Sue Bradford has ensured that the government's plan to offer free contraception to beneficiaries is a hot topic for debate today. Stuff reports on Ms Bradford's comments:
The Government's plan to offer free long-term contraception for beneficiaries and their daughters is being labelled as an insult and intrusive to women's right to have children.
Social Development Minister Paula Bennett yesterday said contraception would eventually be fully funded for female beneficiaries and their 16 to 19-year-old daughters.
The move was part of the first round of controversial welfare reforms that would cost the Government $287.5 million over four years, including $81.5m of new money.
Auckland Action Against Poverty spokeswoman Sue Bradford this morning said while the contraception was voluntary, it was "totally unacceptable" for the Government to get involved in women's reproduction.
"Most New Zealand women will not accept that. It's because beneficiaries are seen as people who are worth less than others," she said.
Bradford said the Government was persuading women to take contraception through sanctions, such as having beneficiaries who have an additional child on the benefit to look for work when that child was one.
"We believe that women in this country have the right to control their own reproduction," she said.
What Sue Bradford fails to understand is that no-one is trying to take away women's right to control their own reproduction. What is being proposed is completely voluntary, and seems to us to be an entirely reasonable suggestion.
The Stuff story above has attracted well over 400 comments at the time we last viewed it. That's an extraordinary number. And by far the majority support Paula Bennett's initiative over Sue Bradford's hyperbole; here's a sampling:
capital gal #413 10:33 am May 08 2012So women on benefits are being given an option to have more control over when they have/expand their family and are being helped financially with this choice? Sounds remarkably sensible to me. All this does is expand their choices.
Victoria #410 09:47 am May 08 2012 Pretty much everything I wanted to say about this has been said but anyway - I think it's a FANTASTIC idea. What's unfair is that there are couples who can't actually conceive and will pay ridiculous sums of money to undergo IVF, or find a surrogate, or go through all the screening processes to adopt a child...but some silly girl who has no real life goals can go around having all the unprotected sex she likes so she can squeeze out a few kids and get the benefit. I get that there are people on the benefit who legitimately can't find work and that sucks, but the fact is dole bludgers DO exist. As a tertiary student (who DOES have a part-time job) I can just barely support myself, let alone a child I'm not even ready to have, so I assert my "right to control my own reproduction"...by going on the pill.
AJP #407 09:40 am May 08 2012 Contraception funding from the Government is not a new initiative, currently you can get subsidised abortions, oral and physical barrier method contraceptions. These are available to a wider group of New Zealand women, not just beneficiaries. This particular artical covers long term contraception, this is optional amongst the target group, and therefore shouldn't be deemed offensive. If you don't agree, don't take it. If you currently rely on state funding for support, then you should be very conscious of this when adding futher demands on the means that you do have, by way of not having additional children. I would think that getting into work would be three steps forward and having more children would be two steps back. Move ahead first. The issue I have is the disparity between beneficiaries entitlements to those in the workforce. Beneficiaries are offered many more discounts and freebies than working people, who are expected to budget and pay for themselves whilst also paying tax to cover others. Though, I would rather pay for contracteption/abortion than pay more taxes to cover more people on the benefit due to mismanagement.
Frances #401 09:29 am May 08 201 Great idea and I agree with Rod #61. N.Z. has had cart before horse in providing free abortion and charging for contraception. Next step is to provide free contraception for all.
Tepora #400 09:28 am May 08 2012 Totally support this idea.
I am in full support of this initiative. Long ago, I was a single mum and to get contraception was an expense that I could not afford but I did. I have known a few girls in recent times that have got more than one child and there is no planning in them at all, so this will help them in the long term with opportunities to get out and train or work without having too many children to look after.
Colin #391 09:25 am May 08 201 Sorry, Sue, but you're just wrong here. For the record, I am a left leaning liberal, but I think this is a great idea. Not for the idiot reasons espoused by the rest of the "beneficiaries shouldn't breed" brigade either.Studies have shown time and again that the best way to alleviate poverty is to give women control over their own reproduction.Now, if this was compulsory, I'd be very scared, but it's not. It's actually empowering these women.
Sue Bradford seems to be totally out-of-step with public sentiment on this issue. There would be concern if there was any element of compulsion from the government, but this scheme is going to be entirely voluntary.
Surely giving beneficiaries choices should be applauded, not derided. Sue Bradford, in her hatred of anything not of the very extreme Left has once again demonstrated that she is out of touch with public opinion, even from those to the left of centre such as Colin, the last commenter above.