In six years, a cocaine-addicted, unwed and oftenhomeless Rochester couple has had four children and lost them all to foster care.
Enough is enough, a judge has ruled.
In a decision that could be the first of its kind in the nation, Monroe County Family Court Judge Marilyn L. O’Connor has ordered the couple to have no more children until they’re reunited with the children they already have and prove they can take care of them.
Regarding the third and fourth additional conditions, it is the intention of the court that the mother be required to not get pregnant until all of her children are being raised by a natural parent, or are no longer being cared for at the expense of the public. It is similarly the intention of the court that the father be required to not father another child until all his children are being raised by a natural parent, or are no longer being cared for at the expense of the public. It is further the intention of the court that neither parent shall conceive another child until found capable of having custody of all their current children. In other words, the respondents shall be required to act like responsible parents and for the duration of the order, to have no more children unless they can parent them themselves. Thus, the third and fourth additional ordering paragraphs shall state:
ORDERED that effective upon the date of personal service of a copy of this order upon respondent Stephanie P. and so long as this order or an extension of it is in effect, the respondent Stephanie P. shall not get pregnant again until and unless she has actually obtained custody and care of Bobbijean P. and every other child of hers who is in foster care and has not been adopted or institutionalized; and it is further
ORDERED that effective upon the date of service of a copy of this order upon respondent Rodney E. Sr. and so long as this order or an extension of it is in effect, the respondent Rodney E. Sr. shall not father any other child or children until and unless he has actually obtained custody and care of Bobbijean P. and every other child of his who is in foster care and has not been adopted or institutionalized or had custody granted to another party; . . .
Judge O'Connor's ruling about the "no-parent family" problem is tragically accurate in too many cases.
It is painfully obvious that a parent who has already lost to foster care all 4 of her children born over a 6-year period, with the last one having been taken from her even before she could leave the hospital, should not get pregnant again soon, if ever. She should not have yet another child which must be cared for at public expense before she has proven herself able to care for other children. The same is true for the father and his children. As to both parents, providing care for the children includes providing financial support. This is a practical, social, economic and moral reality. In effect, Bobbijean was born to a "no-parent family". She is for all practical purposes motherless and fatherless. This is not acceptable. All babies deserve more than to be born to parents who have proven they cannot possibly raise or parent a child. This neglected existence is an immense burden to place on a child and on society. The cycle of neglect often created by such births needs to stop. Our society has reached the breaking point with respect to raising neglected children, often born with extraordinary needs. One only need look at our schools, our jails, our Division of Human and Health Services budgets, and our Family Courts to see that a serious change of direction is necessary in the interests of children, the taxpayers, and the community as a whole.
How can you argue with that? Of course, the usual loonies are all upset.
”What the judge has done here is highly unusual,” said Anna Schissel, staff attorney for the Reproductive Rights Project of the New York Civil Liberties Union. “I don’t know of any precedent that would permit a judge to do this. And even if there were a precedent, it … violates the United States Constitution and the New York Constitution.
People like Ms. Schissel give the US Constitution a bad reputation that I do not think it deserves. Would the Founding Fathers have supported a right for drug addicts to have babies that are messed up in the womb by drugs and then abused and neglected after birth? I figure the Founding Fathers were sensible men who would understand that damaging embryos and babies and then inevitably inflicting society with the resulting costs is at minimum impractical, obviously immoral and that to support a supposed "right" to do this is even quite insane. It is time to call the nutcases what they are: nutcases. The ACLU crowd ran out of worthwhile causes and so have turned their attention toward promoting causes that are deeply harmful to the health of society. Irresponsible nuts. Shame on them.
Back in the realm of sanity the favorite charity for venture capitalist and philanthropist Jim Woodhill is the organization Project Prevention (a.k.a. C.R.A.C.K) which offers money to drug addict and alcoholic women to receive Norplant implants or sterilization (their choice) so that they stop getting pregnant while strung out. Founder Barbara Harris has adopted 4 babies that were born to the same addict mother and she decided to start providing financial incentives for addicts to take steps to become infertile for long periods of time. I think the charity is a great idea.
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2004 May 11 02:16 AM Civilizations Decay|