Last week, Louisiana state representative John LaBruzzo suggested that economic disparity and crisis might be lessened by the sterilization of the poor who, he must believe, are a burden on the U.S. economic system and should be scapegoated for a crisis of corporations.
LaBruzzo said he worries 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 who presumably pay more tax revenue to the government. He said he is gathering statistics now.
Though it’s reported that the program LaBruzzo is considering might include vasectomies for men “to avoid charges of gender discrimination,” his primary target is women, to whom he would offer $1,000 to undergo tubal ligation. However:
It also could include tax incentives for college-educated, higher-income people to have more children, he said.
So it’s not fewer children he wants on behalf of North Americans, it’s less children born to poor women, primarily women of color. Bad economic policy is not an apt cover for this sort of discrimination.
Now, my point is not only to point fingers at this one guy. Taken from a response written by the Women’s Health and Justice Initiative and the New Orlean’s Women’s Health Clinic and posted at Elle, Phd, LaBruzzo’s plan is but one example of the injustices that spring from the overlapping ideologies and culturally integrated practices of: eugenics, reproductive violence, sterilization abuse, devaluation of poor women’s sexuality and motherhood (and fatherhood, I would add), and other classic -ism’s.
Even if sterilization is voluntary, POVERTY IS NOT! Poverty, economic insecurity, and lack of sustainable livelihood can cause a woman to consider this aggressive sterilization incentive a viable option.
LaBruzzo talks about poverty as though it were an infectious disease—a though poor people will eventually make everyone poor—rather than a condition people are condemned to by Louisiana’s lack of investment in education, employment, affordable housing, and quality health care programs, services, and resources…
We are basically witnessing a two front war against poor and working class black communities right now. On one hand, we have the Bush administration fighting to push an economic corporate welfare bailout plan to save Wall Street, and on the other, we have an elected official blaming the bodies and reproductive decisions of poor black women for the social conditions caused by corporate greed.
Story via Womanist Musings.
Also, more on blaming people of color for the economic meltdown of late at Feministe.
This post was written by Emily on September 29, 2008