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.

§ 2 Responses to Contemporary Reproductive Rights.

  • akugler says:

    I too have mixed feelings on this topic. I understand that every woman should have control over her own body and make her own decisions, but children don’t have the choice to be born or what situation to be born into. When women have large amounts of children and cannot care for them with out neglecting them, then we are taking away the rights to those children who are recieving poor care. They need protection and saftely. If a woman has another child and can no longer provide healthfully to her kids, then the rights of the children are being taken away.

  • gdobler says:

    I agree with both of you. This is a tough subject because on one hand, women have their rights to have children and not be forced to get abortions or be on birth control, but on the other hand, is it really good for a child to be born into a family that has no way to take care of them. At first, I thought that I knew what I thought about this issue, I thought that it was unacceptable to limit someone with the amount of children they have. After thinking about it though, I don’t even know which side I am on now. No, I don’t think you can force a women to have an abortion, but there should be some kind of policy or operation set up that helps with adoption of these children if the mom is not able to support the child. In a way it would not be fair to take a child away from a mother just because she is on welfare and can’t afford to raise the child, but on the other hand, it isn’t fair to the child to have them in a situation where they will not have a quality life. Either way, this is a very controversial and touchy subject that unfortunately probably does not have a true solution.

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