Ald. Lopez proposes ‘conception fees,’ ‘childbirth licensing’ after infant’s death in his ward

Ald. Ray Lopez (15th) said he would do it if there was any way to legally implement parental licensing or conception fees.

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Ald. Ray Lopez (15th) chats with Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson (11th) before a Chicago City Council meeting,

Ald. Ray Lopez (15th) says if he could find a way to legally license parents, he would do it. But he acknowleged, “This is not China. We’re not a Communist country with child-bearing laws.”

Sun-Times file photo

Incensed by allegations of child abuse in the death of an infant in his ward , Ald. Ray Lopez (15th) fired off an incendiary tweet suggesting parents be licensed before having kids.

“Tired of these sick bastards killing babies because they are too immature to be parents,” Lopez tweeted Thursday about the child abuse case in the Chicago Lawn neighborhood he represents.

“Time to start requiring childbirth licensing, conception fees or toddler escrows in order to be a parent. If love doesn’t motivate good behavior, perhaps hitting their pockets will.”

Contacted Friday, Lopez said he was serious and, if there was any possible way to legally implement parental licensing or conception fees, he would do it.

But he acknowledged it’s not possible. Not in America, anyway.

“I don’t think that there’s any way that we can truthfully license people to have children. This is not China. We’re not a Communist country with child-bearing laws,” said Lopez, one of Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s most outspoken City Council critics.

“But as we’re seeing more and more stories of parents who are ill-equipped to raise children, parents who were not nurtured in a way that allows them to nurture children of their own, we have to, as a society, start addressing this before these stories become the norm.”

Lopez’s tweet was attached to a Sun-Times story about the death of a 9-month-old boy.

An autopsy found the boy suffered trauma across his body, including fractured ribs, injuries to his ears and a bite mark, according to prosecutors.

Joshua Juarez, the boy’s father, faces a count of first-degree murder in the infant’s death and was denied bail Wednesday at his initial hearing at the Leighton Criminal Court Building.

Lopez said he hopes his eye-popping tweet will serve as a “conversation starter” that will ultimately lead to the city and other social service providers offering “mandatory parental classes,” particularly for parents expecting their firstborn child.

“You have to go to class to learn how to drive a car. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t have to go to class to learn … when you’re having a baby,” Lopez said.

Who would pay and conduct those classes? How would the mandate be enforced? Would there be penalties?

Lopez said those are details he has not yet thought through.

“The goal isn’t to penalize parents. The goal is to make better parents,” Lopez said.

“I would be anxious to meet with some of our family support partners throughout the city of Chicago, Catholic Charities, to see what we can do to help create parenting classes for people having their first child.”

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