Incentives: the bad and the downright ugly

Stop Barbara Harris and Positive Prevention in the UK!

Sals Picture for BP

Labelled by Ignorance

The background to providing incentives to change behaviours has been around since the 70’s and is often strewn with a whole range of inappropriate responses to get people to stop using drugs or change their ‘selfishly addictive’ behaviours.

Project Prevention, is not even pretending to do that. Money is the incentive that is dangled in front of vulnerable, often homeless or destitute women and men who use drugs – in a direct effort to stop them from being parents. Currently acting in over 50 states in the US, Project Prevention has entered the shores of Great Britain.

Barbara Harris, who found Project Prevention back in 1997, attempted the move across the Atlantic over 10 years ago but was firmly rebuffed. This time however she has succeeded. Not only that – we have had the first male step up to have vasectomy from a heroin using male who claims he shouldn’t be allowed to be a parent. Harris is handing out leaflets in North London, offering people of ANY AGE £200 to be sterilised. I saw a clip of her on TV yesterday, walking around handing out flyers and selling her service to groups of young black men, – and when i say young – I’m talking in their teens!

This woman must be stopped. Over 100 people have rung her phone lines so far this year, although ‘John’ is the first one to agree. He has 30 days to think about his decision.

Project Prevention says it has paid money out to 3,242 addicts, or ‘clients’ (I think she means crackheads -ed) as it prefers to call them. Most of them were women and 1,226 were permanently sterilized. Thirty-five men have also had vasectomies. They offer a small range of contraceptives, but not the pill or condoms. No, we are talking heavy duty contraception here; Tubal Ligation (tubes tying, rarely reversible), Implanon (rod inserted under the skin which lasts 3 years) Depo-Provera, (an injection lasting months – that has actually been banned in some countries and previously in the USA – overturned in the early 1980’s after aggressive lobbying by Depo’s corporate manufacturers; it is believed to be ‘dumped’ in developing countries and is still disproportionately pushed on poor women, women of color, and women with disabilities. She does offer IUD’s although there must be some kind of catch to prevent the woman from having it removed shortly afterwards. (I will look further into this…)

Her statistics, which are proudly displayed on her website are thus:

1,272 Tubal Ligation, 892 IUD, 121 Implanon, 38 Norplant, and 51 Vasectomies.
Naturally, they get more money for the full sterilisation, and far less for the IUD.

To get the money people have to show evidence that they have been arrested on class A or B drug offences (not cannabis etc -but ‘narcotics’) or provide a doctor’s letter confirming they use drugs. Fresh documents are then required to show the medical procedure has actually taken place.

Her answer to every single question about whether this approach is morally reprehensible is ‘I dont care’.”It doesn’t matter,” she says. “I’ll do anything I have to do to prevent babies from suffering. My heart is with the children. I don’t believe that anybody has the right to force their addiction on another human being.”

She is totally aware that the money she gives these women is going straight into dealers pockets, again, it dosent matter for her; she believes the issue is the babies and her role is to save them from the horrors of drug using parents and being born addicted.

These are some of the statistics she has on her website:

  • 3,432 – Total number of paid clients.
  • 15,025 – Total number of pregnancies. (Not including miscarriages)
  • 10,486 – Total number of births (some resulted in multiple births).
  • 4,495 – Total number of abortions
  • 702 – Stillborn births. Also, another 396 had very brief lives, dying soon after birth from complications.
  • 1,059 have chosen Depo-Provera, 1,272 Tubal Ligation, 892 IUD, 121 Implanon, 38 Norplant, and 51 Vasectomies.
  • 1,714 clients have been Caucasian, 913 African-American, 441 Hispanic, and 364 of other ethnic backgrounds.

Get Active – Don’t let Barbara Harris and her cronies gain ground in the UK. Here’s some ideas

Find out Positive Prevention’s targeting strategies.

  • Organize an opposition committee with friends or people who also oppose PP.
  • Create a “Local Statement of Opposition” that community members can sign.
  • Collect information and create a PP PACK to easily distribute info about Positive Prevention
  • Build Coalitions! Now that PP has come to the UK, the next step should be contacting and visiting organizations that serve the people whose communities are targeted by PP.
  • Circulate a press release on your statement and local opposition to PP to area media and press.
  • Don’t let any articles on PP in local media go unanswered.
  • Show up at any PP’s press conferences, radio shows, TV appearances etc. Let the press know that there are opposing voices in your community.
  • Keep a Barbara Harris Watch. Strategize to counter Barbara Harris (founder of PP) or her UK colleagues at their speaking venues by writing letters to urge conference planners to provide opposing viewpoints, and by openly protesting PP at these events.
  • Remove all and any PP ads or flyers. PP is more likely to place their ads and flyers on public spaces like lamp posts, bus stops, on the store front of drug treatment centers, needles exchanges, homeless shelters, public hospitals that serve a majority of poor clients. If you see any – dump them!
  • Create anti-PP. stickers and stick them directly on PP propaganda in your neighborhood. Messages like “DON’T let Project Prevention convince you that your children have no value” and “C.R.A.C.K. is rooted in racism” (PP is also known as C.R.A.C.K).
  • Sponsor or get together for a meeting so that you can invite some of your friends, allies in the drugs field, health professionals etc who may be open to hearing why it is critical to oppose C.R.A.C.K. Talk over strategy discussions and distribute information people can take away and disseminate themselves..
  • Organize a sidewalk chalk campaign down some popular city or neighborhood streets with points on why it is critical to oppose PP.
  • Support funding for mental health programs, drug treatment, and services to poor women.
  • Advocate for good, humane, involved contraception in drug treatment programs, needle exchanges etc and for pregnant women to be supported through their journey through prenatal care. ( additional thanks to http://www.cwpe.org)
Leave a comment

2 Comments

  1. Brilliant blog – and writings Stuart, she really is a piece of work! Thanks so much for the extra info – please do let us know should you need any support campaigning – and of course we will let you know also. Note for readers: please see all of Stuarts postings on Project Prevention at:
    http://stuartsorensen.wordpress.com/category/project-prevention-2/

    Reply
  2. I have a lot of material on my blog about how to combat PP. This links to the latest

    http://stuartsorensen.wordpress.com/2010/10/25/sorry-barbara-but-were-here-to-stay/

    click the Project Precvention category for more.

    Cheers,

    Stuart

    Reply

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