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Poor or HIV+? Project Prevention Will Pay You Not to Breed

Poor or HIV+? Project Prevention Will Pay You Not to Breed

Project Prevention, also known as Children Requiring a Caring Kommunity (CRACK), has drawn controversy for years for its efforts to sterilize drug addicts in America. The organization offers women with drug problems $300 if they can offer proof they’ve been sterilized, and offers $200 for women who go on long-term birth control like an IUD or contraceptive implant.

The program attempted to expand into Britain in 2010, but was not well-received. While it still has a presence in the country, the British Medical Association will not allow it to pay women for sterilizations, only long-term contraception.

Now, Project Prevention has set its sights on developing nations. Specifically, Haiti and Kenya. But it’s not targeting these women because of a drug addiction. It’s targeting Haitian women for being poor, and Kenyan and South African women who are HIV positive.

In Haiti, women aren’t even being offered monetary compensation for accepting contraceptive shots. They’re being offered food cards. If $300 for giving up your fertility forever wasn’t insulting, being offered food in exchange for Depo-Provera shots (which can have long-term, debilitating side effects in some women) certainly is.

Even more controversial is Harris’s assertion that women with HIV should not have children – even though modern medicine has found ways to prevent the children of HIV+ mothers from being born with the disease. Kenyan women are offered the measly sum of $40 US if they agree to receive an IUD.

The organization has been decried by many as an attempt at eugenics. It’s hard to argue that point when founder Barbara Harris has been quoted as saying, “We don’t allow dogs to breed. We neuter them. We try to keep them from having unwanted puppies, and yet these women are literally having litters of children.” Yikes.

At best, Harris doesn’t believe drug addicts, poor women, or women with HIV are capable of exercising their right to chose. At worst, Project Prevention may be offering money which allows women to feed their drug habits while taking away any reproductive choice they might have in the future, even if they manage to kick their addiction in the meantime. And it may be coercing women living in poverty (and in the case of Haiti, a humanitarian crisis) to choose between their fertility and having food on the table.

While initiatives like Project Prevention may seem appealing on the surface, they’re really only a superficial fix for much deeper social and economic issues. Empowering women to make informed reproductive choices, providing better medical care for HIV+ women, putting systems in place to help women deal with drug addiction, and helping women out of poverty so they can afford to take care of their families are all better long-term solutions than paying individual women not to have children. Unless, of course, your goal isn’t actually to make life better for children worldwide, and is actually an attempt to keep “undesirable” people from reproducing.

I suspect that’s Project Prevention’s actual agenda – otherwise, there are so many more effective ways they could be spending their money. And Barbara Harris’s public statements about the women she’s “helping” don’t do much to dispel that impression. What do Care2 readers think? Is Project Prevention a great idea, or is it doing more harm than good?

Related Stories:
CRACK: Sterilizing Drug Addicts Since 1997
Should Welfare Recipients Have To Prove They Aren’t On Drugs?
Now We Are At War With Mexico?

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Photo credit: CIAT via Flickr

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179 comments

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10:21AM PDT on Jun 12, 2012

Knowledge and Education are always the key to success. Educating women in impoverished countries can at least give them a voice in addition to choice.The idea of contraceptives are good, however educating them about the potential side effects is crucial. I can see the benefits of their perspectives in addition to the negative aspects.

10:51PM PDT on Jun 11, 2012

Robby C. I urge you to research on Islam and read the translation of the Quran Sharif, before pointing fingers at Muslims because of what is shown in mainstream media.Before writing such things, I mean you haven't even spelt Muslim correctly, please at least watch PeaceTV, if that even shows in your country. Notice the name of the channel, it's Peacetv, not suicidebombimgfordummiesTV. Islam being the youngest religion (amongst the major religions) is also the one that is most modernized and liberating in it's approach of women. I am a devout Muslim, but do I seem like an extremist to you? I've signed the pro-abortion bills, have been in relationships but always remained a virgin, have many male friends I'm quite close with, so on and so forth. Just as in all religions there are extremists like the Norway bomber (notice how he is called bomber, and not terrorist? You think it would have been the same had he been Muslim) As for rape in Islam, ALL forms of sexual relationships outside of marriage are BANNED for muslims, even after marriage if a man is to have sex with his wife she MUST consent first, similarly, it has also been said that a married woman must also please her man, but not JUST sexually. I've researched and added some verses that I think should show you it is NOT the religion, but the followers who are to blame.

[5:5] …….. You shall maintain CHASTITY, not committing adultery, nor taking secret lovers. Anyone who rejects faith, all his work will be in

3:36PM PDT on Jun 11, 2012

we need to help

2:27PM PDT on Jun 11, 2012

I wonder how many women will do this because they feel financially trapped....sad.

1:58AM PDT on Jun 11, 2012

Inaya- I hate that most of hte world IS suffering. It pains me to no end. WOW! That's some heavy stuff to think about & sure sounds hopeless. But hearing the last part of the story- the woman who cut off her rapists thing- I LOVE that & it gives me at least the slightest bit of hope. Unfortunately, if Muslimes continue to take over the earth this will not be permitted. You even consider trying to fight back against a male muslime & it's over for you- hopefully quickly, as opposed to tortured, etc... We must all stand up to the vile corruptible power hungry in every race...

12:02AM PDT on Jun 11, 2012

@ robby C. Thank you for your kind words and concern. Sadly, the women these atrocious acts happen to, are not in a position to afford a gun or would even know how to go about it, as they majority of our country is uneducated, or at best educated to the 5th standard. Initially, girls weren't even sent to school as they were better utilized at home cooking and cleaning. Recently, with the emergence of the ready made garments sector, that has changed somewhat, with woman now having a basic set of skills and earning minimum wage. I don't even know if the majority of rape cases are filed, and even if they are filed they get clogged up in the bureaucracy. It is the problem with over population, desensitization. We say kids on the street with mutilations, 1st world country children could not have nightmares about. I agree with you, all countries have their share of evil, but here with the population multiplied many times, so does the evil. The only story of self defense I had read about was this brave woman from the village, who was going to be raped, and before the man could continue, she grabbed a knife and cut off his penis, and then bagged it and took it to the police as evidence. I applaud her.

11:45PM PDT on Jun 10, 2012

Inaya K- I'm so sorry to hear about your country's situation. Unfortunately, most Americans don't have any idea how bad things are in other places. We have our own problems, but ours often pale by comparison. Friends who've traveled more extensively (outside the US) than me, tell me about several countries, like Korea. Frequent TV ads about slave trading- trying to reach people who MAY have been kidnapped. There've been some note-worthy dissapearances of US citizens (in recent years) near beach areas. Many know that some of these were kidnapped by slave-traders. Usually pretty, young, white women, but not limited to.

Some of the evil that happens here is unspeakable, but almost non-existent compared to countries like yours. Overpopulation is a huge contributor. I have to ask- in your country, do any of these women have legal self-defense? Access to guns, knives, etc? This is a BIG problem w/the thought process of anti-gun-nuts in the US. They don't realize that evil people will ALWAYS have guns (& often don't even need them)- when guns are banned, they will buy & even make their own, to cement their control. Law abiding innocent people won't stand a chance- a case of "might makes right." Please tell them how that works out. People need to know- there's ALWAYS someone tougher & meaner. Still, I wish the best for you & your country; the whole world! We really do need help!

10:31PM PDT on Jun 10, 2012

So yes, if project prevention can come here and be brave enough to withstand the political backlash; give them 2 months payment, and remove a lifetime of debt incurred by having children, then run here NOW. Also, if these people magically happen to escape the vicious cycle their forefather and their forefathers couldn’t, they could always adopt from the overfilled orphanages here (another sign of not having tubes tied)

10:31PM PDT on Jun 10, 2012

I am from Bangladesh, a stereotypically 3rd world country, and as harsh as i sound for this, i would PAY project prevention to come to this country. Before i get rants about this, Bangladesh is the most densely populated country in the world. The mindset of the MILLIONS living below the poverty line is that kids are insurance, and given the ridiculously high infant mortality rate, families earning as little as USD$12-20 per month, have 4-7 kids; they then send these kids to the capital where nothing but the real life story of Slumdog millionaire plays out with these kids being mutilated to beg and their families not receiving ANY of their "earnings".

10:28PM PDT on Jun 10, 2012

I am from Bangladesh, a sterotypically 3rd world country, and as harsh as i sound for this, i would PAY project prevention to come to this country. Before i get rants about this, Bangladesh is the most densely populated country in the world. The mindset of the MILLIONS living below the poverty line is that kids are insurance, and given the ridiculously high infant mortality rate, families earning as little as USD$12-20 per month, have 4-7 kids; they then send these kids to the capital where nothing but the real life story of slumdog millionaire plays out with these kids being mutitliated to beg and their families not receiving ANY of their "earnings". This 8yr old has been sent to out house to work, and the family refuses passionately to take him back, saying he will be safer there. Also many women who intelligently have decided not to have children, are deprived of their right, as sadly the women here have a right to their minds, but not to their bodies. As their husbands will rape them to have children, and because of conservative political backlash, all efforts of planned parenthood have been stopped. So yes, if project prevention can come here and be brave enough to withstand the political backlash; run/race/ here. NOW.

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