Blog Post

Lawmaker Suggests Sterilizing Poor Women

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS Staff Writer

In a blatant example of Nazi-style eugenics, a Louisiana lawmaker is considering a plan to pay poor women $1,000 to have their Fallopian tubes tied in order to curb the population of people who need government aid but don’t pay taxes.

According to the Times Picayune, Louisiana Rep. John LaBruzzo, a Republican from Metairie, is worried about rising welfare costs in an era when the number of taxpayers is declining. His idea would cover sterilization and other forms of birth control, including vasectomies for men, for the poor and encourage tax incentives for college-educated, higher income people to have more children.

"What I'm really studying is any and all possibilities that we can reduce the number of people that are going from generational welfare to generational welfare," LaBruzzo said.

He describes his plan as brainstorming exercise that has yet to take the form of a bill and admitted it has already drawn critics who call the idea racist, sexist, unethical and immoral. LaBruzzo defends the idea by pointing out that more white people are on welfare than black people, so his proposal is not targeting race.

He also pointed out that other mainstream strategies for attacking poverty, such as education reforms and programs informing people about family planning issues, have repeatedly failed to solve the problem. He said he is simply looking for new ways to address it.

"It's easy to say, 'Oh, he's a racist,' " LaBruzzo said. "The hard part is to sit down and think of some solutions."

However, many say that targeting the poor with a program meant to exterminate them is hardly a solution.

Archbishop of New Orleans Alfred C. Hughes criticized the idea of paying poor women to sterilize themselves as “seriously wrong,” “blatantly anti-life,” and a “form of eugenics.”

Writing in a Thursday statement, Archbishop Hughes rebuked the proposal, saying:

“The Catholic Church has consistently taught that direct sterilization is seriously wrong. The recent proposal of Representative LaBruzzo not only would make sterilization our public policy and require tax payers to pay for it, but would also constitute a form of eugenics that the Church and this country have always condemned as an egregious affront to those targeted and blatantly anti-life.”

He went on to suggest: “Our lawmakers would do better to focus on policies that promote education and achievement to counteract poverty and the bigotry of low expectations.”

© All Rights Reserved, Living His Life Abundantly/Women of Grace.


1. What is Church teaching concerning sterilization? (See No. 2297 in the Catechism of the Catholic Church available at

2.  What does Pope Paul VI say about sterilization in the encyclical, Humanae Vitae? (See No. 14 of Humanae Vitae available here:

3. What explicit warning did Pope Paul VI give in Humanae Vitae about allowing methods of population control to fall into the hands of the state? (See No. 17)

4. Other than birth control and sterilization, what are some other methods commonly used today to eliminate “undesirables” from the population?

5. For a brief history and explanation of eugenics, see The Church and Eugenics at