How willing is our culture to take steps necessary to prevent child abuse? Sterilization?
I have to confess that the daily stories we’re seeing about the vulnerability of kids are largely familiar. We’ve heard most of them before — a number of times.
We also know that numerous government and non-profit agencies are working earnestly on prevention and intervention. Yet they can do only so much.
People who work with small children from dysfunctional homes — teachers, counselors, social workers, law enforcement officers — can point to families where child abuse and neglect are a pattern, where nothing has been shown to work and where the pregnancies keep coming.
If we balance the right of a child to be raised in a healthy environment against the right of a parent to pursue happiness between the sheets, why are we so reluctant to promote sterilization of demonstrably unfit parents?
I’m talking about extreme cases here, but I expect there will be those who are gasping, even now. One of the first words they are likely to utter once they regain the ability to speak will be “fascist.”
But consider: We sentence child molesters to prison, then, when the sentence has been served, we require them to register the rest of their lives. We do that, even though they have paid the prescribed penalty, because of what we know they are likely to do in the future. A serial rapist like Kevin Coe (who ultimately was convicted of only one rape) can even be returned to prison after serving his full term.
In extreme cases where parents have made it clear that future children will be subject to abuse or neglect, why shouldn’t the law require sterilization — fathers as well as mothers?