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Don't Forget to Spay and Neuter Your. . . Um . . . Poorer Neighbors?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008
After reflecting upon the devastating effects of Hurricanes Katrina and Gustav on the Big Easy, Louisiana State Representative John LaBruzzo (R) tells New Orleans City Business that he supports government subsidization of a controversial plan to offer sterilization to "impoverished women . . . so that they will stop having babies they can't afford." Not surprisingly, many New Orleans residents recoil in horror when their resident eugenicist speaks of what amounts to a creepily Orwellian plan to eliminate the poor. Of course, LaBruzzo emphasizes that such measures would be voluntary (and paid!) and that no woman would be forced to have her fallopian tubes tied.

LaBruzzo's critics -- and there are, understandably, many -- tend to echo New Orleans Women's Health Clinic's Shana Griffin's assessment of the plan as fundamentally racist, arguing that "it is obvious" that LaBruzzo's plan targets "welfare recipients and those dependent on city-assisted evacuation -- poor, black women."

In response to such accusations, WDSU.com reports, LaBruzzo claims that his "plan isn't racially motivated" by "point[ing] out that more whites are on welfare than blacks."

Still, even without any racial implications, as the ACLU's Majorie Esman asserts, LaBruzzo's proposition may be interpreted as "a mean-spirited, misguided effort to eliminate poverty by eliminating the poor."

Esman's observation seems to be supported by the fact that "[a]nother part of LaBruzzo's plan would give tax breaks to wealthier families who want more children."

Despite the waves of criticism, WDSU claims that "67 percent of viewers said it's appropriate for the state to implement the program."

Wow.

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