Thanksgiving riot shows dangers at Maryland mental hospitals

Make birth control a prerequisite for welfare benefits

David L. Warnock, chairman of the Center for Urban Families, bemoans the fact that dads released from jail accrue thousands of dollars' worth of child-support debt and have no way ever to get square, having earned no income while incarcerated and having a bleak chance of being gainfully employed in the future ("Hurting dads, hurting kids," Oct. 21). Meanwhile, their children don't have the child support that has been awarded and live in poverty.

He urges expansion and strengthening new programs that help these men reenter the workforce, and the lives of the children, in a way that allows them to work off their arrears and, eventually, to "have their arrears reduced to zero."

Guess who will be paying for that?

I have a better idea: Give young men age 10 and up free contraceptives so they won't sire children they have little hope of supporting until they have finished school and are earning a decent wage. Insist they use them or lose any other benefits they may be eligible for.

I am an ardent advocate of helping people in less fortunate circumstances. But I have become very opposed to allowing kids to have babies, who then need the rest of us to support them perhaps for the rest of their lives.

We must find a way to prevent these births from happening if we are ever to reach financial stability and provide babies with a decent chance in life. I'm not advocating wholesale abortions, but I am pleading for universal birth control for girls as well as boys until they are in a position to create a stable homes for children they can support.

If schools can require immunizations before children enter, why can't we require birth control to be in place?

I want our religious leaders, legislators, social workers, medical personnel and educators to stop locking the doors after the horses have run off. Birth control must be a precursor to and prerequisite for any welfare payments.

Judy Chernak, Pikesville

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