Lawmakers in states across the nation have passed or are trying to pass welfare reform legislation designed to curb indigent women's fertility. Motivated in part by the widespread but inaccurate notion that chronic poverty is rooted in the dynamics of poor women's pregnancy and child bearing behavior, over a dozen states have selected "caps" on welfare benefits and mandatory birth control as the methods of choice to reform their welfare programs. To understand these reforms this article examines the influence traditional poverty myths have on contemporary welfare reform discourse. The article argues that the prevailing "culture of single motherhood" myth engendered current reforms and that the resulting welfare reforms strengthen the basis of the myth.
Thomas, Susan L. "Women, Welfare, Reform and the Preservation of a Myth." The Social Science Journal 34.3 1997: p. 351-368. Hollins Digital Commons. Web.