Photo: An ad Project Prevention has used to encourage addicts to obtain long-term birth control.
By Rheana Murray
Founder launched group after adopting four children from a crack addict
A controversial nonprofit group is seeking out drug-addicted women and paying them cold hard cash to get sterilized.
The group, Project Prevention, hangs stark ads in clinics and homeless shelters to reel in drug users. The posters feature hard-hitting taglines such as, “Don’t let a pregnancy ruin your drug habit,” and “She has her daddy’s eyes … and her mommy’s heroin addiction.”
Barbara Harris, founder of the program, insists she is only trying to help prevent unwanted pregnancies, which often lead to children being fed into an overwhelmed foster care system, and that she’s not forcing anyone to get sterilized.
“I think it’s really important for people to understand that the majority of women we sterilize are women who have had multiple children and don’t want anymore,” she told the Daily News. “It’s their decision.”
“And to say, ‘Let’s go ahead and let them keep having babies because one day they might decide to clean up and keep one?’ It’s just not fair,” she said. “And it’s preventable.”
Harris said that the last 20 women she paid to get sterilized had been pregnant a total of 121 times.
“Thirty were either aborted, stillborn or died after being born,” she said. “Seventy-eight are in foster care.”
Betsy Hartmann, director of the Population and Development Program and professor of Development Studies at Massachusetts’ Hampshire College, has accused Project Prevention of “thinly disguised” racism.
Continue Reading: nydailynews.com