Anne Tolley’s next abhorrent idea: forced sterilization of poor people

It’s going to be incredibly difficult not to Godwin the hell out of this one, people.

Appearing on TVOne’s Q+A programme this morning, Social Development minister Anne Tolley would not rule out more actively trying to limit or prevent births to families which have come to the attention of authorities.

“Well, we’ll wait and see what the panel report. I expect that they’ll be saying, ‘We should get much, much faster contraceptive advice in. We should be offering, you know, tubal ligations, all sorts of things and counselling those families’,” she said.

Tubal ligation is not a form of contraception. Tubal ligation is a form of sterilization.

And sure, anybody who wants to make an informed decision to get a tubal ligation should be able to. I know plenty of childfree people who’d run at the chance, after many years of “you’ll want kids when you’re older” concern-trolling from the medical establishment.

But let’s not confuse Anne Tolley’s suggestion with any kind of progressive reproductive healthcare policy. This is simply National applying further bullying to “undesirable” people not to have children. And there are many words for that, and most of them are rightly associated with, shall we say, certain fascist societies.

Let’s remember how this government generally acts towards people on benefits, and ask ourselves if we really believe the “offer” of sterilization or counselling or long-term contraception is actually being made in an open-minded, compassionate way.

Let’s remember that their plan of offer free long-term contraception – which was an expensive failure – wasn’t just targeted at beneficiaries, but at their teenage daughters – and what kind of message that sends about “those kind of people”.

I support reproductive choice. I support the state making options available to people, on their own terms, to control when they have kids and how many kids they have. It’d be great to see a government which actually cared enough about stopping unwanted pregnancies to extend free doctor’s appointments for sexual health to more young people, or ensuring quicker access to abortion services.

But that’s not what we’re getting. We’re getting another dystopic, daddy-state interference in the lives of people who are already pushed to the absolute limits. We’re applying the power of government to threaten people who have incredibly little with even less if they dare to have a family the powers-that-be don’t approve of.

It’s grotesque. And worse, it’s probably not even sincere. Anne Tolley knows this won’t solve any of the problems she says exist in our social welfare system. But it will get great headlines about cracking down on those filthy bludging breeders-for-a-business. And even people on the left won’t be rushing to call it out for what it is: a repugnant attack on basic human rights.

~

Some people want to see the good in everything and think we should focus on the important stuff – better access to contraception – instead of calling out Tolley’s horrific agenda. Unfortunately, the coverage this morning makes it all pretty clear:

The Minister for Social Development wants to find a way of stopping the most at-risk beneficiaries from having more children.

Anne Tolley admitted it was a tricky subject, but said something had to be done about the women who have multiple children taken into care.

Emphasis mine; coercive restrictions on poor women’s reproduction all hers.

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5 thoughts on “Anne Tolley’s next abhorrent idea: forced sterilization of poor people

  1. My mother often said she believed that some women should be forcibly sterilized. She said this OFTEN. It’s so weird to think about this now, as an adult with children of my own. What on earth would make her say such a thing at all, and in the presence of her daughter? I can’t ask her, because it’s no longer safe to have any contact with her. Which is telling, I suppose. (I didn’t know then that her views reflected frequent practice in the U.S. at the time and to this day, unfortunately.)

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