Contemporary Reproductive Rights.
April 27, 2012 § 2 Comments
Flavin’ essay on the reproductive rights of black women made some interesting points. The connection she made between times of slavery and the present was something I never connected in my head, and I found it quite true. During slavery, black women were encouraged to have children because it would increase their work force. But now, it seems to be something society wishes to limit. I also found it ridiculous that Barbara Harris, the founder of Project Prevention, compared these women with dogs, saying they needed to be kept from having “litters of children”. That was unnecessary and disrespectful. Furthermore, I find it interesting that some courts have ordered women to be placed on birth control when it clearly violates their constitutional right to make their own reproductive decisions. It’s frustrating to see how a court’s opinion on the topic can somehow rank higher than a person’s constitutional rights.
As far as “family caps” go, I believe denying an increased welfare payment for having another child is a poor way to handle the issue. The money they receive in the first place is intended for them to use to raise their family and denying that payment is like denying an innocent child its potential means for survival. States with “family caps” need to make their policies that allow Medicaid benefits to children in capped families more known to women so that they can get the help they need for their children.
However, I’m not sure I completely disagree with the fact that some regulation should be done. While not all women (white or black) fit into the stereotypes that the essay suggests, there are some women that do. For example, about six years ago a family friend of mine adopted a newborn from a woman with seven other children, ranging in age from 9 to 4. She and her children were on welfare and she often left her eldest to babysit the others while she left. Her children were often found roaming the neighborhood and left to care for themselves. In this case, I believe the woman to be irresponsible and her birthing more children may not be the wisest decision concerning the well-being of the children. I’m not saying that I agree with forcing a woman to get an abortion or take some sort of birth control, but this is a complex issue that varies by family and I have mixed feelings on the topic.