Once again beneficiaries having more children just to get a larger payout has come under the spotlight, as new information released under the official information act, shows that 21.2% of parents of babies born last year were on a benefit. While some people genuinely do need to have assistance from the government because of their circumstances, this should not be the norm. Unfortunately, being on the DPB, for many, has become a “career of choice”, as it is an easy way to obtain money. The very fact that children should be seen as a commodity is deplorable, however, efforts to curtail the ever increasing problem of “career beneficiaries” cannot be centred around contraception and abortion as many espouse.
Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood in America wrote in her Birth Control Review “More children from the fit, less from the unfit — that is the chief aim of birth control.” Margaret Sanger believed in eugenics. She believed that the poor, the minorities, the disabled and the “mentally defective” should be eradicated from society. When we, as a society, suggest that the solution to beneficiaries having more children, is contraception, abortion and sterilization, we too are saying that we need to eradicate whom we see as “unfit”.
Yet, there needs to be a change in behaviour amongst those already receiving benefits, and the young people who see living off a benefit as a choice that they can legitimately make.
While there are many things that can be done through education, so that people have the skills to obtain reasonable jobs, the ultimate solution exists in a complete societal change in thoughts and behaviour.
We must teach our young girls and women that their bodies are not something to be given to just anyone. Too often intercourse is engaged in at a whim. The sex education in our schools has taught young girls and boys that sex is a recreational past time, or at best, something you do with someone you like, and that it is okay to experiment. This kind of thinking does not teach our youth to respect themselves or each other. Expecting a high standard from them, where the expectation is that people wait until they are in a committed relationship (ideally marriage), before embarking on a sexual relationship is paramount. This is not simply an old fashioned ideal. It is an expectation which greatly benefits society. Our youth need to know that there are consequences to their actions, and when one engages in promiscuous or “serial monogamy-type” sexual activity, the consequences not only include sexually transmitted infections and broken hearts, but another human person.
We must also make adoption a viable option once again. It appears that girls and women facing unplanned pregnancies believe that there are only two options available to them – abortion and parenting the baby. This is evident in the fact that the number of adoptions are decreasing , to the point where they are almost non-existent, yet we seem to have an increasing reliance on the DPB (one can also see the increase in young girls choosing to parent by going to any shopping centre and watching the number of young people pushing prams).
Adoption does not have to be a forced or traumatic event. There are many birth mothers who are extremely happy with their choice to give life to the child they conceived. In an act of great love for their child, they chose to allow others to bring him/her up in a much more stable and secure family. That is selfless gift of love. Likewise, there are hundreds of thousands of people who were adopted who are well adjusted, happy citizens, who do not bear a grudge and are thankful for the gift of life that has been given them, and who contribute extensively to society. There are also a great number of overjoyed adoptive parents, thankful for the opportunity to love and shape a precious child’s life.
Adoption, when viewed by the wider community as a good in this present age, will go some way in combating the dependency on welfare.
These solutions will not be popular. But the truth is often difficult for some to bear. If we are serious about helping beneficiaries come off the benefit; if we really do want to stop the cycle of having more children in order to obtain “free” money, we must install in our youth self-respect. Install in the men respect for women. Show people how to have pride in themselves and their families. Teach our youth to take responsibility for themselves and their actions. Offer adoption as a real alternative to unplanned pregnancies. Then, over time, a change will occur. It will be slow, but it will be worth the effort. Let us really invest in our people, put them first, take the sticking plasters away and empower them to be the best people that they can be.