Would you have a baby for just an additional $100 a month? We didn’t think so.
And yet, this is the idea behind a Massachusetts rule that denies welfare benefits to children conceived while or soon after the family receives state assistance. It’s an effort to curtail the number of children a family receiving welfare can have, based on erroneous, racial stereotypes about people on welfare. This backwards rule – called the Cap on Kids or the Family Cap – means the State of Massachusetts currently denies state assistance to 8,700 children.
As it is, welfare benefits are very low – only $578 a month for a family of five. If one of those three children was conceived after the family started receiving state assistance, the family would only get $478 a month. The result? The whole family suffers, including the excluded child’s siblings.
This harmful rule doesn’t even have its intended effect – there has been no reduction of births to mothers on welfare; families on welfare are the same size as families that aren’t.
Why We Care
Reproductive freedom means having the right to choose if, when and how to have children. That includes the right to have the family and number of children you want. The Cap on Kids is a relic of racist, sexist welfare reform policies of the 1980s, and aims to limit the size of families receiving state assistance. This is antithetical to our values at NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts.
How We’re Fighting Back
NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts is proud to stand with a broad coalition of non-profit organizations, unions, community organizations and legal groups in support of Lift the Cap on Kids.