Organization offering cash to addicts to take long-term birth control, sterilization

October 4th, 2016 by Staff



HUNTINGTON, WV (WCHS/WVAH) — A woman from North Carolina is bringing a radical new program to Huntington to bring an end to babies born addicted to drugs.

The controversial program involves paying addicts cash to take long-term birth control or be sterilized.

A lot of people have reservations about paying addicts to get birth control. Regardless, the prevention program is going to tour Huntington Thursday seeking new clients. It’s a simple deal soon to be offered to addicts across Huntington. Don’t have kids and Project Prevention will pay you $300.

“Once you’ve had one or two or three drug-addicted babies, you lose that right,” Project Prevention founder Barbara Harris said. “You don’t have a right to keep procreating, but that’s my opinion,”

Strong words from Harris, who runs the program out of her recreational vehicle.

Harris said the program started back in 1997 after she adopted four drug-addicted babies from the same Los Angeles drug addict.

“Nobody was doing anything to stop them, so I came up with an idea I thought was pretty unique,” Harris said.

It works like this: Harris travels the country with her family finding addicts, tells them to get long-term birth control or a surgery for sterilization, and then gives them cash outright.

Harris acknowledges she has faced a lot of opposition in her 20 years on the road. The group promotes sterilization and giving cash to addicts, both touchy subjects. Many people in Huntington feel the same way, but didn’t want to go on camera.

But Mary Williams, a domestic abuse counselor, wasn’t afraid to go on camera in support of the program.

“I think it sounds wonderful,” Williams said.

In her job, she has seen kids in drug homes.

“Whatever new thing we can try, that’s hope. That’s what we need is hope,” Williams said.

Harris said they don’t push people toward any particular birth control, but sterilization is a legitimate option for many.

“The people who decide to get sterilized do so after having numerous children,” Harris said.

Harris said applicants will need proof of both their addiction and the birth control procedure before they hand out cash. They will help pay for the procedure.

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