Is forcing a person applying for welfare to pay for and undergo testing to prove he or she isn’t taking drugs benefiting the applicants’ kids? So claims Florida Governor Rick Scott, who is using the “won’t someone think of the children?” line as his latest justification for violating the personal rights of the poor.
Via the Florida Independent, the governor explained that his true impetus behind asking each welfare recipient to pay for a drug test out of pocket before allowing them to receive benefits was because it was in the best interest of the children. “Welfare is for the benefit of children and the money should go to the benefit of children,” he said. “This makes all the sense in the world.”
How exactly it benefits the children in families that are so poor they need government assistance to have to front what little money they do have to pay for a test to prove they aren’t on drugs is unclear. A drug test costs the applicant between $30 and $35 dollars, roughly the same amount that the applicant would get from the program in one week, money that while waiting for reimbursement could have been spent on bills, clothing or additional food for the children of the family. But then again, this is the same governor who believes that forcing rape victims to look at an ultrasound before she has an abortion is in the woman’s best interest, too.
One group not buying the “for the children” song and dance? The American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU has filed lawsuit on behalf of Navy veteran Luis Lebron, who refused the test claiming it violated his constitutional right to be protected against unreasonable search and seizure. Lebron said, “I served my country, I’m in school finishing my education and trying to take care of my son. It’s insulting and degrading that people think I’m using drugs just because I need a little help to take care of my family while I finish up my education.”
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