CASH-FOR-STERILIZATION: CRACK Program Offers a ‘Responsible’ Exchange
Conceding that the $200 lure for long-term birth control offered to addicts by Anaheim-based Children Requiring a Caring Kommunity (CRACK) is an "outright bribe," an editorial in Monday's Cleveland Plain Dealer nonetheless said it has the potential to benefit scores of women and their children. Dismissing critics' claims that the offer amounts to coercion, the editorial argues that if "a woman's judgment is so impaired by crack that she cannot think clearly, how can she intend her pregnancies or rear children properly?" The editorial bolsters its assertion by looking at CRACK's efforts to date: The 57 addicted women who have since received the money in exchange for birth control had, prior to doing so, collectively given birth 262 times and had 161 abortions. Forty of their babies had died and 175 are currently in foster care. The editorial concludes that the "need to encourage drug addicts -- men as well as women -- to use reliable birth control is clear from the numbers. ... Clear as well is the wisdom of encouraging them to use birth control for their own well-being. Already addicted and usually poor, they can take this responsible step to spare themselves the further physical, mental and financial complications of pregnancy after pregnancy, child after child -- and, even more, to spare their children the common perils of it all" (8/9).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.