STEVE ASHMORE: Individual choices belong to the individual
China has a population problem. For years their major cities have been overcrowded, their resources stretched to the limit, and many of their citizens live in abject poverty. To combat this crisis China implemented a “one-child policy” in the late 1970s. Couples were encouraged to wait until later in life to marry. Family planning and contraceptives were strongly encouraged by the communist government.
The concept was simple: By limiting couples to one child the population would shrink over a generation to a manageable level. Mandatory contraception and sterilization for women was part of the One Generation Policy. The draconian plan was deemed a success by Chinese officials. It was estimated that 400 million births were prevented. The one-child policy was officially abandoned in October 2015, nearly 35 years after its inception.
So why discuss such an issue? Well, there’s a legislator in Alabama who has similar plans for her constituents. House Bill 238 was filed last Thursday by State Representative Rolanda Hollis which if passed, would require men turning 50 or having a third biological child to undergo a vasectomy at their own expense. The impetus for the legislation, according to its sponsor, is to reduce unwanted pregnancies. It is also designed to make men more responsible for their role in such matters.
To be sure, there are too many children born out of wedlock. There are families who can’t afford to feed the mouths that sit at the dinner table each evening. But we need not follow the lead of a communist nation and enforce sterilization of either gender by rule of law. Our politicians need to concern themselves with the infrastructure and the economy at the state level. Individual choices need to be left to the individual.