I don’t even know where to start with this one.
A new law goes into effect on July 1st in Mississippi. It requires health care professionals to work alongside law enforcement with the goal of lowering teenage pregnancy. Well, sort of – actually, it requires medical professionals to collect DNA after a girl under the age of 16 gives birth. “It’s designed to deter teenage pregnancy by causing men who are engaging in this conduct to think twice before they get a young girl pregnant,” said Republican state Rep. Andy Gibson.
So, really, it has little to do with preventing these young pregnancies. The DNA, which will be collected from the umbilical cord, will be sent to a state law enforcement agency. From there, the DNA (which has the mother’s and baby’s DNA) will be compared to a state database to ensure it doesn’t match an adult male. For these purposes, an “adult male” is any male over the age of 21. Any male whose genetic material is already in the system and who’s found to be the father of the child will face serious repercussions, specifically, statutory rape charges. Sounds reasonable, right? We want to protect our daughters and we never want to see them fall victim to anything, and most certainly when it includes sexual crimes committed against them.
Once you come to terms with those simple truths – those seemingly common-sense realities, only then does it dawns on you that this is a massive catastrophe waiting to blow up in lawmakers’ faces – and you know it’s bound to at some point.
I have a huge problem with any government having my DNA. I’m not a conspiracy theorist and I don’t subscribe to some of the more aggressive mindsets many folks display proudly for the world to see. But what I do know is that if there was ever any doubt in my mind that our government is being run by idiots, these latest scandals over the past few weeks have only cemented the belief that indeed, we’re in big trouble with these clowns.
Let’s face it – our government has been plundering through our phone records, medical histories and no telling what else. For the most part, at least up until recently, I didn’t care. I had nothing to hide and if they wanted to go plundering around my finances, have at it. Hell, maybe I could even convince them to pay those bills they’re scrutinizing, right?
Then, the Justice Department’s admission that it secretly collected data through the Associated Press made many of us very uncomfortable. It’s a huge invasion. If that alone doesn’t strike fear in you, you’re crazier than I am. Remember – neither Ukraine or China respect freedom of the press and in fact, those country leaders (and several others) will actually kill journalists if they feel threatened by what they believe the journalists know.
So no – clearly, there’s no trust for our government. All of the hoarding of various documents along with new revelations every day, tells me that the DNA won’t be destroyed after running it through the various databases.
And, let’s take a look into the future and see how that could shape up. With Obamacare being shoved down our throats, states collecting DNA because they want to (and really – that’s what this comes down to), can anyone say “pre existing condition”? What happens if during the course of all of this DNA testing a genetic marker is found and somehow makes its way to the insurance companies at some point? There are two things the government, these days anyway, can’t keep: its word and a secret.
Mississippi is at the top of the list for teenage pregnancies. That means there’s going to be a lot of DNA testing going on. It’s going to cost $1,000 a pop, according to reports. Uhm…where’s the money going to come from? And by the way, how big is the ego of the lawmaker who decided that lassoing the DNA from all teen mothers was a good idea and an economically sound decision? In 2005 (and those are the latest numbers I’ve been able to find), there were right at 6,200 teen girls under the age of 16 who gave birth. Do the math. It’s not enough for the family to insist that there was no statutory rape and that instead, two sixteen year olds just got caught up in the moment – those tests are going to happen no matter what – because our government demands it.
No Stats – How Can Numbers be Right?
And here is another very relevant fact: There are no statistics on statutory rape. None. According to the Department of Justice, “…the incidence of statutory rape is relatively unknown. The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program (UCR) maintains national data on forcible rape and other sex offenses but does not isolate statutory rape crimes…” You can see the report in its entirety here.
That brings us to the next realization – there are other crimes that are being committed, arrests being made, cases being put together and all the while, the justice system in Mississippi is functioning with less than the basics from a monetary stance. I’m not suggesting that statutory rape isn’t a real crime. What I am saying, however, is that the state has absolutely no right to stand by and collect DNA from teens hitting the hospital to give birth, only to use that DNA to see if a crime was committed. Not prove a crime was committed, but rather, looking for the possibility of a crime being committed. The differences may seem subtle, but in this country, that subtle difference is what defines us. It’s what makes this nation the go-to place for every other country. It’s the core of who we are. Since when is that no longer enough?
Mississippi made a bad call (and other states will likely follow). It was incredibly short-sighted, invasive and frankly, infuriating.
Finally – here are a couple more facts that can provide even more perspective:
Mississippi unemployment for May 2013: 9.1% (it’s been above 9% for a very long time)
Mississippi is ranked number one for the highest number of families on food stamps, coming in at 20.8%