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Project Prevention (founded and formerly known as Children Requiring a Caring Kommunity [sic] or C.R.A.C.K.) is an American non-profit organization which pays drug addicts cash for volunteering to receive long-term birth control or sterilization. As of January 2006, Project Prevention offered $300 to each participant. As of July 16, 2006, Project Prevention had paid 1,854 women and 27 men for such treatments.

Barbara Harris founded the organization in 1997 after she and her husband adopted four children from a drug-addicted mother. After the experience of helping the children through withdrawal and other health problems, she attempted to get legislation passed in California which would have mandated long-term birth control for mothers who gave birth to drug-addicted babies. After this failed, she opted instead to start what is now called Project Prevention.

Despite the fact that all patients are volunteers, the organization has at times provoked controversy. In part this stems from the way in which the organization promotes its activities, including allegedly targeting poor and minority neighborhoods for the placement of billboard advertising, and distributing flyers with slogans such as "DON'T Let a Pregnancy get in the way of your crack habit". In interviews Barbara Harris compared pregnant women to dogs that need to be neutered. This stance has invoked comparisons to the eugenics movement of the early 20th century.[1] Ms. Harris has repeatedly compared the women the program targets to animals, stating that “I’m not saying these women are dogs, but they’re not acting any more responsible than a dog in heat.”[2] She has also stated: “[W]e don’t allow dogs to breed. We spay them. We neuter them. We try to keep them from having unwanted puppies, and yet these women are literally having litters of children.” [3] [4]. In other contexts, she again compared women to animals, stating, “[t]hey’re having litters. They are literally having litters.” [5], (“[w]e campaign to neuter dogs and yet we allow women to have 10 or 12 kids that they can’t take care of.”)[6] and, (“[w]e have campaigns to spay cats to prevent them from having unwanted kittens, yet we allow these women to have litters of 14 children.”)[7] On the television news program 60 Minutes II, Ms. Harris was asked about these comments, and given an opportunity to distance herself from them. Instead she reaffirmed them stating, “Well, you know my son that goes to Stanford said ‘[m]om, please don’t ever say that again,’ but it’s the truth, they don’t just have one and two babies, they have litters.” [8]

Notes

  1. ^ Tanya Green, Sterilization Program Resists Eugenics Issue, CONCERNED WOMEN FOR AMERICA, at http://www.cwfa.org/articledisplay.asp?id=3003
  2. ^ Dateline NBC: The Crusader; One Woman’s Crusade to Help Babies Born to Drug Addicted Mothers (NBC television broadcast, Sept. 9, 1998)
  3. ^ C.R.A.C.K. Uses Unethical Tactics to Stop Women with Substance Abuse Problems from Becoming Pregnant, in POLITICAL ENVIRONMENTS 8 (1999) http://cwpe.org/node/56
  4. ^ Mothers Paid to Stop Having Children, MARIE CLAIRE, Dec. 1998
  5. ^ Jeff Stryker, Cracking down, SALON, at http://www.salon.com/mwt/feature/1998/07/10/cov_10feature/index.html
  6. ^ Sarah Dateno, Coercive Pop Control Comes Home, POPULATION RESEARCH INSTITUTE REVIEW, at http://www.pop.org/00000000187/coercive-pop-control-comes-home (Aug./Sept. 1999)
  7. ^ Diane Taylor, Children or Crack: Which Would You Choose?, THE GUARDIAN (Dec. 3, 1998)
  8. ^ 60 Minutes II: C.R.A.C.K. BABIES/Sterilization (CBS television broadcast, Mar. 13, 2001)

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