Should Addicts be paid to be sterilized?

Assassin~ Badass Buzz Guru 2012/05/04 20:31:40
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s overcast in Possilpark,
one of the most deprived areas of Glasgow. Outside the pound shops and
bookmakers on the high street, Barbara Harris, founder of US charity Project Prevention,
is giving out flyers. She hands one to James, a wiry man in his 20s.
"I'm from a nonprofit organisation," she tells him. "If you know any
drug addicts or alcoholics who could get pregnant, we will pay them £200
to be on long-term birth control."

"I'm a drug addict!" James declares. "You'd give me £200? But I'm a guy…"

"You can have a vasectomy," Harris replies, quick as a flash.

His eyes widen. "Two hundred pounds! You don't get the money today, though, do you?"

"No, you don't get the money until after. Do you know any women who are pregnant and using drugs around here?"

are hundreds of women like that around here." He gestures up the road.
"Go to the health centre – that's where you'll see them." Harris leaves
James studying the flyer. He's grinning, incredulous.

She asks to
leave flyers at the NHS health centre reception, but the manager is out,
so she's told she'll have to come back. She sticks a few in the
railings outside, and props four or five in the soil of a nearby
flowerbed. The flyers are hand-cut, on yellow card. There's a photo of a
tiny newborn covered in tubes above the slogan, "Every baby deserves a
sober start."

Harris doesn't think addicts should have children,
and her charity is using cash incentives to make sure they don't. In
the 12 years since Project Prevention launched in the US, she has paid
1,307 people $300 to be sterilised, and given money to many more in
exchange for long-term contraception. In total, Harris has bought the
fertility of more than 3,000 Americans with drug and alcohol problems – only 47 of them men. Now she's turning her attention to Britain.

me, it's about preventing child abuse," she says. "This is legal child
abuse." Babies are being born in withdrawal, underweight, with serious
medical problems, she says, and if they survive, they are destined to a
bleak future. "What's the quality of life they're going to have? How
many problems are they going to have? The cycle will keep repeating
itself. But it's preventable. It's just common sense to me."

isn't common sense to everyone, though. It feels profoundly unsettling
to be walking around one of Britain's poorest districts with a woman
who's promising people serious money in exchange for their fertility. As
we leave the health centre, I think about how Harris's website says her
mission is "to reduce the number of substance-exposed births to zero".
If she managed to achieve that goal here, a lot of people in Possilpark
wouldn't be able to have children.

In the US, Project Prevention
has been compared to the Nazis' eugenics programme, but Harris isn't
bothered by her critics. "They are willing to call me Hitler, but what
are they doing to help? Are they willing to adopt any of these children
that they think should continue to be born? If they're not part of the
solution, they're part of the problem. Everybody talks about the right
of the woman – what about the rights of the children? They are the

Addicts who decide to take advantage of Harris's offer
call the project's hotline and leave their details. They are sent
paperwork to take to their doctor, who must verify their drug or alcohol
problem. Once they have been sterilised or had a long-term
contraceptive fitted, the doctor signs papers to confirm it. When
Project Prevention gets the papers back, the addicts get their money.
It's a lump sum for those who choose sterilisation; those who go for
less permanent birth control are paid in instalments, as long as they
can prove the contraceptive is still in place.

Read More: http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2010/jun/12/barb...

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  • HAlex1972 flrdsgns 2012/05/04 22:00:34
    Something wrong with you.
  • flrdsgns HAlex1972 2012/05/04 22:05:01
    I just have very little empathy for drunks, druggies or people who refuse to work. That is what makes up 95% of the homeless (at least around here anyway)

    I have a lot of respect for people like Assassin, who is an addiction counselor. I hope she is able to help them and turn some around. It is just a job I would be horrible at. The majority end up that way through by their own hands.
  • turtled... flrdsgns 2012/05/04 22:46:41
    I would also like to tell you of my experience with the homeless. Many of them are mentally ill. I have no idea where you live, but in my area, the law has changed and mentally ill people are no longer cared for in homes or institutions. They are turned loose on their own, and given an overworked social worker. They are then taken advantage of by druggies, and led to get on drugs or alcohol themselves. When they get their checks, the druggies take all their money, and eventually they get evicted. That is what makes up a lot of the homeless in my area. Many of the men are war veterans, and I do not think they should be used for experimental purposes. They already served their country, and this is what their country gives them in return.
  • flrdsgns turtled... 2012/05/04 22:51:37
    I think it's the same here, I live in So Ca in a coastal town.
    And yes, the mentally ill were turned loose on the streets in the 60s when Reagan was governor. The problem has gotten much worse over the years.

    I know they will never be used for experimentation, that was a flippant remark, and I apologize for it. That said, I still can't muster much empathy for them.
  • turtled... flrdsgns 2012/05/04 23:53:40
    I understand. I wish I could turn your heart, but I can not. If you have not dealt with the mentally ill, you can not empathize with them. May you be blessed to never go through that with yourself or your own.
  • flrdsgns turtled... 2012/05/04 23:58:20
    Thank you. I never have had to deal with the mentally ill, and hopefully I never do. I generally have compassion and empathy for everything, but the crime from the homeless has hardened me to where I just don't care. Maybe someday it will change, I don't know
  • turtled... flrdsgns 2012/05/05 00:30:07
    I read some of your posts above, and I think I can understand what you are going through. Needles and what not. That is very dangerous for your family. Also the trash and the garbage. I could not imagine what it would be like to take your kids to the beach and find needles in the sand! Yuck! See, even when my kids do the earth day stuff at school, and they are going to clean up neighborhoods, I was adamant about where they were going and what they could touch, and what not to touch! So I understand your point of view, as well. I really feel for those who are in this kind of trouble, but I also feel for you, as well. That is why something needs to be done to confront this situation that too many of us are finding ourselves in. I just don't see sterilization as the solution. Babies actually save some of the mothers, because the mom thinks of the baby instead of her need for the drugs. The homeless, well, I don't know what solution can be wrought as we have no money in this country for more aid. I really think we need to put more money into this country and less into other people's business. How are we giving aid to all these countries when we have people here who are crazy, and out in the streets? I think closing the institutions was a great disservice to us all.
  • flrdsgns turtled... 2012/05/05 02:15:36
    I agree about helping people getting the attention and medication they need to become productive members of society, or at the very least the help they need to just cope with life.
  • HAlex1972 turtled... 2012/05/05 05:45:59
    You must be in Michigan. Why did they close the institutions?!?
  • turtled... HAlex1972 2012/05/05 21:04:24
    They are not all closed, but when the laws changed, many of the mentally ill who were institutionalized were put out on their own. They have had some hospitals that have shut down due to lack of funding and just not being profitable. The mentally ill are out there on their own, and they get taken advatage of by the druggiess and low lifes.
  • Tink123 2012/05/04 21:18:31 (edited)
    Nah. It's not really paying them to be sterilized, that money will go up in smoke. 'Wanna do something beneficial with that money? Use it to feed a hungry kid that already exists.
  • Kern 2012/05/04 21:13:52
    People who believe in sterilization should be the fist to step up to the plate.
  • Quazar 2012/05/04 21:13:13
    No comment, just NO!
  • Someone Else 2012/05/04 21:12:52
    Someone Else
    That's creepy
  • Angela Chambers 2012/05/04 20:59:44
    Angela Chambers
    No, addicts should be left alone. Who is the idiot that came up with this idea. He/She needs to be sterilized, not addicts.
  • ♒ßεllεchεvεllε®♒ 2012/05/04 20:54:22
    Not with taxpayer money. That chick's tactics are bad form. Those people are being manipulated while not of sound mind and body. BAD FORM. Not all sterilization procedures are reversible, AND having worked at a rehab previously, there are many who are rehabilitated and assimilate nicely into society.
  • Nestofa... ♒ßεllεc... 2012/05/04 21:38:56
  • Devonly 2012/05/04 20:54:20
    define "addict" and perhaps the discussion could start there.
  • Kern Devonly 2012/05/04 21:15:18
    Great point. There are gambling addicts, sex addicts; to be honest, there are addicts of all kinds. Bravo.
  • mk, Smartass Oracle 2012/05/04 20:53:55
  • dlsofsetx 2012/05/04 20:50:09
    there should have been an undecided choice.I have mixed feelings.
  • Pixie·Ÿ... dlsofsetx 2012/05/04 21:05:01
  • Nestofa... Pixie·Ÿ... 2012/05/04 21:39:29
    The best revenge is to prove them wrong, ....Congratulations!!!!!
  • HAlex1972 Pixie·Ÿ... 2012/05/04 22:02:12
    It sounds like the birth of your child was a blessing from God. Kudos to you and your sobriety! Thumbs up!
  • dlsofsetx Pixie·Ÿ... 2012/05/23 19:50:43
    Good for you!
  • Daryl 2012/05/04 20:47:38
    No we should not support addicts with government money and we should not sterilize them through the government.

    If you want to sterilize addicts do it without taxpayer money.
  • Assassi... Daryl 2012/05/04 20:50:51
    Assassin~ Badass Buzz Guru
    Project prevention is a no-profit organization not a government agency.
  • Daryl Assassi... 2012/05/04 21:09:02
    You sure they get no gubmint money?
  • Assassi... Daryl 2012/05/05 01:00:08
    Assassin~ Badass Buzz Guru
    I don't think so, but I can't guarantee it.
  • turtled... Assassi... 2012/05/04 22:49:20
    Since she is in the UK right now, do they say gubmint? I think he is just being rude.
  • Assassi... turtled... 2012/05/05 01:00:59
    Assassin~ Badass Buzz Guru
    LOL they are in the U. S.as well. Art attempts to harass me at times, but he is unable to vex me.
  • turtled... Assassi... 2012/05/05 01:31:49
    So good for you. His comment made me kind of angry, and I was going to respond, but decided against it. He has had people removed!
  • Assassi... turtled... 2012/05/05 01:52:23
    Assassin~ Badass Buzz Guru
    I am sure Art is terribly devious. I have very little doubt.

    Why do you appear to be angry with me?
  • Daryl Assassi... 2012/05/05 05:08:12
    Since when is checking facts harassment?
  • Assassi... Daryl 2012/05/05 07:43:07
    Assassin~ Badass Buzz Guru
    It's not. I was being sarcastic. Relax
  • Daryl Assassi... 2012/05/07 03:20:15
    I do what I want.
  • Assassi... Daryl 2012/05/07 04:03:01
    Assassin~ Badass Buzz Guru
    LOL!!! Of course.
  • Cuppajo 2012/05/04 20:34:50
    And paid in their drug of choice.

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