Wednesday, July 12, 2006

$300 for vasectomy

Paying drug addicts to become sterile.

      Barbara Harris drove her RV gingerly through Old Town and staked her territory beneath the Burnside Bridge, one of the first stops on her cross-country mission as head of Project Prevention, a foundation that offers $300 to drug users willing to be sterilized or use long-term birth control.

      Harris founded her program in 1998. Originally called C.R.A.C.K. -- Children Requiring a Caring Kommunity -- it immediately attracted attention and criticism. Supporters call Harris a hero. Detractors label her tactics as modern-day eugenics.

Like the “K” on community?  Don’t people who care about kids teach them to spell correctly?
Sorry.  Mean jab.  Anyway, I think that people who complain about “modern-day eugenics” have a flimsy logical argument.  I can see what they are getting at, however most historical eugenic-type attempts at controlling breeding had to do with actual genetics.  I.E. you wanted to control some genetic feature of the human genome so that people in the future would be genetically free from some sort of deficiency (or perceived deficiency) or genetically steer some race toward more whiteness or whatever. 

For instance there was a problem some years ago with states mandating that certain mental health patients become sterile.  But I think in this case, since the program is completely voluntary and the target group is not any particular genetic group but a group with a social/chemical problem, the opponents have little argument on this point.

While I applaud the reasons for the foundation, that it would reduce the number of unexpected children born into a life of drugs, crime and poverty, I think that I have a problem with the permanency of it all.  For $300 (and I’m assuming the operation is covered as well) you give up your ability to reproduce for life.  What if you clean up and want to change your life and start a family somewhere down the road.  Can an addicted person on drugs make that kind of decision for themselves?

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