Steralisation for cash

Last night I caught half off InsideOut, a TV show on the BBC (I think) that was discussing whether drug addicts should be offered cash in return for agreeing to be sterilised and thus never having children.  Also, on the show was one of Margaret Thatcher's former advisers who said that he advised Maggie to bring in a system of compulsory sterilisation that would form a sentence of the courts.

I'm talking purely now about the offer to pay rather then the forced sterilisation, which the Daily Mail would have a fit over if it was happening in any Arab country.

I honestly don't know how I feel about this suggestion.  On the one hand, I find the idea of twisting the arms of the desperate and often mentally incapable (due to their drug use) quite unpalatable. 

On the other had, I've had dealings with drug dependant mothers and fathers whose children live the most miserable lives that the authorities seem unable to improve.  One girl I came across is regularly in court for one thing or another.  I was informed by the Youth Offending Team that they are certain that this 13-year-old child is being prostituted by her mother on a regular basis to adult men so that mum can buy drugs.
Many of the clients I deal with come from homes where one or other parent is a drug addict and it isn't difficult to see how they end up in the care and court systems.

I wonder what other people's views on this subject are?

If you didn't catch the programme, the charity behind the idea is Project Prevention - I'm sure they have a web presence you can google if you're interested... I'm not sure I want to put up a link here.


  1. It gives me a very uneasy feeling about historical parallels and where this avenue might lead.

  2. I would like to see a reversible sterilisation process - something like Norplant or its successors, though you'd want a version with fewer side-effects - for everybody. Simply end unwanted pregnancy.

    For a permanent version: from a legal point of view is it not the case the the people to whom it's being offered to are considered to be responsible adults? In which case we should surely have nothing to say as to such contracts as they choose to enter into with other responsible adults.

  3. Any long term solution will inevitably mean short term casualties but this also makes me feel very uneasy.
    De-criminalising drugs,controlling the sale through legitimate outlets to get rid of the pushers and the `forbidden fruit`factor is the only way this tragic situation will be improved.
    Prohibition does not work

  4. jerym is right -- if we had a sensible drugs policy in the first place, this sort of measure wouldn't need to be contemplated. In the meantime, any attempt to tinker seems likely to do at least as much harm as good.

  5. I can't see many addicts being interested. Apart possibly as an opportunity to by £200 worth of drugs. In this event, would it be an informed decision?

  6. I agree with Roger BW. A 'reversible' sterilisation would be an excellent idea. Like Mr Brown (and yourself), I see people who have great difficulties addresing their own issues, without adding the complication of children. These children, if not subject to significant intervention by Social Services, are fostered/adopted. All the while, this has both a massive financial cost to the taxpayer and a likely emotional cost to the parents and child.

    Support it; the alternative, is I fear, too high a cost.


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