It doesn’t get any weirder than this: Drug addicts are being paid by a North Carolina charity to be sterilized or go on long-term birth control. The payout: $300.

Project Prevention, based in North Carolina, is paying addicts $100 in three installments over eighteen months to insert IUDs or have their tubes tied (vasectomies for men). The idea, according to founder Barbara Harris, is to reduce the number of drug addicted babies being born to parents that can’t care for them. Harris has first-hand experience with the issue: she has adopted four children born to the same crack-addicted woman in Los Angeles.

“Even if their babies are fortunate enough not to have mental or physical disabilities, they’re placed in the foster care system and moved from home to home,” Harris says. “What makes a woman’s right to procreate more important than the right of a child to have a normal life?”

Project prevention has worked with 3,371 addicts in the U.S. since 1997, and of those, 1,253 have opted for tubal ligations or vasectomies. The organization relies on donations to keep the operation going, and clients usually here of the program through word of mouth. However, Harris also advertises the program by driving around the U.S. in a 30-foot motor home plastered with photos of a dead infant, a razor blade, a line of crack and a pacifier, along with the message: “Some things just don’t belong together.”

The program has some health professional up in arms about the practice. Some liken it to Nazi-style social engineering and criticize Harris for implying that all addicts will become unfit parents. Many believe that the money would be better spent on educational and drug treatment programs. The most common criticism is that drug addicts aren’t in the right frame of mind to make this massive type of decision. Without a doubt, many of the addicts just spend the money on more drugs.

Harris’ reply, “If you don’t think an addict is capable of making a decision then I guess you’d agree they aren’t capable of raising a child they’ll conceive either. They’re going to do drugs with or without our money. But maybe our money means they won’t rob someone tomorrow, or maybe it means they won’t have to turn as many tricks the day after.”

I don’t know about you, but I find this type of practice right up there with selling one’s organs. With the rapid advancement of medical technology, people have come to think of their body parts as expendable. A very sad state of understanding of the human body. I would think that to violate your body in such a way would be worth well more than 300 bucks. Anybody who has ever been hooked on drugs will attest that some foolish decisions were made in the throes of their addiction. But body alteration often has no turn back.

I know in my own life I feel absolutely blessed to have my beautiful children with me now, despite what my life was like in the past. I don’t applaud this practice because I feel that every child has the chance to live a valuable life, regardless of their incoming circumstances. I’ll bet Ms. Harris four children are happy to be alive. Just a guess, anyway.

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