Jun 26, 2012

Summer Break for Orexis Dianoētikē

I ought to have announced this two weeks back -- originally, I'd hoped to continue writing posts over my summer break -- but am finally doing so now:  I'm taking a 5 week break from writing for Orexis Dianoētikē and Virtue Ethics Digest.  I'll resume posting in mid-July.  For the time being, I'm traveling in New York and the Midwest, enjoying the company of my kids, wife, friends, and family.  I'm still teaching an online Ethics class, editing a few videos, answering questions on VYou, and catching up on reading I've put off far too long.

See you all later in July!

Jun 4, 2012

Ethics of Sterilization for Drug Addicts

An issue which ought by its very nature to provoke controversy of all sorts -- reproduction and childbirth by drug addicts -- has come to the fore again, centered around an organization, Project Prevention (PrPr, just so as not to confuse them with Planned Parenthood, often abbreviated as PP) whose main activity involves paying drug and alcohol addicts to get sterilized or to use long-term birth-control.  There's much more to be said about the purposes of the organization, as well as the moral issues involved, the deeper problems raised, and the ethical status not only of Project Prevention but also of their supporters and critics -- all of which I'll explore in some detail below. 

First, though, it's worth mentioning a few useful and specific sources -- given that this controversy has not often risen to the level of headline news or talking-heard-worthy burning issue of the hour.  New York Daily News, BBC News, and Time Health, among others have recent, well-balanced pieces about the organization, its mission, and its critics.  The Guardian ran a longer, somewhat more in-depth article nearly a year back, and Practical Ethics published a short blog post raising a few additional issues and proposing Britain's NHS do what PrPr does.  Africa Is a Country has an interesting though clearly anti-PrPr discussion of the expansion of the organization to Kenya, and its mission to include HIV. A Care2 piece also discusses Haiti and South Africa.  In 2006, the Committee on Women, Population, and the Environment levied a number of charges of being unethical against Children Requiring a Caring Kommunity (CRACK), the earlier version of PrPr.   Open Society Foundations held a panel discussion a little over a year ago, specifically on the ethics of Project Prevention, its aims, and its activities.  So, all that said, what should we think about this?