Sunday, August 20, 2006

Washington DOH Pushes Contraception Possibly Sterilization to Illegal Immigrants

I was just reviewing a document entitled, "Washington State Department of Health Community and Family Health Women's Health Activities Update 2006" (MS Word doc, 7 pages, available from the Women's Health Resource Network page of the Washington DOH web site) and came upon several interesting bits of information.

Under Unintended Pregnancy and Family Planning here's what our state government is pushing on women in immigrant, or as they like to say "non-citizen" communities. Note the innocuous and innocent sounding title for the program.
The Eastern Washington Family Outreach Pilot Project that provides free or low cost contraception to women who are not U.S. citizens was expanded to include five more counties. Family Planning and Reproduction Health (FPRH) received state funds to include non-citizens in Adams, Chelan, Douglas, Franklin, Grant, and Yakima counties in the pilot project. Three family planning agencies are administering the pilot project. In addition, two agencies were awarded small federal grants through Title X to do non-citizen pilots. One agency will cover Whatcom and Skagit counties. The other agency covers Chelan and Douglas counties and their federal grant will be used to enhance their existing non-citizen pilot project.
There are so many things wrong with this I don't even know where to start. Is shoveling more money to Planned Parenthood really the best use of our state's resources? Are isolated, possibly uneducated, non-English speaking women who are fearful of deportation really in a position to give informed consent or opt out of a state program they may feel is compulsory in order to stay in the United States? What kind of contraception are they taking about -- birth control pills or Norplant or IUDs? Norplant and IUDs aren't exactly reversible at any time. Is this contraception or a state sponsored sterilization program? Are there any reporting requirements demanded of the women, i.e. must they report any contraceptive failures back to Planned Parenthood or the state, whereupon they are introduced to a "family planning" appartchik, freshly-minted from one of our state schools who tells them how safe and wonderful abortion is.

Assuming these women are Catholic, I have to wonder if the Catholic Church in Washington, especially the Archdiocese of Western Washington is paying attention to what the state is doing. Coincidentally the headline on their glossy magazine Samaritan this month was, "Immigration Assistance in the Skagit Valley: Serving a population in need of reliable information." Churches that need to be informed about this program include: Immaculate Conception in Mount Vernon; St. Charles in Burlington; Sacred Heart in La Conner; Immaculate Heart of Mary in Sedro-Woolley; and St. Catherine in Concrete.

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