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Forced birth control

I'm as libertarian as you can get when it comes to individual rights - including the right to hump like a rabbit and make babies.

But it's hard to advocate parenthood in this guy's case.

If you don't have time to follow the link, it's a story about Gary Staton, a 37-year-old Nebraska man whose wife died in early 2007, leaving him with their nine kids, ages 1 to 16, including one stepdaughter.

Stanton couldn't handle the pressure, so he took advantage of Nebraska's Safe Haven Law and dropped the kids off at an Omaha hospital, washed his hands Pontius Pilate-style, and drove off.

The law was intended to allow parents who couldn't handle the pressure to turn their babies over safely and without fear of reprisal, because leaving your baby at a hospital is a better option than abandoning him on the street. He's safe. You're not arrested. Everyone wins, no?

The problem is the law, as originally written, did not include age limits on the kids who could be legally ditched. It has since been changed to limit ditchees to newborns.

And Gary Staton? His new girlfriend is pregnant with twins.

The best quote I've heard from a great dad in years goes to Staton from an interview with the Omaha World-Herald after he dropped off his nine other kids two years ago: "If I had a thousand dollars I'd get fixed."



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I don't understand why everyone was so bent out of shape when he ditched his kids at the hospital.

I don't care if a child is 3 months or 6 years old, if a parent comes to the realization that they don't have the capacity to properly care for that child, isn't it truly in the child's best interest for the parent to be able to give the child up?

A parent who can give up a child (or children) like that is obviously broken. Some people are broken. Some people can't be fixed. I think it's more harmful for the child to continue to be in their care while the system tries to "fix" them.

As for forced birth control, I'm for it at birth. People should have to apply to get off of it and get licensed for having children.

You can't get a license until you correctly pass a parenting test with a score of 100% that has the following questions:

Your child starts to scream in the middle of the new Predator movie. You do the following:
a) smack him to shut him up
b) calmly walk out of the theater with the screaming child until he settles down.
c) allow the other patrons to beat me to death for bringing a child to see Predator.

Your child has tipped over the desert cart at the Red Lobster. You do the following:
a) smack the child for misbehaving.
b) gently admonish the child and insist he apologize to the server and other patrons.
c) allow the other patrons to beat me to death for allowing my child to run around the restaurant unsupervised.

I think you can get the rest of the questions.


It's unbelievable that this guy gave up nine children, then turns around and impregnates someone else. Hasn't this guy ever heard of birth control?! Perhaps if he had been charged child support for the children he abandoned, he wouldn't have been so quick to make more.

On the other hand -- unwanted children are stuck in "families" where they are resented and probably abused, physically and/or mentally. I think the children are better off out of the "family" than in it. The uproar regarding people giving up children of all ages surprised me. I've known many people who had children they had never planned to have and who obviously took out their resentment on the children in one way or another. Don't you think it would be better that those children be removed from their parents' influence? Why should this be limited to newborns only?

And where are all those people who are against birth control and abortion? Why aren't they stepping up to take care of the abandoned children? Or do they really believe that if you fool around and get pregnant that your punishment is to be stuck with a child for 18 years? And who is really being punished, the parent or the child?

This is an interesting subject. I hope a lot of people will comment on this. I'd really like to see what people think about this.


Christian Prophet

The problem is not the ages in the law. The problem is the stupidity of such a law in the first place. All I have to do now is claim I cannot cope in life in order to be relieved of all responsibility? See the definition of "libertarian:"


sounds like he was the 10th and biggest child

Jeni Hill Ertmer

All of the above comments do have more than a ring of truth to them. However, there is something else in that article that, if it had been applied for this guy and his family, might have been a salvation for them to stay together. Note, his wages -$10.75 an hour. Who in blazes can support a family of that size on an income like that? But, note too that the state is willing to pay out almost $1,500 a month, per child, for their care under someone else's roof. Now, why couldn't that money have been used to help the father to keep his family together in the first place? NO, not necessary $1,500 times 9 per month, but at least a reasonable portion of it because I'd be willing to bet that economics -plus working -plus trying to just cope with 9 children, alone -all piled together did him in and I'm betting it might just come pretty darned close to doing the same to many of us too, were we in the same situation.
Granted, on his income, and with 9 children and himself, he would have been eligible at the very least for a substantial outlay of food stamps. But still, the other expenses of day-to-day life with that many people in a home would be enough to swallow his paycheck in one little bite.
I know too, the solution would have been birth control a long time before the nine children were brought into the world but not everyone thinks of things in the realistic mode all the time.
I'm not condoning his actions -not quite, anyway. But I can relate to his reasons all to well. As a single parent of only three children, I worked two jobs and I was fortunate enough to get what was by the standards 20 years ago to be a decent amount of child support, and we survived but barely most of the time. My income was crappy but was still too much when combined with my child support to be eligible for any type of assistance -no food stamps, no medical cards either. And, I was "lucky" too that the house I had was mine -left to me by my Mom. But it used to really irk me that back then, if I had been able to find room in my house and had applied to be a foster parent, I would have recieved from the state more for the upkeep of one child then than I received for my three put together. Had I been eligible for any type of assistance of that type, I could have given up one of the jobs I had and been able to have been a better parent by being able to simply be with them more of the time than I was with the hours I worked. I know too things like that are not feasible in the real world as we know it but it is the irony of the way things were, often still are too for single parents and also, for many families who have both parents to, thanks to the economy today.
No, I never relinquished custody of my children but that's not to say that there weren't days -and many of them -when the frustrations of trying to just cover our basic needs didn't cause me to think, just for a teensy bit -about doing that.
Too many people who have never wanted, never struggled that much, often can't grasp what those feelings are like for those of us who faced, or are facing today, a bit of desperation from time to time.
And I do think though that if he said that bit about if he'd been given $1,000 he would have been willing to opt for sterilization that some agency should have stepped forward and handed it to him and then, led him, held his hand while they did the operation too maybe.
Ok -let everyone slam me now for my rant!

class factotum

"Why aren't they stepping up to take care of the abandoned children?"

Gosh, I don't know? Why do so many Americans go overseas to adopt? Could it be because it's so hard to adopt domestically? I don't think the problem is on the demand side here.

The Sarcasticynic

Wow. And I felt guilty after dropping off some slightly used clothing at the Goodwill.

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