NZ Herald 8 May 2012
Women on benefits – including teenagers and the daughters of beneficiaries – will be offered free long-term contraception as part of a $287.5 million Budget package for the Government’s welfare reforms. One critic says the measure borders on state control of women’s reproductive choices. Social Development Minister Paula Bennett and Prime Minister John Key announced the package yesterday, aimed at supporting beneficiaries to get into training or work. It includes $1 million to pay for long-term contraception measures such as implants or intra-uterine devices. The payment for contraception will be offered to teenagers on benefits from July. From October, it will be offered to all women on benefits, and their daughters aged 16 to 19. Yesterday, Ms Bennett said the funding for the reforms would be heavily targeted at youth and teen parents, who were most at risk of staying on benefits long term and having more children while on welfare.
Contraception move ‘offensive’: Bradford
3 News 8 May 2012
Auckland Action Against Poverty spokeswoman Sue Bradford is concerned about the contraception being administered through Work and Income. “I don’t think it’s truly voluntary when you have a Government department which has huge power over you and is then putting pressure on you … to go along and have an appointment for this long-term contraception,” Mrs Bradford told NZ Newswire. “[It’s] totally unacceptable that the state should be involved like this in women’s reproductive lives.”
…Lobby group Family First has welcomed the changes, saying offering contraception to teen mothers is a “logical and common sense approach” to prevent them becoming dependent on welfare. But the group has concerns about offering contraception to the daughters of beneficiaries. “The message we should be sending these teenagers is to promote strong relationships, and delaying sexual activity until they are ready for the consequences,” Family First spokesman Bob McCoskrie says.
Support for beneficiary contraception
Newstalk ZB 8 May 2012
The Government’s new strategy to offer long term, free contraceptive to mothers on benefits and their teenage daughters is being lauded by groups such as Family First. Director Bob McCroskrie says the scheme is laudable and common sense. “They use the term beneficiary bashing all the time. I actually think that allowing dysfunction and dependency and locking families into poverty is the real definition of beneficiary bashing.” Bob McCroskrie says we need to break the cycle of dependency. The Government is to spend $1 million over four years to make reversible contraception available as part of its welfare reforms. The scheme will apply to all women on a benefit, as well as their 16 to 19 year old daughters.
Free birth control proposal criticised
Bay of Plenty Times 9 May 2012
A Mount Maunganui woman on the domestic purposes benefit says offering free contraception to beneficiaries is an insult…. National director of Family First NZ, Bob McCoskrie, said the Government’s attempt to prevent long-term welfare dependency of young people was a “laudable objective,” and free contraception was just one logical option. “Up to half of current DPB recipients started on welfare as teenagers, and 20 per cent of women on the DPB have had additional children while on the benefit.”