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US charity offering addicts cash for sterilisation plans UK expansion

US charity offering addicts cash for sterilisation plans UK expansion
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US charity offering addicts cash for sterilisation plans UK expansion

Governance | Niki May Young | 12 Apr 2010

A US-based charity that has paid over 3,000 female drink and drug addicts to undergo semi-permanent or permanent birth control is making moves to expand into the UK.

Project Prevention, which currently offers addicts in the US $300 for proof of undergoing long-term or permanent birth control, is already asking for UK donations through a new UK page within its website.  It has told Civil Society that one London resident has already donated US$20,000, through his American charity.

“We are in the process of doing everything necessary for us to operate in the UK. In May we will be meeting with our volunteers and donors to organise our work there,” said director and founder Barbara Harris, who returned to the US from London yesterday.

Harris was also interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Taking a Stand’ programme with Fergal Keane. On the show she talked of her experience of fostering four babies whose mothers were addicted to drugs or alcohol, a combined experience that led to the conclusion that "these women should be offered financial inducement to be sterilised, or given long-term contraception to stop them having children they are unable to care for".

But Project Prevention’s methods have been the cause of much debate in the US. An advertisement on its website features a picture of a newborn baby with a tube inserted in the nose and reads: "Attention drug addicts and alcoholics - GET BIRTH CONTROL GET $300 – Make the call today – 888-30-CRACK."

The charity was founded as ‘CRACK’ - Children Require A Caring Kommunity, over a decade ago. In 2006 the ‘National Advocates for Pregnant Women’ in the US underwent a campaign to ensure “misinformation about pregnant women and drug users” allegedly made by CRACK did “not go unchallenged” with its executive director, Lynn Paltrow publishing a paper entitled Why Caring Communities Must Oppose C.R.A.C.K./Project Prevention: How C.R.A.C.K. Promotes Dangerous Propaganda and Undermines the Health and Well Being of Children and Families.

Harris told Civil Society that Project Prevention has received “over 400 emails from UK residents requesting we bring our offer to addicts there”.

Image: CRACK mobile billboard, August 2004

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