The ACLU of Louisiana condemns State Rep. John LaBruzzo for suggesting that poor people, or those who use government services, should be sterilized to save taxpayer expense. Said Marjorie R. Esman, ACLU Executive Director, "this is a misguided and mean-spirited attempt to eliminate poverty by eliminating the poor. If Rep. LaBruzzo wants to show compassion for poor people, he should propose legislation to increase access to economic, educational, and other opportunities so that those less fortunate can improve their lives and their circumstances."
As a result of our history of race discrimination, African Americans are disproportionately represented among the poor in this country. Rep. LaBruzzo's proposal will therefore have a larger impact on African Americans, providing them with incentives to have fewer children while granting similar incentives to the wealthy - who are disproportionately white - to have more. "Regardless of Rep. LaBruzzo's stated intent, his proposal clearly harms minority communities. This is not the way to end poverty." Historically in economic downturns, the poorest among us are the first and easiest to scapegoat. Were this proposal to gain traction, surely history would look back upon it as one of our most shameful moments.
Esman continued: "Rep.LaBruzzo's proposal to provide incentives to wealthy, educated people to have children assumes that the children of wealthy, educated people are more desirable than the children of poor people. We are a nation of people who believe that every individual has worth. We cherish the possibility that the child of a poor family could grow up to be President of this country. We pride ourselves on being a land of opportunity, but Rep. LaBruzzo would allow opportunity only for those lucky enough to be born into wealth."