Friday, June 09, 2006

No right to have babies if you can't afford it

After my time in Finland, this struck me as a very interesting editorial piece in the Dallas Morning News :

Babies should not be Band-Aids. They are not toys or props or accessories. If a woman cannot support herself, she should not have a right to have a child just because her best friend has one. Some may disagree and say it's her "choice," but, as in Sally's case, the choice does affect us all. We all pay for the piece of a young man she wanted to keep – a man who will most likely never pay one dime in child support because he's a heavy drug user and cannot keep a job and because he never wanted this child to begin with.

I do agree with her premise that parents (mothers and fathers) do have to take responsibility for their actions and the consequences of them - even when the results is a baby. However, I do take issue with the implication that if you're poor, you have no right to be having children. It can be hard to reach "financial security" if you are stuck in a minimum-wage job or worse.

Compare this opinion piece with an earlier entry I made about a single, unemployed mom of 29 raising her baby in Finland. Especially enlightening about the difference in cultural views are the comments made to that entry. In Finland, it is a society that is responsible for its children - even when the parents can't or won't be. In the US, its your own responsibility and if others deem that you aren't responsible enough, someone out there will suggest you don't have a right!

1 comment:

zorak said...

Finland has not always been so liberal with unwanted children -

The difference in philosophy is that in Finland, it is expected that the state will care for you from cradle to grave whether or not you can actually support yourself. In the US, you are expected to be responsible for yourself and an unemployed, uneducated woman having a deadbeat's baby and both being supported on welfare is not viewed very kindly as the cycle of welfare poverty is not often broken.

Sure, welfare beats having the mother out on the streets, but without other social programs to get the children out of poverty, it's not a solution. Even in Finland, single mothers, employed or not, barely make it over the poverty line.