Thursday, November 08, 2007

1600 Mothers Delay Births To Get Government 'Baby Bonus' Payments

This takes the idea of 'birth control' into bizarre new territory.

Over the past few years, more than 1600 pregnant women have purposely delayed the birth of their children so they would qualify for thousands of dollars in government payments.

Treasurer Peter Costello urged Australians to get busy breeding, and made sure they were rewarded for their contribution to the growth of the population. It's hard to believe that no-one in the government foresaw that making payments worth thousands of dollars only applicable after a certain date would lead to this kind of behaviour :
A huge number of expecting mothers delayed births in order to qualify for the increased Baby Bonus payments in July last year, a new study has revealed.

And many more soon-to-be mothers will do the same for the next increase in 2008, researchers from the University of Melbourne and the Australian National University warn.

The researchers estimated that more than 600 births were delayed until after Baby Bonus payments rose to $4000 a pop in July last year.

According to the Born (again) on the First of July study, mothers refused induced births or caesareans until the July 1, 2006.
Researchers claim more the births of more than 1000 babies were delayed when the scheme was introduced two years ago.
The Baby Bonus scheme was introduced in July 2004, with mothers receiving a lump sum payment of $3000.

Doctors and health workers have been concerned about the number of mothers delaying birth in order to receive the payments, citing health concerns for both woman and child.
You can't blame the mothers. Some two million Australians (ten per cent) now live below the poverty line. If giving birth on June 28 got you nothing, but giving birth on July 1 scored you $3000 or $4000, money essential for the very expensive business of raising children, why wouldn't a mother delay the birth of the child if they were able to do so?