This sample essay on Mandatory Birth Control For Welfare Recipients reveals arguments and important aspects of this topic. Read this essay’s introduction, body paragraphs and the conclusion below.
The American welfare system began in the 1930s, during the Great Depression, to aid families with little or no income. The welfare system expanded over the following six decades. Allegations of welfare fraud and abuse increased proportionally. Some welfare recipients were staying unmarried, unemployed, or acquiring more children to manipulate the system and qualify for more aid (Welfareinfo.
In 1996, President Bill Clinton signed a bill turning control of the welfare system over to the individual states. Thus, allowing states to choose their preferred mechanisms to modify the requirements and restrictions of welfare applicants and recipients to minimize the abuses. Both sides of the aisle have introduced bills to eliminate funding to chronic welfare abuses and preserve the limited welfare funds for families and individuals in genuine need of temporary financial assistance.
Despite sounding like an oxymoron, political officials have the most appropriate career competency for understanding state laws and determining the better courses of action for preserving state tax revenues.
On June 20, 2013, The US Congress led by Rep. Stephen Fincher’s (R-Tenn) put forth a bill that would require states to perform random drug tests on 20% of the people receiving benefits from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. The bill did not pass the Congress. Rep. Fincher intends to revise the bill and submit for a vote later.
On February 2, 2009, the Obama administration revised the TANF program adding a requirement that welfare recipients must take an active role in searching for employment, and to remain employed when possible. Numerous other bills have been introduced in Congress over the years to address the issues of drug use, intentional unemployment, and fraud in state or federal subsidized programs. Adding children to a family already in welfare programs increases the amount of welfare payment and extends the amount of time a person can be unemployed and receive taxpayer funded welfare. Some welfare recipients have additional children simply as a way to profit from the system.
The topic of this debate will be: Should individuals, enrolled in a government assistance programs, be required to be on birth control to receive benefits? This debate paper will begin with three arguments from the pro perspective, followed by three arguments from the con perspective. The merits of these debate arguments will be discussed, followed by a conclusion based on the team’s determination of the stronger set of arguments. Lastly, the weaker perspective will offer a rebuttal to the team’s conclusion. Pro Arguments
Foster Child and Adoption Programs A person qualifies for welfare when he or she does not have the means, or ability to provide adequately for them self. Social service agencies will not place foster or adoptive children in economically unstable household to ensure the child’s needs are adequately met. As a ward of society and for the protection of unborn children, a welfare recipient should be required to be on birth control and meet the same standards required for adoptive or foster parents before mandatory birth control can be suspended. Doing this would mirror the social service guidelines already established, which ensure children’s need can be adequately met by their guardians, and also prevents additional burdens on the welfare system. Social Responsibilities and Constitutional Rights
The Constitution holds an individual’s rights to be inalienable. The Supreme Court has ruled that citizen rights are exercised only to the extent that they do not infringe on the rights of another. Therefore, irresponsible reproduction by welfare recipients infringes upon the rights of fellow Americans, by forcing them to support the reckless behavior of the welfare recipient. Further, welfare is an entitlement program, not a constitutional right. The government has numerous restrictions and requirement for social security, unemployment, education, and every other entitlement program. Those restrictions preserve the intent of the programs and reduce abuses.
This requirement is simply asking potential mothers and fathers to take responsibility for their own actions. Having children should not be forbidden; however, temporarily restrictions while a potential mother or father is dependent upon taxpayer backed state assistance should be required. This should help eliminate many of the cases of welfare abuse by decoupling the desire to have children and the current financial incentive of welfare recipients to have more children. This creates a further incentive for seeking employment and self improvement of potential mothers or fathers wanting children and should reduce the amount of time a recipient stays in the welfare system. Universal Health care and contraception
A person should be required to use birth control to receive government assistance if he or she is cannot to support and feed themselves and any children he or she already has. If this person refuses to participate in preventative measures for religious or other reasons then monetary assistance should eliminated if they were to have another pregnancy. The state should provide free contraception to them as part of their assistance. Free vasectomies to the men should be offered as part of this program. Con Arguments
Religious conflict to birth control A person should not be forced to take birth control to receive assistance if he or she chooses not to. Many religious beliefs do not permit contraception to be used. The Catholic Church, for example, is one. If God wants a person to have a child, what right does the state or federal government have to override His will? Social Responsibilities and Constitutional Rights
The Constitution of the United States of America gives the same rights and protections to all persons regardless of their employment or income status. The government has no authority to regulate when, why, or how often any person procreates. Requiring that welfare recipients submit to birth control to receive welfare benefits is a violation of that person’s constitutional rights.
Such a draconian measure will harm families and promote suffering of innocent children who welfare recipients already have. For the government to cut off a citizen’s rightful assistance for the very natural and inalienable right of procreation is tyrannical and stands in stark contract to every principle that this great country was founded. Universal Health Care and Contraception
Before an individual’s reproductive rights are taken away, we must speak of global access to birth control. Does a welfare recipient pose a higher long-term risk, compared to a teenage mother? Focusing birth control mandates on citizens who are already struggling with hard times will not address the broader issues of decreasing the demands on the welfare system.
Planned Parenthood, one of the largest sources of free and low-cost birth control, and has experienced countless budget cuts, year after year. These budget cuts make providing services to the neediest participants extremely difficult. What other services will need to be provided in the long term to young mothers. Better funding of family planning programs is a better use of tax payer dollars. Providing more funding to family planning clinics provides solutions to individuals who are actively seeking family planning rather than infringing on the rights stereotyped group who find themselves needing help, not oppression. Welfare Requirements Debate
In an evaluation of the arguments presented, Team D has determined that the pro side of this debate presented stronger arguments. Several logic errors or fallacies were noted in the con arguments, which further weakened the strengths of the con side of the debate. There were two direct parallels between the pro and con arguments. One of the set of arguments is not directly paired, but did overlap with some relevance. The team determined at the con argument of religious belief is a fallacy, shifting the burden of proof. The con argument of universal health care addresses the religious argument without side stepping the issue. The team evaluation also determined the con argument is an argument from popularity.
Further, the separation of church and state should not allow or require that state welfare policies cater to individual religious concerns. There are numerous legal precedents, such as Roe v Wade that establish government policy despite conflicting religious perspective. On the issue of constitutional rights, the team opinion again found the pro argument better reasoned. The most convincing aspects of the pro argument were welfare is an entitlement program, not a constitutional right, and entitlement programs can place restrictions. This was viewed as the pro side providing legal precedent.
The con side is a statement of faulty comparison and does not provide any counterargument to pro side’s establishment of the legal precedent. The arguments of universal health care were also determined stronger on the pro side. While neither side had a particularly strong argument, the pro side did provide a rebuttal to the religious argument of the con side. The con argument is not substantive to the debate and is considered to be a red herring. The team concludes the pro side presented a strong case for each of the arguments. Since, welfare benefits are not constitutionally mandated, and individual’s rights to procreate freely are not protected under the Constitution. States should have the liberties to decide requirements that must be met to use welfare benefits, including use of mandatory birth control. Rebuttal
The government has the responsibility to protect its citizen’s rights and responsibilities, not remove them. Regardless of whether welfare is an entitlement program or a right, the government does not have the authority to make family planning decisions for its citizens. Such actions would be a clear and blatant violation of constitutional rights.
Imposing such requirements on welfare recipients is not simply a slippery slope, but an avalanche of issues that have not been discussed or evaluated by the proponents of mandatory birth control. What recourse will women have if they suffered any of the potential side effects of birth control such as decreased fertility, hormone regulation, depression, mood disorders? What happens to the people kicked off the welfare system? Are they left to starve? The moral wrongs of this requirement far outweigh any tax saving biased statisticians can produce.
Abuses and fraud may exist in the welfare system, but mandatory birth control is not an effective approach to try to address that. The many who depend on the welfare system would be undeservedly punished for the crimes of a few that take advantage of it. Mandatory birth control is a one-size fits all approach, like using a nuclear bomb to swat flies. There are many other approaches that can and should be taken that can achieve the goal of reducing fraud and protecting the rights of families.
Many mothers cannot work because the cost of childcare is greater than the income they can earn. Creating more affordable childcare programs would aid to get mothers in the workforce and off the welfare roles. Sick children cannot go to school or daycare, which means mothers cannot work and cannot earn money when their children are sick. Health care is prohibitively expensive. Affordable health care or access to universal health care would create healthier children and allow them to stay in school or daycare. This cycle of mothers having to leave work to stay at home with their sick children has been the very cause of many mothers losing steady employment and end up dependent on welfare.
These are just a few of many alternatives that would create a positive impact on all parties involved and reduce dependence on the welfare system. There are better ways to preserve and protect the welfare system and families. For these reasons and many more, birth control should not be made as a mandatory part of receiving welfare benefits.