>There is a gut reaction, what Dr. Leon Kass has called a “yuck” factor, to the idea that a mother would trade her child for money, however the idea is framed.
ABC news picked up another news item, this time from my hometown. Our local Chamber of Commerce owns the copyright to the title of “Texan of the Year” and makes the award at our “Legislative Conference” every spring. The event is pretty big as far as State politics go, so there are usually quite a few of our Legislators present. I do my best not to miss it, but had to work yesterday, so I missed seeing our Governor, Rick Perry honored.
I also missed my chance to hear Senator Dan Patrick make the case for his proposal to pay women $500 if they will choose to carry their babies to term and put them up for adoption rather than have an abortion.
I’m all for supporting women who have chosen life for their child, and for individual support of local charities and outreach, as well as public policy that blatantly and unequivocally favors life over abortion. However, something doesn’t feel right about this cash money for babies deal.
At the very least, the proposal appears to favor adoption over keeping your own child to raise, at least as much as it favors adoption over abortion – possibly more.
I find it difficult to believe that a woman or girl will continue a pregnancy for the promise of $500 in 8 months or so, after the birth and after signing the rights of the child away. However, I can see desperate or depressed women and girls who have just given birth deciding that they can’t handle motherhood and considering the right-now $500. I’m also afraid that predators will find ways to take advantage of these mommas and the would-be adoptive parents.
My feminist side – my matriarchal/sisterhood side – is stirred to thoughts of “Just like a man!” (The Libertarian/Republican side is certain that the money could be spent more wisely.)
Frankly, I’m a little insulted by the implication that $500 will override the heartache, confusion and crisis that brings a woman or girl to the point of believing she has to make a choice between her child and her life, her future, her education or (all too often) the support of the man who got her pregnant or the family who should protect her most of all. These problems are not that cheap, and the currency is not money.
First, if you’re going to spend the money (sorry, Republican/Libertarian), spend it to give girls more options before they put themselves at risk of an unwanted pregnancy. Education is directly associated with delayed childbirth. Unfortunately, delayed childbirth is also related to increased infertility.
All too often, the only resources on college campuses for pregnant women are abortion-referral services. (See Feminists for Life) How would it be if we enabled and supported mothers and mothers-to-be in school, work, and the home? We could provide campus housing for married students and families, more daycare and family-centered health care and social services in the universities and colleges, where we are already investing our State tax funds.
Or, as a last resort, you could add that $500 per pregnancy to the Medicaid and TANF funds.
Added: My husband (who donates at least that much each month to life-causes, even if you just count the time I could be working instead of going to Austin and blogging) just commented: It’s strange that he’d talk about how priceless human life is, and then proceed to offer $500.”