Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

Observations Ethics Man

What to tell junior doctors about ethics

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: (Published 12 May 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c2489

Rapid Response:

The payment of drug addicts to enforce sterilization

This article should prompt a discussion of a very topical issue.

Last month a US-based charity “Project Prevention” arrived in the UK.
charity aims to prevent babies being born into drug-dependent families by
offering drug addicts a financial incentive of $300 to take up long-term
contraception or to undergo sterilisation.

In my paper published in 2004, I argue that cash incentives
offered to drug
addicts in return for sterilisation are both legally and morally
unacceptable. Such
incentives act coercively, undermines one’s freedom and autonomy and
importantly invalidates real consent. This has important implications for
clinicians involved in such a scheme.

Morgan M. The payment of drug addicts to increase their sterilisation
rate is
morally unjustified and not simply ‘A Fine Balance’. J Obstet Gynaecol.

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

14 May 2010
MP Morgan
ST4 Anaesthesia