Monday Morning Thoughts II: New War on Poverty and Ending Welfare Mother Penalties

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Maximum-Family-Grant

(Editor’s note: our readers asked me last week to segment the Monday Morning Thoughts column into separate parts, and I have obliged)

In recent years we have seen a slow but growing shift in the political arena. First it started in the criminal justice system as a series of reforms in California and across the country spawned by the exploding problem of mass incarceration which has led to reforms like AB 109 (realignment) and now Prop 47, among other local reforms. Concurrently, the work of groups like the Innocence Project have exposed problems in the justice system that lead to innocent people being incarcerated, in many cases for decades.

Now a rising concern about poverty may push the California legislature to finally move to end the so-called “maximum family grant” rule or the “welfare queen” rule that bars families that have additional children while on welfare from receiving increased aid.

An article in the Bee today, referring to Sen. Holly Mitchell of Los Angeles, says, “She points to a UC Berkeley brief on the topic that found such family caps don’t alter reproductive behavior.”

“It is a classist, sexist, anti-democratic, anti-child, anti-family policy whose premise did not come to fruition,” said Mitchell, the author of Senate Bill 23. “It did not accomplish what it set out to accomplish. So it’s appropriate to take it off the books.”

We are talking about an additional $130 per child per month.

In the SB 23 “fact sheet” that was put out by the Office of Senator Mitchell in December, they note, “The CalWORKs MFG rule endangers the health and wellbeing of infants born into poverty, while purposely limiting the reproductive choices and violating the privacy of poor women. It does this by prohibiting parents receiving assistance through the CalWORKs program to receive a basic needs grant for any child born to the household while any member of the household is receiving aid. Without the MFG rule, the amount most households would receive in additional benefits for the newborn child is $122/month.”

They note, “Even without the denial of aid to newborns, most recipient households live in dire poverty, unable to obtain the basic necessities of life. Research indicates that preventing families from receiving basic necessities by reducing welfare benefits could lead to greater familial poverty, which in turn contributes to poorer health, developmental, and social outcomes in children.”

Critics rightly point out that the additional money will not lift aid recipients out of poverty.

The Bee quotes Mary L.G. Theroux, senior vice president of The Independent Institute, a nonprofit research organization based in Oakland, who doesn’t dispute that the law fails to prevent births.

“The opportunity cost of them having another kid is not going to stop them from doing it,” she said. But she said that, as the Bee notes, “financial constraints give growing families incentives to get help from charities, relatives or find higher-paying jobs.”

“What these programs are doing is completely handicapping people from learning how to take care of their families and how to help their children have a better life than they do,” she said.

Republicans like Bob Huff, the Senate leader, argue that “helping families in poverty is an important role for officials in government as well as people outside. The issue is whether repealing the maximum grant is the best use of money.”

“Putting $200 million into an effective job training program or providing child care for working mothers would be a better use of resources,” Senator Huff said.

At least we are having a fact-based discussion right now and the best use of money is definitely an important issue to be determined.

The current law was adopted prior to federal welfare reform by AB 473, authored by Republican leader Jim Brulte, signed by Governor Wilson in 1994, after California voters rejected a ballot measure calling for a similar policy.  According to Senator Mitchell’s office, “California is one of only 15 states to maintain such a policy. There is a movement from states to repeal similar policies: Wyoming, Nebraska, Illinois, Oklahoma, Kansas and Maryland have recently repealed their family caps, recognizing that it does not serve its stated purpose and instead makes infants vulnerable to the long-term consequences of poverty.”

They say, “The CalWORKs program provides a basic needs cash grants to low-income families with children, to alleviate the impact of poverty on children and to keep families together. Federal funding for the program comes from the Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF) block grant. The program serves 3.6%3 of the state’s population, just a fraction of Californians who live below the federal poverty level (FPL). The average CalWORKs family grant is $464/month, putting a family of 3 at about 29% of the FPL.”

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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60 thoughts on “Monday Morning Thoughts II: New War on Poverty and Ending Welfare Mother Penalties”

  1. Tia Will

    Putting $200 million into an effective job training program or providing child care for working mothers would be a better use of resources,” Senator Huff said.

    At least we are having a fact based discussion right now and the best use of money is definitely an important issue to be determined.”

    I could not agree more that these are important conversations and that a fact based discussion on the best use of money is essential. And it should occur while feeding all of the children who are living in circumstances in which their parents do not have access to the resources listed below:

    financial constraints give growing families incentives to get help from charities, relatives or find higher-paying jobs.”

    No child should ever go hungry because their parent does not have the ability to access charities or relatives, or have the skills, transportation, or physical or mental ability to find a higher paying job.

     

  2. sisterhood

    “Putting $200 million into an effective job training program or providing child care for working mothers would be a better use of resources,” Senator Huff said.

    I tend to agree with this sentence. In addition to job training (which could begin in high school) and low cost (not free) childcare, free contraception for women and men might go a long way in preventing this problem in the future. But we must first teach assertiveness to young women in junior high and high school, so it is easier for them to postpone sexual relations, or at least be assertive enough to demand the young man wear a condom.

    Pope Francis needs to get on board, too.

    1. Anon

      But we must first teach assertiveness to young women in junior high and high school, so it is easier for them to postpone sexual relations, or at least be assertive enough to demand the young man wear a condom.

      AMEN!  It would also help if the public would stop supporting the crappy television programming containing overt sex at the drop of a hat by using their consumer muscle to let advertisers know what they think about overtly sexual television programming.  What I have noticed is many of the movies in the theaters are going away from explicit sex scenes – lots of PG-13 movies, while television is going in the exact opposite direction.  Sad.

      1. KSmith

        You realize you have the option to turn the channel or not watch television, right? And you can monitor what your kid watches. We don’t have to completely sanitize the world to make every aspect of the mass media safe for children. As the adult of the household, you are in control.

      2. sisterhood

        Anon, totally agree. I watched part of an episode of “Girls” and was appalled. It’s pretty much adult porn, yet it is on a station where any young girl can watch it. It wouldn’t even help to have those programs after “prime time” because now they can be watched anytime. My daughter used to watch the O.C. in high school It was also not a very good portrayal of young adults. However, by the time she was a junior, I let her make those viewing decisions, if she finished all her homework. She and her friends turned out okay, in spite of crappy t.v. programming.

        1. Tia Will

          TBD

          Young girls ?  What about the young boys ?  If we were going to get serious about contraception, we would stop dropping the responsibility solely on the shoulders of the girls.

        2. KSmith

          My experience with religion is that it doesn’t so much teach self-esteem as teach a whole boatload of shame and guilt relating to any sexual twinges, and tends to slut shame the girls into avoiding sexual behavior, but does not (as others above have identified) really put the same burden on the male of the species.

        3. KSmith

          WDF1: Oh, I just meant Christianity/Judaism/Islam.

          Thanks for the link. It looks like the United Church of Christ materials would probably fit the bill!  I have also heard good things about the curriculum offered by the Unitarian Universalist Church. These outlooks/traditions seem to by and large deviate from what is normally put out there by most religions.

        4. TrueBlueDevil

          I read once that the only items that had a meaningful impact on reducing teenage sexual activity were religion and having a Father in the home. Nothing against sex here, but having sex at 18 or 19 is a whole lot better than being in the rack at 13.

        5. wdf1

          TBD:   Religion also teaches self esteem, and teaches some young girls to not hop in the sack at the drop of a hat.

          Just curious.  Do you actively participate in a religious community?

          I think it’s probably more than you imagine, why religion can impart self-esteem.  If religious communities aren’t too alienating to an individual, then they can provide stable communities and connections.  I think that may have a bigger role in inoculating individuals from risky behavior.

          Some religious thought also plays on guilt and fear (“you have sinned,” “you’re gonna go to hell when you die”), and I think that isn’t as effective at inoculating against risky behavior.

          Here’s one way for social and political conservatives to alienate 110 million Americans:

          CPAC Officially Goes Off The Rails With Phil Robertson’s Rant On STDs, ‘The Revenge Of The Hippies’

           

           

  3. Frankly

    American underclass and their codependent bleeding heart saviors… the team that never stops taking and taking and taking until they run out of other people’s money.

    The road to hell is paved with the good intentions of people unable to think over the din of their irrational emotional turmoil over signs of “unfairness” and “suffering”.

    Give a poor family more for each kid, and you will get more poor kids.  You will get more kids from unmarried single mothers.  You will get more uneducated and unskilled people.   You will get more illegal immigrants.

    So what should the “thinking” person advocate for if he/she also dislikes all this unfairness and suffering?:

    1. Education reform to create more skilled workers.

    2. Tax, economic and regulatory policy reform to grow the economy and create more jobs.

    3. Immigration reform to STOP the flow of illegals from the southern border because it is clear that these families are overrepresented in the numbers of people that American bleeding hearts are fixated on.

    1. Davis Progressive

      “Immigration reform to STOP the flow of illegals from the southern border because it is clear that these families are overrepresented in the numbers of people that American bleeding hearts are fixated on.”

      most undocumented immigrants work hard and are afraid to seek benefits.

      the point of the legislation is that the smack the welfare queen policy didn’t work and the people who are punished are innocent kids.

      1. TrueBlueDevil

        Afraid to seek benefits? Maybe a few. Two charities I have helped have an overwhelming undocumented / illegal clientele, and when I travel through barrios there are signs in Spanish – one out on the front sidewalk on a busy thoroughfare – advertising that stores accept EBT cards (food stamps and cash benefits).

    2. Don Shor

      Give a poor family more for each kid, and you will get more poor kids. You will get more kids from unmarried single mothers. You will get more uneducated and unskilled people. You will get more illegal immigrants.

      Though intuitively that seems logical, David’s article contradicts this:
      “In an article in the Bee today, ‘She points to a UC Berkeley brief on the topic that found such family caps don’t alter reproductive behavior.'”
      and:
      “The Bee quotes, Mary L.G. Theroux, senior vice president of The Independent Institute, a nonprofit research organization based in Oakland, who doesn’t dispute that the law fails to prevent births. ‘The opportunity cost of them having another kid is not going to stop them from doing it,’ she said.”

      1. Davis Progressive

        for good reason.  most people aren’t going to have a baby to get $130 more in benefits.  they’re going to have a baby because they had sex without protection or maybe to ensnare their guy.  but it’s not a conscious and logical decision.

        1. wdf1

          DP:  most people aren’t going to have a baby to get $130 more in benefits.  they’re going to have a baby because they had sex without protection or maybe to ensnare their guy.  but it’s not a conscious and logical decision.

          Or they haven’t had adequate sex education to understand what are all the options and what the consequences are.  Generally, teens and young adults are likelier to make better decisions when they are better informed.

        2. Anon

          Women also can have babies because the condom broke, or because they are extremely fertile and their birth control didn’t work, or because they thought their significant other was faithful when he wasn’t.

          1. Matt Williams

            I can attest to that from personal experience, My son is a “birth control pill baby” and after that experience my wife turned to an IUD for birth control and she again got pregnant. She was one of the women who qualified as “very fertile.”

        3. Miwok

          because they thought their significant other was faithful when he wasn’t.

          Huh, what? Women get pregnant because their Sig Other was having sex with someone else?

        4. hpierce

          Anon… not getting your 11:25 post… how can a woman conceive and give birth to a child when “…because they thought their significant other was faithful when he wasn’t.”?  Maybe that was an early morning biology class that I missed.

          Oh, maybe just got it… did you mean a girl/woman who consented to sex when they thought the guy was “committed” to her and any offspring that might result from their consensual sex? Then I get it, but that’s not what you said.

      2. TrueBlueDevil

        Family caps don’t alter behavior. Really?

        Wikipedia:  Temporary Assistance for Needy Families – TANF

        “In addition to marriage and divorce, welfare reform was also concerned about unwed childbearing. Specific provisions in TANF were aimed at reducing unwed childbearing. For example, TANF provided cash bonuses to states with the largest reductions in unwed childbearing that are not accompanied by more abortions. States were also required to eliminate cash benefits to unwed teens under age 18 who did not reside with their parents. TANF allowed states to impose family caps on the receipt of additional cash benefits from unwed childbearing. Between 1994 and 1999, unwed childbearing among teenagers declined 20 percent among 15-17 year olds and 10 percent among 18-19 year olds.[28] In a comprehensive cross-state comparison, Horvath-Rose & Peters (2002) studied nonmarital birth ratios with and without family cap waivers over the 1986-1996 period, and they found that family caps reduced nonmarital ratios[46] ”

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temporary_Assistance_for_Needy_Families

         

      1. Don Shor

        Yeah, I sure hope these mass expulsions that conservatives seem to support aren’t retroactive. I’m pretty sure at least a couple of my great-grandfathers didn’t have papers.

      2. hpierce

        Cute.  Doesn’t address those whose ancestors came from Europe, have some Native American blood lines.  I fit in that category…. do you?  If not, not so cute.  When will you self-deport?

        I say that due to a bit of ‘self-righteousness’ detected. If you were pointing out that all of us, including Native Americans, have their ancestral lines who came to be here without “papers”, disregard the first part of my comment.

  4. Davis Progressive

    my view is that racial profiling  and pretext stops still exist.  what you’re looking for – and a police officer once testified to this – a car that looks like it doesn’t belong, then a reason to pull people over – and that’s easy because everyone speeds, everyone forgets to signal, etc.  it used to be they would ask to search calls based on traffic stops and people didn’t know their rights.  now that policy ended, so what they do is hope to have a reason to search whether it’s probation or otherwise.  this stuff absolutely happens and when you end up with disproportionate stops for people of color, it becomes known as racial profiling.

  5. justme

    I am all for temporary assistance to those who need it..  Having generations live off the sytem sets my blood to boil!  I have worked since I was 15 and cannot understand people who refuse to work!  $130.00 is not much to support a chikld a month!!  You almost cant support a large dog on $130.00 a month…

    1. Davis Progressive

      my experience is that most people who “refuse” to work have other problems – drug abuse, depression, etc.  that’s an issue that will not simply be addressed with frankly’s call for education and job training (which i support).

      1. justme

        Absolutely agree..  Although I also have a couple family members who decided long ago that it was easier to allow the government to support them and theirs rather than go to work..  They get to stay up all night watching tv and sleep in late…  Think I am the stupid one for getting out of bed early every morning to go work 40+ hours a week…  They even teased me about having to spend my hard earned money on food…  I pointed out that they were also spending my hard earned money on food…  That comment didnt go over very well!

        1. sisterhood

          I’ve met a few of those folks, too. It used to irritate me because they got to stay home with their kids while I worked, just to make ends meet & save for my kids ‘college, because my folks did that for me. But then I realized the people taking advantage of the system had little to show for it. The two exceptions were low income folks in Davis, who got into the best daycares in town. That really annoyed me, because neither one of those moms was working.  One of them had a father who helped with her kid but she told him not to pick up the kid too often because there was a waiting list for full time care & if they figured out she really only needed part time care, they’d give her spot to someone else. (She was a medical student.) The other mom was just someone who didn’t want to work while her kids were young. Apparently, she didn’t want to stay home with them, either.

          The majority of low income folks really do need help. It’s a shame that there are not more systems in place to weed out the abusers.

        2. Davis Progressive

          “The majority of low income folks really do need help. It’s a shame that there are not more systems in place to weed out the abusers.”

          i agree with this point.  it seems to me that for 20 to 30 years, we punished everyone because some people took advantage of the system.

  6. Anon

    What is not noted here is there are many, many low-income mothers in poverty due to divorce and/or domestic violence – which should give everyone pause to THINK about our nation’s ethics, moral values, etc. We often see adultery and domestic violence as ho-hum. Society accepts it as part of our daily lives…

    From http://salt.claretianpubs.org/issues/welfare/davids.html

    THE FACT IS, MORE WHITES RECEIVE aid than blacks or Hispanics. Two out of three welfare recipients are children, not adults. And contrary to the stereotype of families forever dependent, nearly three out of four women receiving aid get off welfare within two years. 

    “The white women are invisible,” says Nancy Lyman-Shaver, a former welfare mother who now runs a criminal-justice program for ARISE, a social welfare organization in Springfield, Massachusetts. “They are the daughters and nieces of middle-class, suburban families who end up on welfare because of a divorce or an abusive partner.

  7. Tia Will

    Anon

    What is not noted here is there are many, many low-income mothers in poverty due to divorce and/or domestic violence “

    Thanks for bringing up this point. An abused woman faces a triple challenge if she has children. She has often been so emotionally abused that she is unable to objectively identify her own strengths and so does not see herself as being able to advance in her life either by getting a job or advancing to a new hiring paying job because she may have been told for years that she is worthless. Another challenge may be that she has been isolated from her family, perhaps for years. Or maybe she never had any family to help her in the first place. Now add the fact that substantial numbers of these women have been taught that if she is no longer in a relationship with a man to support her, she is automatically a failure since it was her job to marry a man for support. She may be in total ignorance of the programs available to help her because she has been so oppressed and isolated from her man that she was afraid even to reach out for help. We should be helping these women, not stigmatizing them further. They have already had plenty of that.

     

    1. Miwok

      When I was younger, I had a chivalrous streak and tried to help some women in this position by taking them to court for restraining orders, groceries, etc. Some were friends of girlfriends and some I thought might be interested in a real gentleman given the chance. Not true, many were, like addicts, hard to reach OR change. They thought only of themselves, and no matter how much they SAID they wanted a different life, they went right back to it, and usually the guy who caused the pain. It helped me to understand the mind of these people, the world is full of them.

      Just like the thousands of kids taken away from addicts irresponsible parents, a better solution would be to take the kids away completely. I saw plenty of kids given to an aunt of grandma who violated every order given by the court, and all the money given them by the State went straight to the abusive parents, not for the kids.

    2. hpierce

      “… the fact that substantial numbers of these women have been taught that if she is no longer in a relationship with a man to support her, she is automatically a failure since it was her job to marry a man for support.”  Can you cite references to document this?  I am skeptical, although there was a running “joke” in college 40 years ago, that women in “Human/Child Development” majors were seeking their BA/MRS degrees.

      1. Tia Will

        hpierce

        “the fact that substantial numbers of these women have been taught that if she is no longer in a relationship with a man to support her, she is automatically a failure since it was her job to marry a man for support.”

        I am sure that I could, although I don’t feel the need to since this has been a regular part of my career for the last 30 years. In gyn we daily see not only the physical but also the psychological impacts of women’s health. I cannot tell you how many women I have seen through the years, last one yesterday, expressing how she didn’t understand. She had played by all the rules. Married, stayed home, raised the kids, put up with all sorts of shenanigans both financial and extramarital because that was what she had been taught by her parents, her religion, her social sphere, that that was her duty…..only to be left for a younger model. True, this story is not as common as it used to be, but we are far from leaving it behind.

  8. Topcat

    An article in the Bee today, referring to Sen. Holly Mitchell of Los Angeles, says, “She points to a UC Berkeley brief on the topic that found such family caps don’t alter reproductive behavior.”

    So what would it take to convince people in poverty not to have more children?

        1. KSmith

          -And- provide scientifically-based and medically-accurage sex ed in the public schools–with the information on where to go for the inexpensive, effective birth control.

          Get rid of the abstinence-only curricula that have been proven time and time again to -not- work.

        2. sisterhood

          I agree with all the remarks re: contraception. But, again I must note, even if it was free and easily available, young women must be taught assertiveness or they won’t feel comfortable asking their partner to wear a condom or making that first dr appt. to get it. Perhaps if young teenagers were more assertive, they’d completely abstain. There is peer pressure (and media pressure) on teenagers to be sexually active before they are emotionally ready. Why can’t DJUSD teach just one mandatory assertiveness training class, then review its success? I believe it would also help with overcoming bullying and curtailing experimenting with illegal drugs and underage drinking.

    1. MrsW

      Provide “the patch” to anyone who wants it.  My good friend, who is an obstetrician, traveled to South American with Doctors Without Borders for a number of years.  Many women she treated were in relationships where the men in their lives did not want to use family planning.  My friend ended up spending a large about of her time, installing “the patch.”  She observed that most women know how many children is enough.  In the communities she worked, it was usually less than or equal to 5.

    2. TrueBlueDevil

      Just because someone says something doesn’t make it so. Where are her facts? I posted one source on the effectiveness of caps higher in this thread. Here is another.

      FamilyFacts. org: Breaking the Cycle of Welfare Dependence

      The success of the 1996 welfare reform, also known as the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Rec-onciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA), is widely acknowledged and well documented. Significantly, Temporary As-sistance for Needy Families (TANF) ended the entitlement nature of the old welfare program, Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), which distributed cash to recipients without time limits and without requiring them to work or prepare for work in return….”

      Research on Positive Effects of Welfare Reform: In contrast to the negative effects associated with welfare participation, research has shown that the mid-1990s welfare reform and leaving the welfare system were linked to a number of positive outcomes for child and adult well-being.

      Welfare reform and caseloads declines. A 2011 Social Science Journal study analyzed the effects of the mid-1990s welfare reform on welfare caseloads.8 Using state-level data from 1992 to 2005 that included all 50 states and the District of Columbia, it found that during the study period, on average, “welfare reform led to a 41 percent decline in welfare recipiency,” while unemployment rates accounted for only about 4 percent of the decline in caseloads. Four policies—family cap, work requirements, time limit, and cash sanction for rule infractions—together were associated with a 28 percent reduction in welfare recipiency over the study period. Considering the specific policies, over time, aid sanctions were associated with an 18 percent reduction in caseloads, and family caps were associated with an 11 percent reduction.”
      http://familyfacts.org/briefs/46/breaking-the-cycle-of-welfare-dependence

       

    3. sisterhood

      “So what would it take to convince people in poverty not to have more children?”
      Pope Francis may be able to convince many of them. Also, young men have to take equal responsibility for contraception.

  9. Tia Will

    Mrs.W

    I am a little confused about what form of contraception you are describing with the term “the patch”. The patch, as we refer to it here in the US is the equivalent of the birth control pill, just placed on the skin where it would be readily visible to the husband and would need prescriptions refilled on a regular basis. I think it is more likely that what she was placing is the Nexplanon which is a progesterone rod placed under the skin of the arm which is good for three years once placed. It also happens to be the most statistically most effective form of reversible contraception takes only a couple of minutes to place and has minimal side effects.

  10. MrsW

    Tia said–I am a little confused about what form of contraception you are describing

    Thank you Tia!  You aren’t confused, I am! I think I’ve just revealed something about my age, career and gender of my children :).  I meant the Nexplanon.  Is there a minimum age under which Nexplanon is not recommended?  Anything that would truly improve the chances of a girl becoming a mother when she is older, would be a good idea.  Every three years seems like a good interval for re-assessment.

     

    1. Tia Will

      Mrs. W

      I am a huge fan of the Nexplanon. From a purely medical perspective, it could safely be placed at puberty, and as you say, reassessed every 3 years for need.

      Due to the fact that we, as a species, have completely fulfilled any mandate we may once have had to be fruitful and multiply, we should now be concentrated on how to be good stewards of our earth, which is also one of our mandates. We have sufficient numbers that we are now a threat to ourselves in terms of sustainability of our planet. In the highly reliable reversible contraceptives, we now have the means to determine with a less than 1% / per year failure rate, when and if to have children. This is an opportunity that we have never had in the past. We have it without the risks faced by past generations of adverse medical consequences associated with the use of combination birth control pills or previously flawed IUDs such as the Dalkon shield.

      I would urge consideration of the Nexplanon for any girl past puberty who is or may become sexually active and for girls who may suffer from very heavy or painful periods.

      Another opportunity that is currently being missed, is that if we were to offer free Nexplanon placement to any post pubertal girl who wanted it, we would save enormously as a country in terms of child support for these children who frequently end up living in poverty.

      1. Topcat

        Another opportunity that is currently being missed, is that if we were to offer free Nexplanon placement to any post pubertal girl who wanted it, we would save enormously as a country in terms of child support for these children who frequently end up living in poverty.

        Yes, giving women the option of preventing unwanted pregnancies would be a great benefit to the individual and to society as a whole.  Unfortunately, providing this option will run into tremendous political opposition so it is unlikely to happen.

        It is ironic that some of the same people that oppose making effective birth control widely available also oppose funding for services that would help people in poverty.

        1. Topcat

          We actually need educated young people

          Yes; and giving women the opportunity to avoid unwanted pregnancies will help to assure that every child is a wanted child who will have a better chance of having a parent who will see that they get a good education.

  11. Tia Will

    Topcat

    Unfortunately, providing this option will run into tremendous political opposition so it is unlikely to happen.”

    I agree that it is unlikely to happen in the near future. However, many unlikely battles have been won. Slavery was overcome, women won the right to vote, gays are progressively winning the battle of marital discrimination. I can see a day when, if we just keep standing our ground and making this logical financial and social argument again and again, we can also win a woman’s right to make a simple decision about her own reproductive health over the religious and political opposition of those who want to control women’s bodies, or at least deny them the right to autonomy.

     

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