Monday, June 15, 2009


A few weeks ago I heard a story on NPR about how teenage mothers in North Carolina (I think it was NC) were being paid $1 a day for every day they were not pregnant again. And it was working! Just a dollar a day was keeping most of these teenagers from having another kid. Which got me thinking about a few child related issues. I suggest all these things only partially in jest, and I can't say how exactly they would be implemented, although if we've put men on the moon, this should be cake.

* Ban mothers from having kids under the age of 21. The government can and does regulate all manner of things for minors, and this should be no exception. Quite simply if someone under 21 gets pregnant they would have two options - abortion or adoption. I imagine some on the right would complain but this simply reinforces our previous president's Abstinence Only policy. I admit that they are right to say that the only way to 100% having a baby is not having sex. But even if teens do have ignorant condom/pill-free sex, they still don't get to keep the kid. Nor do their parents. The kid goes away one way or another.

In the year 2009 with the average life expectancy well over 70 years, there is no earthly reason that people should be cranking out babies before they can drink. I don't care what you're religion/cult says. If you can't keep your dick in your pants to 21, tough.

* Enforce college savings. There would be exceptions of course. If you're under the poverty line, you get a pass while you are trying to feed your family. Plus it doesn't have to start the day the kid is born, it could start at age 3. But it's mind blowing how many families, rich and poor alike aren't saving enough for college. People don't need to be saving enough for Harvard, but certainly enough for a community college.

And what if the kid doesn't get into college? Then they get a nice lump sum when they graduate high school or complete their GED. But if they don't do one of those, the money is given to more deserving kids. Obama put it quite well in his sort-of State of the Union address that anyone not getting a high school education is letting their country down.

* No avoiding inoculations. Apparently Jenny McCarthy, who of course earned her medical degree between stints on MTV's Singled Out, has become the lead voice of crazy people who think vaccines cause autism. (A) Studies have shown that there is not a link between vaccines and autism and (B) It's dangerous for their kids and other kids they play with. This isn't a change as much as a wish that we don't start sliding backwards.


Dennis said...

As long as we're banning women who are under 21 from having children, lets set financial limitations on birthing as well. On average a child costs XXXX$ per year to maintain. If you do not have access to said income: forced abortion. We'd be helping the economy and the environment in one fell swoop!


Max Nova said...

Dennis, I didn't quite want to go that far. I think even the richest 18 year old (daughter of an Alaskan governor) should not be having children. But I think a 30 year old social worker could make a fine parent.

David Pratt said...

I could not disagree with you on stronger terms.

nevie said...

i realize you said you were half-joking, but i really hope you meant entirely joking. because being forced to choose between adoption and abortion no matter what is pretty much the most awful thing i've ever heard.

not to mention it would likely do nothing to help the problem.
in order for that to ever go over successfully, adoption funding and programs would have to step up their game phenomenally and that's not likely to happen, though i would love to see it.

furthermore, abortion would no longer be much of a "choice" as to what to do with one's body, if one subscribes to that argument.

your suggestion, while said to be "half-joking," is actually quite infuriating. if anything should be done, it should be fathers, the other half of the problem, who should be mandated more heavily than to simply provide financial support, instead of women's options being further narrowed.

Dennis said...

Ah, I was assuming you meant people under 21 shouldn't be having children based on their inability to afford them (and the social problems that causes) and the looming overpopulation issue. You were going more for a parental immaturity
/kids being raised by kids (and the social problems that causes) angle.

Then again, I know plenty of grown adults who are more immature than some 20 year old people I've met. Really we could just use some sort of child birth licensing system. You could submit a form with your resume, genetic tests/biological information, IQ, financial information, a link to your facebook page, and an essay on why you want to have a child. If you get approved by whatever government agency, you get your license and can procreate.

But seriously, I like the required college fund idea. They could make it so contributions to the fund are tax free. Like you said, the money wouldn't even have to be just for college, possibly for a tech school or other types of training, or just start-up money for the young adult.

Max Nova said...


I admit, I could have done a really short post - "WEAR CONDOMS" but that would take a bit of the fun out of blogging.

I wish people took more account of the decisions they make but I would never seriously advocate legislation. I do think there's something to be said for ways to convince people to work in their own best interest (ie the dollar a day plan).

B.Graham said...

@Nevie - Amen sister!!

Also I know quite a large number of people who had kids before the age of 21 and everyone turned out just fine. That age limit is downright closed-minded.

Also also Maryland does have something like what you mentioned about the college funds:

And trade school is just as important as college, and it should not be looked upon so lightly.

Matt Lindeboom said...

The two cents that I might add is a complete, country-wide switch from abstinence only education to sexual education. This does not mean precluding the abstinence argument, rather folding it into a more comprehensive program than "Just don't do it." It won't solve the problem, but it's a step in the right direction.

@Max. A similar argument posited from a different angle might be banning men from engaging in sexual activity until after 21. The expected result is the same.

*Another dystopian idea that might gain traction if a population crisis really does spin out of control would be only public sanctioning of marriages for couples over 21 years only, and then only children born within wedlock would receive tax benefits. (They do something like this in "1984").

But in the end we have to realize that America is an oversexed place despite the fact that it doesn't understand sex. In many cases America employs a double standard on sex. Publicly the slogan most often reads, "Sex is for marriage." Then companies turn around and use sex to products with abandon.

I'm not endorsing censorship, because to me, censorship is an idiot saying, "Nothing to see here." (See any Reality Show "censorship" of nudity. Really? I can't tell their naked and making out in the hotub? Thanks.)

You need context; sex in context. But that's an entirely different post that I'll write. Too much for here.

Dennis said...

I totally agree with you Matt, abstinence can and should be taught along with real sex education. This is the only realistic/ethical way to limit the problem of unwanted teen pregnancy.

Honestly, I think this is the way drug abuse education should be as well. Just say no is fine, but it should be taught along with *real* information about the short/long term physical/mental effects of substance abuse as well as the effects it has on society as a whole. Sex/substance abuse are topics that kids WILL be confronting at some point in their young lives, and while I believe that the majority of this type of education should rest on the family unit, schools have a responsibility to prepare children as well.

Brittany: Yeah, I know plenty of people who were born to young mothers and were raised well. I don't think age is necessarily a factor in the unwanted pregnancy debate. Also, immediately after I commented about tax free savings I thought, "Huh, maybe I should look that up before I complain that it doesn't exist" While its not tax free, its definitely pretty gnarly.

Go Maryland!

Jstone said...

Or everyone can throw money into a space program to get the smart people off the planet and let the oversexed breed them selves into oblivion as God intended.

Also: WHHHHAAAAA-A-A-A-A-T!? People are claiming that vaccines cause autism? That's amazing! I <3 America.

AZ Winer said...

from what i understand... the incorrect link between vaccines and autism was made because children usually develop the disorder around the time that kids also get a majority of their vaccines (age 2 i believe).

There has been a large increase in the identification of this disorder over the past couple decades - an issue that people were not aware of during the youth of the previous generation - which was also a time when there were much fewer vaccines being administered.