Health Care Reform: Controlling Fertility

There have been (and will continue to be!) some loud shouts abortion coverage being cut from health care reform via the Stupak Amendment. Other government targeting of women’s reproduction is highlighted in this piece by Gwendolyn Mink and Dorothy Roberts.  The House bill will “authorize state intervention in a plan to monitor the childbearing decisions and family lives of low-income women.” Basically, it provides non-medical home visits to Medicaid recipients who are in their first pregnancy or have a child under two years of age.

The goals of the program are outlined in the bill and include, “increasing birth intervals between pregnancies,” “reducing maternal and child involvement in the criminal justice system,” “increasing economic self-sufficiency,” and “reducing dependence on public assistance.” Read: fertility and life-style control. The “goals of the home visitation program have nothing to do with providing health care. Instead, they are based on the false premise that poor mothers’ childbearing is to blame for social problems. The proposed visitation program is eugenicist, deceptive, discriminatory against low-income women, and utterly inappropriate to the medical work of nurses.”

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