“She has her daddy’s eyes … and her mummy’s heroin addiction.”
That’s an actual tagline from an advertising campaign created by Project Prevention, the organisation targeting drug addicts in the United Kingdom and United States and bribing them to get ‘sterilised’. That usually involves permanent birth control methods like vasectomies, tubal ligation (tying tubes) and some long-form devices like IUDs.
Addicts get $300 for submitting themselves to operation and, according to Project Prevention founder Barbara Harris, the knowledge they’ve prevented further unwanted pregnancies and the birth of children who might themselves have drug-related defects.
She started the Project after adopting babies born to drug-addicted mothers. She has
adopted six babies under similar circumstances.
Critics say Barbara’s mission is a form of human rights violation, stripping people of their right to reproduce without their informed consent.
At last count (this month) the organisation has paid 4,097 to be sterilised. Most of them were women.
According to their website:
The main objective of Project Prevention is public awareness to the problem of addicts/alcoholics exposing their unborn child to drugs during pregnancy.
Project Prevention seeks to reduce the burden of this social problem on taxpayers, trim down social worker caseloads, and alleviate from our clients the burden of having children that will potentially be taken away.
We seek and welcome alliances with all sectors of our communities including drug treatment programs, hospitals, social service departments, among others, and have established such contacts throughout the United States.
Project Prevention does not have the resources to combat the national problems of poverty, housing, nutrition, education and rehabilitation services. Those resources we do have are spent to PREVENT a problem for $300 rather than paying millions after it happens in cost to care for a potentially damaged child.
Barbara Harris has hit the headlines again, this time in New York, where she put her case:
“I think it’s really important for people to understand that the majority of women we sterilize are women who have had multiple children and don’t want anymore,” she told the Daily News. “It’s their decision.”
“And to say, ‘Let’s go ahead and let them keep having babies because one day they might decide to clean up and keep one?’ It’s just not fair,” she said. “And it’s preventable.”
Harris said that the last 20 women she paid to get sterilized had been pregnant a total of 121 times.
“Thirty were either aborted, stillborn or died after being born,” she said. “Seventy-eight are in foster care.”
The article continues, however:
Betsy Hartmann, director of the Population and Development Program and professor of Development Studies at Massachusetts’ Hampshire College, has accused Project Prevention of “thinly disguised” racism.
“Project Prevention mainly targets women of color,” Hartmann wrote on philanthropist George Soros’ Open Society Foundation’s blog.
“Essentially, while it targets specific vulnerable populations, it is trying to build support for eugenic and population control measures.”
Barbara wants to expand the ‘service’ to Kenya and possibly Ireland and Haiti.
Does this seem like a good idea to you? Is this a caring solution or a violation of human rights?