Children are a luxury
Last Sunday this paper ran a story about a forty year old man who for some reason or other hasn’t worked in 18 years.
Whether he doesn’t work because of physical or mental health reasons is unclear, but he has since then fathered five children - the youngest being two years of age.
Together with his wife, he is bringing them up on social benefits alone and they live in a four-roomed Valletta housing apartment that is falling to pieces.
They have garbage bags instead of window panes and three beds and a cot to sleep the seven of them.
Two of the children suffer from epileptic fits, and the father claimed that sometimes he has to borrow money to buy their medicines.
The story was entitled “Someone needs to take notice of people like us”, and as much as I agree that we should, my first reaction was that ‘someone needs to get a vasectomy or wear a permanent condom.’
This is what I stated on my Facebook wall and despite the disgusted umbrage that some people took against it, I stand by my words, not out of sheer stubbornness, but because I’m more than convinced that in such cases, the first and absolutely necessary step towards alleviating the situation is to stop having children.
Some of those who felt appalled by my words suggested more charitable measures. Some suggested relocation and finding the family bigger and better housing, whilst others were all for monetary donations, education, no judgments and being charitable.
Whilst all this is good and hunky dory, if the couple keeps churning out children, no amount of help is ever going to suffice.
As rational as this seems to me, many disagree - I was told that by suggesting a vasectomy or the use of condoms, I was being unreasonable and too harsh on people who possibly have mental problems.
I was told that I’m bigoted and rash, and that judging is the easiest thing to do.
I was even told that suggesting the most effective child-control methods on the face of the earth borders on the eugenic.
Someone even suggested that this paper should fire me for having such an opinion.
Well excuse me for being practical!
For peace sake, I did not say that the State should forcefully sterilize the couple, which I understand would warrant such reactions, but that ‘someone’ (clearly mimicking the father’s own words), should do it voluntarily because it’s the rational and practical thing to do.
Having children is not a fundamental right, children are a luxury. If you can’t afford them you should not have them, which thanks to modern medicine is entirely possible.
Slipping once or even twice is somewhat excusable, but five times, when you’re in such dire straits, is indefensible.
Even the Millennium Chapel, which according to the report is following this family through a three-year project, should close an eye on ancient traditions and suggest a more effective child control than the safe period, but of course that is more unlikely to happen than the sun turning blue tomorrow.
And that’s where the rest of us should come in because if we cannot judge between right or wrong then we are left with no way to move forward.
Whether the couple are depressed, or have other problems that have landed them in this situation, whether it’s their fault or not, I’m pretty sure that the children did not fall out of the sky and landed in their laps.
So yes, I reiterate ‘Someone needs to get a vasectomy or wear a permanent condom’ because if they keep the baby baking going, everything we do to help will be futile.