Reports have come in that the Children’s Defense Fund is accusing a bill introduced by Republicans in Pennsylvania of “starving children” in order to punish women on welfare.
Raw Story has the details:
“This is absolutely outrageous,” Patti Hassler, spokesperson for the Children’s Defense Fund, told Raw Story. “Children do not choose their parents and should not be punished for whatever their parents’ actions are. Starving a child, no matter the circumstances of birth or actions of the parents, is always wrong. It’s just outrageous.”
House Bill 2718 was proposed by State Reps. RoseMarie Swanger (R), Mark Gillen (R), Mike Tobash (R), Adam Harris (R) and Keith Gillespie (R). None of the bill’s co-sponsors responded to requests for comment.
An aide to Rep. Tom Caltagirone, the lone Democratic cosponsor, told Raw Story that they were “horrified” to see his name alongside the bill, promising the placement was due to “a clerical error in our office” which has since been corrected.
The bill ensures that women that have children while already on benefits will not receive “the increment in benefits under the program for which that family would otherwise be eligible as a result of the birth of a child conceived during the period in which the family is eligible for benefits.” This is just a convoluted way of saying that if you have a kid while receiving benefits from a program, your new child is out of luck and you’ll get nothing extra.
It seems curious that Republicans would, in general, oppose contraception and abortion and then attempt to punish people that have a child. Maybe they’re trying to stop the poor from breeding…? More likely, they simply want to drive them further into poverty in the right’s quest to build a permanent underclass to exploit.
Raw Story also reports that there is an exception for rape, but that one cosponsor of the bill, Pennsylvania State Rep. RoseMarie Swanger, is pulling out of support for the bill for exactly that reason. She feels there should be no exceptions, even for rape or incest, but the exception itself is another punishment for women, forcing victims, who have just a 5% chance of proving their rape, to do just that.
Laws like this are just another way for Republicans to attempt to take away social benefits that the conservative right views as “entitlements.” The only way you can stop them? Vote.