Paying for sterilization

Louisiana state Rep. John LaBruzzo wants to offer poor women $1,000 to have their tubes tied.

Published September 26, 2008 4:40PM (EDT)

Louisiana state Rep. John LaBruzzo announced on Tuesday that he is "studying a plan to pay poor women $1,000 to have their Fallopian tubes tied." Seriously. Because he's worried that "people receiving government aid such as food stamps and publicly subsidized housing are reproducing at a faster rate than more affluent, better-educated people." I really wish I had vlogging capabilities, because the only response I can formulate right now is my standard "Are you fucking kidding me?" face, times a thousand.

Fortunately, others have found words more easily than I. Ann at Feministing notes, "What he clearly deems to be a new and creative solution has unfortunately been around a long time. Compulsory or coercive sterilizations for low-income women, disabled women, and women of color were extremely common up until the 1970s, and slightly less common but nevertheless occurring with regularity [in] the decades since." And on CNN, Kyra Phillips reminded LaBruzzo that in Louisiana, the poverty rate for adults with no kids is actually higher than that for adults with kids. "So doesn't that blow your theory?" she asked. Not to put too fine a point on it.

Though he claims to be considering "any and all possibilities" of reducing the problem of "generational welfare," I hardly need to tell you that LaBruzzo opposes abortion. Letting women control their own bodies is what got us into this mess in the first place! And wait, there's more. He also wants to provide tax incentives for "college-educated, higher-income people" to have more (cough) white (cough) kids. "It's easy to say, 'Oh, he's a racist,'" says LaBruzzo. (Yes, yes it is.) "The hard part is to sit down and think of some solutions." Well Melissa McEwan at Shakesville has already thought of one: "I'm proposing as a contingency of the federal bailout that every executive at every firm receiving government funds is required to undergo sterilization."

By Kate Harding

Kate Harding is the author of Asking For It: The Alarming Rise of Rape Culture--and What We Can Do About It, available from Da Capo Press in August 2015. Previously, she collaborated with Anna Holmes, Amanda Hess, and a cast of thousands on The Book of Jezebel, and with Marianne Kirby on Lessons from the Fat-o-Sphere. You might also remember her as the founding editor of Shapely Prose (2007-2010). Kate's essays have appeared in the anthologies Madonna & Me, Yes Means Yes, Feed Me, and Airmail: Women of Letters. She holds an M.F.A. in fiction from Vermont College of Fine Arts and a B.A. in English from University of Toronto, and is currently at work on a Ph.D. in creative writing from Bath Spa University

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