Thursday, February 12, 2009

On Parenting Licenses (and Hypocrisy)

"The One Where Criss Is A Hypocrite."

I postponed this blog last night because I was scared -- I censored myself on my own blog, because I'm so proud that Planned Parenthood of North Texas has linked to my blog on its Facebook page. And that NARAL sent me a DM on Twitter saying I was writing "some great stuff" on my blog. And I don't want to make them mad.

Oh, and I reveal that I am, deep down, a hypocrite. Remember all that "choice" and reproductive rights stuff I was spewing a few days ago? I'm about to contradict it.

DISCLAIMER: The views expressed in this post are Criss's and hers alone. She does not speak for the pro-choice/reproductive rights movement in any way, shape, or form. She speaks only for own, opinionated herself.

Because today I'm going to talk about Parenting Licenses.

Look, if you think about it, this isn't THAT radical. What do you think we do to parents who want to adopt?

How come they have to go through all this crap, all these background checks, and tests, and evaluations, and waiting, but nobody else does?

We already have a system in place to decide who is a "fit" parent and who isn't. All I'm saying is that we be fair, and apply this to everyone who wants to be a parent.

The biggest problem is how to stop people (who are not infertile) from having children without "permission." Psst! I have an idea... but don't tell anyone, this is a pretty new, radical thought... birth control.

I've given this quite a bit of thought. Because I've seen too much p!ss-poor parenting at my job. I've seen too many kids suffering under incompetent, uncaring, or flat-out stupid parents. When you stew as much as I do, well, turns out you find time to polish your hare-brained, borderline-communist plans.

(PS - remember, I grew up in a Latin American dictatorship. Maybe borderline-communist isn't that big a deal to me... I dunno. Either way, here goes.)

Just like you have to have your measles shot to go to school, girls ages 12 and older (we might have to start earlier, thanks to all the hormones and other crap we're eating these days) would have to have their IUD.* That stays in for either 5 or 10 years (if 5, they have to get a new one at 17 -- if not, no school and no driver's license), and at 22 they have another review.

Now, if I were Queen of the World, at 22 we'd stick another IUD in there, until the woman applied for a parenting license and was approved. Since I'm not Queen of the World, I probably will have to comprimise a little. If the review/evaluation at 22 brings up severe red flags, maybe she'd get another mandatory IUD. If not, she'd have the birth control of her choice. And, yes, all this would be paid for by the government.

Think about it -- what would you rather do, fork over $200-$500 for the IUD, or the thousands it would take to raise a child through welfare?

So who does the evaluations? The same people who do them now. We just won't discriminate against infertiles anymore; we'll apply the rules to everybody.

I am fully aware that forcing women to get on birth control contradicts the whole idea of choice. But we have to draw the line somewhere: it's not fair to those potential children that we let any irresponsible twerp bring them into this world, when they never asked to be born and they especially didn't ask to be born by mistake (or as punishment).

A few days ago, someone Twittered: Also, World? Re the Octuplets Lady? HER BODY, HER CHOICE. Stop with the witch hunt and public castigation. PLEASE.

Once it's in her body, AND IT HAPPENED BY MISTAKE, then it's her choice.

But when she goes THAT FAR out of her way to GET IT in her body? No, this was a completely different situation. This is a woman having children for all the wrong reasons (hoping to get a $2 million deal with TLC = ALL THE WRONG REASONS), first of all, and endangering the potential children when doing so. Multiple births are extremely risky, for the mother and the children; stuffing that many embryos in her uterus at once was her first Grossly Irresponsible Parenting move. Wait -- or was Grossly Irresponsible Parenting Move #1 stuffing any embryos into her uterus when she already had six young children, one a special needs child, at home already, and couldn't manage to raise them as it was?

I don't want to get into the octuplet lady, because her case is so extreme and rare to apply to any conversation on parenting and/or reproductive rights. So we'll just leave her there (without her ad deals and endorsements.)

"My body, my choice" means that after the sh!t has hit the fan I get to control what happens to my body. It doesn't mean I get to bring children into the world just because I don't have anything better to do.

Before it's in her body, that's when we can hold up the potential child's rights. The right to only be conceived if it's going to be wanted and properly cared for. Hormonal birth control actually carries health benefits for the woman (yes, if you're over 35 and smoke it can be harmful, but my mandatory birth control plan is for girls ages 12-22, and if you smoke you're dumb and have chosen to not care about your health anyway), so it's not harming her or causing her any undue stress. (Any "stress" caused to the woman by the mandatory bc is probably much less than the stress of being abused, neglected, or abandoned would cause the potential child.)

Alright, that's about as far as my brain is going to take me tonight. Bring it on: call me a communist, call me a hypocrite. I still stand by my Parenting Licenses.

Some info on IUDs, by the way:

*I need to double-double check that women who have never been pregnant can use an IUD with no problems. I'm pretty sure NOW it's okay (it didn't use to be), but I'm not 100% definite. If IUDs won't work, we'll go back to the Norplant plan.


  1. I'm not 100% sure how I feel about this. I know that there are people who are absolutely unfit to be parents, but at the same time I worry about the criteria. After all, there are so many different things upon which one could judge whether or not someone should be a parent, so what do you use? You mentioned the way that adoption agencies choose families, but having seen this process in action, I know that oftentimes completely worthy and qualified parents are prevented from adopting because of overly strict criteria: the parents are gay, or the parent is single, or one of the partners has a health problem.

    I fall into the last category, and I worry that a system like this would deny children for people like me, who are responsible enough not to decide to have children until they know that their illness(es) won't interfere with the care of the child(ren).

    I tend to be really big on personal freedoms, so I would be lying if I said this topic didn't make me uncomfortable, but I can understand parts of where you're coming from, and I certainly don't think it makes you a hypocrite. The theme that seems to tie your posts together (whether they're about abortion or the right to reproduce) is that you're for responsible parenting. I might not agree with how far you take the regulation of child rearing, but I can certainly appreciate where you're coming from and that you have nothing but the best interests of children at heart.

    Thank you, again, for always being so brave. It's quite a good example for a new blogger like me, and for anyone, really.

  2. i know i encourage you to bring the 'tude, but garsh almighty...worrying about being a hypocrite should be the least of your worries with this opinion. you certainly do have a bit of a dictator streak in you, don't you?

    i'll pass on having a dictator. wasn't having one the past eight years what all my favorite commie libs were complaining about?

  3. @crisatunity: Yes, that was what we were complaining about. But, don't you get it? When I'm dictator it'll be different, because I'll dictate all the right things! (Oh, and`I can string two sentences together without resorting to made-up words.)

    @In The Meantime: I agree that some of the adoption criteria is too strict. If something like my plan were ever to be implemented (and I know this will, sadly, never happen), then those criteria would be more in the public eye and the stupid restrictions (gay, single, certain health issues) would be removed.

    Even if there is no parenting license evaluation, I would love to find a way to put all girls on mandatory birth control until at least age 21. Teen pregnancy is a rampant problem with huge consequences. Doesn't an IUD seem like an easy (an, in comparison, cheap) solution to that problem?

  4. Even without being mandatory, if we get info about IUDs and other more reliable birth control to young women, then the incidence of accidental pregnancy will go down and as a result the number of kids born to completely unprepared parents will decrease.

    We also don't have to make any sort of a law about this for it to happen. We can make it social pressure. In the IUD video she mentions how many women in Mexico get their first IUD at 15 or so. Many teens at least attempt to use some sort of birth control when they start to have sex (even if it's just condoms), so if we encourage them to use a form that's reliable despite any potential user error they'll be much better covered.

    There are downsides to hormonal options, which is why Paraguard (the copper IUD, which lass for 10 years) is also an option.

    Crisatunity-- You think you've seen her "'tude"? This is nothing. I've been surprised not to see more of this in these posts already. ; )

  5. @Marcy: Even if we get the info out there, the $200-$500 price tag would keep many girls from getting it. If we could get this info in the schools and offer to pay for it, then we'd be getting somewhere.

    Yes, this is my socialist bleeding-heart asking the govt to fork out money, but I'd much rather pay for the bc than for the welfare child (and not just because it's cheaper).

  6. Many insurances actually do pay for a lot of the cost-- Kaiser Permanente, our insurer, covers the whole cost even if you take it out the next week. Another friend was saying hers will cover it, as long as you keep it in for 2+ years.

    I don't know about other insurance companies, but even so... $500 over 5 (or 10) years is still better than $40 every month.

  7. "$500 over 5 (or 10) years is still better than $40 every month."

    When you take the time to think logically and realize the long-term savings, yes. But how many people take the time to think logically about money?

    "If I wait a few months, save up the cash, and pay for this with cash, it'll cost me this much. But I can buy it NOW with a credit card and take it home RIGHT NOW -- even though I'll be paying 27% interest on it for the next five years."

    Also, when you don't have the $500 to begin with, the savings are a moot point.

    I'll have to do some research about insurance companies and this. Maybe my view is outdated/skewed because I work in education, where most employees are women, and insurance companies don't like to insure women because we have extra bits and that makes us more expensive. (YES, insurance companies have actually said this. Out loud. To teachers.) So we always get crappy insurance, and crappy birth control coverage.

  8. @criss - get in line. my wife and daughter already have laid all claims to Dictator.

    i'm alright with a dictator, as long as she's cute.