In this article, Smith will attempt to demonstrate that welfare policy has become a prominent site of sexual regulation; that the rights of poor single mothers are at stake in this respect; and that given the precise structure of contemporary American welfare reform, we must pay especially close attention to the laws and regulations adopted at the state level. First, Smith will place contemporary sexual regulation-oriented welfare law in an historical context by considering its precedents in English and American public policy traditions (Part I). Using original qualitative analyses of the states' statutory codes and administrative regulations, Smith will then discuss the following measures: the mandatory child support cooperation requirement (Part II); the domestic violence exemption (Part III); the "family cap," family planning, and adoption relinquishment dimensions of welfare programs (Part IV); and the abstinence education curricula in public schools (Part V). Finally, she will conclude with a brief discussion of the broader relevance of this research. The emphasis on the moralistic policing of poor women as a solution to poverty conceals the fact that poverty will only be adequately addressed insofar as the federal and state governments adopt much more egalitarian and democratic macroeconomic policies.
Anna M. Smith,
The Sexual Regulation Dimension of Contemporary Welfare Law: A Fifty State Overview,
Mich. J. Gender & L.
Available at: http://repository.law.umich.edu/mjgl/vol8/iss2/2