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Step Right Up: Cash for Spiritual Suicide

“GET BIRTH CONTROL — GET CA$H. Don’t wait, make the call now,” scream the flyers. An organization calling itself C.R.A.C.K., which operates in 15 U.S. cities, is offering $200 cash to drug or alcohol addicts who undergo sterilization or long-term birth-control procedures. C.R.A.C.K. was founded in 1994 by Barbara Harris after her attempt to lobby legislators to pass a bill that would crack down on addicts who bear numerous children was unsuccessful. But where coercion failed, persuasion triumphed as Harris began offering cash “incentives” to motivate those addicts (whose reproductive capacities she would otherwise frustrate by force of law) to make what she calls “the right choice” — not conceive.

Combining favorable exposure in the national media with the support of a few high-profile public figures such as Dr. Laura Schlessinger (is Dr. Laura going soft?), C.R.A.C.K. has met with early success in its efforts to weed out what it obviously considers undesirable elements from society. According to its Web site, C.R.A.C.K. has, as of this writing, successfully administered long-term or permanent birth control to more than 254 women (of whom 124 have chosen tubal ligation, 74 DepoProvera, 32 Norplant, and 24 IUD) and two men nationally.

C.R.A.C.K. stands for Children Requiring a Caring Kommunity. Indeed, cloaking questionable motives with pompous claims of koncern for children is all the rage these days. One need only recall heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson’s karing excuse for biting off part of his opponent Evander Holyfield’s ear during a title bout. That he had “children to protect,” we’re supposed to believe, drove Tyson to cannibalism. But do his kids really feel safer now?

And with C.R.A.C.K. we have another example of barbaric reaction bearing the facade of good intention: Let’s make the world safe for children by not bringing them into the world. But are those children (or the world, for that matter) better off not existing?

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