Birth Control

We’ve had many interactions with the foster care folks in the past couple of weeks, hence my absence from the blogosphere.  During these interactions, many of the same topics and problems present themselves repeatedly and are discussed frequently.  One of my pet peeves is the number of children that families with chronic problems continue to have.  In this day and age, I am constantly amazed that birth control isn’t used by more of the women whose kids go into the system.  In my mind, it seems like a simple solution to many of the problems these women face.

In my world, birth control is a matter of going to the free clinic and having an Implanon strip inserted into my arm to prevent pregnancy for up to three years.  Even if I’m not insured, there are ways to prevent conception that go beyond the “inconvenience” of condoms.  In Canada it is apparently not that easy. One of the social workers explained to me this morning that you must be insured and that the prescription is not covered.  This is lunacy to me.  It means that we, as a society, are complicit in the continued birth of children who will have difficult lives of pain and sorrow and who will definitely not, through no choice of their own, be productive citizens of Canada or the world.

Why is birth control still unavailable to all women?  (Current concerns in the US.)   There are so many of us in the world, why is it still such a difficult situation?  Beyond that, why isn’t it absolutely mandatory that known alcoholics and drug users are not automatically implanted with birth control?  It is not a permanent method.  It is not interfering with anyone’s reproductive rights.  What it does is insure that no children are born with FASD or addictions that will forever cripple their lives.  It also insures that we are not bringing children into the homes of people who are physically and mentally incapable of caring for them.

There are ways to do this.  We watched a woman with serious addictions interact with the foster care system for her other children.  She was pregnant during this period.  Everyone knew she was pregnant.  Why don’t we just hospitalize her until the child is born?  Implant her and let her do her thing until she is ready to go through treatment and can be drug tested to prove she is clean?  How about methadone users?  They go and get a shot everyday.  Why not require that they are implanted in order to receive the shots?  Doctors offices, emergency rooms and criminal courts all see chronic drug abusers on a daily basis.  Couldn’t they be used as first line responders to identify and treat these people?

I realize this is a difficult issue.  There are many ways to abuse a system that uses the discretion of professionals to render women infertile.  I understand the issues surrounding certain classes and cultures of women and their chronic problems with drugs and alcohol.  I’ve heard the word “genocide” used to describe solutions such as the one I’ve offered.  I recognize the threat and possibility.  But I also see that continuing to have large families of children born of parents with chronic drug addictions and alcohol use is also a form of genocide.  These children will not be capable of preserving or maintaining the culture of their forebears.  These are children who will function below average for the duration of their lives.  They will not have the intellectual capacity to even grasp the concept of cultural preservation, let alone to actively pursue it.

At some point, we have to intervene.  Too many lives are being destroyed before they’ve even begun.  If we don’t find solutions to this problem, we will be complicit in the maintenance of it.

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~ by byrningbunny on July 16, 2008.

One Response to “Birth Control”

  1. We are all complicit. This is a serious ongoing problem that must be addressed. I think the way to come at is from the perspective of children’s rights. These children have rights. So many people fight for the rights of the unborn, I see no problem applying that in a different way. Most of these kids have no chance at a successful and fulfilling life. Please check out my blog – newlawmom.wordpress.com

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