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Project Prevention: Not a bad thing

October 18, 2010

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.

25 Comments leave one →
  1. gwenhwyfaer permalink
    October 18, 2010 13:59

    Why is it being offered to men at all? As far as I’m aware, an addicted baby is only born addicted because it shares its mother’s blood supply, and therefore all the alcohol or drugs floating around in that blood. All it shares with its father is a single lucky sperm. And addicted men do not only sleep with addicted women – so offering to sterilise addicted men makes no sense whatsoever.

    Unless one does consider it as a eugenic process, resting on the assumption that addiction is in part genetically transferred. That’s the only way Project Prevention makes any sense – if it were purely about the welfare of babies, it would restrict itself to offering reversible sterilisations only, and only to women.

    • October 18, 2010 14:11

      There are studies that show that sperm is indeed affected by smoking etc. Not many though.

      • gwenhwyfaer permalink
        October 18, 2010 20:55

        Sperm may be affected by smoking, but I challenge you to present us with a study that demonstrates that a nicotine (or any) addiction can be passed along genetically once acquired environmentally, which is what’s required before sterilising male addicts could achieve the ostensible objective.

      • October 18, 2010 21:42

        “There are studies that show that sperm is indeed affected by smoking etc. Not many though.”

        Hahahaha! I hadn’t spotted this gem. Maybe we should ask Project Prevention to fund a sterilization program for all men who are addicted to tobacco. This could get expensive.

  2. October 18, 2010 17:48

    Brave post, with sound argument. I’m pretty sure an argument from the other side would also sound convincing. That’s the difficult thing with these types of programmes.


    • October 18, 2010 18:09

      Thanks M2M. Yes, an imperfect organisation in an imperfect world.

  3. October 18, 2010 18:36

    Obviously no-one wants babies to be born with addictions, and the aim of providing everyone with applicable contraception is very positive, however Project Prevention are not a suitable organization to have control over the reproductive rights of vulnerable adults. Quite apart form their connections to self proclaimed fan of eugenics Chris Brand and the Woodhill Foundation, the thought of paying someone, who is at a very vulnerable point in their lives, to undergo a medical procedure, which could prevent them from ever having children, is barbaric and probably illegal.

    Can I suggest that anyone who wants a more considered approach to this issue takes a look at the well researched and thoughtful blog posted by Stuart Sorensen at

    Before proclaiming your support for Project Prevention and their mouthpiece Barbara Harris, you may want to do some research on the organization and the woman, who likens women with drug problems to “dogs on heat”. or if you’re short on time the Wiki page for project Prevention gives a good summery.

    • October 18, 2010 18:54

      Thanks for commenting Chris. I have read a lot about Project Prevention and Barbara Harris and yes, it is a shocking initiative. Barbara Harris says she has never worked with Chris Brand. There is a lot of shit spoken about her all over the place. She didn’t come to this because of some disgusting eugenist viewpoint – it was after she adopted the fourth child of a woman who had 8 children in 8 years whilst addicted. Every child was taken away from the biological mother. I find it hard to believe that this is the best thing for a vulnerable adult either. Or obviously, for the children. Nobody has a ‘right’ to have children.

      • October 18, 2010 19:18

        If as you say you find it hard to believe that this is the best thing for any vulnerable adult, why do you say that you are glad Project Prevention has come to the UK? Also; you still haven’t addressed the point of whether you think a woman who referrers to drug addicted women as “dogs on heat” is a suitable person to front an organization which aims to remove said woman’s right to reproduce.

      • gwenhwyfaer permalink
        October 18, 2010 21:01

        Nobody has a ‘right’ to have children.

        Actually, they arguably do. ECHR article 8 guarantees the right of respect to private and family life; it’s hard to imagine anything much more directly related to “private and family life” than procreation.

  4. October 18, 2010 19:49

    Chris – I meant a woman being pregnant for the most part of 8 years who is unable to keep any of the children when I said it isn’t the best thing for any vulnerable adult.

    I don’t know the context of “dogs on heat” so am not able to comment on it.

    • October 18, 2010 20:12

      I am not sure of you position. Are you saying that you do support vulnerable people, who are desperate for cash to fund their addictions, being entice to give up their reproductive rights for a cash incentive?

  5. October 18, 2010 20:27

    I am saying that children who are born addicted to drugs or alcohol go through hell. There can also be long term medical consequenses. Two thirds of children in care are there because of their parent(s) addiction(s). They are taken from their parents. This is horrible for both parties – the parents lose their child(ren) because they are unable to take care of them due to their illness. The children lose their parents and statistically children in care do not do well. Some are lucky of course but it’s way less than the ‘good enough’ that most parents manage for their children.

    There are agencies who help of course. These are underfunded and at times ineffective. As I’ve written in the post, Project Prevention aims to avoid everything in the paragraph above from happening. The women (unlike the men) who approach Project Prevention have a choice between long-term contraception or permanent sterilisation. It is their choice. Yes, informed choice isn’t the same as it is for a person who isn’t as vulnerable but there is choice there. The payment is the same for both.

    The way I see it is that Project Prevention shouldn’t be needed, but it is. It is the better of two evils.

    • October 18, 2010 20:31

      So your answer is yes. Wow. You align your self with some pretty horrible people. Jim Woodhill, Chris Brand amongst others.

      • October 18, 2010 20:33

        You know the answer would be yes Chris – it is in the OP.

    • October 18, 2010 20:42

      One final point of interest; you say that you have done your research yet you seem unaware that vasectomies are reversible. That speaks volumes.

  6. October 18, 2010 20:48

    FFS Chris – of course it is possible that a vascetomy may be reversible. The same with a tubal ligation. It is possible, but the liklihood isn’t 100%.

    Thanks for the sniping though. Perhaps you are on the list to foster/adopt the next drug addicted baby? Good luck with that.

  7. October 18, 2010 21:00

    gwenhwyfaer – As I said above, there aren’t many studies. Fertility etc. has always been considered in the woman’s realm.

    • gwenhwyfaer permalink
      October 18, 2010 21:10

      Oh no, please don’t do that. Please don’t defend an essentially misogynistic project with the language of feminism.

      • October 18, 2010 21:28

        With respect gwenhwyfaer, I will use any damn language I like. I see no misogyny in Project Prevention.

  8. October 18, 2010 21:36

    I’ll happily promote any force for good. Sad thing is you seem happy to promote such a nasty destructive organization like Project Prevention. Good luck.

  9. October 31, 2010 00:02

    This program is too draconian by my way of seeing things. I could see free birth control, but sterilization?

    Also, many people who take hard drugs are not addicted, but they have to pretend to be in order to avoid harsher criminal penalties. This program my be voluntary for now, but things like this often end up being compulsory or heavily pressured after being declared “a success.”

    • jim permalink
      November 4, 2010 00:24

      Libhomo-Surely when something is draconian we talk in terms of compulsion by the state. In this instance it is not. I disagree with earwigca on just about everything; for example if she describes something is black, I’m sure its white, but in this instance I totally agree.

      The essential point for me is that proper drug rehabilitation places have to be found for everybody who wants one. I would go further and say that forced `drying out’ for anyone in the penal system is desirable. There are thousands in British prisons who are not addicted, but strangely had to steal in order to fund their leisure pastime!!! Not!!

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