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Entries in Project Prevention (1)

Tuesday
Oct192010

US Woman Wants to Pay Brit Addicts to Get Sterilized

Photo Courtesy - Barbara Harris(LONDON) -- An American charity that pays drug addicts to get sterilized has expanded its operation into Great Britain, and while it has so far paid only one British man to undergo the procedure, it has triggered a storm of criticism.

Barbara Harris, the founder and head of Project Prevention, shrugs off the criticism of her group, which has paid 3,600 American drug addicts $300 each to get sterilized or undergo other long-term birth control procedures.

"I really don't understand controversy or people who oppose what we do," Harris said. "I think a lot of people should realize they're never going to be good parents, and never have children."

"If I had enough money, there wouldn't be any pregnancies for drug addicts," she said.

So far, the program has had a modest start in Britain. Harris said that Project Prevention has more than 100 people on a waiting list. She's waiting to get her international nonprofit set up so she can start paying them, and also hopes to hire a British staff member soon.

"It's exploiting people," said Gill Nowland, the chief executive of a drug rehabilitation home for women and children called One25. "The women we work with, due to the drug addictions, are not in sound minds to make such life-changing decisions."

One25 is one of many organizations that have spoken out against Harris' nonprofit. While Nowland supports long-term birth control, she believes sterilization is a step too far. 

In the United States, Harris says she's worked with several government agencies to help spread the word of her program. No such support has turned up in the United Kingdom, but she does have about 50 volunteers ready to go. She said that even though government officials haven't voiced their approval, she knows they're thinking it.

"I really feel they're probably closet cheerleaders," she said.

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