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  • Technorati: graph / links

    Project Prevention: Not a bad thing


    by earwicga
    18th October, 2010 at 1:51 pm    

    Edit:  This is a post about an imperfect organisation that exists in an imperfect world.  It is not an endorsement of Project Prevention by Pickled Politics or by any of its bloggers.

    Project Prevention aims to stop men and women who are addicted to drink or drugs creating children. That’s it. So why is the scheme so reviled?  Women are paid £200 to undertake either temporary or permanent sterilisation.  Men only have the permanent option (obviously).

    The reality is that around 100 addicted babies a month are born in the UK.  Even if they are born healthy they face a period of detoxification and are usually risk being removed from their parent(s).  This process is horrific - I witnessed a drug addicted baby for the month I spent in SCUBU with my premature children - and no baby should have to endure it.  There can also be long-term medical effects but I know of no readily available study which factors out things like the effects of prematurity so this point is uncertain and I think unproven.

    The main criticism is that sterilising addicts is eugenics.  There is certainly a strong argument behind this.  But this isn’t a state mandated programme - it is voluntary.  It is suggested that addicts cannot make an informed decision and this is probably true for the most part.  But pregnancy isn’t a risk-free state and the risks of complications are also higher for the woman taking drugs during pregnancy.

    Obviously in an ideal world nobody would consume drugs to make up for horrible life circumstances.  In an ideal world there would be adequate drug rehabilitation facilities available.  But this isn’t the case.  I’m glad Project Prevention has come to the UK.


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    80 Comments below   |  

    Reactions: Twitter, blogs
    1. sunny hundal

      Blogged: : Project Prevention: Not a bad thing http://bit.ly/9oVmPL


    2. Thatcherite Tory

      RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : Project Prevention: Not a bad thing http://bit.ly/9oVmPL




    1. Helen — on 18th October, 2010 at 1:53 pm  

      But why the cash incentive? This puts the welfare of the unborn - in fact, the yet to be conceived - before that of the addicts.

    2. KilburnMat — on 18th October, 2010 at 1:57 pm  

      I don’t agree with interfering with someone’s right to reproduce, or that it would be an ideal world without drugs. Though I think that you may in fact mean that it’d be good if people didn’t abuse drugs rather than merely consume them.

      However, putting that aside, if this is really about prevention of suffering for for infants then why isn’t she using other, non-permanent methods such as contraceptive injections? It’s because this is about eugenics.

      As an aside, this awful person hasn’t had any real success with her programme. Thus far just 300 people have been through her programme in the US yet she has acres of column inches and time in front of camera. I suspect this has more to do with getting her on telly than on helping children.

    3. KilburnMat — on 18th October, 2010 at 2:04 pm  

      Supplementary to my point, BBC TV news has reported that they have paid 300 people to have operations but the website says 3,500 so my ast point could well be a moot one

    4. Boyo — on 18th October, 2010 at 2:05 pm  

      I’m certainly not surprised you support it - it’s basically deleting people like posts you disagree with.

    5. earwicga — on 18th October, 2010 at 2:07 pm  

      KilburnMat - yes, that’s what I meant. An ideal world wouldn’t be one free of drugs & alcohol :)

    6. Kismet Hardy — on 18th October, 2010 at 2:15 pm  

      This is all a bit orwellian isn’t it? Let’s stop mad people breeding too. And midgets. And gingers. What is the world coming to? Grumble mumble

    7. Macumba — on 18th October, 2010 at 2:31 pm  

      It amazes me that people can be banned from having pets but retain this ‘right’ to have children. There are people that one wouldn’t trust to look after a hamster, yet they can have as many humans as they like?

    8. africana — on 18th October, 2010 at 3:04 pm  

      but, in the absence of a cash incentive drug addicts are not actually seeking out sterlisation. rather reminds me of the argument regarding sex work that if you take the financial recompese out of the equation, she/he is doing something horrifically damaging to their psyches that flipping burgers for nowt doesn’t even come close to.

    9. Bored in Kavanagasau — on 18th October, 2010 at 3:12 pm  

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nxHcx7FO8nI

    10. Kismet Hardy — on 18th October, 2010 at 3:26 pm  

      Macumba, nice use of a quote by Keanu Reeves in Parenthood aside… Everyone has the right to have children. They don’t have the right to be bad parents. But there are plenty of cases where children have made parents reform, and it’s as sick for an outsider who has nothing more than a judgement to insist that a person who wants a child doesn’t have a child, just as it is to insist a woman who doesn’t want a child to keep it.

    11. Rumbold — on 18th October, 2010 at 3:34 pm  

      It’s a very slippery slope, but, on balance, I can see the benefits if the sterlisation is temporary (from a libertarian point of view, drug addicts should be free to do what they want with their own bodies as part of a voluntary scheme). I don’t agree with permanent sterilisation though, as drug addicts won’t necessarily be rational.

    12. Kulvinder — on 18th October, 2010 at 3:34 pm  

      tbh it comes across as little more than an attempt at preventing the Untermensch from ‘breeding’; Barbara Harris’s use of language in the past has been…odd. Effectively resorting to bribery (as she admits) in order to sterilise those whose lifestyles you don’t agree with is, personally, repugnant.

      Out of curiosity would you also be in favour of offering hiv+ couples £200 to be sterilised? what about those with genetic disorders? That is the logical progression if the ‘welfare’ of the child is the key factor.

    13. boyo — on 18th October, 2010 at 3:49 pm  

      Indeed Kulvinder, on this we agree. Honestly, shouldn’t the obese be offered the clip for the sake of their children? And gypsies? Well, they’re nothing but trouble, are they. People on benefits - if they’re not contributing anything, why not simply sterlilise them. I hope to Christ I’m never on a jury with Earwicga on it. Or Rumbold for that matter. Funny how he’s only libertarian about things he agrees with. Some people…

    14. Rumbold — on 18th October, 2010 at 3:55 pm  

      Boyo:

      Libertarians believe that adults should be allowed to do what they want to their own bodies, providing that it does not harm someone else. That’s the point- they would be choosing to do it. I certainly would never support a mandatory scheme. Or do you think people shouldn’t be allowed to choose such an option? Who has given you the power to make such a decision for others? Anyone should be allowed to take up such an option.

    15. CTerry — on 18th October, 2010 at 3:59 pm  

      While I can see where you’re coming from we’re talking about offering people in the grips of addiction money. What are they gonna spend that money on? Probably their addiction. So first point: you’re essentially feeding their addiction by doing this. Secondly is an addict capable of giving informed consent to something like this? What if the addict cleans up, and decides they want a child then what? The concept of it being ‘voluntary’ is questionable here, just how much informed consent is an addict capable of giving.

    16. Macumba — on 18th October, 2010 at 4:07 pm  

      Kismet: “sick for an outsider who has nothing more than a judgement to insist that a person who wants a child doesn’t have a child”

      Straw man. Who’s insisting? Encouraging people who don’t want to have more children not to have them seems a good idea. The slippery slope is also a logical fallacy. Sure, encouraging irresponsible people not to procreate is just a step away from pushing old people down stairs.
      And what are you basing your argument on other than ‘a judgement’?

      Maybe those that would have a tubal ligation for cash is exactly the kind of person that one wouldn’t want to entrust a child’s welfare to?

      People having children that they don’t want or cannot care for are one of the biggest causes of social problems. Why is it taboo to address it?

    17. Kismet Hardy — on 18th October, 2010 at 4:08 pm  

      I’m totally with CTerry. Smackheads want a quick fix and when they’re clucking, they’d literally sell their grandmothers to get a hit – and £200 gets you 10 grams - enough to make the next fortnight go painlessly. But smackheads don’t always stay that way for life, and it’s irresponsible to bribe them with money for a swift solution that will effect them greatly in later life.

      Wrong.

    18. Kismet Hardy — on 18th October, 2010 at 4:12 pm  

      Macumba: If me saying let people do what they want and butt the hell out is being judgemental, than so be it.

      This ‘encouragement’ you speak of? It always starts out voluntary, then slowly it becomes mandatory. All those laws that piss on our human rights that piss you off too, they all started as voluntary schemes.

      As for your whole argument about screwed-up folk having children = social problems. Yeah, like you’ve never met an adult that came from a rich home that isn’t fucked-up and a liability to society

      Pfft.

    19. Chris — on 18th October, 2010 at 4:16 pm  

      Project Prevention is a deeply disturbing organisation.

      The basic thrust of what they are doing is eugenical, though the organisation describes its aims in terms of problems that the children of drug addicted parents face.

      It is simply not right for one person to set themselves up as an arbiter of who at any level may, or may not reproduce. I don’t doubt that babies receiving addiction treatment suffer terribly, and that that is hard for people to see, but when these children grow up, I find it hard to believe that any one would agree that they would have had a better life had they never been born.

    20. Macumba — on 18th October, 2010 at 4:45 pm  

      Kismet. Your argument is fallacious, and your views reactionary.

      Tubal ligation is a relatively simple procedure and reversible. Nevertheless, people who will undergo it to feed a drug habit are not people who should be bringing up kids.

    21. earwicga — on 18th October, 2010 at 5:44 pm  

      It isn’t that easy to reverse macumba. ‘Overall, success rates for tubal ligation reversal can vary from 20 percent to 70 percent’

    22. boyo — on 18th October, 2010 at 5:47 pm  

      Two words Rumbold: informed consent.

      This is deeply cynical, and frankly forgives any action in the name of it being in “their best interests”. We can all think of plenty of things the government does, or could do, in the best interests of its citizens that PP would be the first to protest against, but seeing as its smackheads and not the bourgeois or their client groups, then why bovver?

    23. Sarah AB — on 18th October, 2010 at 5:54 pm  

      Although I was instinctively pretty shocked by that news item (particularly the money angle) I think it is useful to reflect on whether such a reaction is rational - perhaps rationality/utilitatarianism isn’t enough though. Tricky.

    24. Chris — on 18th October, 2010 at 6:19 pm  

      Think of it this way…

      http://www.thedailymash.co.uk/news/society/paid-sterilisation-extended-to-people-who-still-like-glee-201010183172/

    25. earwicga — on 18th October, 2010 at 6:41 pm  

      Sarah, I first read about Barbara Harris and Project Prevention a long time ago and also found it shocking.

      I’m not sure that dismissing her as a ‘fat cunt’ as somebody did on Twitter or deciding, as a comment did above, she started this for the attention (after adopting 4 children from a woman who had a child a year for 8 years whilst being an drug addict) is a rational response.

      I don’t doubt that there are many agencies that have success in this field. Yet there are 1200 babies addicted babies born a year. Probably more now and likely to increase with a tory government. If all the outrage caused by Project Prevention led to a demand to improve the lives of those who resort to drug abuse there would be no need for Project Prevention would there? But it won’t and there is.

    26. Nicki — on 18th October, 2010 at 7:30 pm  

      Project Prevention assumes that these people will not become non-addicted, functioning members of society; it assumes that they can make an informed consenting decision about what really is a permanent medical procedure that takes significant effort and money to reverse; it is bribery of people who would, in many cases, prostitute themselves for £20, let alone £200, in desperation for money. Fundamentally it assumes also that addicts make worse parents than, say, a person with no addiction who believes in physically punishing a child. Strangely though, because physical abuse of children isn’t as socially visible, it’s harder to dart ‘n’ neuter the buggers.

      It’s basically a really dangerous and stupid idea to make a paid incentive for sterilisation on the back of prejudiced assumptions about people and their ‘worth’.

    27. earwicga — on 18th October, 2010 at 8:17 pm  

      Nicki - two thirds of the children in care are there because of their parent(s) addiction(s). The women that approach Project Prevention are given two choices - temporary or permanent sterilisation. Nobody is forcing them - it is their choice.

    28. boyo — on 18th October, 2010 at 8:22 pm  

      It is perfectly consistent with the logic of this programme for the government to offer poor people, perhaps 2nd or 3rd generation on benefits, who are obese and or/ drink and smoke and therefore likely to be a burden on the health system, with, say £20,000 to be sterlilised. How would the left-Libertarians of PP feel about that? Would Earwicga be for it (I bet she would! She’d try to knock them down to 10!) Rumbold? Sunny?

      No person who is truly of the left can support a programme like this. Indeed, it is almost the perfect acid test to flush the right out.

    29. earwicga — on 18th October, 2010 at 8:35 pm  

      It isn’t consistent boyo. Stop making up shit. Oh yeah, you can’t.

    30. Rumbold — on 18th October, 2010 at 9:18 pm  

      Boyo:

      It is perfectly consistent with the logic of this programme for the government to offer poor people, perhaps 2nd or 3rd generation on benefits, who are obese and or/ drink and smoke and therefore likely to be a burden on the health system, with, say £20,000 to be sterlilised. How would the left-Libertarians of PP feel about that?

      I think that goes too far (as the NHS shouldn’t interfere with lifestyle choices). However, I have no problem with people choosing to do this (or is it only certain people who gets to decide what to do with their body, whilst others have it dictated to them?).

    31. africana — on 18th October, 2010 at 9:22 pm  

      i have heard it said, by people of a religious persuasion, that the answer to the hiv/aids crisis in africa might be the criminalisation of sex outside of marriage. maybe there’s scope for such a policy here..after all,it would be a catch all for single mothers (you know, the ones who get themselves pregnant to bag themselves a council house, well, who wouldn’t, i ask you?)drug addicts (how many of them marry?)and er, professional football players.

      *runs for cover*

    32. earwicga — on 18th October, 2010 at 9:40 pm  

      And Ed Miliband, africana *also runs for cover*

    33. KJB — on 18th October, 2010 at 11:14 pm  

      Edit: This is a post about an imperfect organisation that exists in an inperfect world. It is not an endorsement of Project Prevention by Pickled Politics or by any of it’s bloggers.

      Earwicga, you may want to put this in a much larger font and in red for the benefit of those who struggle with expressions of moral ambiguity.

    34. Macumba — on 18th October, 2010 at 11:41 pm  

      Nicki “Project Prevention assumes that these people will not become non-addicted, functioning members of society”

      No it doesn’t.

      “a permanent medical procedure that takes significant effort and money to reverse”
      - a reversible procedure isn’t permanent. {although see earwicga’s link above for valid point on reversibility}

      “it is bribery of people who would, in many cases, prostitute themselves for £20, let alone £200, in desperation for money.”
      - and these are the values that you value in a parent?

      ” Fundamentally it assumes also that addicts make worse parents than, say, a person with no addiction who believes in physically punishing a child.”

      No it doesn’t. It assumes that addicts make bad parents.
      “It’s basically a really dangerous and stupid idea to make a paid incentive for sterilisation on the back of prejudiced assumptions about people and their ‘worth’.”

      It’s not prejudicial, it’s judicial. The DEFINITION of addiction is being unable to stop behaviours that have negative effects. How is caring for children going to help that person recover, or help the child have an environment in which it can thrive? How is it NOT going to have a detrimental effect on both?
      There is a deeper issue of why the mother or father is an addict in the first place, perhaps abusive histories and how these cycles perpetuate.

    35. BenSix — on 18th October, 2010 at 11:56 pm  

      First off, I think it can be unethical for people to have children. If they’re hooked on drugs - and, thus, quite liable to be bad parents - and may pass this ailment on - crippling the baby’s health - they’re giving it a shitty, shitty start to life that it would be phenomenally difficult to overcome. Whether they should be incentivised is quite another matter and, frankly, I’m not going to say “hellz yeah” without a lot of thought. Speshly as I’m not sure its as honest a transaction as it sounds: to an addict, cash for their next hit is the priority. It’s not a rational exchange: like getting someone who’s just drunk four pints and is three miles from home to agree to do your dishes for a year in exchange for free use of your loo.

    36. BenSix — on 19th October, 2010 at 12:01 am  

      By the way, I’m not sure why people are acting as if antinatalism lite ain’t already being practiced far and wide.

      The aims of this systematic literature review are to estimate termination rates after prenatal diagnosis of one of five conditions: Down syndrome, spina bifida, anencephaly, and Turner and Klinefelter syndromes, and to determine the extent to which rates vary across conditions and with year of publication.

      http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/%28SICI%291097-0223%28199909%2919:9%3C808::AID-PD637%3E3.0.CO;2-B/abstract

    37. damon — on 19th October, 2010 at 12:49 am  

      I just saw this on Newsnight tonight, and I have to give the whole thing the thumbs down.
      Sterilisation is permenant, and someone’s period of drug addiction might be temporary.

    38. Macumba — on 19th October, 2010 at 1:09 am  

      It doesn’t have to be permanent. If and when a junkie sobers up, then is the time to think about having kids right?

      No? Oh, you want them to have kids before they’ve sobered up! Are *you* high?

      Besides, as I understand it, the majority of people being snipped or tied *already* have more than one child. So thumbs up your ass.

    39. damon — on 19th October, 2010 at 1:18 am  

      This has just become the subject of the morning on the 1am to 6am overnight show on Talk Sport radio.
      Which I think is where this story belongs.

    40. africana — on 19th October, 2010 at 10:50 am  

      i fear that my attempt at humour @31 backfired somewhat. the reference to my *running for cover* was a reference to the anticipated metaphorical missiles from other commenters (which in the event didn’t happen) and not a reference to my joining ed milliband in dodging the morality police.

    41. joe90 — on 19th October, 2010 at 11:08 am  

      I can see lawsuits to follow, ex drug user cannot reproduce due to being sterilized while he was very happy and thought he was flying!

    42. Kismet Hardy — on 19th October, 2010 at 11:15 am  

      There was a report in the papers today about how many men who’ve had visectomies wish they hadn’t. And that was the choice of a man with his senses about him when he chose to.

      Sterilising others, through coercion, is not something anyone in the free world should accept as normal. It’s a dangerous blueprint for a fascist sci-fi future. I mean PROJECT PREVENTION?! For. Fuck’s. Sake.

    43. boyo — on 19th October, 2010 at 11:32 am  

      Earwicga and Rumbold - you are ideologically bereft, and it shows.

    44. cjcjc — on 19th October, 2010 at 11:35 am  

      Is any coercion involved?

      I would quite like to know how the process works, counseling if any, the paperwork, when and how the payment is made, etc etc

      I assume the project workers aren’t hauling people off the street for an instant op in exchange for cash in hand then and there?

    45. Macumba — on 19th October, 2010 at 12:18 pm  

      Kismet, you’re being hysterical.
      With more and more children going into care, more babies being born addicted, don’t mention a global population problem - you’re answer is “keep cranking them out!”

      Blimey, you sound like Ceau?escu.

    46. Kismet Hardy — on 19th October, 2010 at 12:36 pm  

      That’s not my answer. I’ve got my knickers in a twist over this is for the same reason I want to suffocate pro-lifers with my g-string. It’s that terribly twee ‘personal choice’ thing.

      And a lot of children go into care not because their mother is a smackhead but because the father drinks and beats and rapes them to shit.

      But even so, I don’t think violent wife-beating kid-raping scum should be sterilised by coercion. But if you want to round up a few mates and castrate the fuckers, count me in

    47. Shamit — on 19th October, 2010 at 12:57 pm  

      This concern for unborn children is commendable but could the world in general put some more attention to those who are already born?

      Millions of children today lack drinking water or even basic health care facilities around the globe and many in the industrialised nations are growing up in abject poverty or in care homes. Forget opportunities these children worry about survival.

      Imagine if Nadine Dories invested some of that time she invests in abortion discourse, into working with inner city youth groups - it probably could have made a difference.

      Despite the best efforts of the previous labour administration, tackling child poverty in the UK has been a major challenge.

      Why is it so wrong for society to demand parental responsibility? What about the child’s future? Having a child while dependent on drugs is not wanting the best for your kid. And more importantly, it harms your child - aren’t those aginst cardinal rules for parents?

      The most important aspect of Project Prevention is that its not coerced in any way. It is an option provided to adults.

      One could argue £200 would be an attraction for drug users - well, if they are in such a condition where key decisions are made on the basis of drug procurement - does anyone think they are fit to be parents?

      No one is saying anything about who should be a parent. Who cares what form of families they have? As long as the child is loved, cared and protected then society should be happy.

      So what is so wrong with this concept of Project Prevention?

    48. BenSix — on 19th October, 2010 at 1:00 pm  

      No one is saying anything about who should be a parent. Who cares what form of families they have? As long as the child is loved, cared and protected then society should be happy.

      Well, some forms make it extremely unlikely that the child will be loved, cared and protected for. A drug addict, for example - heroin at least - would ensure the child could never be the first priority.

    49. Kismet Hardy — on 19th October, 2010 at 1:24 pm  

      You can raise a child perfectly well on heroin. Makes you a calm parent, as long as you can afford to keep it at an even keel. It’s crack that’s unworkable. Just saying.

    50. BenSix — on 19th October, 2010 at 1:28 pm  

      I refute it thus!

    51. Katy Newton — on 19th October, 2010 at 1:41 pm  

      @Kismet: that’s quite a big “as long as”, though. There are people who are addicted to heroin but who hold down jobs and function, that’s true, but most people who are addicted to smack and crack are also dirt poor.

      I don’t like Project Prevention, but I don’t think it’s coercive. I agree with Shamit that there’s a basic contradiction between criticising Project Prevention for saying that addicts shouldn’t be parents because they can’t make rational decisions, but then saying that the programme is effectively coercive because addicts can’t make a rational decision about whether they’d like £200 for long-term contraception. I certainly agree that sterilisation should not be on offer, as that feels eugenics-ish.

      My other problem with Project Prevention is that it is not just addicts who procreate irresponsibly and whose children are taken into care. I am not sure why addicts get £200 not to procreate whilst idiotic 16 year olds don’t. Frankly, I would gladly pay £100 extra tax a year if it meant that the government offered everyone £200 to take long term birth control, which they would then be able to have removed if they decided they wanted to have children. The amount of money and resources we’d save as a society would be astronomical, I think. I don’t say it would solve the problem of unwanted or uncared for children, but it would be a real step in the right direction. The default position should be no children unless you want them - not children unless you take measures to stop them. If we were a more enlightened society, we’d have spent a bit more time exploring long-term contraception short of sterilisation for men, instead of concentrating all our efforts on women, and everyone would start off with some form of long term contraception which they would have the choice of removing once they’d decided to have kids. Whether or not to remove the contraception and try for kids would be 100% your own decision, so there would be no coercion involved. But, you know, that’s just me. Ahem.

    52. BenSix — on 19th October, 2010 at 1:46 pm  

      Good comment, Katy.

    53. Dr Paul — on 19th October, 2010 at 4:57 pm  

      Does one have to be a junkie to apply? I’m not, but I do have a long-term medical condition that prevents me from working and am therefore in official thinking a drain on society, and I could do with a few bob in the bank.

      Mind you, I’d think she’d get more takers if she upped the reward, and widened the scope of who gets it. A few grand per head would have people flocking to her snip-sessions.

    54. Ravi Naik — on 19th October, 2010 at 7:07 pm  

      This is a great post.

      I have no problems with Project Prevention, which to me sounds less of a moral quandary than abortion, where questions about when life starts isn’t on the menu. If an individual believes that £200 is worth more than the prospect of having children, then this tells me everything I need to know.

    55. Don — on 19th October, 2010 at 7:32 pm  

      Ravi,

      No problem at all?

      I can see Katy’s point, that if we had a guaranteed harm-free temporary contraceptive (say, a year) and offered it to everybody at 16, renewable every year until you decide you want a baby, then maybe a couple of hundred quid as an incentive to make the effort to show up might be reasonable. If conception was always a positive choice we probably would all be better off.

      But I cavil and I baulk at taking a snapshot of someone’s life and deciding that they are permanently unfit to reproduce then catch them at a low ebb,when informed consent is problematic, and execute that judgement for a fistfull of cash.

      Of course, you can point to extreme cases, but once you have established the principle of ‘unfit to breed’ who is going to set the criteria?

      earwiqua says,

      In an ideal world there would be adequate drug rehabilitation facilities available. But this isn’t the case. I’m glad Project Prevention has come to the UK.

      I hope she means that this might highlight our lack of facilities, rather than that she sees it as a positive development in dealing with the problem.

    56. Don — on 19th October, 2010 at 7:35 pm  

      Can’t edit, so ‘permanently’ should have been phrased to indicate that the snip, in practice, often enough is permanent to make the procedure morally permanent. For the sake of this argument.

    57. leon — on 19th October, 2010 at 11:29 pm  

      This is literally both the most stupid and sinister idea I’ve seen in some time…truthfully it’s beyond a joke when it gets the stage that this type of thing can be endorsed.

    58. Refresh — on 20th October, 2010 at 12:14 am  

      Why not put that cash to campaign for better facilities?

      Leon is absolutely right. It feels like something Policy Exchange would put up in their more arrogant moments. Worse than their idea of closing down whole cities.

      Sooner we have a counter campaign to shut Project Prevention down the better. I am just waiting for the first ex-mother-to-be to sue them for taking advantage of her weakened state.

    59. Ravi Naik — on 20th October, 2010 at 12:42 am  

      But I cavil and I baulk at taking a snapshot of someone’s life and deciding that they are permanently unfit to reproduce then catch them at a low ebb,when informed consent is problematic, and execute that judgement for a fistfull of cash.

      Of course, you can point to extreme cases, but once you have established the principle of ‘unfit to breed’ who is going to set the criteria?

      I personally do not think that there is any question that some people are unfit to have and raise children. Either because they are prone to abuse or neglect them , or in this case, have babies that are born sick and addicted to drugs. This makes me far more angry and sad than whether some people can or should have children. I am not advocating mandatory sterilisation, but I see a fine line in this case.

      The irony though, is that I assume that for some, a woman seeking ‘project prevention’ raises the E word, but if the same woman went through and had an abortion, then no questions asked. In the end, it is all about choice, no?

    60. Iman Qureshi — on 20th October, 2010 at 11:46 am  

      The Daily Mash’s take on Project Prevention:

      http://www.thedailymash.co.uk/news/society/paid-sterilisation-extended-to-people-who-still-like-glee-201010183172/

    61. Katy Newton — on 20th October, 2010 at 2:37 pm  

      The irony though, is that I assume that for some, a woman seeking ‘project prevention’ raises the E word, but if the same woman went through and had an abortion, then no questions asked. In the end, it is all about choice, no?

      Eugenics is the practice of selective breeding to winnow out genetic attributes considered undesirable. One woman having an abortion because she doesn’t want her baby doesn’t come under the eugenics heading (whatever one might think of abortion generally). An organisation systematically sterilising drug addicts on the basis that drug addicts should not be allowed to breed probably does.

    62. Ravi Naik — on 20th October, 2010 at 3:51 pm  

      Eugenics is the practice of selective breeding to winnow out genetic attributes considered undesirable.

      An organisation systematically sterilising drug addicts on the basis that drug addicts should not be allowed to breed probably does.

      I do not think eugenics, as you correctly defined, fits your conclusion. It is not about ‘genetic attributes’ considered undesirable, when we are talking about drug addicts. Furthermore, ‘selective breeding’ implies an organization orchestrating this process, but this is purely voluntary. Yes, there are incentives involved, but I would say social policy is geared around incentives, monetary even.

      But even if we agree that this project is effectively doing what eugenics does, I cannot help to say so does abortion, both of which are antinatal practices. We do screen for genetic conditions like down syndrome or gender, and perhaps one day for intelligence, fitness and diseases to decide whether we want to go through or not. I would not call Hospitals providing these services as performing eugenics for the same reason I do not see this project as doing such, both are voluntary and based on personal choice.

    63. Bored in Kavanagasau — on 20th October, 2010 at 8:03 pm  

      An argument for describing abortion as eugenics:

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A51671-2005Apr13.html

      More on the vicar who brought the case to court:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joanna_Jepson

      On a related note:

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/6440705/Three-babies-aborted-every-day-due-to-Downs-syndrome.html

    64. Dr Paul — on 20th October, 2010 at 9:55 pm  

      Making a more serious point this time (although there was a serious point behind the jest), I think that with the massive cuts in benefits, there will be more calls for this sort of thing.

      Whatever the official line, and however much concerned people officially and unofficially try to help addicts, the actual government policy towards addictive drugs has helped to make the matters worse. A more sensible addiction policy would decriminalise heroin and have ‘quick fix’ centres so that addicts could get their dose free of charge and be in regular contact with medical staff for help with addiction and other matters. This could help in respect of pregnancies and childcare amongst addicts.

      In the absence of such a policy, heroin addiction remains a major social problem, and will inevitably increase as joblessness and hopelessness increase under the austerity budget. Without any hope of an enlightened and practical policy from the government, authoritarian ideas will become more popular, not only on the question of drug addiction, but in respect of various anti-social issues.

      I don’t have any ready answers; this question centres upon two intertwined factors: the right of an individual to determine his or her own life without the interference of the state or other authorities; and the responsibility of an individual to run his or her life in such a way that does not harm other people either individually or en masse.

      Perhaps the best thing for politically-minded people to do is to subject Britain’s longstanding drugs policy to a sustained critique, and try to popularise policies that would help both addicts and society as a whole. The misgivings that many of us have in respect of this neutering scheme could be raised within this broader context.

    65. earwicga — on 20th October, 2010 at 10:49 pm  

      Dr Paul - absolutely agree with you.

      Ravi - thanks.

    66. Don — on 20th October, 2010 at 10:54 pm  

      Dr Paul,

      Sounds like sense to me.

    67. douglas clark — on 21st October, 2010 at 12:05 pm  

      Rumbold @ 11,

      Well, yes. Sort of.

      It does not strike me as a libertarian point of view for someone to offer vulnerable people money in order to further their idea of Utopia.

      Kind of blood money?

      Can’t say I think that that would be a fair or equitable transaction.

      Her idea of libertarianism seems to include manipulating folk. And that strikes me as nearer an exploitative social model than any sort of equality of peers.

      I think that others are right to point out that we are already on a slippery slope.

      Or alternatively we are listening to the beat of a kind of Tom Tom to a society in which your right to breed is dictated by an elite of new moral guardians.

      Take you pick.

      _______________________________

      ‘Turn right here for restrictions for druggies, smokers, drinkers and reprobates. Collect your £200.

      And, incidentally, we’ll find a flaw in you too. ‘Cause that is what we do.’

    68. douglas clark — on 21st October, 2010 at 12:35 pm  

      Katy Newton @ 51,

      Well, yes, but.

      I seem to recall from Scots Law that a contract entered into when incapable is void or voidable?

      Bit late for these folk right enough, but am I correct?

    69. earwicga — on 22nd October, 2010 at 12:04 am  

      Pam Jack, neonatal unit manager and practitioner, said: “When these babies are born they go through a horrific time because the drugs have just stopped.

      “It’s one of the worst things I’ve seen here - to see these gorgeous babies going through that.

      “They just scream and scream. They do not feed well, they have terrible cases of diarrhoea, they do not sleep, they sweat. It’s exactly the same as cold turkey.”

      This is preferable to you Leon?

    70. earwicga — on 22nd October, 2010 at 12:11 am  

      Or this Leon?

      In addition to low body weights, though, babies born addicted to methamphetamine get diaper rashes that look like third-degree burns on their bottoms because the chemicals in meth are so caustic, they turn the baby?s urine to acid.

      Then an upbringing in care.

    71. douglas clark — on 22nd October, 2010 at 3:43 am  

      earwicga @ 70,

      So?

      They are alive and have just as many human rights as you or I. I’d suspect most of them are adopted. Do you have evidence to suggest otherwise?

      Then an upbringing in care.

      Prove it.

      You could take this as a starting point:

      http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/scotland/article5871104.ece

    72. earwicga — on 22nd October, 2010 at 10:22 am  

      Ok douglas, in care or murdered as per your link.

    73. Shamit — on 22nd October, 2010 at 12:52 pm  

      Earwicga is absolutely right on this issue.

      Parents have a responsibility towards their children both born or in the womb - most parents take this responsibility very seriously. But unfortunately, when you are addicted to drugs, thats not how your brain works.

      Society has the right to demand more parental responsibility. Even with early intervention money and all the possible support from the State, many of these children would be left behind and many of them would have severe health problems through out their lives.

      And, once again, what Project Prevent is doing is offering a choice to adults - and as I said before if £200 to buy drugs make them go for temporary sterilisation or even permanent - I don’t think they are fit to be parents.

      The child is important here - and with all due respect to civil liberties etc etc - what about the rights of the child? We already have far too many children in this country who are in care homes or in abject poverty and are left behind.

      If all those concerned about unborn children were a bit more concerned about those already born - those children would have a better life.

      Douglas - what are you asking Earwicga to prove?

      That Children are harmed if parents are drug addicts both in the womb and after they are born. Well statistics say they are and their life chances are reduced.

      While I disagree with Earwigca on many issues - on this one she is spot on and this is an excellent post.

      Can we all forget about ideologies and biases - and focus on whats best for the children? Thats what parents are supposed to do.

    74. persephone — on 22nd October, 2010 at 11:17 pm  

      earwicga

      An interesting post - I commend you on tackling topics that challenge ideologically based stances

    75. douglas clark — on 23rd October, 2010 at 7:33 am  

      Shamit @ 73,

      earwicga is absolutely wrong on this. She is the eugenesist. She has a happy acceptance of death, just because. She cries for the babies - but she doesn’t care for them.

      As far as she’s concerned, they are just grist to the mill of her polemic.

      Well, no.

      They are alive and have just as many human rights as you or I. I’d suspect most of them are adopted. Do you have evidence to suggest otherwise?

      Answer was there none from earwicga.

      I think, and indeed I hope you think so too, that anyone that wants babies dead is a fucked up idiot.

      Pam Jack, neonatal unit manager and practitioner, said: “When these babies are born they go through a horrific time because the drugs have just stopped.

      “It’s one of the worst things I’ve seen here – to see these gorgeous babies going through that.

      “They just scream and scream. They do not feed well, they have terrible cases of diarrhoea, they do not sleep, they sweat. It’s exactly the same as cold turkey.”

      This is preferable to you Leon?

      Well, yes.

      As opposed to death.

    76. earwicga — on 23rd October, 2010 at 10:59 am  

      Thanks Shamit.

      Much appreciated Persephone.

      Douglas - you seem so fucked up at the moment and I am sorry. This post has nothing to do with killing babies or indeed about care of drug-addicted babies once they are born. Two thirds of the children in care in the UK are there because of parents’ addiction(s). If they had been adopted then they wouldn’t be in care would they.

      The point of Project Prevention is that unplanned unwanted children aren’t conceived and that mothers don’t go through this pregnancy which puts their bodies at much higher risk than a non-addicted pregnant woman accepts.

      Any procedure in the UK is carried out by the NHS and by their standards and protocols.

    77. douglas clark — on 23rd October, 2010 at 11:37 am  

      earwicga,

      ‘Tis you that is fucked up.

      The point of Project Prevention is that unplanned unwanted children aren’t conceived and that mothers don’t go through this pregnancy which puts their bodies at much higher risk than a non-addicted pregnant woman accepts.

      So, now you are on the side of the mother? What higher risk? What evidence do you have?

      You move the goalposts all the time earwicga, first it is the child and then it is the mother.

      It is as obvious as heck that you don’t want children born of druggies to enter this world. Frankly, I find your entire arguement is just that, an arguement.

      It has neither merit nor substance.

      But you keep on ploughing a lonely furrow. Just because you can, just because you do.

      It is who you are. And it is just pathetic.

      I agree with the likes of Leon, you have blown any credibility you otherwise had. Which is kind of sad. Do you want to correct the original post and take down these words:

      . I’m glad Project Prevention has come to the UK.

      Or not?

      I think you should, but you are so stubborn and, frankly, in your glory of wrongness, that you won’t.

      It is who you are, and it is what you are.

      It is pretty evident that no-one agrees with you. Does that tell you anything? I suspect not.

      Poor wee earwicga, a lonely voice in a lonely world…

    78. earwicga — on 23rd October, 2010 at 11:54 am  

      As I said above douglas, I am sorry for you.

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