Offering Money To Addicts…Ethical? Essay

1812 words - 7 pages

AbstractIs C.R.A.C.K ethical? An organization that pays drug-addicted women and men to get sterilized is increasingly getting referrals from publicly funded agencies. Its supporters say it's saving babies from being born into hellish lives. But others believe that C.R.A.C.K is taking advantage of addicts by offering them money in exchange for sterilizing them, instead of helping them with their real problem. Decide, ethical or not?Offering money to addicts….ethical?A flier hanging on a pole in ones local neighborhood, at first glance, might look as though it is offering a room for rent or a job. There are phone numbers, dollar signs and tabs for people to tear off and take with them. But this special flier is an offer intended for a specific group: drug-addicted men and women.The flier reads, "Get birth control, get cash, if you are addicted to drugs and/or alcohol then this offer is for you." While distribution of condoms in particular offers of birth control to drug addicts are common, it also is to stem the spread of AIDS. But condoms are not what the flier was referring to. Instead, it offers men and women $200 to be sterilized or put on long-term birth control. The group making the offer, is Children Requiring a Caring Kommunity, also referred to as C.R.A.C.K, contends that the program is a humane effort to keep children from being born to women ill-equipped to raise them. Critics counter that it is little more than a bribe to women to make an irreversible decision, and argue that counseling is the best method for both ending drug use and promoting responsible parenthood.So far, the presence of the group in New York is minimal; it is based in California, and its only chapter in New York consists of a 27-year-old office worker from Brooklyn, who with the help of her husband and another volunteer has posted fliers across the city and held meetings with hospitals and community groups. But if C.R.A.C.K's reception in other cities is any indication, there is likely to be heated debate about the efficacy and the ethics of its offer. "The program is fundamentally incompatible with a health care policy that respects a woman's right to choose," said Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union. It certainly raises ethical policy concerns for government entities to be providing referrals to this program or endorsing it in any way.The organization was started in Orange County, Calif., in 1997 by Barbara Harris, a housewife and former waitress, after she adopted four children from the same drug-addicted mother. Children born to drug addicts regularly suffer emotional scars and medical disabilities and end up in foster care at taxpayers' expense, she said.Why should a drug or alcohol addict get pregnant or get someone pregnant? Barbara Harris watched how her children suffered when she brought them home from the hospital, and she believes no child should go through that. Critics, however, say that C.R.A.C.K's stance is...

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