Thanks to Jenny Goldie for sending me this article, which is reporting on the controversy that has arisen around the New Zealand government’s plan to spend $800,000 subsidising long-term reversible contraception for women on welfare benefits. This has raised some hackles from those arguing that the subsidy will create a sense of pressure in the people who are welfare recipients to use the service, out of fear they may lose the benefits if they don’t. This, despite the fact the program is purely voluntary.
Uproar in NZ over free contraception plan
By New Zealand correspondent Dominique Schwartz
Updated May 09, 2012 08:26:50
The New Zealand government is planning to offer free long-term contraception to women on welfare payments in a budget measure that is whipping up a storm of fury.
While some family planning organisations have welcomed the move, one poverty action group says it borders on state control of reproduction.
New Zealand has one of the highest rates of teenage pregnancies among OECD countries. A United Nations report last year also highlighted what it called the country’s “staggering” rates of child abuse and poverty.
The government says it is committed to helping families break out of the beneficiary cycle by getting recipients back into education and jobs. To that end, it has unveiled a $230 million welfare reform package.
But one small plank of the reforms has created uproar – the plan to spend $800,000 subsidising long-term reversible contraception for women on benefits.
From July, the government will offer to pay for contraceptive implants, injections and inter-uterine devices for teenagers on benefits. From October, the subsidy will be available for all female beneficiaries and their 16 to 19-year-old daughters.
To read the full article, click here: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-05-08/nz-divided-on-free-contraception-plan/3998676
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