New York is using its Medicaid program to put post-birth women on birth control devices within days of bearing children.
In the newly-announced program, state health officials have said they want women on devices that cost $350 to $700. The federal government would pay the lion's share of the costs, and the state would cover the rest.
The two devices under discussion are intrauterine devices (IUD) and implanted contraceptives.
At a press conference, Dr. Howard Zucker, acting commissioner of New York State’s Department of Health, said they were trying to prevent a range of health risks facing babies conceived too closely to a previous child. “Low birth weight, autism, pre-term delivery, these are just a few risks to the baby when a mother doesn't wait long enough before giving birth to the next child,” he said.
However, Dr. Philip McNeely, a family doctor in Lincoln, Nebraska, with 25 years of experience delivering babies, told LifeSiteNews that he has “seen no evidence that these claims are accurate, either anecdotally or in the medical literature. I've seen health risks anecdotally, of course, but that can happen regardless of the number or speed of children.”
The Catholic League's Bill Donohue said in a statement that the state program “puts a cap on kids.”
“The idea that the government is now in the business of persuading women not to have more children, right after childbirth, is morally obnoxious and socially problematic,” he said. “It is just another example of our anti-child culture, one that allows abortion through term-for virtually any reason.”
Judy Pepenella, a leading Long Island conservative activist, told LifeSiteNews that she is “personally outraged that women rely on any government to regulate their bodies and monitor their activities.”
“However, I am more outraged that I have to pay for it,” she added.
IUDs are of particular concern because of their abortifacient potential. IUDs can destroy an unborn child by preventing a newly-conceived embryo from implanting, something acknowledged by scientists and the Obama administration alike. Proponents argue that they are cost-effective for women, since one device can last for up to a decade.
“[H]umans are not the problem – they are the answer,” said Donohue. “Given our dangerously low fertility rate, we need a pro-breeders campaign, not one that puts a cap on kids.”
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“It looks like Mike Huckabee was right — Democrats in New York State and across the country don't believe that women can control their own libido,” said Pepenella. The program, she said, “is atrocious even before considering that IUDs can end unborn human life.”
The abortion-supporting research organization Guttmacher found that in 2010, $1.8 billion was spent on “the joint federal-state Medicaid program” for family planning services. At the press conference, New York health officials said that in 2012 there were 194,000 pregnancies and nearly 60 percent “were unplanned.”
LifeSiteNews has reached out to the New York Department of Health to clarify how much this program will cost taxpayers, as well as how many women are expected to use the new services. The Department did not respond to multiple requests.