Dame Lesley Max, a children’s advocate made a call on Friday for better promotion of contraception in order to tackle child abuse. This call has been backed up by a Families Commission Report which says “There may be scope for targeting family planning education to parents who have had previous children removed.”
The issue of child abuse in New Zealand is a very significant and worrying one. Yes, something needs to be done, and it needs to be done fast in order to save the lives of so many innocent children.
It has been suggested that “Jadelle” would be a great contraceptive device to encourage woman to be fitted with. The Families Commission has also suggested that this would be a suitable contraception for teenage mothers in order to prevent a second pregnancy.
Jadelle is a two rod implant (a second generation Norplant device). Inserted into the arm it functions by releasing a low-dose progestin levonorgestrel into the woman’s (girl’s) body over a five year period. The effect of this hormone being released into the body is three-fold:
- It inhibits ovulation;
- It thickens cervical mucus making it difficult for sperm to make it’s way to the ovum;
- It thickens the lining of the womb making implantation of the newly conceived baby difficult.
Rather than being a true contraceptive the Jadelle implant is an abortifacient, meaning that when the first two actions fail and a child is conceived the final action is for the womb to reject that child. That is in itself an horrific child abuse.
It is concerning that a particular group is being targeted for the use of Jadelle or any other contraceptive or abortifacient device. Margaret Sanger, the mother of the contraceptive movement was always keen to target those who were seen to be unfit parents. Certainly people are making judgements about how fit those on welfare, or who are teens are to be parents. These are the people being targeted at this time in New Zealand, and it seems that Jadelle is the preferred method of temporarily sterilizing them at this time. (There have been calls from members of the public for actual sterilization of those on welfare).
This is akin to eugenics. New Zealand must be very careful that we do not try to eradicate child abuse in this country by deciding who will be fertile or not. When Norplant was first introduced to the American public (it is no longer available) a number of judges ordered woman to be fitted with the device because they had been convicted of abusing children. (From Facts of Life by Brian Clowes – HLI).
Women do not need contraception thrown at them with the idea that everything will then be all right. The use of Jadelle will only put a sticking plaster over the problem, with new problems lurking underneath.
Those who work with families need to befriend those in need. Everything in our world today has come down to policies and procedures which equals more paperwork and red tape. People need people. Human interaction and caring. Families need practical support (whether they be large or small). Mothers, fathers and children need people to whom they can talk to without fear of dire consequences (although those who are neglecting or hurting and killing their children must accept the consequencs of their actions – even if that means that their children are removed from their ‘care’ and they are jailed). Families need true community. Something that in the hustle and bustle of modern life we have forgotten.