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Should Drug Addicts Be Paid to Be Sterilized?

Project Prevention

Founded on the idea that every child deserves a sober start, Barbara Harris spends her days writing checks to drug addicts to undergo sterilization procedures. After adopting four children from a crack and heroin addicted woman, Harris decided to take action. Rather than let thousands of drug-addicted newborns fall into the foster care system, Harris uses her checkbook to prevent addicts from conceiving in the first place, reports

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To do this, Harris partners with doctors who perform sterilization surgeries on both men and women. When the addict has undergone this procedure, Harris is alerted and delivers the check to the newly sterile client. Most addicts are extremely happy to be a part of this organization, called Project Prevention, and agree that children have no place in their future.

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With controversial slogans like, “Don’t let a pregnancy ruin your drug habit,” and “She has her daddy’s eyes…and her mommy’s heroin addiction,” critics from both sides are speaking out about Harris’s cause. Some have even compared Harris to Hitler, claiming her methods are comparable to eugenics. Others, however, feel that bribery is a small price to pay to prevent children from being born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, or suffering through the horrors of neglect and child abuse that often accompany drug-addicted parents.

Project Prevention reports that each year nearly half a million children are born addicted to drugs in the United States alone. This sad truth is definitely cause for a change, but is giving money, rather than treatment, to addicts really the solution?

Do you think sterilizing addicts is the correct way to ensure a child’s right to a stable life? Are Harris’s methods too extreme?