A Penny for Your… Ovaries?

  Thanks to an expanding sterilization program, drug- addicted women who are short on cash might be in business, literally. That's right, for women with a history of drug addiction and a willingness to be sterilized, $200 is there for the taking. Ostensibly, the program seeks to stem the tide of abortions and drug-exposed newborns. But it brings to mind image of Nazi doctors in laboratories—and of eugenics. It also shows what happens when social planners use expedient secular means to try to solve spiritual problems. In this case, they've put a price-tag on fertility and deprived these women of their human dignity. The campaign is called Children Requiring a Caring Kommunity, spelled with a "K" so that the acronym is, ominously, CRACK. But CRACK isn't about children or community at all. By funding sterilization and permanent birth-control, CRACK claims to "offer effective preventative measures to reduce the tragedy of numerous drug-affected pregnancies." Barbara Harris founded CRACK after adopting four drug-exposed children and seeing the effects of women's drug-addictions first hand. She decided the problem demanded a creative, market-driven solution. So, in thirteen cities around the country—and soon to be even more—CRACK advertisements announce: "Get Sterilized. Get $200." Well, this is the wrong solution, though the problem is very real. Time magazine estimates nearly 500,000 drug-exposed children are born in America every year. And they're born to a world of neglect rather than nurture. Many are afflicted with brain damage, fetal alcohol syndrome—even HIV. "So," sterilization advocates seem to be saying, "since these would-be mothers can't act responsibly, let's spare them the burden of being responsible for their actions. Problem solved." But of course the problem is not solved: It is ignored. And the real problem isn't pregnancy—it's that the women abuse themselves and their children with drugs. CRACK's cash-driven, quick-fix strategy ignores the real needs of these women. Offering a desperate, drug-addicted woman $200 for her fertility is manipulative and degrading. It's not a matter of "choice"—women enslaved by drugs can't possibly recognize what they are sacrificing. What this really illustrates is the bankruptcy of a secular worldview. It can't deal with a moral problem, so it employs a dehumanizing, expedient solution. Compare this with a Christian worldview, which puts a high premium on human life and dignity. And look at how Christians go about solving this kind of problem. They go into the prisons, as I see every day in Prison Fellowship. Or they reach out to pregnant drug addicts. And crisis pregnancy centers get to the heart of the problem: caring for these women as human beings and meeting their spiritual needs. In twenty-five years of ministry, I've seen countless drug addicts marvelously transformed. This is a wonderful comparison to draw for your secular neighbors. CRACK may sound like a good solution, but only if we see people as less than fully human. The Christian worldview, on the other hand, provides real healing, and sees people, no matter how unfortunate their circumstances, as worth more than $200. Infinitely more.


Chuck Colson



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