When we Americans want to do something about poverty, we usually set about “improving” poor people. We may offer education or job training, establish programs to develop the parenting skills of young mothers, require addiction treatment as a condition for receiving housing, put a time limit on welfare benefits in order to motivate poor people to work, or refuse additional welfare payments to discourage future childbearing.
This practice of improving poor people has a long history. Early American reformers traced extreme poverty to intoxication, laziness, and other kinds of unacceptable behavior. They tried to use public policy and philanthropy to elevate poor people’s characters and change their behavior. As the years passed, different sets of behaviors were blamed for poverty and successive methods suggested to improve the poor. Later reformers looked to evangelical religion, temperance legislation, punitive poor houses, the forced breakup of families, and threats of institutionalization - all to improve poor people.
This approach has rested on the individual belief that the individual faults of the poor are the primary causes of poverty: ignorance, lack of training, addiction, laziness, defective character, sexual promiscuity, too many children; the list goes on and on. It is not surprising, of course, that a nation so strongly committed to individualism should so often search for the roots of poverty within the poor persons themselves.
WOW. I knew that TX had decided to forgo the federal Medicaid money so they could prevent Planned Parenthood from getting money because the state didn’t like abortion. And I knew they were willing to let 130,000 low-income people go without healthcare. But I did NOT know that doing so would have no effect on the abortion clinics at all. I don’t think what they’re doing is right on any level whatsoever; hell, I think the Hyde Amendment should be repealed immediately. But how are they going to justify this even to the most conservative person? If they’re not even keeping money away from abortion providers (the supposed reason for this political play in the first place), then how do they justify leaving their most vulnerable citizens with no healthcare? What the fuck are they thinking? What could this possibly accomplish? And what about the low-income people depending on these clinics for care during their pregnancies? Working class people already have more health risks even before pregnancy. This will surely contribute to increasing “maternal” morbidity, “maternal” mortality, and infant sickness and death. JFC, Texas. You’re just so pro-life it hurts.