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Politician's Idea: Paying Poor Women $1,000 to Get Tubes Tied

Politician's Idea: Paying Poor Women $1,000 to Get Tubes Tied

One Louisiana politician's brainstorm for stopping generational welfare — welfare recipients having children who also end up on assistance — is giving birth to huge controversy. The idea? Offering $1,000 to poor women to get their tubes tied. State Rep. John LaBruzzo has a host of other controversial plans including paying poor men to get vasectomies and giving tax incentives to college-educated, wealthy couples for having children — and the plan is causing some medical professionals to point to its similarities to eugenics programs.

LaBruzzo says he's since modified his plan to include temporary forms of birth control, not just sterilization and argues criticism like this, "I don't know how it's eugenics if it's voluntary, and how can it be racist if the majority of people on welfare are white?"

Of the genesis of the idea, the crushing cycle of poverty, LaBruzzo says:

After this recent storm, we had some issues where these people were going into shelters and taking their cigarettes and welfare but didn't have diapers or insulin for diabetic kids, and they felt they were entitled to say, 'Give me, give me.' None of them didn't want to set up cots or do anything.

To see how incentive programs have worked,


Local policy makers say that the number of welfare recipients in Louisiana have actually dropped since 1991, disputing the need for an incentive program — but Planned Parenthood has actually tried it. In 1989 the group ran a program in Denver paying teen mothers a dollar a day not to get pregnant again. The program seemed to work then, though a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood says now:

Such bribes don't work. It doesn't solve the underlying issues — access to health care and paying jobs. If he'd like to ensure that men and women aren't having too many children, then he should propose legislation to make sure that health care and education to prevent unwanted pregnancy is available to everyone.

Following on the heels of Liberty's post yesterday about the judge who ordered a woman to stop having kids, does the idea of providing an incentive not to have kids seem like a creative response to a big problem — or is it a little bit like a Modest Proposal for the modern age? Good idea or dreadful concept?


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luxenoir76 luxenoir76 8 years
"Much of the rhetoric about welfare--from both sides of the aisle--is heavily influenced by the doctrine of differential fertility, which was a central component of eugenics as it was first developed. The early eugenists were convinced that the poor tended to be more fertile than the rich, which meant according to them that eventually the poor would grossly outnumber the rest of the population; and since eugenics assumes that the poor are mentally, physically and morally inferior, this would imply the degeneration and destruction of the human race. A lot of energy was spent thinking of ways to close this "fertility gap" and make the rich breed faster while making the poor breed more slowly." Feel free to request the link from me. Secondly, as much as I would love to live in an idyllic society, people on welfare are considered in a socioeconomic class that has been historically and socially marginalized, despite the intricacies of there situation. Are you in denial? I will correct myself for your benefit b/c I said low-income in my earlier post and people who are low income or live in poverty does not mean they will go on welfare. What makes this so funny is that I was pointing out how the proposal is making assumptions about people on welfare, irrespective of what the recipients situation in life is or the context - that people receiving welfare are "having babies they can't afford...leaching off of the government and taxpayers money." - I'm not the one making assumptions, LaBruzzo is. So let me re-word it again for you - the plan intends to SPECIFICALLY target a group of people who are "economically marginalized/disenfranchised" so they can stop procreating based solely of their ECONOMIC STATUS or CLASS. But he wants to provide tax incentives for college-educated, higher-income people to have children? Now if that isn't classist, please tell me what is? Unfortunately, in our society, class stratification is based on economics and education (among a host of other factors including sex, race, age, able-bodied, gender). So please get off your high horse. Now on the generational point. "While women whose mothers never received welfare are statistically less likely to apply for welfare as adults than women whose mothers did, statistical research has not established that welfare causes dependency in the next generation. Researcher Peter Gottschalk and his colleagues have noted: “Because families receiving welfare are poor - indeed, poverty is a condition of welfare receipt - we would expect children from welfare families to have higher rates of poverty and welfare use as adults than children from nonpoor, nonwelfare families. Intergenerational correlation, therefore, does not necessarily indicate a causal relationship. . . .For example, if both mother and daughter grow up in neighborhoods with poor-quality school, both will be more likely to have lower earnings and, hence, a greater need for income assistance. . . . Changing the quality of the school her daughter attends. . . .will raise her income and, in turn, lower the probability that she receives public assistance.” (I would add that taking away her meager welfare income and health benefits will probably not bode well for her children’s education, health, employment future or general well-being.)" @ Confronting Poverty, Chapter 4: The Dynamics & Intergenerationl Transmission of Poverty and Welfare Participation, by Peter Gottschalk. As I said in my earlier, it doesn't matter if this proposal comes to fruition or if the proposal is voluntary. It is the message it is sending or trying to reinforce. To that end, you can't eliminate an economic crisis/problem by trying to eliminate a group of people.
Cassandra57 Cassandra57 8 years
Caseworkers And Welfare Reform: How Is It Working? Holly Bell, Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow Welfare, Children, and Families Project The Center for Social Work Research The University of Texas at Austin
Cassandra57 Cassandra57 8 years
luxe: If you don't mind getting off your high horse, maybe you can hear me a little more clearly. Also, it helps to RTFArticle. Perhaps I didn't use small enough words, so I'll explain further. First, this is a voluntary program. No one is being forced into sterilization. Eugenics targets people who are considered genetically defective. usually that is a particular ethic group, or those below a certain intellectual standard. This is not a classist proposal, because it is directed at those who receive welfare. No one is forced to receive welfare. The entire class of "poor people" is not being addressed. And if you do a little research, you'll find that welfare is often generational. There's more information on it in Europe, especially England, but I did find a US study. Caseworkers And Welfare Reform: How Is It Working? Holly Bell, Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow Welfare, Children, and Families Project The Center for Social Work Research The University of Texas at Austin "A number of caseworkers distinguished two groups of clients – those who wanted to succeed and those who would not succeed regardless of the resources they received, because they were not motivated. The majority of the workers interviewed pointed to generational welfare as one of the causes of clients being in the second, unmotivated group." I'll put the link in a second comment, so that this one isn't delayed.
luxenoir76 luxenoir76 8 years
@ Laintm, First,you obviously know nothing about eugenics and can't see through this thin-veiled attempt to push that ideology. Secondly, do you even know what classism means? My bad, let me re-word this for you- the purpose of the plan is to provide an monetary incentive to people who are identified in a specific socioeconomic class (low-income) to prevent them from generational welfare. So seems to me that LaBruzzo is making an assumption that the offspring of people who are on welfare will also be on welfare/or government assistance or some social degenerates. Geez, that seems to me like an assumption based on classist attitudes. What a minute, let me make it more simple for you - the plan intends to target "ONLY A CERTAIN GROUP OF PEOPLE" so they can stop procreating based solely of their ECONOMIC STATUS. So by saying that people, on the the SOLE basis of their economic status, are a economic burden on the rest of society, is CLASSIST in and of itself.
MisterPinkNoTip MisterPinkNoTip 8 years
The state of politics in Louisiana is utterly deplorable.
Cassandra57 Cassandra57 8 years
Even the original source is a bit sloppy about saying "poor women" when the plan seems to be for welfare recipients. There's nothing racist or classist about this proposal. Those who claim there is, are making assumptions about the people who would be affected, which means their assumptions are racist. It's very simple. If it costs you an extra $200 per month (or whatever) for each extra kid on welfare, it's more cost-effective to spend $1,000 (presumably plus medical costs). You'll make that back in savings within a couple of years. As for the few child-hating remarks I see above, if no one has kids, who is going to run the country when you are older? Substitute "African-American" in some of those comments, and you'll see how hateful they are. BTW, if anyone thinks tax credits cover the cost of raising a child, s/he is seriously deluded.
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 8 years
This is a really interesting proposal. So basically, the proposal offers incentives for the poor to become sterilized, and for the educated and wealthy to procreate? The former recieves cash, and the latter receives some tax benefit? LOL
rabidmoon rabidmoon 8 years
The fact that they offer this incentive is like buying the cart after the horse runs away. Birth control will work in some cases but if people are having children for the wrong reasons - i.e. financial gain - then birth control is hardly an incentive. This is probably the least-liberal thing I have ever said but I have always said why not just have a welfare system that, if you get on it the first time, will only pay out for the pre-existing family dependents, and NOT FOR ANY ADDITIONAL CHILDREN? Additionally, as part of the welfare receipt any medical needs for the children would be have to paid for out of it first. That way, people would get the assistance they need, but having extra children would NOT go "rewarded". Its harsh, but while I believe in a welfare system to help people when they have a rough time of it, I hate the "welfare culture" with a passion because it makes it even harder for people who DO want to break away, to do so. I also think too many people on the planet is good for nobody, especially too many people raised in families that: 1)Have them for the wrong reason 2)Cannot afford to care for them properly 3)Will just end up creating another generation bound to the same process. So while I cannot agree with the method suggested - because this type of legislation is just chock-full of potential controversy, its too-little, too-late thinking as well - I do think there needs to be additional measures in ANY welfare system to not "encourage" people by way of being too lenient when families are obviously in no position to care for additional young.
Mesayme Mesayme 8 years
I'm torn. I wish it could be done based on the neglected and abused kids I've known, seen. But it shouldn't be viewed as just a poor problem. I had friends when I was a kid whose parents basically owned our small town and many, many of their mothers where the biggest drunks in town and their fathers had affairs, of which the mothers where paid hush money. And yes, many of the illegitimate children where biracial. Does the name Strom Thurmond ring a bell? Ahh... celebrities and professional athletes aren't intellects by a long shot and they have children all over the place and let the nanny raise them or half raise them. So it's ignorant in itself to say that it's a poverty problem because I know that's an outright lie. And their are many divorced/abandoned women, and unemployed people on welfare remember that just in case your life's number gets called.
luxenoir76 luxenoir76 8 years
The bottom line is that this insidious "plan" perpetuates the "eugenics ideology". Right now, whether the plan comes to fruition is irrelevant. What is relevant, is the underlying deleterious message this "plan" is sending; that "only certain groups of people" are socially acceptable and deserve (aka "entitled") to exist. While "other groups" (e.g., particularly low income and women of color) are the cause of all of society's social ills and should not be allowed to procreate or co-exist with other people who personify "desirable traits". Hmm, I wonder what those "desirable traits" could be? The plan reinforces stereotypes about marginalized and disenfranchised groups (i.e., the "Black Welfare queen" or that low income ("under class"), uneducated, and/or people of color have uncontrollable sex drives, and are unwilling to work or are just too "lazy" to find gainful employment). Yet, the "plan" and proponents of this plan neglects/ignores to examine the social, historical, and institutional constructs that created the situation in the first place. Additionally, this is nothing more than a form of state sponsored discrimination.
laurelm laurelm 8 years
Ugh, I think it is a horrible suggestion but a sad truth as well. Many drug addicted poor women will do it and many do have children for a check and many do take advantage of the welfare program. Preventive measures DO exist in welfare, but they can get free abortions, they forget to take the pill, or cannot be bothered with a condom. I think welfare needs an overhaul completely. It keeps people poor. But I think tying the tubes of women who have the potential to get off drugs and someday make better choices in their lives is very sad.
bastylefilegirl bastylefilegirl 8 years
So it would seem that drug-addicted and not kids were the problem how about giving them 1000 if the quit using drugs. If something like this happens we will be blackmailing people out of doing all sorts of things that people steryotype to one community! Well to do women don't use drugs and neglect there children? Yes they do, but the spotlight isn't shined on them the same way this is a prejudice against the poor.
seryscarlett seryscarlett 8 years
Crucify me, but I support this. I used to live in a neighborhood where I saw the abuse of welfare firsthand. Women (usually drug-addicted) were having kids just for the welfare check. This is very common in some poor areas. These kids were completely neglected. If they survived, they fell in with bad crowds. A group of them were squatting in a shack with no electricity, water, anything. They'll tie their tubes for quick cash. It's one less neglected kid being born and probably will save the welfare system a lot of $ along the way. I think this should get tied into drug offenses. Get busted on hard street drugs- crack, heroin, meth, etc, get neutered. It doesn't fix the problem, but it takes preventative measures.
bastylefilegirl bastylefilegirl 8 years
One more question where is this 1000 dollars coming from....taxes????
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
i think that this is a really complicated thing. personal story - my mom had her tubes tied before she had me - and i am... but as for the incentive program, how much of the procedure is covered by inurance or well..if these women don't have insurance - how are they supposed to afford getting their tubes tied? i think that in theory things like this are great - but in the real world, i don't know if it's really something that's managable or enforceable.
juju4 juju4 8 years
I am still staggering from the use of the double negative: "None of them didn't want to set up cots or do anything." This is an elected official saying this? So was everyone setting up cots? And I am a huge supporter of helping folks stop unwanted pregnancies (education and access to birth control go really far towards keeping folks off of welfare) but I don't think we need to go as far as vasectomies and tying tubes.
Roarman Roarman 8 years
The article does state that they would offer the cash for visectomies as well. Either way its disgusting.
yesteryear yesteryear 8 years
unbelievable. first i'll sell my eggs for 10k, then i'll get the tubes tied for 11k... then i'll be able to pay half of my college loans! I LOVE AMERICA
snowbunny11 snowbunny11 8 years
Jlew- they only want to prohibit poor people from breeding. It's kind of like Hitler's plans in the 30's. Keep in mind, this is the district that elected David Duke.
bastylefilegirl bastylefilegirl 8 years
Again like the topic yesterday if this type of plan was being promoted to poor men and not women what people would be more up in arms. I would find it refreshing if some of the reproductive sanctions would be suggested to men who are just as much a part of the problem. More often ( not always) than not they are the ones who leave the family and sometimes leave them in a financial bind.
MartiniLush MartiniLush 8 years
"LaBruzzo's plan is disturbing. It's not forced sterilization, but to give poor people such an incentive to not have children seems practically to amount to blackmail." How right you are, Jude!
organicsugr organicsugr 8 years
This story is almost as absurd as making the parents pay for their own babies.
geebers geebers 8 years
Jude- I have joked about making people get a license to parent as you do with driving. But I only half-joke when I see the type of parents out there.
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
Instead of focusing on poor people, I'd rather institute a standardized national intelligence, common sense, and psychiatric test that everyone has to take and pass before childbearing ;) Just kidding. LaBruzzo's plan is disturbing. It's not forced sterilization, but to give poor people such an incentive to not have children seems practically to amount to blackmail.
geebers geebers 8 years
This reminds me of India where Indira Gandhi gave free radios to men who got vasectomies to reduce the population. Of course the concern there was over-population not poor people having babies...but it just reminds me of that.
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