The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled unconstitutional a probate judge’s order that an Ohio man who has 13 kids by nine mothers to avoid procreating further because he owes hundreds of thousands of dollars in child support. Polls in Ohio show that many people would have supported the Lorain County judge’s original decision and that people believe the right to have kids is contingent on parents being able to support them.
The court seemed sympathetic to the idea that having kids comes with responsibilities but ultimately found that the order did not sufficiently relate to the legal authority under which the judge issued it. In other words, it would be up to the Ohio legislature to step in and broaden courts’ authority to address poor family planning.
Having Kids has developed model legislation, based on some of the leading research in the field, that would authorize courts nationwide to do this. We have also developed federal legislation that would facilitate funding to improve the way our system protects kids and our communities from poor family planning. Of course, the right to have kids comes with responsibilities. And our failure to ensure those responsibilities through better policy has fundamentally created the social and ecological crises we are experiencing today.
We can do better, and Having Kids is leading the way.