It sounds like something out a dystopian novel, but a judge has recently ordered that a father may not have any more children until he can demonstrate that he can financially afford them. While the child support laws in Georgia are designed to protect single parents and children from poverty, some may see this use of judicial power to be extreme. What do you think? Should judges in Georgia be allowed to order someone not to have children until he or she can provide for them?
This story did not happen in Georgia, but imagine if it did. Georgia is one of few states that allow fathers and mothers who are unable to afford child support to be sent to jail, so it is not too difficult to imagine a judge restricting a man or woman’s reproductive rights.
The father in question has had nine children with six different women and now he owes approximately $100,000 in missed child support. The 44-year-old father told local media that he was going to try and comply with the order, even though he believes that judges make their rulings somewhat “hastily.”
The judge chose the unusual sentence as a condition of the man’s probation, and after the assistant district attorney told the judge that he had some control over the man’s reproduction. He was sentenced to three years of probation.
It is unknown whether the father will have the money to pay back the child support he owes, but for at least the next three years he won’t be increasing how much he will be paying in child support.
Source: The Associated Press, “Behind in child support, dad barred from having more kids,” Dec. 4, 2012
Learn more about child support and our work with Georgia mothers and fathers by visiting our website.