Should We Require Birth Control For Welfare Checks?

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Ok, so I wanted to start up what could be a pretty fun/controversial topic. My wife grew up in an area that had a lot of people who were taking advantage of the welfare system by having numerous children and collecting large checks. She has often suggested, only half-jokingly, that we ought to require anyone who gets a welfare check to have a depo provera shot (injectable birth control, lasts roughly 3 months) for every third check they collect.

I’m going to go ahead and make it clear that this is supposed to be a high-level discussion. There will be obvious medical exceptions and some difficulties with determining whether or not a woman is collecting welfare (as opposed to her husband). What I’m interested in is: would this be within the government’s rights, and would it be a good policy (the goal of course to try to prevent further children from being born to someone who’s on welfare)?

 
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Depo Provera specifically? From a quick google I’ve found a few problems with it such as a whole year to recover, weight gain, irreversible loss of bone density etc. which I think would make it a scheme where women sell their health for much needed money.

For an ideal contraceptive, i.e. completely effective depo provera without any of the disadvantages, I think it would be within the government’s rights. Since a contraceptive is available and provided, no one who is in need of welfare (and hence unable to support a family) will have any excuse to become pregnant. Welfare is supposed to help people get back on their feet, or tide them over until they can do so, not to encourage people to become increasingly dependent on the state.

 
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Yeah, depo was just a good option since it’s possible to force. You can’t verify that someone takes their oral contraceptives. However, your second paragraph is what I’m aiming for: given a perfect birth control, should the government do this?

I tend to agree with you. While people will certainly balk at the idea of being forced into birth control, I think it’s easy justification if you’re getting something (i.e. a welfare check) out of it.

 
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I don’t know about should, perhaps the government could give some extra help to women who do take the shot, under the justification that a woman who doesn’t feel she can support any more children needs more help than a woman who feels she can do without (perfect) birth control.

I’d rather the choice was between children and more money, than children and essential money.

 
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I think it would be entirely legal; the government is not required to provide welfare, and thus they can put whatever strings they want on it.

Also, I don’t see how it would be immoral. I’m personally for mandatory birth control – i.e, everyone gets reversibly sterilized for free at birth, and then pays something like $500 to get it changed when they want.

 
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$500 to get Human Rights’ Article 16.1?

 
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Yes. Just because a bunch of politicians said that it’s a human right doesn’t mean it actually is. Having children is way too easy compared to the actual costs; a few minutes drunken fun is no exchange for a life or three.

Besides, it would be a lot more convenient for everyone. The fee is sizeable, but not ridiculously so. You’d think for a few minutes at least before paying it, which is a lot more thought than most people put into their unwanted pregnancies.

Anyway this is beside the point, which we seem to agree with.

 
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You know, why not head in that direction too? A slightly different suggestion from my wife was actually very similar to Einar’s, only for hers you had to pass a basic baby-competence test before you could get your parts back. The fact is, a baby requires both money and knowledge, and one might argue that it is a violation of the (future) baby’s rights for someone to create a baby without these things.

 
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Yes. Just because a bunch of politicians said that it’s a human right doesn’t mean it actually is. Having children is way too easy compared to the actual costs; a few minutes drunken fun is no exchange for a life or three.

Considering we’re discussing whether a government should do something, I think what politicians have somehow managed to agree is very important.

Besides, it would be a lot more convenient for everyone. The fee is sizeable, but not ridiculously so. You’d think for a few minutes at least before paying it, which is a lot more thought than most people put into their unwanted pregnancies.

How much welfare do you get over there? I have a feeling it would encourage women who already abuse the system to have even more children to pay for the reversal.

basic baby-competence test

That’s a really bad road to start going down. What would be in this test, how to change a nappy, how concerned parents were about education, what political views they’d bring their children up with? I can do that in a few more steps with a worse ending if you like. Who is qualified to say who else is qualified to be a parent?

 
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That’s a really bad road to start going down.

Oh? How is it any different than taking a driving test before getting your license?

 
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We shouldn’t be giving welfare checks anyways….

But hell no. Force a woman to submit to birth contol? Thats crazy talk.

 
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Babies are far more complicated than cars, there is no right or safe way to raise them so any test is going to be on the parents to be’s opinions. Cars are dangerous in the hands of incompetent drivers, babies are not. Driving licenses can be revoked easily, babies’ lives cannot.

What would be in a baby-competence test?

 
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Cars are dangerous in the hands of incompetent drivers, babies are not.

Incompetent parents are dangerous to the babies themselves. As for what would go into the competency test, I don’t know exactly (as I am not a parent and know little about it). However, I’m not talking about “parenting skills”, I’m talking about basic life information. How often do you feed a baby? What should you never feed a baby (honey, for one)? Are there any things that you should completely avoid doing while pregnant (smoking, cleaning litter boxes, etc.)? How long should one expect it will take for a baby to first sleep through fully through a night (so they know what they’re getting into)? These types of things.

And it’s not necessarily that they have to obey these rules, they should simply know about them and know the consequences, and then make informed decisions. I see no problem with requiring basic knowledge of human children before allowing you to create one.

 
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What should you never feed a baby (honey, for one)?

You can’t feed babies honey? Shit, I’d fail the parenting competency test.

 
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See, that’s what I’m talking about. The point is not necessarily to weed out parents. It shouldn’t be a hard test, just like the driving test isn’t hard. The point is simply to ensure that you know the basics, and it should be easy to pass if you just read up on a pamphlet or two ahead of time.

For the record (just grabbed from kidshealth.com):

It’s true that honey should not be fed to infants younger than 1 year old. Clostridium bacteria that cause infant botulism usually thrive in soil and dust. However, they can also contaminate certain foods — honey in particular. Infant botulism can cause muscle weakness, with signs like poor sucking, a weak cry, constipation, and an overall decreased muscle tone (floppiness).

 
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Incompetent parents are dangerous to the babies themselves.

But not to others’ lives when in public.

I’m talking about basic life information…

A test a 10 year old could pass? Perhaps even a 5 year old, what with all the wacky dolls out at the moment. I’d be fine with that, but I think it would be rather pointless.

 
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weed out

Weed out lol

It’s true that honey should not be fed to infants younger than 1 year old. Clostridium bacteria that cause infant botulism usually thrive in soil and dust. However, they can also contaminate certain foods — honey in particular. Infant botulism can cause muscle weakness, with signs like poor sucking, a weak cry, constipation, and an overall decreased muscle tone (floppiness).

Well, you learn something new everyday.

But seriously, we don’t need the government regulating another aspect of our lives.

 
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But not to others’ lives when in public.

Oh, so what, the baby doesn’t have any rights? Only other people?

I’d be fine with that, but I think it would be rather pointless.

I think bonghits just demonstrated how non-pointless such a test would be. It’s simply a means of forcing education upon people who are about to get a lot of responsibility.

 
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Oh, so what, the baby doesn’t have any rights? Only other people?

One of the differences between car and baby licenses I pointed out was that cars can kill people.

I think bonghits just demonstrated how non-pointless such a test would be. It’s simply a means of forcing education upon people who are about to get a lot of responsibility.

Teach them in schools, don’t sterilise them at birth.

Who would take these tests, women only? Must people take it with a partner?

 
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One of the differences between car and baby licenses I pointed out was that cars can kill people.

What, and you can’t kill a baby?

Teach them in schools, don’t sterilise them at birth.

A nice thought, but how do you know that they learned it? What if they missed that day? I see no reason that we can’t just verify it first. (Of course, this is all hypothetical – there would be serious medical issues with actually doing sterilization and reversing it)

Who would take these tests, women only? Must people take it with a partner?

This is certainly an issue that’d have to be dealt with, though I’m inclined to say that only the woman would have to take it, but that she could choose to designate her partner to take it in her stead (if there was some reason she couldn’t or shouldn’t).

 
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What, and you can’t kill a baby?

No, the baby can’t kill anyone. You don’t take a driving test to make sure you won’t destroy your car, you take it so you don’t hurt others.

A nice thought, but how do you know that they learned it? What if they missed that day? I see no reason that we can’t just verify it first.

Give them a test and a certificate saying ‘Grade B Mother’ or ‘Level Five Father’. People can make up their own minds whether they want to adopt the government’s method of assessing parents or go to classes themselves.

This is certainly an issue that’d have to be dealt with, though I’m inclined to say that only the woman would have to take it, but that she could choose to designate her partner to take it in her stead (if there was some reason she couldn’t or shouldn’t).

Would you then say only women should be sterilised?

 
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No, the baby can’t kill anyone.

All murderers were babies at one point, you know.

Anyway, I think that actually having a test is fraught with irreconcilable complications; everyone has their own ideas of how you should raise a child, because all those ideas work. Humans have been proving for generations that you don’t need to take a test in order to raise a child.

However, I do believe that it would be more convenient for everyone if having a child weren’t an easy mistake to make; you shouldn’t be able to accidentally create a new, unique person just because you were drunk one night and forgot to slip a rubber on, or because you forgot to take a couple of pills. $1000 ($500 for the mother and the father) is hardly a hardship when you’re preparing to have a child, an endeavor which can cost upwards of $100,000 over the next eighteen or more years.

Of course, the problem remains that there is no relatively easy, reversible sterilization option that won’t screw up your development.

 
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Um…quick question, why is it the women that have to be sterilized from birth? It takes 2 to tango you know.

As for the parenting test, oh that is so entering a world of problems. There have already been inumerable cases of children being taking away from parents who the government deems ‘mentally incapable’ to look after the children. The parents I’m talking about here are those with significantly below average intelligence, learning difficulties, schizophrenia (even when its being sucessfully managed) and loads of others. For the most part these parents were no more likely to do harm to the child than a ‘normal’ parent and yet the government takes their kids away. Mandatory testing for pernting capability is probably going to end up with the government being overprotective in the same manner and taking children away/ not letting people have children ‘just to be on the safe side’.

Why not go the much simpler route of cutting benifits in the form of money and instead implementing some sort of voucher/credit card system which can only be used to buy childrens colthes, food, medical care etc. Its not going to be perfect (as seen with the red cross cards after Katrina) but its going to be a lot easier than sterilization.

You don’t take a driving test to make sure you won’t destroy your car, you take it so you don’t hurt others

Oh and im inclinced to disagree with that, part of taking the test is to ensure you dont end up as a pile of goo on the road which the emergency services then have to deal with.

 
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No, the baby can’t kill anyone. You don’t take a driving test to make sure you won’t destroy your car, you take it so you don’t hurt others.

Wow, I’m not sure how to convey this to you. The baby is alive and is a person. Your car is not alive. That’s the difference here. In both cases you take the test to make sure you don’t hurt others. In one case, it’s other drivers/pedestrians, in the other it’s the baby. Why do you think this is different?

Give them a test and a certificate saying ‘Grade B Mother’ or ‘Level Five Father’.

That’s fine – that’s what I’m talking about. Some sort of validation of basic training.

Would you then say only women should be sterilised?

Actually, no. I had only been thinking of women, but you’re right, it makes more sense really to just sterilize everyone and then reverse it for each person who passes the test. That way, everyone has to take it.

 
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Spectacular idea. But I’d go a slightly different route. At birth sterilization then at 25 a mandatory 2 years of parenting and common sense classes for those that choose to have a child then another year for each more kid. Pass that and you get a pass to have one. That way there wouldn’t be any more accidents or as my mother calls it, a “whoopsie”. The religious would be happy because abortions would become obsolete. Over crowding goes away, welfare becomes non existent in a generation, kids would learn better with less school over crowding, and we spend less money on free healthcare. A total win situation. No test just a hassle. It would show who would be willing to go through such a pain the ass to have kids. I mean who the hell is going to go through 2 years of schooling to just abuse a kid. And don’t think that a child abuser couldn’t pass a test.

But alas, forced sterilization is a pipedream as the civil rights and religious people would be up in arms. As a matter of fact requiring birth control of any kind would bring up the same problem.