‘Contraceptive Incentive’ Proposed For Low-Income Mothers To Have Fewer Children, Proposed Bill Sparks Controversy

Republican lawmakers in the state of Arkansas have proposed a new “contraceptive incentive” bill for low-income, single mothers receiving Medicaid benefits. According to RH Reality Check, the proposed bill is intended to give mothers a “breather.” However, there’s definitely more to it.

In a nutshell, the state is hoping to reduce the number of potential welfare recipients in the state of Arkansas. Unfortunately, welfare recipients are often referred to as “taxpayer burdens,” so the state is hoping the contraceptive incentive will be a beneficial, money-saving strategy that will prove effective over time. The new bill would offer taxpayer-funded birth control to low-income mothers, reports Wonkette. Although the new incentive would be a newly incurred cost for the state, Republican lawmakers are more than sure the cost of contraceptive will be much less than the cost of more children. Dr. James Heinrich, who reportedly performed contraceptive procedures in California prisons, recently released a brief statement echoing a similar perspective, reports Think Progress.

“Over a ten-year period, that isn’t a huge amount of money compared to what you save in welfare paying for these unwanted children — as they procreated more.”

The proposed bill, referred to as HB 1868, is reportedly being sponsored by Rep. Kim David Hammer, who also serves as a representative for Arkansas’ Public Health, Welfare, and Labor Committee. More specifically, the bill would target unwed mothers with only one child. Women in this category would consent to having surgically implanted contraceptive devices.

The IUD or Norplant device would prohibit these women from conceiving for approximately five years. Women who opt to have the procedure done could be eligible for reimbursement with legitimate documentation confirming they have the device in their body. According to Arkansas News, Hammer recently shared his sentiments of the proposed bill.

“Often young people make decisions and they get a sense that they don’t want to make that decision again for a while. We need to give them a little bit of a breather to think about their life decisions that are affecting us as taxpayers,” Hammer said.

The proposed Arkansas bill comes just weeks after a similar debacle involving former Arizona state Sen. Russell Pearce, who was forced to resign after he made offensive comments about low-income single mothers during an interview with the Phoenix News Times.

“You put me in charge of Medicaid, the first thing I’d do is get [female recipients] Norplant, birth-control implants, or tubal ligations,” Pearce said, according to the Phoenix New Times. “Then, we’ll test recipients for drugs and alcohol, and if you want to [reproduce] or use drugs or alcohol, then get a job.”

Of course, the new bill has sparked controversy. It has been reported that pro-choice organizations and supporters are completely outraged by the state’s efforts. Since most of these organizations have also opposed the notion of putting a cap on the number of children low-income mothers can have, it comes as no surprise that this bill has been condemned.

What do you think about Arkansas’ contraceptive incentive bill? Share your thoughts.

[Photo Illustration by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images]

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