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Oregon's low-income women are about to be subjected to a level of invasive questioning and religious disrespect by government-funded health-care providers on an unprecedented scale. Women receiving government-funded health services will now be questioned about their pregnancy intentions by multiple government service providers — including Medicaid primary care doctors, home visiting staff, and in some counties, even WIC food-supplement providers. As a result, low-income Catholic women seeking government aid in Oregon will be repeatedly subjected to contraception counseling, even though it is contrary to their religious beliefs.
Oregon is the first state in the nation to adopt a new Medicaid evaluation tool that evaluates Medicaid providers by the percentage of their female patients who use "effective" contraception. They are evaluated against a new contraceptive metric that assesses "effective contraceptive use among women at risk of unintended pregnancy."
Oregon's Medicaid contraceptive metric is based on an initiative of the Oregon Foundation for Reproductive Health (OFRH), which is an entity of NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon. Under the OFRH's One Key Question initiative, primary care providers are encouraged to ask women of reproductive age, "Would you like to become pregnant in the next year?" and provide counseling based on the woman's answers, either preconception care or contraceptive counseling. If she answers that she is "Unsure or Ok Either Way," then she will still receive counseling on birth control.
Read the rest at the Witherspoon Institute.
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