Serious drug addicts, psychiatric patients and people with severe mental handicaps could be made to use contraception to stop them abusing their children, the former head of the national safety council says in television show Zembla, which will be broadcast on Friday evening.
Every year, an estimated 50 children in the Netherlands die at the hands of abusive parents and this would be one way of reducing the total, Pieter van Vollenhoven tells the show.
At the moment, the most far-reaching step social workers can take is to place a serious addict in care once her pregnancy has reached 24 weeks. As soon as the baby is born, it can then be placed with foster parents.
Vital three months
However, given the first three months of pregnancy are vital for forming healthy organs, drink and drugs can have a serious effect on the unborn child. The government has a duty to protect these children, Van Vollenhoven is reported as saying.
While many people will think compulsory contraception goes too far, they are not aware of the reality, he said.
‘The problem was an eye-opener for me. It’s shocking,’ he is quoted by Nos television as saying. ‘You see that you need to help the parents because they are not in control of themselves. If you signal that, then perhaps you need to switch to contraception.’
Local health board chiefs on the show support this position, Nos says.
Van Vollenhoven’s last report as head of the safety council looked at 27 children who died or nearly died from neglect and abuse. The report concluded the government is not in a position to ensure the safety of children.
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