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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.