So why paraphrase their excellent points?
If cost really is the rationale, then these family planning methods should be being made available for free to all women on low incomes, whatever their occupational status. Otherwise, the state is making a distinction between the virtuous working poor and the poor on benefits, who are being regarded as irresponsible and/or morally degenerate. From October, this contraceptive assistance will be offered to allwomen on benefits, and their daughters aged 16 to 19.
That’s outrageous. Think about it. Most women are on the DPB due to marital or relationship breakdown, leaving them – usually – with the prime custodial care of the children from those relationships. In response, Bennett is offering to pay to insert IUDs or contraceptive implants in those women and in their teenage daughters. That is pretty insulting. From October, the state intends to treat all such women – most of whom are on a benefit not by choice but through divorce and relationship breakups – as if they and their children are sexually irresponsible. In this respect at least, the government’s view of beneficiaries seems to belong to the 19th century.
… that’s not what the government is planning. Instead, they’re making it freely available to some, in a form which will limit their fertility for prolonged periods, in the very specific hope that they will use it. This isn’t about enabling choice – its about constraining it.
“We have long had a culture of ‘benefit bashing’ and the power imbalance that comes with walking into a Work and Income office will mean many will feel bullied into getting whatever form of contraceptive they are told to get. These measures take away an individual’s right to choose what is right for them” says spokesperson Ta’ase Vaoga.
The right to plan ones family has explicit protection in International law. This entitles both women and men to the full range of contraceptive choices, as well as to information about sexual and reproductive health. Singling out young women on benefits and the female dependants of beneficiaries, and funding the uptake of only one type of contraception, undermines their ability to make an informed choice about the method of contraception, if any, that is right for them
Hilary, comment at The Standard:
It’s eugenic in that it targets one group of people for whom reproduction is deemed ‘undesirable’. Such ideas (of restricting the breeding of certain groups) were gaining popularity in New Zealand 100 years ago, and led to various policy manifestations including segregated residential confinement, and forced sterilisations of institutionalised people. There is a dark eugenic undertone in much NZ public policy and among certain groups of politicians that has never gone away.
Anthony Robins, The Standard:
Now here we are with the current offer, free long-term contraception for beneficiaries and their daughters. In some respects its a perfectly sensible plan, remove the price barrier to women asserting control of their own fertility. Who could argue with that? The problem is that a perfectly sensible plan comes wrapped in two layers of baggage. First, it’s from the same Nats who last year were speculating about compulsion, so it has to be seen as the thin end of a wedge. And second, it targets one sector of the community only, and therefore carries an implied stigma.