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Poor women have a right to have children

I sent the following letter to the Eugene Register-Guard in response to another letter.
In her Nov. 20 letter, Joanna Nassett writes that "It is not OK to bring a child into this world if you are not able to care for it financially and emotionally." What gives Nassett, or anyone else, the right to tell poor women that they can't have children?

Reproduction is instinctual. I've read that about 80 percent of women want children. I'm a man, but for the women I've known their children are the center of their lives. Everything else comes second. If we deny low-wage, working-class women the right to have children, what is left for them to live for?

People usually have babies in their early 20s. At that age they are optimistic, live in the present and have no real concept of the future. No one says to themselves at that age, "Well, looks like I'm going to be stuck in low-wage work for life, so guess I'd better not have kids."

Instead of blaming the poor for having children, middle-class people should look at their own complicity in maintaining a poorly paid servant class in the U.S. that they exploit for cheap goods and services. We are tired of supporting you.

---------------------------------------------------

Here is the letter I was responding to:

Add irresponsible procreation

I just wrote out a check to FOOD for Lane County. My heart aches for the children who are hungry through no fault of their own; it definitely falls under the category of one of life's big injustices.

I have been following the recent series on hunger in The Register-Guard and am not surprised that the main reasons listed for Oregon's hunger rate are low-wage jobs, the high cost of housing, layoffs, the economy, etc., etc. When, oh when, is someone going to call a spade a spade and add irresponsible procreation to that list?

It is not OK to bring a child into this world if you are not able to care for it financially and emotionally. Period. This is not a Third World country where birth control is unavailable. If a person doesn't have the wherewithal to walk into a drug store and purchase a box of condoms for 10 bucks before having sex, we probably don't want him or her procreating anyway.

This is bound to step on some toes in this politically correct era, but for crying out loud - when one reads article after article about financially strapped families with three, four, five or more kids, isn't it time to call in the hero of the comics, Obvious Man? Come on, folks, it's time to put responsibility back where it belongs and stop sanctioning thoughtless procreation.

JOANNA D. NASSET

homepage: homepage: http://www.registerguard.com

Sick humor 20.Nov.2003 16:18

bufo bufo

>If we deny low-wage, working-class women the right to have children, what is left for them to live for?

This is a joke, right?

Good points Lynn 20.Nov.2003 17:13

Z

Lynn,

There is more to this than we think. Did you know that the number of children going into foster homes in the this nation is going up. These are young children and babies taken from their parents for all sorts of reasons (some of them good reasons). However, there is also a number of babies and young children being taken from families because their houses are (dirty) or they were caught growing and selling Marijuana or they were homeless and jobless. The children go to fost/adopt homes. In these homes people who cannot have children are given other people's children. They get paid to do to care for these children instead of paying thousands of dollars to attorneys and adoption agencies to "purchase" a baby or child. Thousands of children every year are taken from parents because of poverty. I consider that growing of Marijuana is done mostly because there is no other way left to make money in this region.

Remember the "orphan" trains. Someone decided that the children of the poor moslty Catholic immigrants in New York City and Chicago should be rounded up and turned over to protestant people in the mid west who used lots of them for farm labor.

What we have now is an economic collapse in which people are doing whatever it takes to get money to have a place to live. Families living in cars, or under plastic are watched very closely by Children's protective services (CPS) and at the first hint of stress (parents yelling at kids, parents fighting) they will grab the kids and put them in foster care. People are growing and selling marijuana and setting up meth labs. The meth lab scene is just terrible. The fumes poison anyone living in the household, including children. But people are scared to death that they will become homeless and lose thier children. It is a vicious cycle of poverty and loss.

Some communities have strong family reunification plans where someone sits down with family to help them get a place to live, a job, parenting classes, training. But more and more this is not the case. We have to have our eyes wide open to what is happening.

god i love eugenics! 20.Nov.2003 19:36

boonplod

anyone who thinks they know whats best for someone else when it comes to life descisions is a fool. In the end we all die, so lets just keep that in mind, and remember that even if you live a "bad" life, you're still living a life, and who defines bad? well it has come to be the "state" and the "majority" who decide what a bad life is. Im not sure whats so fucking wrong with dirt, sure, it can suck, but we all came from dirt, and we will all return to it.

some cases of neglect or abuse im sure are really that, but for the most part it is just totalitarianism creeping its way into our society, i think the main point here is that a large majority of these kids who go to foster homes are no better off there then they were with their parents.. and the way to solve this isnt by takeing these kids and putting them in the *o so christian* arms of strangers, its by allowing people their rights... anywho..

the state should not have the power to deem when someone is living in a "morally bad" fashion. because no matter how much they say they are doing it for the greater good, they are always serving their own interests..

blah blah blah.

you, too 20.Nov.2003 22:23

snow black

Reproduction is not inherited. It shouldn't be and it is not. This article is offensive and particularly skewed towards poor women. What about poor men? What about wealthy women? Do any of them have the "right" to procriate? Do you? I think not. Giving birth is not the end-all towards womanhood or manhood. Either way, you have no uterus. You cannot hypothesize. You can not relate. For all women that have had children (and have not), that disagree with your patronizing stupid-speach, kiss my birth-canal!

You know 20.Nov.2003 23:42

heimdallr

Much as I may sound like every political tendency I try to thwart, this does become a thorny issue if children whose parents can't provide for them are understood as entitled to public assistance. To let my idly-curious Libertarian sympathies show for a moment:

Agreed, no one should be able to dictate who is and is not allowed to have children, but just because you might have a 'right' to reproduce does not mean I have an obligation to feed the children you knew you couldn't afford to support. If someone opts to bring a child into the world without a reasonable expectation that their economic situation and/or lifestyle will be conducive to providing for that childs' needs, then it is no longer a purely personal decision on their part and is rightly understood as highly irresponsible, as either that child will have to suffer or someone else (in America, presumably the state) will have step in as provider/caretaker, and one person's irresponsible 'personal' act will infringe upon the personal lives of others. It is not unreasonable that in a society where the public is expected to expend its resources on ensuring that children are cared for, that the same public would attempt to discourage those individuals from having children whose decision to do so would represent this kind of irreponsible social cost.

One thing I want to say in 21.Nov.2003 01:18

lomo

defense of the letter writer--she does say 3, 4, and 5 children. Can't people who have no means to pay for them have just 1? I agree people shouldn't have any until they are able to physically and emotionally take care of them, but, barring that--can't they just have one? Why 5? It is not good for kids to be brought into chaotic homes--or to be born into homelessness. But hey, I also think homeless people shouldn't have dogs--for similar reasons. If you cannot afford to provide a stable, secure environment with enough food and medical care and shelter for creatures who are completely dependent on you, then it seems to me to be an act of selfishness--because YOU want them, not because it's good for them. And I say this as someone who grew up poor, and doesn't have any kids now (and probably never will) because I can't afford them. Aren't you glad you won't be paying for my kids? Or wait--will you all pay for me to fulfill myself and have kids? And why do we want to encourage humans to produce more humans anyway? I thought everyone who read Indymedia was aware of the environmental disaster humans are creating. Can we give the animals and environment a break and stop thinking that our existence is so damn important and that we can only fulfill ourselves by making carbon copies of ourselves?

Needed 21.Nov.2003 15:25

Ned

We need the poor people for doing the hard labor, the military to protect our freedoms and resources, and to keep the prison industry stable which employs millions.

Sometimes I wonder... 22.Nov.2003 00:14

Lynn Porter

... why I bother. The ignorance expressed in most of the above comments is just staggering. Do you really not understand why it's wrong for a middle-class women to tell poor women they shouldn't have children? This is turning children into a commodity that only those with money are allowed to have. Classism is just as bad as racism, folks, and it has the same roots.

As for the environment, the birth rate in the United States is below the death rate. If it weren't for high immigration we would be losing population. Likewise in the other developed countries. When people have more money, and better access to birth control, they have fewer children. If you want to have fewer children to preserve the environment fine, but you don't have the right to dictate that choice to poor women. Most women in the U.S. do have children. I didn't say all women want children, I said about 80 percent do, according to what I've read. From looking at the lives of the many women I've known, over an already long life, I have no reason to doubt that figure. For most women, whether you like it or not, having children is as instinctual as sex is for men. When nature designed us, over millions of years, it made damn sure the human race would never die out. If you don't like human instincts tough, but you can't change them.

As for whether you're required to support the children of poor women, when they need that support, yes you are. Just as you're required to support welfare, unemployment insurance, food stamps, Medicaid (the Oregon Health Plan), Medicare, Social Security and all the other safety net programs. This is the price you pay for forcing part of the population to work at wages so low they can't support a family. You can pay one way or pay the other, but you will pay.

I often wonder if most of the comments on this supposedly progressive website come from progressives or from stupid rightwingers who just want to rattle our cages. What I'm afraid of is that the comments really are from progressives and liberals, and you really are that blind.

Oh well, only one more year and then I can vote for Ralph Nader again. You folks will either understand what classism is or lose our working-class votes. At this point I'm so fed up that I don't much care which way it goes.

Moneys Too Tight to Mention 22.Nov.2003 13:29

river

You know, for years I was cautious and not real "proud" of accepting "public assistance". That was because I grew up with my needs met easily. I like to use the line That My Work Ethic Is Not The Problem. It is purely our economic system that puts parents in this position. We all do what we need to do. I had one child. Raised him as a single parent. Received public assistance when I needed it. This does not mean that I received cash (did everyone catch that). I received food stamps based on my income. Housing assistance because I am damn lucky and had OHP for which I will be forever grateful. I worked self employed -every day- to make ends meet and to have the safety net of being able to get medical care for my child, food always and shelter so that he may grow.
When I learned that one B-1 bomber can cost trillions I quit trying to justify myself. It is no picnic living poor. The forms alone are dehumanizing. "and how many dollars did you earn on this date" -every single month The working class (i am part of also) doesn't have it any easier.
Everyone else is just kidding themselves and when the shit hits the fan we will be happy to help you survive by getting your needs met everyday. I am sick and tired of the judgement on the poor. I would rather be poor than stupid.

Life is about giving. If the person in the original letter sends a check donation to Food for Lane County - Let her do it with love to share her pompous wealth of even the extra she does has. She doesn't have to judge the parents of those kids. DId she ever have to steal food to feed her kids or not eat herself. Did she ever face a huge crumble or have mental health to live with? Attitudes of judgement prevail in this society - as if it builds up people to say "Well I picked apples when I needed some money. Why can't these people just work". Really. You have no idea how little money some of us live on and somehow we get by.

I am with Snow Black in her sentiment.

The original poster wrote "Reproduction is instinctual. I've read that about 80 percent of women want children. I'm a man, but for the women I've known their children are the center of their lives. Everything else comes second. If we deny low-wage, working-class women the right to have children, what is left for them to live for?

People usually have babies in their early 20s. At that age they are optimistic, live in the present and have no real concept of the future. No one says to themselves at that age, "Well, looks like I'm going to be stuck in low-wage work for life, so guess I'd better not have kids." "

Taking care of your children is instinctual. Life happens and goes on. Yes, my child is the center of my life. Not alot of choice there. Maybe it is instinctual to put the kidz first but quite frankly I am a little warn out. The problem with you saying "what is left for them to live for" is so demeaning to all womyn that you need to do some reading or something. What my job wage is is none of your concern. How do you figure that one parent can work full time and raise a child. Do you think children meet their own needs from birth?

Once I was standing in line at Salvation Army to get a Christmas Box. It was a long line and the boxes came out one at a time. Turkey and all the fixings-well enough- Thanks all you can donators-
In addition -always a blanket or a stocking for my boy and some special treats that just blow your mind when you have shit and someone shares and you get to make good on festivities. I always balled like a baby the second I got there and realized many times and again that people need people to give to. People are giving. People like to share. Do you know that Toys for Tots provided my son with two presents a year that were really nice presents. Those and what came from family made the holidays.

So, just to let you know...My son is fine. He is a scholar, a kind person and could very well save yourself someday. WHat goes around ---comes around ~~ Support families...support children...Don't care why or how much...Just @#$%^&* do it.

To the people that complain about paying for others needs. Must suck to be you. That is the price you pay for your so called comfortable lifestyle. Me, I'll be paying taxes -that startied the second my child turned 18. Thanks for helping me raise him. I might advise fighting the system and taking it fucking down if you have a true problem with it. Merry Joy

I meant to say millions 22.Nov.2003 13:53

r

Even so, the anecdotal success of the Balkans adventure has refueled the high-tech crusade. Despite the B-2's piddling role over Serbia so far--two missions involving a total of four planes--the Wall Street Journal's Paul Gigot thumbed his nose last Friday at Democrats who had opposed the bomber, cracking wise about "B-2 Bill" and suggesting the Pentagon could use 40 more of the machines. The stealth war news comes at a critical moment for the Pentagon, which is pushing for the production of a new-generation stealth fighter, the F-22 Raptor. (This one really is a fighter.) The cost: About $60 billion to build more than 300 F-22s at $187 million apiece. That's nowhere near five times the F-22's weight in gold, but still 10 times dearer than an F-16.

The national love affair with stealthy weapons will endure for several reasons. Although decades old, the technology is perennially futuristic--it was the Romulans of Star Trek, after all, who first invented "cloaking"--and it advances the ethos of American can-doism. (Planes acquire an added allure whenever they're developed in secret: The military didn't even confirm the F-117's existence until 1988, after 40 were built and flying.) And then there's something perversely sexy about the vehicles' max-tech black sheen, something peeping-tom kinky about the planes' advertised invisibility, something magical about striking without being struck back.

Despite their technological limitations, stealth weapons appeal to us because they indulge our fear of commitment. And this is what ultimately makes them pose their own kind of stealthy threat to us. As we've seen, stealth weapons blind the risk-averse public and policy-makers to the genuine perils of combat in the opening days of any military engagement, turning war into an "out of sight, out of mind" proposition. They encourage the view that there's nothing--from Iraqi germ weapons programs to Serbian atrocities--that a few invisible planes can't fix. Enticing us into believing that wars can be won with Futurama technology and without American blood being shed, the seductive charms of stealth weapons ultimately evaporate into nothingness. We are left unfulfilled by their limitations and cheated by their costs.

just a quote 22.Nov.2003 22:38

snow black

Yeah, that reminds me of a bumper sticker, " Why is there always money for bombers, and never enough for schools"?

River 22.Nov.2003 23:36

Lynn Porter

I agree with most of what you wrote, and most of what you wrote agrees with what I wrote. You said what you said very well. In some parts of your comments you appear to have completely misunderstood what I wrote. What I said still stands: about 80 percent of women, including poor women, want children, will have children, and there is no way the middle class can prevent it. Nor do they have the right to stop women from having kids. It's like Prohibition -- fighting human nature doesn't work. Your wages ARE my concern. If working-class people, including single mothers, made a living wage we wouldn't have the problem of needing public support for their kids. Until we get everyone a living wage we have to provide some other means of support.

The idea that men cannot comment on women's problems seems absurd on the face of it. I am not going to follow that rule, regardless of what anyone wants. I seldom follow rules anyway. We are all people, and we have similar problems. There are a lot of men going down the drain because we don't make a living wage. A lot of them are losing their marriages and families because of it. If you want to be reflexively anti-male go ahead, but it's stupid. I'm on your side, and you need all the help you can get.

What is Left for Them to Live for? 23.Nov.2003 21:41

river

Thanks for your response Lynn. When I responded, it was to your comment and other peoples comments too, so I got confusing.
I do not think that there is a way to stop woman from having children unless they are not able to be responsible for what may be done to their reproductive system. Who cares what middle class woman want?

You said... "If we deny low-wage, working-class women the right to have children, what is left for them to live for?
Don't you see that your statement is strange? Who are you to question women's identity whether or not they have children?"
Do men have no purpose for living if they do not have offspring?

You also said... "People usually have babies in their early 20s. At that age they are optimistic, live in the present and have no real concept of the future. No one says to themselves at that age, "Well, looks like I'm going to be stuck in low-wage work for life, so guess I'd better not have kids."
People do not have to be wealthy enough to have children. They need to have enough love and a clue. That is why I said that my wage is none of your business. It does not matter how much money I have to you or anyone else that thinks it is their business because I am poor. A living wage job is reality but who says a single parent can work full time even if it is for a living wage? A child is a job. Yea, daycare is great for the kids that can handle it. Some kids need their parent(s) to raise them. It does not have to cost so much to live...


You Said...
"The idea that men cannot comment on women's problems seems absurd on the face of it. I am not going to follow that rule, regardless of what anyone wants. I seldom follow rules anyway. We are all people, and we have similar problems. There are a lot of men going down the drain because we don't make a living wage. A lot of them are losing their marriages and families because of it. If you want to be reflexively anti-male go ahead, but it's stupid. I'm on your side, and you need all the help you can get".

Your last line digressed this into nowhere. I am not reflexively anti-male and I no longer give you any credibility for judging me in that manner. In fact, I was doing you a favor by pointing out that your original post revealed a somewhat strange take.
I understand that you were thinking that you were standing up for women. I took offense to your words so I added a comment. That does not make me anti-male. I am Pro-male although... I am Anti-Nader The economy sucks for everyone but the wealthy, who I define as anyone with excessive money/savings. Neither woman nor parents have the only tough lives. Everyone has to make it... Take care...

Skankey little vermin shrew 27.Dec.2003 15:06

spiroknavenine spiroknavenine@yahoo.com

Skankey little vermin shrew
you get knocked up for no one but you
As you spawn and corrupt an innocent
Into your bastard" mini-me"
You'll never have room to talk of any man's loss or misery

Breeding in poverty 28.Dec.2003 15:15

spiroknavenine@yahoo.com

I love this load of cowshit:

"People do not have to be wealthy enough to have children. They need to have enough love and a clue."

Enough love and a clue that:


-- A loving family involvesa household where a mother and father love each other
-- good health care costs wealth.
-- quality time educating a child costs wealth
--- a safe place to raise a child costs wealth . .
--- society doesn't need another generation of conflicted idiots born into poverty,
as such they shouldn't be encouraged to silther out of you, just because you manipulate idiot shooting his load of semen into you.

so according this logic 23.Jul.2004 15:27

so according this logic

"boonplod


anyone who thinks they know whats best for someone else when it comes to life descisions is a fool. In the end we all die, so lets just keep that in mind, and remember that even if you live a "bad" life, you're still living a life, and who defines bad? well it has come to be the "state" and the "majority" who decide what a bad life is. Im not sure whats so fucking wrong with dirt, sure, it can suck, but we all came from dirt, and we will all return to it.

some cases of neglect or abuse im sure are really that, but for the most part it is just totalitarianism creeping its way into our society, i think the main point here is that a large majority of these kids who go to foster homes are no better off there then they were with their parents.. and the way to solve this isnt by takeing these kids and putting them in the *o so christian* arms of strangers, its by allowing people their rights... anywho..

the state should not have the power to deem when someone is living in a "morally bad" fashion. because no matter how much they say they are doing it for the greater good, they are always serving their own interests..

blah blah blah. "

so according this logic Parents should have the right to leave their children alone with sexual predators.