Proposal to provide new mothers with IUD's who want them through Medicaid

ByWeb produced by Jennifer Matarese WABC logo
Thursday, July 17, 2014
Medicaid offers free IUDs
Dr. Sapna Parikh reports on a new plan by Medicaid that will provide free IUDs to new mothers

NEW YORK (WABC) -- There's a new plan to make it easier for women to get contraceptives immediately after they give birth.

The new initiative will reimburse doctors who provide IUD's and contraceptive implants for women who want them.

New York City and state health officials announce a new effort to make birth control easier for women to access.

The new plan allows long-term options like a hormonal implant or an IUD to be offered at no cost immediately after childbirth to women on Medicaid.

"Our goal is to ensure that all women regardless of life circumstances ability to pay can make informed decisions about their reproductive health," said Dr. Mary Bassett, Commissioner, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

The new Medicaid policy change means hospitals will now be reimbursed for the cost-making it easier for low-income women to access.

The birth control implant prevents pregnancy for up to three years. Depending on the type, the IUD or intrauterine device can stay in place for up to 10 years.

The goal is to prevent unintended pregnancies.

Dr. Mary Bassett, Commissioner, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

"In New York City, there were over 194,000 pregnancies in 2012 and almost three out of every five were unplanned," Dr. Bassett said.

We know that unplanned pregnancies come at a cost, not just to the mom and baby, but to you and the entire community.

"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," said Dr. Howard Zucker, Acting Commissioner, New York State Department of Health.

Two-thirds of the births from unintended pregnancies are paid for by public programs funded by your tax dollars.

Officials say using Medicaid funds to prevent those births will provide health and economic benefits.

Critics say it is overstepping authority. In a statement, Bill Donohue, the President of the Catholic League said, "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. It is just another example of our anti-child culture, one that allows abortion through term-for virtually any reason-while taking extraordinary efforts to protect so-called endangered species. And in New York City, we have a mayor who lusts for abortion rights-showing no concern whatsoever for the health of unborn babies-yet is exercised over the alleged mistreatment of carriage horses. Finally, contrary to what this initiative supposes, humans are not the problem-they are the answer. Given our dangerously low fertility rate, we need a pro-breeders campaign, not one that puts a cap on kids."

As a new mother on Medicaid, Shanique Santana says it will give women choices.

"It just gives you more control over your life, no one wants to be thrown a curveball, and pregnancy is not a temporary curveball," Santana said.