Monday, May 3, 2010

Forced Sterilization?

While my husband and I were on our trip recently, our host had the television tuned to a national news program. I don't remember which one. What I do remember was the topic: forced sterilization of drug addicts.

The advocate was someone who had adopted two or three kids of drug addicts. She felt right in her position because she had given these kids loving homes. Those who were critical, she said, had not done the same. She seemed to suggest that unless people had done so, they were in no position to criticize.

I'm not sure what to say about this, other than to note it here. On the one hand, it's true that addicts sometimes have lots of kids who end up in the foster care system. It does seem terribly unfair to these innocent kids.

But who am I to decide? I am not God.

I am grateful for those loving people who can give special needs kids a loving home. A very close friend adopted three special needs kids. A man in my Al-Anon home group adopted two. In both cases, there were drugs and alcohol involved. These aren't easy kids to raise. They need a lot of love to have a fighting chance. It takes a special kind of person.

I read a memoir about a girl who grew up in the foster care system. The title is "Three Little Words." It broke my heart.

Here's where my writerly instincts tell me I'm supposed to say something wise. Present a solution. Suggest some nugget of Al-Anon wisdom. But when I search my toolbox, I find I can offer nothing but prayers.


  1. This is a tough one, that's for sure. I wasn't put in foster homes till I was twelve but it would have been a blessing if it had been much earlier. I do agree with the woman's statement that we cannot judge unless we have lived what she has, and even then each case is different.

  2. Taking care of those who need it and imposing our will on them are two very different things. Why not sterilization of diabetics or of those who don't think like us!

  3. I can see how controversial this is - I don't think forced sterilization is the right thing to do but maybe forced birth an injection that will last for a year or something....I don't know its just sad no matter how you look at it.

    I need your email address. Can you email me with it at so I can add you to my blog list. Thanks!

  4. My daughter asked for an IUD. They told her she was too young until she told the nurse that she just got out of rehab. She also listed her 6 psychiatric meds.

    The nurse practioner decided to give her the IUD. So far so good on that score!

  5. Force Sterilization sounds barbaric.. instead why not focus on a more loving society from birth and on... to prevent these things in a humane way?

    From the blogs and people I met in the real world; there is not enough FREE drug rehabilitation.. or enough long long long term ones to help drug addicts... (hugs)

  6. I am glad that there are people in the world who help those children in need of special care. Those who help and those who need helping are very special indeed.

  7. So, she would rather have had that addict sterilized and not have her adopted children?

    I don't get it.

    I think everyone on earth is here for a reason, one that only God knows.


  8. When words fail us, prayer is the answer. In fact, prayer is the answer no matter what.

  9. I spent the best part of my career working and fighting for the rights and integration of people with profound developmental disabilities. Many of my elderly female clients had been sterilized. These were often the same women who had been locked away in basements and suffered all kinds of abuse.

    I know it's not the same situation, but I feel that anytime we allow ourselves to view a person as less than human, we are in danger of unleashing all of the cruelty that we are sadly capable of.