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In spite of population decline, U.S. Will spend $450K on birth control for Navajo tribes

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
October 2nd, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

It's being seen by some as just the latest insult against Native Americans. In spite of their population dwindling, The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services plans to spend $450,000 next year on grants to provide birth control to Navajo Nation's tribal lands. This, in spite of the fact that tribe members have dwindled down four percent between the years 2000 and 2010.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Part of these plans include "long acting" contraceptives and "sterilization." Priority will reportedly be given to Native American "individuals from low-income families."

"Successful applicants will include information in the application that clearly identifies the clinical services provided, including the specific methods of contraception to be offered at the grantee and/or sub-recipient sites," the department's solicitation for proposals to receive this grant money says.

"In addition to program priorities," the agency says, "the following key issues have implications for Title X services projects, and should be considered in developing the project plan: 1. Efficiency and effectiveness in program management and operations; 2. Patient access to a broad range of contraceptive options, including long acting reversible contraceptives (LARC), other pharmaceuticals, and laboratory tests."

Sterilizations will be offered in federally funded "family planning" programs on mentally competent individuals over 21 years of age who sign a document giving their "informed consent" at least 30 days but not more than 180 days before the procedure is performed.

This flies in face of the fact that the Navajo Nation's population decreased 3.9 percent, from 180,462 individuals in 2000 to 173,667 in 2010, These figures are according to the "Demographic Analysis of the Navajo Nation, 2010 Census data and 2010 American Survey Estimates."

Performed by the Arizona Rural Policy Institute at Northern Arizona University and funded in part by the U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration, the survey also found that more than half of Navajos living on tribal lands are between 18 and 64 years of age. Children under 19 make up 37.4 percent of all tribal members, whose average family size is 4.1 persons with a median household income of $26,232.

The Navajo Nation, whose territory was expanded several times between 1868 and 1934, is a self-governing, semi-autonomous region covering 27,425 square miles in Arizona, Utah and New Mexico, including Monument Valley. It is the largest Native American jurisdiction in the U.S.

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