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Watch One State Rep's 'Slut-Shaming' Rant Against Single Moms

By Rachel Cromidas in News on Sep 3, 2015 4:17PM

Who "deserves" state subsidies? Illinois State Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-42nd) gave state lawmakers a lesson in how that question can be laden with racist, classist and sexist assumptions.

State subsidized childcare was among the many social services to see state funding axed in the state's ongoing budget impasse. State lawmakers discussed (and ultimately killed) a bill to restore subsidized childcare options to low-income families around the state Wednesday. But not before one state rep went on an uncomfortably pointed rant (some are calling it racist, classist, slut-shaming, you name it) about "undeserving" recipients of the childcare support.

"You need to have verifiable need. You better know who the daddy is and whether or not he can afford that child and whether or not the taxpayers should be funding that or if there's actual child support he can provide," Ives said during Wednesday's floor debate, about 2 minutes into a video of the speech posted on YouTube. Ives was interrupted by outcries from within the statehouse. "Oh you guys think this is a big joke? It's very funny that we are going to provide childcare when you're not holding the individuals responsible for that child."

Ives' remarks touch on sexist and racist assumptions about people who need childcare support, particularly single mothers. They also invoke the politically-conjured caricature of a woman mooching off the government's welfare system when she should be able to support herself (In the vein of President Ronald Reagan's so-called "Welfare Queen").

State Rep. Kelly Cassidy, whose district includes Rogers Park, said Ives' speech was blatantly slut-shaming and Rush Limbaugh-esque:

Other responses included these observations on Twitter: