ST. PAUL — Poor women would no longer be denied public assistance for an additional child under legislation unanimously approved by the state Senate Committee on Health, Human Services and Housing today. S.F. 245, authored by Sen. Chris Eaton, DFL-Brooklyn Center, calls for repeal of the Family Cap law, and has the strong support of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL).
"The Family Cap has proven to be a failed policy that does not serve the interest of the state or its people," said MCCL Executive Director Scott Fischbach, who testified on behalf of the repeal measure.
Family Cap legislation was passed during the 2003 legislative session and went into effect in May 2004. MCCL opposed the 2003 legislation; its opposition to this policy has only intensified since that time.
Statistics reveal why the Family Cap has failed as a welfare reform policy. According to the Minnesota Department of Human Services and Department of Health:
- More than 19,540 children in 16,030 cases had their grants reduced in at least one month due to the Family Cap.
- Birth rates in families that are under the Family Cap have not dropped.
- During the period 2001-2010, the overall number of abortions in the state dropped 22 percent. The percentage of taxpayer funded abortions (performed on low-income women) in our state has risen from 21 percent in 2001 (prior to the Family Cap) up to 34 percent in 2010 (after the Family Cap became law).
- The reasons why women have abortions in our state have not changed for many years. The state's annual abortion report shows that women feel they cannot have a baby due to lack of financial, educational and emotional support.
Various academic institutions, including a widely cited study from Rutgers' University, have concluded that not only do Family Caps not lower birth rates for poor families, but Family Caps increase abortion rates—as evidenced by our own numbers in Minnesota.
"The Family Cap has created undue economic pressure on poor families. It is time for the Minnesota Legislature to repeal this failed policy," Fischbach said.
The bill was referred to the Senate Finance Committee.