Should Junkie Mums Be Offered Cash In Return For Getting Sterilised?

by 21stcenturymummy on October 19, 2010

[picapp align=”none” wrap=”false” link=”term=drug+needles&iid=5244437″ src=”http://view3.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/5244437/varieties-narcotics-placed/varieties-narcotics-placed.jpg?size=500&imageId=5244437″ width=”280″ height=”170″ /]

Last night I watched Inside Out on BBC1 about the launch of Project Prevention, a highly controversial charity, in the UK. It was actually a while ago that I’d heard about Project Prevention, originally set up in the US by a lady called Barbara Harris. Her experience of fostering babies born to those addicted to drugs and alcohol led her to one conclusion: that drug addicts should be offered financial inducement to be sterilised. The charity has started to speak to mums that are drug addicts in the UK and is offering £200 to any that agree to be sterilised.

According to Inside Out, the number of babies suffering from drug withdrawal symptoms when they are born has increased by a shocking 70% in the past 10 years. What is equally horrifying is that 1,000,000 children are living with parents who abuse drugs. These children are more likely to be abused, neglected or to become drug addicts themselves. Many end up growing up in care. Project Prevention believes the only way to halt the trend is to stop addicts from having children altogether.

I also read an article in The Times last month about a mother whose youngest son was born a heroin addict. The mother gave her first son, born when she was 20, to her mum to look after. When she got pregnant again, despite taking methadone, she used also heroin and crack throughout the pregnancy. In the article she says “…I always said if I got pregnant, I would stop using, but it’s never that easy…”.  It took nearly two months to “clean up” the baby. The mother is now clean, but what about the damaging effect on the baby. Doesn’t it make you angry when you read something like this? And it is just one of so many other heart-breaking stories.

Unsurprisingly, Project Prevention has already caused a great deal of controversy, with calls of social experimentation, and playing God. Well, if it avoids innocent babies being born to junkies, who will only start off life as addicts themselves, and who will probably suffer abuse and neglect at the hands of their parents, so what?

People seem to treat having children as their right, but surely it is a privilege? As a mother, I feel absolutely no sympathy towards drug addicts who get pregnant. I know most of them will have had a hard life but so what? They don’t use contraception (they may be high but that doesn’t excuse them) and they put drugs before their unborn children.

Surely it’s got to be about the children?

I say take the hardline. As a mum to a gorgeous 3 year old, whenever I think about these innocent babies or children suffering at the hands of their addicts mums, it just makes me feel exceptionally angry. They simply don’t deserve to have children.

Do you think we should be taking a tougher line with drugs addicts who have babies? Nothing else seems to be working, so do you think Project Prevention could be the answer? At the very least shouldn’t drug addicts be given long-term contraception (IUD/Implants) to stop them having children they are unable to care for? Or is it taking things too far?

Read more here Project Prevention website

Really interested to hear what everyone else thinks.

{ 12 comments }

Tilly October 21, 2010 at 6:18 pm

It’s an interesting question. I saw the programme and was horrified by the statistics, and the footage of that baby going through cold turkey nearly had me crying. I think the woman running the project has her heart in the right place though I’m not sure about the finality of sterilisation. Long-term contraception sounds better. There may be women who get clean and want to have a family and I wouldn’t want to deny them that. Also, where do you draw the line? Smoking tobacco is an addiction and known to harm an unborn child. Would we want to go that far?

Tilly

http://tillytatas.blogspot.com
http://non-neurotypicalnipper.blogspot.com

21stcenturymummy October 22, 2010 at 1:52 pm

Thanks for interesting comment. Re smoking whilst pregnant – I think it’s absolutely disgusting and should be illegal – although not how it would be policed!

Tilly October 21, 2010 at 6:18 pm

It’s an interesting question. I saw the programme and was horrified by the statistics, and the footage of that baby going through cold turkey nearly had me crying. I think the woman running the project has her heart in the right place though I’m not sure about the finality of sterilisation. Long-term contraception sounds better. There may be women who get clean and want to have a family and I wouldn’t want to deny them that. Also, where do you draw the line? Smoking tobacco is an addiction and known to harm an unborn child. Would we want to go that far?

Tilly

http://tillytatas.blogspot.com
http://non-neurotypicalnipper.blogspot.com

21stcenturymummy October 22, 2010 at 1:52 pm

Thanks for interesting comment. Re smoking whilst pregnant – I think it’s absolutely disgusting and should be illegal – although not how it would be policed!

willice okoth February 27, 2011 at 2:11 pm

Thank you Tilly.Really,the statistics dont favour us and we are injecting a fresh pespective to HIV prevention.The cost will be paid by us and those women who consciously choose to delay pregnancies but the benefits will be reaped in future in terms of HIV cases that never occured.

Kenyan repersentative of project prevention

mumoffive October 21, 2010 at 8:52 pm

This made my blood boil when I heard it. No. Absolutely not.

mumoffive October 21, 2010 at 8:52 pm

This made my blood boil when I heard it. No. Absolutely not.

stuartsorensen November 5, 2010 at 10:56 pm

There’s much more to PP than meets the eye. For example they now target people in Haiti because they’re ‘too poor’.

Here in UK there are serious legal and ethical issues related to safeguarding legislation and it may well be hhat Barbara Harris will find herself in a British Coirt before too long.

you can get more info from my blog category here:

http://stuartsorensen.wordpress.com/category/project-prevention-2/

cheers,

Stuart

stuartsorensen November 5, 2010 at 10:56 pm

There’s much more to PP than meets the eye. For example they now target people in Haiti because they’re ‘too poor’.

Here in UK there are serious legal and ethical issues related to safeguarding legislation and it may well be hhat Barbara Harris will find herself in a British Coirt before too long.

you can get more info from my blog category here:

http://stuartsorensen.wordpress.com/category/project-prevention-2/

cheers,

Stuart

Don January 4, 2012 at 8:29 am

Because all animals reproduce, many assume this means it is a “right” for all. By that logic, since many animals kill and/or eat their peers, or their young, that also must be our “right”.

Sterilization should be done without hesitation on any person of childbearing age who lacks the basic ability, training, desire, financial provision, and emotional maturity to provide a good, loving, secure home for a child. Being childless is something which causes no material harm to anyone, but instead greatly benefits a person’s financial security, emotional stability, and potential to have a positive effect on mankind. Sadly, traditional pro-natalist mindset may lead gullible persons to believe they have nothing to contribute to mankind other than to reproduce, when in fact the last thing the human race needs is more of us!

Mumoffive, your blood should boil with guilt, if those five are all your conceptions!

Our massively overcrowded world is headed for environmental calamity on many fronts. The huge numbers of unwanted or poorly parented offspring are a major source of crime, poverty, and social upheaval. Wars over land or resources are becoming more common each year. And yet, mankind largely is blind to the simple and obvious causes of these problems,

I obtained a vasectomy in my twenties and have not regretted it once for the last 50+ years.

admin January 20, 2012 at 1:11 am

Thanks for your very interesting insight. I have a tendency to agree.

David January 26, 2012 at 2:54 pm

I absolutely agree, overpopulation is going to be the cause of every disaster, war and famine of the future, we have reached the Earth’s carrying capacity and its only going to get worse. The inhumane thing is not allowing sterilisation, but allowing these kids to be born into a world with an increasingly uncertain future. It is crazy to think we need more people in this world, especially in this case when statistics show that they are most likely going to be a huge burden on society and often live a life of anti-social behaviour due to mental deficiencies caused by the drugs before they were even born. And forgetting all that, if it is against the law to harm your baby once they are born, why is it not against the law to abuse them in the womb? It should be considered child abuse to give birth to stillborns, or babies addicted to class-A drugs who have to go through a painful process of cold-turkey, while often being born with great mental and physical handicaps. And you critics are forgetting that no one is being forced into sterilisation (although I feel they should) it is absolutely by choice, PP merely gives these women and men something they can otherwise not afford to pay for themselves.

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