Should drug addicts be paid to use birth control?

Drug addicts will be paid to use birth control by US charity Project Prevention to prevent unwanted pregnancies, but is this right?

A US non-profit organsiation, Project Prevention, is offering cash incentives to drug addicts who agree to take birth control. Critics, however, argue that this is just a short-term solution.

Project Prevention has paid26 British female drug addicts an initial payment of £60 to have the contraceptive implant or coil fitted.

Charity founder, Barbara Harris, who has adopted four children born to a crack addict in Los Angeles, believes that using long term contraceptive methods will help to prevent drug users having children they’re unable to care for.

‘I’ve spoken to many over the years and asked them why they don’t use birth control and they’ve told me that all they’re thinking about is getting high and how they’re going to do that,’ Harris told BBC Radio 5 Live.

Since it was founded in 1997, Project Prevention has paid money out to 3,242 addicts and now wants to help some of the 250,000 British children affected by parental drug abuse in the UK.

‘I have a whole file full of letters from women that we’ve paid saying ‘thank you for helping me do the first responsible thing I’ve done in my addiction’, said Mrs Harris.

But some British charities have condemned her work. DrugScopechief executive Martin Barnes argued that the concept of paying addicts to be sterilised was ‘exploitative, ethically dubious and morally questionable.’

And she has been criticised over the pond in the US for ‘social engineering’ and for ‘spreading dangerous propaganda’ by the National Advocates for Pregnant Women (NAPW).

What do you think? Is it a good idea to offer cash for taking contraception? Is it a short term fix or a step in the right direction? Perhaps you feel that taking away a woman’s chance to have children is the same as taking away their hope for a better life? Get involved by posting your comment below.

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