Project Prevention Encourages Addicts Not To Have Children

03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

An estimated 11-15% of babies are exposed to drugs or alcohol in utero. Many of these babies are born with addictions or physical disabilities. For years, government and NGO programs have sought to reduce this number through drug rehabilitation programs and educating women about healthy pregnancies.

The nonprofit group Project Prevention has a more practical approach: seek out addicts and provide them with birth control. Project Prevention's goal is to reduce the number of "substance-exposed births" to zero.

A controversial organization, given the debate on how to educate young people about sex and drugs, Project Prevention has over 3,000 clients, whom are provided with cash incentives to use long-term birth control while taking drugs.

Is the project successful? The results have been moderate. Many of the female clients became pregnant anyway, and the group has logged thousands of abortions and thousands of children given up into foster care.

Barbara Harris started the organization in the mid-nineties, after her and her husband became foster parents to an eight-month old child born to a crack-addicted mother. To her, the $200 Project Prevention pays to a woman to get sterilized is worth the price, as it could prevent a number of future births. "An addicted woman will cradle her pipe before she cradles her own child," an addict writes on the Project Prevention website.

How do you feel about Project Prevention? Is this just tough love or a more nihilistic approach to preventing substance-exposed births? Leave your comments here or e-mail us at impact@huffingtonpost.com.