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Not an EggshellWalker
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Registered: 07/18/03
Posts: 7,991
Loc: Cave of the Patriarchs
Opinion on this?
    #2683751 - 05/15/04 10:01 PM (13 years, 8 months ago)

Couple Ordered to Have No More Children

May 15, 8:30 PM (ET)


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) - When a drug-addicted homeless woman had her newborn taken away last spring, she agreed the baby should be placed in foster care with her three other children. A year later, a judge delivered a startling postscript: She ordered the parents to have no more children until they prove they can look after the ones they already have.

"All babies deserve more than to be born to parents who have proven they cannot possibly raise or parent a child," Family Court Judge Marilyn O'Connor wrote in a 12-page opinion. "The cycle of neglect ... needs to stop."

The unusual ruling has outraged civil libertarians, and was made all the more difficult by the revelation that the mother of the 1-year-old girl is already pregnant again.

But many lauded the government's desire to ensure children are raised in a healthy environment. A Rochester newspaper columnist, Mark Hare, echoed a multitude of radio talk-show callers in applauding "a wake-up call" to all parents to "put our children first."

It was the first known decision of its kind in New York, but courts in Wisconsin and Ohio have upheld similar rulings involving "deadbeat dads" who failed to pay child support. In other states, judges have turned back attempts to interfere with a person's right to procreate.

The infant girl's father, Rodney Evers, an admitted cocaine addict who stays periodically at the House of Mercy shelter for the homeless, described O'Connor's judgment as demeaning.

"I can't abide by something like that," said Evers, 54, his gaunt face and graying goatee shaded by a baseball cap. "I know for a fact that God said 'be fruitful and multiply.' This is telling me I have to be celibate. Man cannot play God."

The couple has struggled for years to find work and shelter and both have admitted in court to abusing drugs and alcohol. Evers is the father of three of the four children, including a 6-year-old boy. The youngest three, ages 4, 2 and 1, tested positive for cocaine at birth.

In a March 31 ruling made public last week, the judge said she was not forcing contraception or sterilization on the couple and was not requiring the mother to get an abortion should she become pregnant. But the couple could be jailed for contempt if they have another child.

It was unclear what effect the order could have on the 35-year-old mother, identified in court papers only as Stephanie.

At a preliminary hearing Thursday to explore whether the foster parents of her 2-year-old son can adopt him, the woman's relatives revealed she became pregnant in mid-March with her fifth child - two weeks before the judge's order. Calls to the judge's chambers were not returned.

Women with multiple children in foster care who continue to have children are not uncommon.

Eftihia Bourtis, who frequently serves as an advocate for abused or neglected children removed from their homes, said she knows of a woman with seven kids in state care who is due to give birth again in a few weeks.

"I had two little boys tell me they wished people would have kids only when they could care for them," Bourtis said. "They were talking about their parents, almost like wishing they were never born. It just broke my heart."

Bourtis is the law guardian for the child of Stephanie, the homeless woman, but said she will not appeal O'Connor's ruling.

O'Connor, 66, a Democrat first elected in 2000, said in her ruling that under U.S. Supreme Court decisions, "the rights to conceive and to raise one's children have been deemed 'essential'" as opposed to merely establishing that "the right to conceive a child is essential."

Her analysis, countered Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, is "incompatible with the protection of the right to procreate and raises serious and bizarre issues regarding ... what goes on in the bedroom."

According to court papers, Stephanie was charged with prostitution in April and a bench warrant was later issued when she failed to appear in drug court. Evers went looking for her in a dilapidated house but said he couldn't find her.

"When she's not using, she's the most beautiful, sweetest woman in the world," he said.

Although an order of protection prevents Evers from communicating with his children, he said he clings to the belief that someday they'll be reunited. "I feel it in my heart," he said.


On the one hand, children should be raised in a safe environment, but on the other, more and more liberties are being taken away. I wonder if our right to procreate will one day require a license, othewise we'll receive heavy jail terms, like in the War on Drugs  :rolleyes:

Sound ridiculous? I'm sure a lot of people 2,000 years ago might've said the same about the War on Drugs

What do you think, should the government be able to take away certain people's right to procreate?

So long as you are praised think only that you are not yet on your own path but on that of another.

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Chill the FuckOut!
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Registered: 10/10/02
Posts: 27,301
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Re: Opinion on this? [Re: Ravus]
    #2683863 - 05/15/04 10:25 PM (13 years, 8 months ago)

As much as I feel there are some people who shouldn't have children, I don't think it's the government's place to say who can and who can't.


"It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong."--Voltaire

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Welcome to Violence

Registered: 07/12/03
Posts: 5,381
Loc: the shores of Tripoli
Last seen: 4 years, 8 months
Re: Opinion on this? [Re: Ravus]
    #2688160 - 05/16/04 08:46 PM (13 years, 8 months ago)

They should have just knocked the bitch out and sterilized her.

I'm a nihilist. Lets be friends.

bang bang

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Folding@home Statistics
Registered: 03/06/02
Posts: 22,844
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Re: Opinion on this? [Re: d33p]
    #2688313 - 05/16/04 09:13 PM (13 years, 8 months ago)

That's what I think God should do.

Ima send him a Prayer Message right now.


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Village Genius

Registered: 09/19/03
Posts: 7,935
Loc: San Diego
Last seen: 2 years, 7 months
Re: Opinion on this? [Re: Ravus]
    #2688319 - 05/16/04 09:13 PM (13 years, 8 months ago)

To quote Chris Rock: "BITCH STOP FUCKING!! STOP FUCKING!! PUT THE DICK DOWN! Put it down, get a job--get a job sucking dick, just put the dick back!

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