Thursday, September 15, 2005

But that was the past, right?


By Clare Murphy
BBC News Online

To its critics, Project Prevention or Crack - an American organisation which pays drug addicts and alcoholics to be sterilised - is a terrifying throwback to the neutering of "defectives" during the 20th Century.

But the woman who runs this not-for-profit programme believes she is offering a service to everyone: the drug addict, the taxpayer, the child who has not yet been born, and if she has her way - will never be born.

As the programme - which offers both sterilisation and long term birth control - reaches its fifth anniversary, Barbara Harris also believes she has cause to celebrate.

Some 1,050 addicts have taken up the offer as part of her programme over the past five years.

It may not seem a considerable number, but, Ms Harris stresses, the number of clients has more than doubled over the past 12 months compared with the year before.

"Basically, despite the initial controversy over the programme, people are starting to accept that it's a good idea. Probation officers, social workers and those who work on drug treatment programmes are increasingly referring their clients to us," she says.


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