk at the word eugenics like anyone, but should we really be backing away from discouraging proven boneheads from sending more children into if-fy foster care systems? Planned Parenthood's mantra of "every child a loved and wanted child" needs to be defined a little. Loving a child is not a vague happy-feeling -- it's a set of skills.

Oh, I know. I'm addressing the wrong questions. Everyone wants to manipulate outcomes. Marriage. Babies. Lots of finger wagging. How did we let this happen -- there oughta be a law. No one wants to address the process that gets us into our societal fix. People hate thinking about causes. It is simply too easy -- too much fun, really -- to be stupid.

I totally understand Judge O'Connor's frustration with our fertile couple. But drug addiction and mental illness are not quite about choice. Prevention and treatment services are disappearing faster than you can say "Halliburton contract."





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