Women in the Netherlands who are unable to properly care for their children should be forcibly injected with contraceptives or given a contraceptive implant. This is the opinion of the ‘Standing Committee on Compulsory Contraception’ lead by former juvenile judge Cees de Groot.
The group of experts has sent a petition to the Lower House for consideration. They argue that women who struggle with addiction, are infected with Hepatitis B and C or HIV, have a psychiatric illness, an intellectual disability, or proven child abuse or killing should be subject to forced contraception, reports AD.
The measure is controversial since every human being has the fundamental right to procreate. But De Groot says that the interests of the child should come first.
“For example, if a baby is born addicted, then the child has to overcome that,” De Groot tells RTL Nieuws.
He further explains that a woman who falls within one of the categories is not automatically going to be forcibly injected. Rather, it will be up to a judge to decide the outcome of each individual case. Should a judge decide that forced contraception is necessary, this would theoretically only be temporarily imposed until the situation improves.
De Groot illustrates his argument with the example of a prostitute with a psychiatric disorder who wants to conceive because her clients prefer pregnant women. Another expert, René Hoksbergen, uses the example of a family with many generations in the disabled institution, yet continue to have children.
The group argues that there are hundreds more examples of women in vulnerable positions across the country, but that exact figures cannot be compiled due to privacy reasons.
They also argue that laws already exist that forbid procreation in certain instances. Siblings cannot marry, for example, as this could result in disabled children, and having sex with children is also forbidden.
A national project called Now Not Pregnant is currently in place, whereby social workers discuss contraception with vulnerable women. De Groot explained that the pilot project has revealed that not all of these women are willing or able to take contraception.
“You can see that about 70% of the people who are spoken to voluntarily use contraception, but 30% do not. Those are the problem cases,” he says. It is this group that De Groot believes should qualify for forced contraception.
Hoksbergen emphasised our social responsibility for the children. “If women are clearly 100% unfit to raise a child, and there is even a chance that the child will be born damaged, then you should not do this to a child.”
But Carlo Leget, ethicist and chair of the advisory board of the Now Not Pregnant project, disagrees with De Groot. “It is true that people have already opted for contraception in 70% of the cases, but the other 30% are still thinking about whether they are still having discussions.”
He went on to say, “I understand very well that people say: we want to prevent suffering. We try that too. But I am shocked by such a proposal. With such a law you cross a lot of borders. I think that is really a step too far.”
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