Sterilising addicts

October 25, 2010, 9:53 PM GMT+0

A controversial project offering drug addicts money to be sterilised has divided British public opinion, although more people are against than they are for it, our poll shows. Last week a 38-year-old man from Leicester became the first Briton to accept £200 from the US charity Project Prevention, after having a vasectomy on the NHS.

    45% of the population think that it is morally wrong to offer addicts cash in return for being sterilised.
  • While 34% think it is a morally acceptable idea.

The project aims to prevent drug addicts having children, because they could be mentally or physically damaged during the pregnancy due to the parents’ drug abuse. Project Prevention’s founder Barbara Harris set up the charity in North Carolina after herself adopting the children of a crack cocaine addict. She claims that her charity prevents further children from suffering.

In an interview with Time magazine, Barbara Harris explained her viewpoint, asking ‘What makes a woman's right to procreate more important than the right of a child to have a normal life?’

However, the scheme has been greeted with a mixed response in the UK. Simon Antrobus, chief executive of UK drug and alcohol treatment charity Addaction, told the BBC that ‘[The project] exploits very vulnerable people at probably the lowest point in their lives.’ Similarly, Martin Barnes, chief executive of the charity DrugScope, told the Telegraph that offering cash incentives to marginalised members of the community is ‘exploitative, ethically dubious and morally questionable’.

See the survey details and full results here