I watched a video called No Mas Bebes, and it got me thinking about the dualism in society. Obviously there was an injustice inflicted upon these women, which I do not mean to ignore. But at one point at the beginning of the film I was listening to the racist comment that was being analyzed, which was something along the lines of “Mexican women are having too many babies.” I don’t have statistics to refute or confirm this claim, but it does bring up an interesting idea about life. I think everyone has the right to choose if they want a child or not. That being said, at what point does someone’s personal problems become a societal problem. In cases of rape and unplanned pregnancy, it is pretty clear where the line needs to be drawn—the woman has the decision. One persons moral code aside, part of liberty and American individualism is having the ability to be in control of the major life changing decisions.
However, in other areas, such as how many children a person should have, this line becomes a little less clear. Lets just say, for the sake of argument, that it costs $100,000 to raise a child to 18 years old while giving them a decent life. Now lets say a couple living within their means can have 1 child safely, 2 children with risk of financial hardship at times, and at 3 children they will need serious financial help. This couple chooses to have 3 children with knowledge that they will not have the money personally to cover for that child’s needs. Do they deserve government assistance, which in turn means money from taxpayers? From a family oriented perspective, yes. If a family wants 3 children, they should be able to have 3 children. From a community responsibility perspective it is less clear. Yes, every family should be able to have whatever amount of children, but if their desire for children is depreciating the overall lifestyle of a community in order to provide for them, aren’t they being selfish?
Looking at this on a case-by-case basis makes it easy to side with the couple. One couple’s child isn’t going to impact the US economy as a whole (at least, not in terms of raising that child; Donald Trump very easily could “impact” the economy by himself). But once a trend is established, then it becomes a problem of responsibility. I don’t buy the claim that it is just Mexicans that are having too many children. I’m certain it is more than just this one group of people, and I am certain that people love to scapegoat specific groups. So let’s just pretend that the problem is White people in Alabama that are doing this because they feel entitled to it. We do a study and find that 80% of families in Alabama are having 2 children over what they can afford, and as a result the state and federal governments are forced to increase taxes to hand out 2 million dollars. Should we put limitations on how many children families can have in order to match the amount of fiscal responsibility they can maintain? If they child is their choice, should they not be the ones to pay for their decisions? I don’t have the answer. Let me know your opinions!