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On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." :: Arundhati Roy ::

"The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any." :: Alice Walker ::
Friday, August 13, 2004  

Innovative touch screen kiosks for contraceptives!

This from the kaiser daily reproductive health report, 8/12/04:
Family Planning Health Services of Wausau, Wis., has developed four touch-screen computer kiosks that will allow women who are eligible for the state's Medicaid program to order contraceptives at no cost, the AP/St. Paul Pioneer Press reports. Women ages 15 to 44 with annual incomes of less than $17,224 are eligible for free contraceptives under Wisconsin's Medicaid program. The four computer kiosks -- which cost $5,000 each and were developed using funds from a $120,000 grant from the 2004 Robert Wood Johnson Community Health Leadership Program -- are being tested at three college campuses. To use the machines, women must enter their monthly income, Social Security number and release their medical records, according to the AP/Pioneer Press. Women can then order at no cost a three-month supply of oral contraceptives or contraceptive patches or 36 condoms to be delivered through the mail. A nurse later follows up with the women about their orders. FPHS hopes that state and local health departments will borrow, rent or buy the computer kiosks.

Reaction

Jim Malone, a spokesperson for the Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services, said that the department is "intrigued" by the machines, adding that they potentially could save the state money by reducing the number of pregnancies covered by the state's Medicaid program, according to the AP/Pioneer Press. "We'll be very interested in consumer reaction to it," Malone said, adding, "Again, it's a brand-new product." However, some "conservative" state legislators were outraged" by the state's interest in the computers, according to the AP/Pioneer Press. State Rep. Glenn Grothman (R) said, "This program is for girls as young as 15, which is ridiculous," adding, "Ostentatious displays of these kiosks unfortunately encourages the perception that promiscuity is the norm." Kelda Helen Roys, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin, said that the kiosks would be a "great tool" for reducing unplanned pregnancies, adding that legislators' opposition to the computers shows that their "extreme ideology just completely trumps their sense of social good and common sense" (Richmond, AP/St. Paul Pioneer Press, 8/11).


posted by Anjali Taneja | 8/13/2004 05:21:00 PM | |


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