Since when is having kids a parole violation?

A Missouri judge claims that penalizing a parolee for having kids out of wedlock is a form of support, not punishment.

Published October 18, 2006 10:40PM (EDT)

A Missouri judge recently ordered a woman to not get pregnant while on probation for three years. As reported by the Associated Press, Mandy Nelson appeared in the courtroom of Buchanan County Circuit Judge Daniel Kellogg to receive the parameters of her probation for forgery. Nelson explained to Judge Kellogg that she was having financial difficulties because she was not receiving child support for her three children. Judge Kellogg told her to stop having babies as a condition of her probation.

Judge Kellogg explains, "My feeling was that would be to help ensure she wouldn't have any more financial difficulties. It's not a moral judgment. It was just to address what were her legitimate concerns. It was more to give her support than to serve as punishment."

When Nelson explained that she had her fallopian tubes closed after the birth of her third child, Judge Kellogg replied, "Frankly, nothing is 100 percent." He then went on to compare his demand to restitution, which is included in probation orders even if it has already been paid.

Nelson's probation officer will be required to report back to the court if she has a child while on probation out of wedlock. The pregnancy itself would not be a violation, which makes one wonder if Judge Kellogg isn't trying to "support" Nelson into forming a traditional family unit.

Lawd, have mercy!

Judge Kellogg could have assisted her in the collection of back child support or made getting that assistance a requirement of probation, but that would have been too much like the right thing to do.

That's one way to show 'em in the Show Me State.

By Pamela Merritt

Pamela Merritt is the Co-Founder of Reproaction, a leading abortion rights and reproductive justice organization. Pamela is an activist and writer committed to empowering individuals and communities through reproductive justice. A proud Midwesterner, Merritt is dedicated to protecting and expanding access to the full spectrum of reproductive healthcare.

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