Government moves towards judicial control of some womens' reproductive rights are another insidious step on the slippery road to State eugenics says Auckland Action Against Poverty spokesperson Sue Bradford.
'It is abhorrent that on top of encouraging long acting contraception for all women beneficiaries and worktesting them from the time their baby is one year old, Paula Bennett now intends to find a way to stop some mothers from having children at all.
'While the protection of children should always be paramount, our group recognises that the courts and CYFS already have the right to step in and remove babies and children if they are in danger.'
'There is no need to embark on this incredibly dangerous path towards complete government control of some women's reproductive rights.
'The courts will be expected to make judgements implying that a woman will never have a chance to reform or recover from whatever situation has lead her to harm her child or children.
'If women see no future chance for rehabilitation, and no hope of a comparatively normal life ever again, they are more likely to continue a hopeless downward progression in their personal lives, rather than working towards recovery.
'There is nothing surer than that the outcome of such a draconian penalty will be increased health, justice, welfare and other costs to the state.
'And if Paula Bennett is not talking about forced sterilization what does she propose - forced abortion?
'If she is proposing compulsory lifelong contraception, it is difficult to see how this could actually operate in practice without constant intrusive state involvement in this most personal area of women's health. 'Once the state takes upon itself the judicial right to force women into sterility, one has to ask the question - what next?
'New Zealand is on a very dangerous course if we accept measures like this in the name of child protection, measures that will disproportionately impact on Maori and beneficiary women.
'If the National Government is really concerned about the neglect and abuse of babies and children they should be lifting benefits and wages, funding government job creation for the unemployed, rapidly increasing access to state housing and increasing funding for the many social service agencies who support children and families."
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