by Steven Ertelt
January 6, 2005
Rochester, NY (LifeNews.com) — A woman sentenced by a local judge not to have any more children would get $500 from a North Carolina organization is she consents to using birth control long term. Project Prevention, a nonprofit organization that pays cash to drug addicts and alcoholics who don’t become pregnant, has fronted the money.
Barbara Harris, founder of Project Prevention, told the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle newspaper, "Money motivates everybody, not just drug addicts."
Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, told the Rochester paper she doesn’t like the idea and worries the woman will use the money to buy drugs.
"Giving $500 to someone with a serious drug problem … is not going to do anything to help the drug problem," Lieberman said. "It may, in fact, help facilitate the drug problem."
Earlier this week, a family court judge who gained national attention last year in a similar case has told a drug-addicted mother of seven not to have any more children until she can prove she is able to care for the kids the has.
The mother, known only as Judgette W. in court papers, lost custody of her children through various child neglect hearings since 2000. The kids range in ages from eight months to 12 years old.
As a result of the various cases, six of Judgette’s children are in foster care and one lives with an aunt. Three, including the newborn, named Victoria, have tested positive for cocaine.
Harris said she would travel to Rochester to try to find Judgette and offer her the money in person.
Harris told the Rochester paper she founded the group in Los Angeles after adopting four of eight children born to a mother addicted to crack cocaine.
"Each year, they (child caseworkers) would call and say, ‘She had another one. Do you want it?’" Harris said. "It just broke my heart. I just couldn’t understand how we as a society that supposedly cares about children could allow this to happen."
Harris’ group has given money to 1,147 people, including 1,390 women and 27 men in 39 states, according to the newspaper.
She attempted to get the California state legislature to pass a law punishing women who exposed their unborn children to drugs during pregnancy, but the measure failed.
In the latest hearing, Judge Marilyn O’Connor said that Judgette, described as a homeless prostitute, "could not and did not" take care of the children.
"Because every child born deserves a mother and a father, or at the very least a mother or a father, this court is once again taking this unusual step of ordering this biological mother to conceive no more children until she reclaims her children from foster care or other caretakers," O’Connor wrote.
"A ‘no-more-children’ order may help [Judgette] get Victoria back," O’Connor wrote concerning the youngest child. "More importantly, it may help Victoria get her mother back."
Judge O’Connor said she was not requiring the woman to use contraception or obtain an abortion should she become pregnant, but warned that Judgette would be jailed if she had another child.
Related web sites:
Project Prevention – https://www.projectprevention.org