Carol Platt Liebau: On Project Prevent

Sunday, January 15, 2006

On Project Prevent

Here's the story. Apparently, a group is paying drug addicts so that they will either voluntarily undergo sterilization or take long-term birth control measures.

I'm not sure about the former -- seems to me that sterilization is an awfully permanent measure, especially when you're dealing with a population whose capacity for reasoning could be impaired, and their decisions therefore not entirely volitional.

But the long term birth control idea is, I think, quite different. Think of the poor little babies born to drug addicted mothers, who may suffer the consequences through impaired capacities and nonexistent mothering.

For those who protest it's a violation of the drug addicts' rights, I say: How? They are voluntarily submitting to a temporary condition that ensures that the misery they've chosen to inflict upon themselves isn't transmitted to a small, innocent creature.


Blogger HouseOfSin said...

I had a similar idea a few years back: Pay an enormous sum of money (drawn from a national fund of some sort) to people willing to undergo this kind of procedure.

Some troubling questions arose then for which I have never had a good answer.

One question is, if a majority of people who are addicted, who sign up for reproductive surgery, are of a particular ethnic origin, does this amount to ethnic cleansing by another name? This question would become especially loud if this were seen as a solution (i.e. destination for funding) in favor of other across-the-board solutions (e.g. better education about drugs, more aggressive drug cessation programs, what-not).

Another question: Who controls the data about the people? Assuming whatever program were in place had safeguards against abuse, an awful lot of people's personal data would then be centralized. Someone (who is not necessarily already the govt) would end up with a huge wealth of data to be potentially abused.

Another question: People are having children (or getting addicted or both) in an incredibly wide age range. Should a payout go to a 50+ woman on the grounds that she could conceviably still conceive? Even after she had however many children already?

Another question: Some men and women who are not addicts still wish to undergo this kind of surgery (for whatever reason). These are men and women who live responsibly, who pay in taxes, who pay for health care, and who have to pay some premium for their HMO behind the doctor that does it. Are they (we) not seeing an entitlement created that rewards addiction and irresponsibility?

And the counterpoint question: Isn't the payoff so great that we should be OK with it? I could see that too.

I eagerly await the answers from whatever brave soul wants to speak publicly about them.

8:52 AM  

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