Thursday, January 25, 2007

"We'll Pay You Not to Have Kids"

The following is a brief summary of an article found in the CNN archives (June 28, 1999), concerning ethics. It says: A California-based private group called Children Requiring A Caring Community has reportedly been succeeding in its goal of preventing drug-addicted women from having unwanted children. The program offers cash payments of $200 to men or women who undergo long-term birth control (like Norplant, or an IUD) or permanent sterilization (such as tubal ligation or vasectomy). And now the organization has begun exporting its program to other states. This approach pits the goals of protecting children from harm against reproductive liberty, and we need to ask how far we should go in favor of each.

In my opinion if a woman does not want a child, she does not have to procreate. And if a woman wants contraception she may be able to recieve free pills from clinics such as Planned Parenthood, etc. The problem in my opinion, is that recovering addicts are already concerned about recieving money and using it for drugs...paying a recovering addict money is not a good idea, and it is not necessary. The article has its opinions but what are yours? Is this practice ethical?


Mike Phamalama said...

In ethics, I think that there is a huge wall that keeps us from agreeing on an answer to ethical questions. That wall could probably be summed up in the question, "Do the ends justify the means?" Most of our discussions usually end up whether if a person could be redeemed for his actions by his motives, or results.

In the case that braden presented, I do not believe that the ends really justify the means. It is a good cause to try and prevent people who would not be good parents to have kids, and save those kids from the experience. But giving money to drug-addicted/recovering people is probably just another temptation to go buy drugs, or to relapse into the addiction. Even though there may be the case of someone giving an honest effort of trying to start a new and better life, I think that most would see this as an easy way to get drug money. Also, if that is the case, this group may be preventing one problem, but facilitating another. So all in all, I do not believe this plan would be effective.

So in conclusion, I believe that the goal is ethical, but the way they try to attain that goal is not practical. So does this make the practice inethical? I think it might. But hey, at least they are trying to do something to help the world. :)

Wolf Man Jack said...

This is a perfect example of the ends justifying the means, just as Pham has stated. However, I think that in this case it does. I am under the personal belief (therefor moral belief) that people can do whatever they want to themselves, so long as it doesn't harm others.
Now I will address the various parties invloved. In the case of those giving the money: they feel that they are doing good, and it does indeed not cause harm (arguable I know) to others. Therefore theiir actions are just. As for the drug adicts. They are taking the money in exchange for permanant birth control. Wheather they use the money for drugs or not is irrealevant, as if they do then they are not harming others, and if they don't then they are still not harming others. As to the children they might have, if they didn't do this, and had a child while still on drugs, then that infant would be harmed. Significantly. Therefore, by agreeing to this they prevent themselves from doing something immoral.

Now for the switch of my arguements from moral to ethical. As far as my beliefs are concerned I have signed an unwriteen contract to follow my morals, truning it into an ethical code to live by. So, if they follow my beliefs (which I, unfortuneately, doubt they do), then they have not only justified the ends, but also the means.

kchristman said...

The phrase that keeps running through my head at this point is "what is the best interest of the child" and in my mind these actions are providing a duality for all of the "children" that are being saved from a living an life knowing they are unwanted (the quotes come because can they really be called children if they are being prevented from being born). By having a permenant form of birth control these people can potentially solve a problem that could exist multiple times and so in a sense I believe that practice could be considered ethical; the decision to be paid for the procedure protects both the addict and the unplanned child. It becomes hard to say whether or not the paying of cash to these so called drug addicts is ethical though because no one can know for certain exactly where this money is going. The unethical claim seems to be based on an assumption, and in most cases it is not very smart to assume without backed up premises.

Wolf Man Jack said...

According to Judge (insert last name here) The best interests of the child apply only after birth. Fetuses, let alone sperm and eggs are not considered a child in the eyes of the law. So, kchristman, your point is invalid. There can be no best interest for a child that doesn't exist. In fact, perhaps this payment thing is just a preventative measure to stop the judge from interfeering once the child is born. If your child would be taken away from you at birth, you may as well not have a child, right?

And I am sorry for the above parenthetical. I forgot his name. (insert sad smily of your choice here)

Shayden said...

I agree that handing out money is not the appropriate solution, but not because I suspect that the money will be used to purchase more drugs. Personally, I think that if offered at all, this program should be offered to anyone seeking long term contraception or sterilization (we're over-populated any way and in the long run it'll probably spare many tears, economic/environmental loss, and broken hearts). It's a matter of fairness and equal opportunity. What about the children whose parents are alchoholics? Or mothers that have inadequate diets during pregnancy and cause harm to the child? Or parents infected with any disease that could potentially be passed on to the child? Even a parent's abusive personality could cause as much harm to a child as a drug addiction, depending on the severity of the situation. Shouldn't these people be offered money for contraception/sterilization too? If not, then I don't believe this practice is in good ethical standing.

From an emotional and moralistic standpoint, I can't agree with the program either. Like Wolf, I believe people should always be in control of their physical state of being and they should be allowed to do what they will with it so long as it doesn't have a negative impact on others. However, this also goes the other way. There shouldn't be an external incentive as superficial as money to do something to one's body when it's already in one's best interest.

N Dauth said...

I would have to say that I initially saw this as a very beneficial practice. Its purpose, to prevent birth defects, is ethically backed and the means to put forth these ethical practices is done with the consent of the drug addicted individual.

Then I thought about the situation of an “addicted” person. They probably spend a great source of their income on drugs and with their addiction is an inability to perform normally, possibly leading to unemployment. Losing their source of income and thus their way to obtain drugs, they are forced into a desperate situation where money is the only way out.

Their “consent” is no longer seen as voluntary, and instead is the only way to obtain something they physiologically need. I now see this organization’s ethical purpose obtained through an unethical practice. I see them taking advantage of the drug afflicted situation by indirectly offering them drugs.

Conclusively I feel that the aims of the organization have very ethical backings. But the way they go about obtaining this aim is something I don’t entirely agree with. It would be much better in my opinion to offer say a way to help them with their addiction.

brebitz said...

i agree with this group's idea, mostly because it is helpful to preventing overpopulation, rather than what they are actually trying to prevent. personally i would love to see the group extended to include the entire public so that children are truly thought about, and so is their impact