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Woman pays addicts if they get sterilized


From Correspondent Jennifer Auther

STANTON, California (CNN) -- A Southern California woman has come up with a radical -- and sure-to-be controversial -- way to combat the problem of crack-addicted babies being born to women with substance abuse problems.

Barbara Harris, who has adopted four such children all born to the same woman, is offering money to addicts who agree to be sterilized or receive birth control implants.

"I think that we, as a society, have a right to say, 'This is it. You're not doing it any more,'" Harris said. "I feel we have to get these women on birth control by any means necessary."

vxtreme CNN's Jennifer Auther reports.

Harris has posted flyers announcing that she will pay addicted or alcoholic women $200 if they agree to have a tubal ligations and $50 if they get birth control implants. So far, Harris said two women have taken her up on her offer.

"I knew what would motivate them was probably more money for more drugs," she said.

She's not excluding men, either. Harris says she's willing to pay men with substance abuse problems who choose to get vasectomies.


To get around legal concerns about informed consent for these medial procedures, any woman who accepts Harris' deal must make her own arrangements for tubal ligation or implants with a doctor or clinic. She then must bring proof to Harris, who pays the woman.

Harris says her motivation for the program was the long nights she spent watching her four adopted children -- Destiny, Isaiah, Taylor and Brandon -- withdraw from heavy drugs.

"They shake, and they're stiff, and their eyes look like they're going to bulge out of their head. It's just sad," said Harris, who, with her husband Smitty, also has three other sons.

Now that word of Harris' offer has started to spread, she says that donations have started to pour in from people who want to encourage her unusual birth control drive.

But some find her plan disturbing, believing that it doesn't get at the underlying problem.

"The solution to the problem is to treat the women during their pregnancy so that the fetuses do not become drug addicted," says Rebecca Jurado, a professor at Western State University.

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