"Why don't they just sterilize her?" - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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#61 of 70 Old 07-08-2010, 05:56 PM
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Originally Posted by tiffani View Post
I suppose... I guess it would depend on whether the woman wants to be having more babies or not -- not forever, just in the immediate. I was thinking that, like tigerchild mentioned, there are often issues that prevent women from dealing with birth control, but if it were free, and if there were an incentive for them to actually come in and deal with it, a lot of women might take advantage of it. Up until my last post, I honestly hadn't considered that some of them are probably quite happy to be pregnant and having babies, despite the fact that their babies will often have very difficult lives, and they won't get to see them beyond a few days in the hospital. So for those women, no, it might not be fair to use cash to control their reproduction, but they might not want the high they get from being a giver-of-life as much as they want the high that the $100 would get them, and since they are routinely choosing drugs and alcohol over their offspring, I'm not sure I can say that I would feel entirely uncomfortable with offering them that choice... not permanent sterilization by any means, just "come in every 3 months for your depo shot and we'll give you $100 and all the counseling you could want!"
I absolutely have total empathy for addicted mothers, but the reality of the situation is that their kids often have an incredibly difficult life. of course I'm sure that the people who are parenting these kids are thankful that their kids are alive and surviving, even if it is a struggle, but it feels like "the system" is bursting at the seams with these kids, and preventing future alcohol and drug affected babies whenever possible seems like a no-brainer... not at the expense of the woman's reproductive rights, but I'm not sure that cash incentive removes those rights... it's still her choice. yes, I'm aware that an addict will almost always choose the addiction, but that's the problem in the first place...
I agree with everything Tiffani is saying, I also disagree with forced sterilization or anything like it but I feel this is a GREAT alternative. I wonder if this has ever been attempted or looked into?

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#62 of 70 Old 07-08-2010, 06:20 PM
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Originally Posted by RedOakMomma View Post
I don't know if this is everyone's take on it, but people aren't cats and dogs for us to manage/control. No matter how much you disagree with someone's fertility decisions, it's not your place to make a choice about their reproduction. Talking about sterilizing someone is a very, VERY degrogatory way for one human being to talk about another human being. Assuming you have the right to step in and do that to a person puts you at one level and the person at more of an animal level.

As for empathy, I think it's hard for many people to imagine the heartbreak and sadness of someone living a life so difficult, so challenged, that they have children repeatedly taken from them. Many of the people have struggled with things you or I can hardly imagine--extreme poverty, addiction, abuse... some adults live "messed up" lives simply because of the horrors they've faced since childhood and infancy. One can say "well, adults are adults and should be responsible for their choices"...and that's true, for the most part...but I have a hard time judging someone harshly when they've never (or rarely) had a good role model, a consistent home, or lived a portion of their life without fear of violence, sexual abuse, etc. It's awfully hard to grow up to be responsible under those circumstances.
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#63 of 70 Old 07-10-2010, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by RedOakMomma View Post
I don't know if this is everyone's take on it, but people aren't cats and dogs for us to manage/control. Assuming you have the right to step in and do that to a person puts you at one level and the person at more of an animal level.
This isn't directly related to the original topic, but these statements hit hard for me in agreement. Just recently I was thinking about our case and it really hit me how awful it must feel to be a parent in a foster care case. For example, I was recently at a TDM where EVERYTHING was splashed out there and criticized, from lack of effort to find safe housing and employment, to a new pregnancy. Literally, all privacy was removed. The parent was reduced to having to "defend" her life on the table. And while I do GET the reasons why so many issues have to be dealt with, I can imagine it totally SUCKS being split open and laid out there like that, open to all criticism. I got pregnant during this case, and I would have been TICKED if it was thrown out and criticized by my family during a meeting with a government agency. It does make it seem like they are little more than dogs to be managed and talked about. It's really, really sad on all levels. I'm NOT, for the record, diminishing the need to correct so many secret and dysfunction lifestyle habits which necessitate caregiving in foster care. But I think everyone is negatively impacted to some degree when foster caregiving occurs to a child.


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#64 of 70 Old 07-10-2010, 07:59 PM
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population control
BC incentives

they all amount to someone else - someone with more power- deciding who is worthy to reproduce, which is a form of eugenics.

Cash incentives not only are not really practical, but they amount to a form of coersion when dealing with highly impoverished individuals. Cash and food incentives have been used in developing countries targeted at "unworthy" women, sometimes based on disability, poverty, criminal background, and sometimes based on race/ethnicity. They are actually banned in many countries, due to their coercive nature.

What does work? Education, economic opportunity, better access to birth control, and more empowerment. All of which take a lot longer but do more lasting good than a one off shot or sterilization program.

There is a big difference in the state deciding who is worthy to parent an existing child, because that child needs an advocate and deserves to be protected by the state, and the state deciding who gets to reproduce.

I believe the right to reproduce is a basic human right. However, there is no right to parent - there is a right to BE parented well.

The big grey area is harmful practices during pregnancy that have life long impacts on the child. But the solution should not be the restriction of reproductive rights of the mother...

You know the attributes for a great adult? Initiative, creativity, intellectual curiosity? They make for a helluva kid...
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#65 of 70 Old 07-10-2010, 08:09 PM
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Very well put, siobhang. I agree: working to restrict the right to bear children among targeted populations cannot even be mentioned without mentioning fascism in the same breath.

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#66 of 70 Old 07-10-2010, 08:17 PM
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I just want to make it clear, since I am the one who brought up incentives for birth control, that I was referring specifically to addicted women who don't want to have children *at this time* only, not trying to control who can reproduce, for the record.
and I don't buy the 'slippery slope' line of reasoning. just because one thing happens, does not mean another thing will inevitably happen.

I get that it's impractical, and has potentially unethical edges. thanks to everyone who shared.

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#67 of 70 Old 07-10-2010, 09:56 PM
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Originally Posted by lovingmommyhood View Post
I agree with everything Tiffani is saying, I also disagree with forced sterilization or anything like it but I feel this is a GREAT alternative. I wonder if this has ever been attempted or looked into?
Yes. On a large scale it was near institutional practice for certain categories of people in the US.

And on a small scale, like what Tiffani mentioned (offering payments along with free "temporary" BC to addicts) yes, that has been tried. It gets shut down quite frequently by the groups that typically protest abortifacient birth control (because it is hormonal) and also the people you'd think would take advantage of it by and large do not, for a variety of reasons, some of which are discussed upthread.

Personally, I will state again that I think ALL children and ALL women would be served if we simply offered free birth control *of choice* to any woman who wanted it. Surgery, hormonal, barrier, whatever. However, that is not politically possible right now.

But even if it were...there are always going to be addicts and ill people and "regular people" who get knocked up when they do not want to be or can't cope with it. Unless you force everyone to have contraception and it can only be lifted if you apply--and even then, there are always going to be oopses. Even if you had a box of free condoms and pills and shots and patches on every streetcorner everywhere--there are still people who aren't going to use it. Even if they got a free cash card every time they got scanned to detect if they were using it and they could get one every month.

And to some degree, the women who have 10 kids all TPRed at birth because of pervasive problems on the mom's side...those folks are going to fit into that category. It is a really grim reality that I think most people are not willing to look in the face. I wish though that we did offer free or low cost contraception to any woman though. The number of people in the extremes who probably wouldn't take up on the offer is low, but so many other people could really benefit.
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#68 of 70 Old 07-10-2010, 10:22 PM
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Originally Posted by marsupial-mom View Post
Yeah I understand what the OP feels. For me, it's not even about their lack of empathy or their desire to control women's fertility. For me, I just wish people would focus more on the positive. I have enough drama and negativity in my life... I don't need strangers feeling sorry for my foster kid or acquaintances feeling angry at his birth mom. I'd rather they delight in him - his adorable smile, his sweet giggle, his bright eyes.
As the child of a woman who could not get her life together I am extremely gratefull the the multitudes of foster parents and group homes that gave me shelter. But I can not sympathize with the women who repeatedly makes the decision to NOT MAKE A DECISION about their reproductive life. My mother had one child before me, and SIX after. She kept only 3 of us for any length of time, trying to "do the right thing." We were eventually taken away. All other children were removed from her "care" because of her negative lifestyle choices. She had her last child when the state of Oklahoma had her tubes tied. If they hadn't taken this choice from her, she would still be a baby-making factory. The problem with these women is that they believe it is not their fault. They have been told, from the first birth, that it's ok. That they are essentially doing the "right" thing. That because of circumstance and the way they were abused and/or are living their choices as far as mothering are "all right". They are constantly reassured that their children will have rewarding lives and that there are multitudes of people willing to give them permanent, loving homes. Unfortunately, a child who has gestated within a woman of this quality, are usually forced to endure low nutrition, no prenatal care and constant exposure to whatever drugs or alchohol the "mother" chooses to imbibe, because like the fact that she is pregnant she is not responsible for the negative behaviors and choices she persues while pregnant. Of the 8 children my mother had, only 3 made it to maturity without obvious mental and physical problems. I am not the only child in the only parentage under these circumstances, and did not have a wonderfull life growing up in the system. I was constantly mentally, physically and sexually abused. Yet I made sure I did not concieve until I was able to provide the essentials for my child. A stable enviroment, prenatal care, and a loving home. In some cases a woman may accidentally have a child. And may then have to make the heartbreaking decision to give their child a bright future without her. But after repeated "heartbreaking" decisions where the children are suffering because of a womans inability to control herself, I feel that SOMEONE should speak on the unborns behalf. I don't know if I believe in forced sterilization. I do believe that people need to stop making excuses for these women. The last thing they need is empathy.

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#69 of 70 Old 07-10-2010, 11:12 PM
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I'm a little hesitant to share this, but feel it may be important to the discussion. I once found myself in a situation where birth control was almost forced on me. This was only a few years ago. It was scary and terrifying and demeaning. I had absolutely no intention of having any sort of sexual activity at the time, so the risk of me getting pregnant was nil. And I was fully aware of the potential side effects. However, the people charged with my care were under the impression that none of the women under their care could possibly be trusted or sexually responsible. It was basically presented to me that I would be put on birth control, and if I refused, they might force it on me through long lasting injections. When I objected, I was told that "everyone goes on birth control". When I pointed on that probably wasn't legal, it became "we'll discuss this later" or "if you don't then you'll never be in a position to get out of here because these are the rules" Most of the women were there simply because they had no place else to go, noone to care for them, no money, nothing. Society had basically thrown them away. And all of them accepted that this was the way life was, because these were "the rules". Thankfully with some legal help I was able to escape from the situation fairly quickly and without forced BC. Through later legal negotiations, it became clear that the "official" stance was the birth control was to be "encouraged" but never forced on anybody. This was NOT the way it worked in practice. By the time it filed down through the ranks, service level personnel presented that it was absolutely required and non-negotiable. And most of the clients didn't know any better than to accept them at their word. It was a horrible, very sad situation. I can absolutely support education and making birth control readily available to those who most need it. But not a situation where BC is tied to certain services, incentives, or goals. Do I wish that children were not being removed fro the same women over and over again? Yes. But I can't see restricting anyone's reproductive rights to achieve that end.
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#70 of 70 Old 07-12-2010, 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Baby~Braatens~Mama View Post
But after repeated "heartbreaking" decisions where the children are suffering because of a womans inability to control herself, I feel that SOMEONE should speak on the unborns behalf. .
Thank you.

It may be abhorrent to take away someone's decisions about their fertility.

It is more abhorrent to sentence thousands of newborns to lives within "the system," where they are very likely to end up as badly off as their birth mothers.

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