Rotterdam City Council wants to administer compulsory contraception for “vulnerable women”, saying that birth control is a form of “child protection”.
Counsellor Hugo De Jonge, an alderman responsible for youth welfare in Rotterdam, said that compulsory contraception will prevent children being born to women who are manifestly unfit for parenting.
"[the proposal] concerns children who are born into families where it turns everybody’s stomach to think that they’re having a child. Our primary concern used to be the interests of the parents, but now we pay more attention to the interests of the child. Not being born is a form of child protection too."State Secretary for Health Martin Van Rijn said his ministry is studying whether federal laws should be amended to allow for the provision of involuntary contraceptives. The ministry currently has no position on the issue, though a number of high profile Dutch politicians have in recent years mooted the idea of compulsory birth control.
In a provocative blog post, Dutch journalist Tim S. Jongers labelled the idea a form of “reverse democracy”, arguing that it allowed politicians to “choose voters”, rather than voters electing politicians.
British actress Sally Phillips has made a magnificent documentary about Down Syndrome for the BBC. (You can watch it here on a dodgy YouTube link.) Her own son Ollie has Down Syndrome and Ms Phillips is convinced that Ollie has been a jolly good thing for her and her family. It grieves her to see that most mothers treat a diagnosis of Down Syndrome as a catastrophe. In the UK about 90% of women abort their Down Syndrome child after screening; in Iceland 100% of mothers do. That's 100%.
Ms Phillips tells the camera, as she chokes back tears, “The type of characteristics that these people share are so benign. It’s like when the Western explorers encountered the dodo. This nice, curious bird comes up and gets … wiped out. Through not being suspicious enough. Or violent enough.” This makes her concerned about what the Brits call NIPT (non-invasive pre-natal testing) which is being rolled out across the country.
The documentary is unashamedly emotional. That’s the way it should be. Thank God somebody has the courage to feel emotional about Down Syndrome people. I started to get angry when I read a scathing review in the New Statesman dismissing the doco as “profoundly anti-choice”. But there’s no point in being angry with someone whose attachment to an ideology blinds them to the splendour of being human.
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