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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Emma B BS: A snip at 200? (sterilizing addicts) (66* d) RE: BS: A snip at 200? (sterilizing addicts) 19 Oct 10

Ruth, I worked in Child Protection; I'm only too aware of the problems associated with addiction, and deprivation and the failings of the care system.

However, I share particular ethical concerns about birth control programmes that use incentives of money, food or other benefits to reward people who take part
Incentive programmes which only work on poor people will tend to reduce certain classes, 'castes' or even races (where they have lower earning opportunities) in society by causing them to have smaller families.

This may actually too easily merge with an Eugenics programme

Although Harris denies that Project Prevention appears to target African Americans and other ethnic minority groups the fact remains that more than half those paid by Project Prevention are either African American, Hispanic or from another ethnic background while these groups make up 25 percent of the US population and drug use amongst all groups is comparable.

Among the ethical considerations of 'soft coercion' I would include examining whether any 'reward' would significantly change/improve the family's life over a period of time.

By 'incentivising' vulnerable people into making choices about their reproductive rights, we are effectively coercing them into making a decision that may or may not be in their best interests.

Meanwhile availablity and access to free and, above all, SAFE contraception and advice remains a must together with longer term programmes (the rehab and counselling you suggest) that help addicts and do NOT criminakize them

As well as the incentive 'carrot' of a one off financial reward the alternative 'stick' has also been applied

The 1974 USA case of Relf-v-Weinberger showed that between 100,000 and 150,000 low income women were sterilised annually under federally-funded programs, and that some of these women had only consented to be sterilised after being threatened with losing welfare benefits.

Two sides of the same coin?

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