Politics

Arkansas Lawmaker Proposes 'Contraceptive Incentive' Bill For Low-Income Mothers

| by Lisa Fogarty
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A Republic lawmaker from Arkansas has proposed a bill that would offer a "contraception incentive" for low-income single mothers participating in the state's Medicaid program so they can reconsider having children that will then become the burden of taxpayers.

Rep. Kim Hammer (R-Benton) is a sponsor of HB 1868, which calls for the state to pay for contraception for unmarried mothers of one child who are participating in Medicaid, reports RH Reality Check. Women would give permission to have a surgically implanted contraceptive device, such as an IUD or Norplant, placed in their bodies. The reversible device would be effective for at least five years.

Women who could prove with documentation that they have a long-term birth control device implanted in their bodies would be eligible to receive a reimbursement. 

"Often young people make decisions and they get a sense that they don't want to make that decision again for awhile. We need to give them a little bit of a breather to think about their life decisions that are affecting us as taxpayers," Hammer reportedly told Arkansas News.

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Hammer is on the state's Public Health, Welfare, and Labor Committee and the bill has since been referred to the committee for further action.

The Republican has proven he is a staunch pro-life supporter during his time in the state house and came under fire from many Democrats and pro-choice supporters when he voted in favor of the state's ban on abortion after 20 weeks of gestation.

HB 1868 comes just a few weeks after former Republican Arizona state Sen. Russell Pearce resigned after he vowed he would make female recipients of Medicaid "get Norplant, birth-control implants, or tubal ligations" in addition to testing them for drugs and alcohol.

It also shares much in common with welfare family caps that were proposed by many states after former President Bill Clinton signed a welfare reform bill that gave states more freedom in how they handle public benefits. Many organizations and pro-choice supporters have worked together since that time to defeat efforts to place a cap on the number of children born to low-income mothers. The same pushback is expected for HB 1868.

Source: RH Reality Check

Photo Credit: universalmedicalny.com, Shutterstock