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BS: A snip at £200? (sterilizing addicts)

Emma B 18 Oct 10 - 06:20 AM
akenaton 18 Oct 10 - 06:45 AM
theleveller 18 Oct 10 - 07:02 AM
KHNic 18 Oct 10 - 07:04 AM
Stu 18 Oct 10 - 07:17 AM
Emma B 18 Oct 10 - 09:10 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 18 Oct 10 - 10:50 AM
gnu 18 Oct 10 - 11:36 AM
artbrooks 18 Oct 10 - 11:40 AM
Emma B 18 Oct 10 - 12:28 PM
Richard Bridge 18 Oct 10 - 12:42 PM
Rapparee 18 Oct 10 - 06:24 PM
bubblyrat 18 Oct 10 - 06:46 PM
Rapparee 18 Oct 10 - 06:48 PM
akenaton 18 Oct 10 - 08:12 PM
Amergin 18 Oct 10 - 08:14 PM
gnu 18 Oct 10 - 08:16 PM
Richard Bridge 18 Oct 10 - 09:29 PM
artbrooks 18 Oct 10 - 10:05 PM
GUEST,Steamin' Willie 19 Oct 10 - 04:47 AM
Lizzie Cornish 1 19 Oct 10 - 05:02 AM
Lizzie Cornish 1 19 Oct 10 - 05:03 AM
Kampervan 19 Oct 10 - 05:20 AM
Jean(eanjay) 19 Oct 10 - 06:24 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 19 Oct 10 - 06:34 AM
Ruth Archer 19 Oct 10 - 07:24 AM
Jean(eanjay) 19 Oct 10 - 07:48 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 19 Oct 10 - 07:57 AM
GUEST,Patsy 19 Oct 10 - 08:23 AM
Ruth Archer 19 Oct 10 - 08:28 AM
GUEST,Patsy 19 Oct 10 - 08:56 AM
Jean(eanjay) 19 Oct 10 - 09:37 AM
Jean(eanjay) 19 Oct 10 - 10:09 AM
Ruth Archer 19 Oct 10 - 10:20 AM
GUEST,Patsy 19 Oct 10 - 10:22 AM
Jean(eanjay) 19 Oct 10 - 10:59 AM
Ruth Archer 19 Oct 10 - 11:04 AM
Ruth Archer 19 Oct 10 - 11:10 AM
Jean(eanjay) 19 Oct 10 - 11:21 AM
Ruth Archer 19 Oct 10 - 11:42 AM
Emma B 19 Oct 10 - 01:09 PM
Ruth Archer 19 Oct 10 - 01:30 PM
Emma B 19 Oct 10 - 02:18 PM
Ruth Archer 19 Oct 10 - 03:44 PM
Jean(eanjay) 19 Oct 10 - 03:55 PM
akenaton 19 Oct 10 - 04:47 PM
Ruth Archer 19 Oct 10 - 05:38 PM
skipy 19 Oct 10 - 06:26 PM
akenaton 19 Oct 10 - 06:38 PM
KHNic 19 Oct 10 - 07:11 PM
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Subject: BS: A snip at £200?
From: Emma B
Date: 18 Oct 10 - 06:20 AM

Back in April the media in the UK were reporting
'Charity that sterilises addicts to come to UK'

"Drug addiction experts have reacted with horror at the revelation that a controversial American charity worker who pays addicts to be sterilised is setting up a franchise in Britain.
Project Prevention, which operates out of North Carolina, has stopped more than 3,500 drink and drug addicts from having children by paying them up to £200 to seek long term or permanent forms of contraception such as an IUD implant or full sterilisation.
Once the addicts prove that an operation has been carried out they are awarded a cash sum which, even the charity admits, usually goes towards feeding their habits."

The Independent April 10

The following month a mother or two children claimed she was approached near a health centre in Glasgow while with her nine year old son by three women who offered her £200 if she agreed to be sterilised
The woman stated she was not a drug addict although there were many in that area and reported the incident to the police
A Strathclyde Police spokesman said they believed it had been 'an isolated incident' but advised anyone similarly approached to contact their local police station.

The news today reports that the first person in the UK to accept the cash is drug addict "John" from Leicester.


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Subject: RE: BS: A snip at £200?
From: akenaton
Date: 18 Oct 10 - 06:45 AM

Sounds like just the sort of scheme that would appeal to our cash strapped govt.

Another peek into the future perhaps?

Assisted and subsidised suicide anyone?


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Subject: RE: BS: A snip at £200?
From: theleveller
Date: 18 Oct 10 - 07:02 AM

Oh, Brave New World that has such people in it.


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Subject: RE: BS: A snip at £200?
From: KHNic
Date: 18 Oct 10 - 07:04 AM

The problem with such programs is that they operate a system of value judgements. This project might start with a particular group of people such as drug addicts but denying them the right to have children is opening the door to saying "I disagree with your lifestyle, therefore you should not breed". A deeply disturbing prospect.


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Subject: RE: BS: A snip at £200?
From: Stu
Date: 18 Oct 10 - 07:17 AM

Are they going to run one for Royals and politicians?


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Subject: RE: BS: A snip at £200?
From: Emma B
Date: 18 Oct 10 - 09:10 AM

It is probably accurate to conclude that there may be a genetic predisposition to addiction and risk-taking behaviours but drug addiction is probably far more environmental in nature

However, unlike genetic traits drug addiction, with the right intervention in addicts' lives is something which need not be a permanent state Many people kick their drug habit Addaction campaigns that people can make positive changes with the right support

To pay addicts to be sterilised must only reinforce feelings of worthlessness and low self-esteem and just demonstrate that as a society we have given up hope for those already on its fringes as well as providing an additional income for their suppliers

Of course we should be seeking to minimise the number of babies born to addicted mothers
As the founder of Project Prevention argues, an addicted baby goes through excruciating pain and requires considerable medical attention as they go through withdrawal

In the UK however, contraceptive advice is part of drug treatment work . Women who use drugs can access all types of contraception free on the NHS including a number of long term options.
Maybe an attempt to decriminalize users would result in greater trust and use of medical staff etc?

A British Medical Journal article by a research officer from the Family Planning Information Service states that 'counselling is particularly important in the case of voluntary sterilization'
Certainly it would be expected that the person made a truly informed decision and not as the result of what could be considered a financial incentive or even a 'bribe'


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Subject: RE: BS: A snip at £200?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 18 Oct 10 - 10:50 AM

Why don't they cut the bullshit and simply offer these junkies a hit in return for the snip? I mean that *is* what they're doing after all.

And as well as the junkies, why not use the same 'incentive' for other people desperate for a few bob?
Perhaps they should be offering people who've got themselves into wadges of debt sterilisation in return for a couple of mortgage payments?

I mean after all the recklessness of taking out massive loans for more stuff than you really need, is a bit like gambling and drug taking isn't it?


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Subject: RE: BS: A snip at £200?
From: gnu
Date: 18 Oct 10 - 11:36 AM

Jack... hahahahaaa!


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Subject: RE: BS: A snip at £200?
From: artbrooks
Date: 18 Oct 10 - 11:40 AM

This is apparently a one-person "charity", run by a person who has more dollars than sense (as the saying goes in the US). Looking at their/her website, it seems that she adopted a couple of crack babies a number of years ago who turned out to have major medical problems due to fetal addiction (and who are now doing well). Information there focuses on the theses (I won't go so far as to call them facts) that addicted mothers often get pregnant accidentally or to increase their welfare payments. Justifiably or not, it seems that they/she has written off the mothers as a lost cause and has turned to trying to reduce the number of addicted children born in the future.


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Subject: RE: BS: A snip at £200?
From: Emma B
Date: 18 Oct 10 - 12:28 PM

For more information about Poject Prevention, also known as C.R.A.C.K. its history and its founder Barbara Harris, whose total disregard for the women it targets is evidenced in her statement:

"We don't allow dogs to breed. We spay them. We neuter them. We try to keep them from having unwanted puppies, and yet these women are literally having litters of children."

see this lengthy but informative article in the Journal of Law in Society

'Much of what C.R.A.C.K. says about its clients is untrue or unsupported. Instead of research, legitimate data and honest inquiries, C.R.A.C.K. too often presents anecdotes, fasle information and horrific images of bad women who not only do not deserve to have children but do not deserve any form of compassion or support'
i.e. a 'dehumanizing discourse'

Their flyer
"Don't let a pregnancy ruin your drug habit" is consistent with an organization that has no concern whatsoever with the welfare of mothers
In fact the organization only promotes birth control methods that do not prevent HIV or sexually transmitted diseases and 'may pose significant health risks compared to other methods'

Barbara Harris's own story involves a woman who she claims had eight children and is the centrepiece of her public presentations
Supporters of her programme assert that 'the typical drug user has seven children' so for the cost of $200 "Countless births are avoided"

However strudies have shown this to be a fallacy, low income women in America with a publicly identified drug problem had an average of 2-3 children

The media generated image of the 'typical' female addict as probably young, poor, black, urban, on welfare the mother of many children and addicted to crack moreover did not match the more likely 30 something. divorced high school graduate on public assistance, the mother of two or three children and addicted to alcohol and one other drug

Preventing harm to children or preventing some women from having children?

read the article and decide.....


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Subject: RE: BS: A snip at £200?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 18 Oct 10 - 12:42 PM

I bet the "charity" manager is a "christian" too.


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Subject: RE: BS: A snip at £200? (sterilizing addicts)
From: Rapparee
Date: 18 Oct 10 - 06:24 PM

Why not just run them in front of x-ray machines, like the Nazis did? Who are these people to take on to themselves the duties of judge and jury? And does the same offer hold for males?


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Subject: RE: BS: A snip at £200? (sterilizing addicts)
From: bubblyrat
Date: 18 Oct 10 - 06:46 PM

Well,somebody has to be "judge & jury", otherwise we'll just have anarchy . We can't go on & on feeling sorry for addicts,or blaming ourselves,or single-parent families,or high unemployment, or lack of affordable housing,or because "there's nothing to DO around here", or the Conservatives,or motorway noise, or overcrowding,or petrol prices, or the 1001 other excuses these whingeing,moaning malcontents manage to come up with !! Most of us manage to cope with all that,and more,without resorting to cocaine or heroin etc ----why the hell can't they ???


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Subject: RE: BS: A snip at £200? (sterilizing addicts)
From: Rapparee
Date: 18 Oct 10 - 06:48 PM

Good question. We have to get back to "we" instead of "I".


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Subject: RE: BS: A snip at £200? (sterilizing addicts)
From: akenaton
Date: 18 Oct 10 - 08:12 PM

Almost all addicts with whom I have conversed, were suffering from psychiatric problems before starting on drugs.

I have heard many horror stories. A large percentage are articulate and intelligent, most are resigned to an early death, some just cant wait.

Drug addicition is much more widespread than the general realise, it is the biggest social problem at the present time and sometime soon it will have to be addressed.

It has parallels with the homosexual hiv epidemic, in that we are prepared to watch them die quietly, rather than take the appropriate action.......which is not sterilisation.


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Subject: RE: BS: A snip at £200? (sterilizing addicts)
From: Amergin
Date: 18 Oct 10 - 08:14 PM

They should do something like this for law students...promise to pay for their education if they get sterilised first....it would be a vast improvement.


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Subject: RE: BS: A snip at £200? (sterilizing addicts)
From: gnu
Date: 18 Oct 10 - 08:16 PM

Do they accept middle aged bald men? I could use the coin.


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Subject: RE: BS: A snip at £200? (sterilizing addicts)
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 18 Oct 10 - 09:29 PM

Ratty, you seem to have overlooked that the separation of the functions of judge and jury is key to the rule of law (in the Dicean sense).


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Subject: RE: BS: A snip at £200? (sterilizing addicts)
From: artbrooks
Date: 18 Oct 10 - 10:05 PM

Amergin, it's too late for that...need to have caught their parents.


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Subject: RE: BS: A snip at £200? (sterilizing addicts)
From: GUEST,Steamin' Willie
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 04:47 AM

There's a thought. Conversing with Akenaton might just turn me towards drugs...

No, drugs are not the second stage after earlier phycological issues. They generally start as lifestyle and peer pressure.

Anyway, back to the story. My concern is that if enough don't come forward, would the advocates moot the idea of enforced sterilisation? interesting... What if that didn't work, or it cost too much? Extermination camps would be cheaper. The sums add up, records confiscated in 1945 clearly show the economic argument.

That's what I find chilling.

At a practical level, look at the research into cancers. they are about stopping the cancers from having an effect rather than excising individual cancers. This drug addiction solution does nothing for drug addiction, just plays on the epidemiology argument that offspring replicate the lifestyle of their sires.

Really? My Dad smoked and died of lung cancer. I never smoked. I am a drug addict in that I like a beer, Ok, I like lots of beer. I drink wine, oh, and since buying a bean to cup machine for my study, am addicted to caffeine. Spring your £200.00 this way please! I have sown my seeds and have no wish to sow them any more. I might get rid of the erection fixation that some (ok, one pillock) on this forum reckons I have.


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Subject: RE: BS: A snip at £200? (sterilizing addicts)
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 05:02 AM

I wrote about this woman on my Facebook page yesterday, after watching the BBC News. Shocking...

Interestingly, she has adopted four Black American children, all from the same 'crack mother' as was said...

Even more interestingly, as Barbara and her children smile out from their photo is the thought that had Hitler had his way and continued to sterilise every Black person or person of Mixed Race, as he started doing, possibly her 'children' would not ever have been born.

Bit like all the future children she wants to prevent coming into the world, whilst offering £200 to their possible parents, who are at the lowest ebb ever in their lives, desperate for money for their next fix or for bills...in a world that would rather sterilise them, then help them live happy and loving lives, surrounded by their future happy and healthy children...


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Subject: RE: BS: A snip at £200? (sterilizing addicts)
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 05:03 AM

Sorry, last sentence doesn't make much sense.. :0) Dashing to work, will 'repair' it later!


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Subject: RE: BS: A snip at £200? (sterilizing addicts)
From: Kampervan
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 05:20 AM

I think that this goes a lot further than just voluntary sterilisation of drug addicts.

If ever this gets to be accepted as O.K. then we just start to creep along the road towards what others have referred to above.

Eugenics is a nasty word for for an even nastier process and I believe that we should resist even the smallest step along this path.

K/van


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Subject: RE: BS: A snip at £200? (sterilizing addicts)
From: Jean(eanjay)
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 06:24 AM

I'm horrifed. Anyone who knows anything about drug addiction or has lived with drug addiction knows that most addicts end up selling all of their possessions for little money which lasts no time at all. If they accept this the £200 will also last no time at all and most of them will not be accepting it because they wish to be sterilised but because it is a way of getting some money because they are desperate. They are left with nothing; no wonder people feel so bad when things like this are going on. Is this woman then going to suggest that they maybe sell a kidney and so on? After all if they sold all their organs she'd get rid of them for good.

Imagine recovering addicts who'd lost all their possessions and were now unable to have children to bring love and joy into their lives; that isn't exactly going to give them a feeling of worth and help them to stay clean.


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Subject: RE: BS: A snip at £200? (sterilizing addicts)
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 06:34 AM

It's rather similar to scumbags who pay wino's to beat the crap out of each other in return for a bottle of frosty jack. But without the added self-righteous pomposity. Yes, desperate addicted people will humiliate and degrade and mutilate themselves in return for the passing alleviation of a craving. Just don't pretend your doing anyone a service if you bribe them into doing so.


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Subject: RE: BS: A snip at £200? (sterilizing addicts)
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 07:24 AM

Ummm...just to play devil's advocate for a minute...

This thread has focused, rightly, on the dangers of eugenics and enforced sterilisation. But I understand one of the compromise measures that Project Prevention offers to women is Contraceptive injections/implants, which are not a permanent "solution". The implants last for 5 years, and in the case of the injection, the addicts get a small payment every three months for turning up and having it.

I have to say, I have quite mixed feelings about this issue. While everything people have said in this thread about addicts being vulnerable and an easy target is true, the children born to addicts, often in poverty and chaos, are starting life in a terribly vulnerable and precarious situation. If they stay with their parents, they are likely to suffer neglect or abuse; if they go into the care system, what happens to them is often just as bad. I am not suggesting that women who are addicts should not receive drug treatment and support - of course they should. But giving them an incentive to choose a long-term - not necessarily permanent - contraceptive solution while they are still battling addiction doesn't seem, to me, to be all that extreme an idea.

Anyone who has ever come into contact with children who have been victim to their parents' drug addictions, or with adoptive parents who have had to deal with the emotional fallout of such situations, would surely understand that preventing pregnancies in an atmosphere of chaos and neglect makes sense...


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Subject: RE: BS: A snip at £200? (sterilizing addicts)
From: Jean(eanjay)
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 07:48 AM

The British government should be doing more to help our addicts and that includes issues of contraception. We don't actually need someone like Barbara Harris coming here doing more harm than good.


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Subject: RE: BS: A snip at £200? (sterilizing addicts)
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 07:57 AM

Id feel less uncomfortable about it if sterilisation wasn't offered. What outside checks are in place to ensure no pressure or extra incentives are offered for the permanent option? As for the value of 'incentives' full stop, I'd be more in favour of offering heroine on the NHS. Users can and do live perfectly stable lives if their habits can be managed without recourse to crime or prostitution. But then that's a whole other thread.


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Subject: RE: BS: A snip at £200? (sterilizing addicts)
From: GUEST,Patsy
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 08:23 AM

Wouldn't it depend on the individual addict and circumstance? You can't lump them all together as having the same mentality or problems. For instance the person who became addicted to drugs through over studying or depression is hardly going to be the same as a knife wielding junkie terrorising highrise blocks of flats. And who is to say that a drug dependent person hasn't been sterilised already it is always a possibility you can't assume. Not all junkies are young. Unless there is a clause that £200 will only be issued after proof of discharge papers from the hospital.
Would this sterilization be done on the NHS or private? A lot of people will be a bit miffed if junkies jump the queue and get £200 as well. Privately it would probably cost all of the £200 hand-out.


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Subject: RE: BS: A snip at £200? (sterilizing addicts)
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 08:28 AM

It is, Crowsister, and I understand what you're saying. I am far more comfortable with the idea of long-term contraception than I am with sterilisation.

I think it's fair to say that *some* users can and do live perfectly stable lives if their habits can be managed, but individuals react differently. Knowing the chaos that my father's alcoholism brought into our lives, I can see how the de-stabilisation of family life has long-term repercussions. And I was lucky, because I had my grandmother and extended family - the impact could have been far more damaging if I hadn't had a safe route out of the situation when I needed it. Drug addiction often causes chaos, whether or not the drug of choice is legal or readily available. Drugs like crack make the user live for the drug. I knew someone many years ago whose crack addiction had done enormous damage to her young son and to her future relationship with him, but she resorted to neither prostitution nor crime, as her family was well off and they looked after her financially. Even if a drug addict can "manage" their habit, it is not not going to mean they are a fit parent, because their first priority is the high and not their child.


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Subject: RE: BS: A snip at £200? (sterilizing addicts)
From: GUEST,Patsy
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 08:56 AM

Yes I see what you mean. Something similar is happening in my family (my youngest son) and I can't see him going for the option of sterilization in a million years.


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Subject: RE: BS: A snip at £200? (sterilizing addicts)
From: Jean(eanjay)
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 09:37 AM

Sterilisation isn't the answer and giving money to addicts isn't either. Proper, well thought out programmes of help are what are needed. Barbara Harris appears to have a complete disregard for addicts and I find that offensive.


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Subject: RE: BS: A snip at £200? (sterilizing addicts)
From: Jean(eanjay)
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 10:09 AM

It is utterly wrong


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Subject: RE: BS: A snip at £200? (sterilizing addicts)
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 10:20 AM

Does she, eenjay? What makes you think that? Go onto the project's website and have a look. Maybe I am being naive, but I assumed she would be a fascist cow whan I first noticed an article about her in the Guardian Weekend section a few months ago; that article, and some of the testimonies form participants in the programme that are on the website, made me think rather differently. She's not perfect by any means, but she's also not a demon, and while it would clearly be preferable if adequate programmes existed within the state system to ensure better care of children born into addiction, until the system is doing its job properly I rather admire her for getting up off her arse and trying to do something about it. As I say, I would be much happier if we were only talking about long-term contraception, rather than permanent sterilisation. But I don't really have an ideological problem with incentivising people to take part, if it works.

At the end of the day, it isn't just the duty of care towards the addict that is at issue here - though this is clearly important - but the duty of care to babies and children, and trying to avoid situations where they are being born into chaos, neglect and abuse. Children of addicts either grow up in these circumstances in their parents' homes, or they often experience them when taken into the care system.

Yes, I know that children don't have to be born to an addict to experience neglect and abuse. Yes, I know that the methodology here is skewed so that it targets the most needy and vulnerable, and that it smacks of playing God with people's fertility. But if it also means fewer children being born into intolerable situations and basically having their lives written off before they are even born, then maybe it's an idea that is not without its merits, and could be explored further in a more controlled way.

The statistics on Project Prevention's website state that the almost 3500 participants in the programme so far had given birth to almost 10,500 children between them, before joining the programme (add another 5000-odd terminations and 700-odd stillbirths). Around 6500 of those kids, born to addicts, are now in care.

Of the 3500 who joined the programme, around 2150 chose reversible methods of long-term contraception, ie implants, injections or IUD. So this isn't really enforced sterilisation for the poorest and most vulnerable; perhaps it's part of a short-term solution during a period in their lives where they haven't got a lot of control and are making some pretty bad decisions. It prevents those decisions having negative impact on any more babies. It also maybe breaks a cycle of poverty and addiction that sometimes begins before people are even born and means their life chances are blighted from the start. Just look at statistics for kids brought up in care, and how many of them end up in prison and as addicts themselves. It's heartbreaking.


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Subject: RE: BS: A snip at £200? (sterilizing addicts)
From: GUEST,Patsy
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 10:22 AM

It is creepy and it makes you wonder who they will take a pot shot at next.


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Subject: RE: BS: A snip at £200? (sterilizing addicts)
From: Jean(eanjay)
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 10:59 AM

Barbara Harris regards drug treatment as a gamble. The group uses tactics like "Don't let pregnancy get in the way of your crack habit". They are paying money to addicts who are unable to consider the consequences of their actions. Yes, she does appear to have a disregard for addicts.


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Subject: RE: BS: A snip at £200? (sterilizing addicts)
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 11:04 AM

from their website's FAQs:


"What are you doing for the addicts? Do you even care what happens to them?

Barbara Harris writes on a continual basis with countless Project Prevention clients. She frequently sends cards of encouragement applauding their efforts to get or stay clean.

Project Prevention has referred hundreds of clients to drug treatment programs nationwide.

What many people fail to consider are the negative effects on a woman's self-esteem of continually having children that are taken away. That only leads to the women feeling worse about themselves, and often times, leads them deeper into their addiction.

For a glimpse into how these women feel, here are a few remarks from Project Prevention clients:

Thank you for helping me to do the first responsible thing I've ever done in my addiction. Patricia, Nashville.

I am sorry to inform you that I relapsed shortly after I graduated on May 1st. I'm back in treatment and doing very well. I apologize for not keeping in touch for I feel as though we've known one another in a different space and time. You are truly an inspiration to me, and I feel that your love knows no boundaries. Sandra, Los Angeles

Thank you for the wonderful encouraging cards, they made me smile. I am still dedicated to promoting Project Prevention to the women in my program because I know from personal experience, after six relapses and five children in foster care, how important birth control is. Penny, New York"


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Subject: RE: BS: A snip at £200? (sterilizing addicts)
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 11:10 AM

eenjay: "They are paying money to addicts who are unable to consider the consequences of their actions."

The MAJORITY of participants in the programme choose long-term, reversible contraception, not sterilisation. What are the consequences, apart from not having more babies? I would, as I have said, be happier if this were the only option on offer, but given that substantially more women have opted for a non-permanent solution, it would not appear that they are being pressurised into sterilisation.

I am not saying the programme on offer is perfect. But if certain aspects of the model were taken on by a government agency and offered as a short-term option (not a permanent solution, and certainly not compulsory) for women whose lives are in chaos, I would support it.


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Subject: RE: BS: A snip at £200? (sterilizing addicts)
From: Jean(eanjay)
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 11:21 AM

The Independent 18 Oct


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Subject: RE: BS: A snip at £200? (sterilizing addicts)
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 11:42 AM

Eenjay, that's a blog. It presents opinion without necessarily backing it up with facts.

"Barbara Harris is an American woman on a mission, to offer money to drug addicts in return for "longterm birth control" (a smushy, inaccurate term; she means sterilisation)"

But this is simply not true. Long-term birth control is just that. It takes place in cycles from 3 months to 5 years, and can be stopped any time a woman wants to (admittedly, long-term use of the contraceptive injection can mean the return of fertility is delayed for up to a year, but it is still not permanent nor irreversible). The MAJORITY of women who have participated in Barbara Harris's programme have opted for long-term contraception, ie injections, implants and IUD. This is what they have been given. Not sterilisation. A blogger saying that they are the same thing doesn't make it true.

"The ethical debate here is not whether or not it is a good idea for drug addicts not to have children, or even to act upon that, but whether it is right for someone to bribe an addict to permanently remover their ability to have children."

The blogger needs to do a bit more research, because again, she is talking about the heated and emotive issue of sterilisation, rather than the shorter-term, reversible solutions also on offer.

To know whether what is going on is truly unethical, we would need to know whether the women feel pressurised into taking the permanent solution of sterilisation. Admittedly, even offering this option is what causes the dilemma.

"It worked in America – if 3,500 people agreed to her offer, something must be not so out of order from the perspective of the addict. My guess is that when approached, the large majority of these addicts would suffer from extremely low self esteem and see themselves as a person unfit to have children – whether or not that is true, or will always be true is a whole other kettle of fish."

Again, poor research. The very statistic on Project Prevention's website showing that the 3500 American women in the programme had already borne, on average, more than 3 children each, and that almost 2/3 of those children had been given up into the care system by mothers who either felt themselves (or were deemed by the state) to be unfit to look after them, means that we are not just talking about some sort of theoretical low-self-esteem issues around the possibility of being a fit parent. We are talking about women who have proved themselves unable, for the time being, to look after a child.

"If she believed that an addict could turn things around, respond to treatment and go on to have children and stay clean (it does happen), then she would perhaps offer a less extreme form of contraception."

Well, she does - but it doesn't make nearly such exciting newspaper headlines, does it...?


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Subject: RE: BS: A snip at £200? (sterilizing addicts)
From: Emma B
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 01:09 PM

NOT on her web site

Barbara Harris has been criticized for comparing the drug-addicted women Project Prevention targets to animals.
She states, "I'm not saying these women are dogs, but they're not acting any more responsible than a dog in heat."
She has also stated: "We don't allow dogs to breed. We spay them. We neuter them. We try to keep them from having unwanted puppies, and yet these women are literally having litters of children."

In other contexts, she again compared drug addicted women to animals, stating,
"They're having litters. They are literally having litters. We campaign to neuter dogs and yet we allow women to have 10 or 12 kids that they can't take care of and we have campaigns to spay cats to prevent them from having unwanted kittens, yet we allow these women to have litters of 14 children."

As I pointed out in my post of 18 Oct 10 - 12:28 PM this stereotype is simply false but it is central to her campaign and fund raising (she frequenrly repeats the example of the woman who had 13 children taken from her as a result of her addiction to drugs)

The major donor in the US is Richard Mellon Scaife an American newspaper publisher and billionaire known for his financial support of conservative and right-wing public policy organizations over the past two decades. He has provided support for conservative and libertarian causes in the U.S., mostly through the private, nonprofit foundations he controls.

Harris readily admits that any money her clients gain through Project Prevention is probably spent on drugs, but she firmly believes that investing in rehabilitation and prevention programs is NOT the answer describing drug treatment as 'just a gamble you know'.

With all Project Prevention's fund raising and right wing financial support, they give nothing to rehab treatment or housing programs where they recruit.

They totally ignore the fact that if a woman is a drug user and in poverty, then she's also more likely to be homeless and at greater risk of rape.

Project prevention selectively offered Norplant and tubal ligation; neither of these offer any protection for drug dependent women against STDs; barrier methods and methods which protect against HIV infection and other sexually transmitted diseases are not offered but then it is fairly obvious from her remarks she regards them as no better than animals anyways

The full financial incentive, or bribe, was offered to women who agreed to sterilization or long-term birth control however you only got the full amount immediately if you had your tubes tied or got a Norplant implant and in installments over one year if you went with Depo-Proverb - side effects include hair loss, delayed return to fertility, nausea, osteoporosis, depression, and increased risk of cervical and breast cancer -or Lunelle.
It's not rocket science to work out that more poor women were going to go for the immediate 'reward' and did! (more than one third have been sterilized)

[Norplant is made up of six silicone capsules filled with the synthetic hormone levonorgestral, which are implanted just under the skin of a woman's upper arm. Once inserted Norplant prevented pregnancy for up to five years.
Only two days after Federal approval of Norplant, the Philadelphia Inquirer ran an editorial entitled, "Poverty and Norplant: Can Contraception Reduce the Underclass?" Many problems have been reported with this method of birth control including medical side effects and scarring as a result it is no longer available in the US]


Barbara Harris failed to persuade California State legislature to criminalize women who use illicit drugs while pregnant a draft Bill to this effect never became law. She wanted legislation to make long-term contraception mandatory for women who had children that were substance-exposed in the womb since the State would not take action, she decided to do so herself
If such a law had been passed, women with drug problems who became pregnant would have become a hidden population afraid to access prenatal services or drug treatment centres

Project Prevention still advocates legislation to make "prenatal crimes" punishable by jail and sterilization.


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Subject: RE: BS: A snip at £200? (sterilizing addicts)
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 01:30 PM

Emma, that is far more illuminating. I can understand your first post and concerns about the programme if this is what lies beneath the smiling and supportive veneer on the website.

*However*, I would still support a state-run programme which offered long-term contraception (alongside rehab or counselling) to women with addiction. And if it offered financial incentives to encourage them to take part, I'm not sure I would be morally outraged. I think that until we "fix" the bigger, more abstract problems in society, short-term solutions which help to contain them need to be looked at.

I know some people will say, "But they will only spend the money on drugs!" Well, we don't withhold social security benefits from the drug- or alcohol-dependent despite knowing they will probably spend it on drugs...so if a small regular payment can help to ensure that these women at least refrain from getting pregnant until they are in a better place in their own lives and more emotionally equipped to deal with the responsibility of parenting, I am persuaded that it could be an acceptable part of the solution. There are just too many unwanted kids at the moment ending up in a failing care system that damages them beyond repair and spits them out. Many of them are the children of addicts. We need some solutions that break this awful cycle.


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Subject: RE: BS: A snip at £200? (sterilizing addicts)
From: Emma B
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 02:18 PM

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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Subject: RE: BS: A snip at £200? (sterilizing addicts)
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 03:44 PM

"Two sides of the same coin?"

I do see what you mean, Emma, but I'm not sure I agree that a specific and targeted programme of a limited time period is necessarily the slippery slope into Eugenics. I'm also not sure that helping women to make smarter choices at a time in their lives when their ability to make good choices for themselves is impaired by their addiction will lead to class genocide.

I think that the needs of the children in these cases has to be paramount, and at the moment many children are suffering. A couple I know have adopted two of them. After they were taken from their addict mother and put into care, she continued to have kids. Two or three of them live with her now. I'm not sure which ones I feel more sorry for, the ones who are sharing her chaotic life as she careers through her addiction, or the two who were shunted around the care system, and back and forth out of her life as the state struggled to maintain their contact with their mother, throughout their formative years.

There is a lot of emphasis on a woman's right to have control over her reproductive system, and as a feminist I would agree in 99% of cases that this should be paramount, but when it comes to children's long term well-being hanging in the balance, I have real misgivings about what is happening currently and am trying to maintain an open mind about potential solutions. Because the current situation simply isn't working.


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Subject: RE: BS: A snip at £200? (sterilizing addicts)
From: Jean(eanjay)
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 03:55 PM

Barbara Harris is quoted as saying this:

"If I had enough money, there wouldn't be any pregnancies for drug addicts,"

How exactly does she think that she could enforce that even if she had all the money in the world?

I find it somewhat worrying.


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Subject: RE: BS: A snip at £200? (sterilizing addicts)
From: akenaton
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 04:47 PM

There is only a short step between bribing people to be sterilised and making sterilization compulsory for sections of society whom we deem to be unfit to breed.

The answer is to invest the time and money required to make the underclass believe that there is a point to there existance..and that means a completely new form of society where ones worth is not measured in pounds and pense.

To many addicts the only emotional connection they have, is to their "weans"....of course they neglect them when in the grip of their addiction, but they are also capable of great love...I have seen this often, addicts consumed with remorse over neglect of their children.

The amazing thing is, that these children, no matter how young they are, seem to sense their parents frailty and come to accept it

Addicts need more rigorous supervision, better rehabilitation, a changed society and if neccessary their children removed to a place of safety temporarily
Addicts are the damaged victims of our broken society, and society must repair the damage, sterilization will only reinforce their feelings of worthlessness and is no answer at all.


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Subject: RE: BS: A snip at £200? (sterilizing addicts)
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 05:38 PM

"The answer is to invest the time and money required to make the underclass believe that there is a point to there existance..and that means a completely new form of society where ones worth is not measured in pounds and pens"

And in the meantime, kids are growing up in neglect and being put into the care system, which is riven with abuse. So what do we tell them, "Sorry - you'll just have to wait till society is better"? Are there any more immediate measures we could find to minimise the damage being done?



"To many addicts the only emotional connection they have, is to their "weans"....of course they neglect them when in the grip of their addiction, but they are also capable of great love...I have seen this often, addicts consumed with remorse over neglect of their children."

Of course they are capable of love. The question is whether the needs of the vulnerable child outweigh the needs of the addicted mother.



"The amazing thing is, that these children, no matter how young they are, seem to sense their parents frailty and come to accept it"

That's a rather romanticised view. Kids forced to grow up before their time, forced to live in chaos and be the "grown-up" in the house, or taken away and put into care, where the likelihood of them becoming addicts or going to prison in adulthood immediately double or treble.

I am not advocating sterilisation - I am advocating a strategy that could include long-term contraception.


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Subject: RE: BS: A snip at £200? (sterilizing addicts)
From: skipy
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 06:26 PM

They are simply deficeint in lead, a 9mm injection into the back of the head will cure the problem. Bringing about a massive reduction in crime & massive finaial saving on the cost of policing, courts, prisons, hospital etc.


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Subject: RE: BS: A snip at £200? (sterilizing addicts)
From: akenaton
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 06:38 PM


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Subject: RE: BS: A snip at £200? (sterilizing addicts)
From: KHNic
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 07:11 PM

I am a recovering addict and have been so for the last twenty years. As such, I take it that skipy thinks that I should not have lived for so long, but I make no apologies.
There seems to be a bias to this thread. Ruth states that "Long-term birth control is just that. It takes place in cycles from 3 months to 5 years, and can be stopped any time a woman wants to (admittedly, long-term use of the contraceptive injection can mean the return of fertility is delayed for up to a year, but it is still not permanent nor irreversible)." The fact is that in the UK the only person to take up the offer from this "charity" is a man - John from Leicester. In his case the return of fertility IS not an option.
This is an example of a person who is vulnerable being taken advantage of. There is no difference between this and people being forced into selling organs for cash.


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