Women who have problems with addiction, mental health or learning difficulties should be given compulsory contraception, a group of child protection experts has said.
The advisory group, whose members include a former family judge and ex-VVD party senator Heleen Dupuis, said the measure was intended to prevent child abuse by mothers who were unable to cope with raising them.
It said ‘hundreds’ of vulnerable women could be made to take a contraceptive injection or implant under the plan, though exact figures were not available because of privacy rules.
Under the plan, prosecutors and child protection officials would be able to apply to a court for a contraception order if a woman had a psychiatric illness, a diagnosed learning difficulty, a Hepatitis B or C infection, or had a history of child abuse. In theory the order would be for a temporary period until the problem was alleviated.
Cees de Groot, former family judge and previously vice-president of the district court of Rotterdam, gave the example of someone working in prostitution with a psychiatric disorder who wanted to have a baby because her clients paid more for a pregnant woman.
He told AD.nl around 70 % of women who fell into the applicable category already co-operated with voluntary contraception regimes, but the other 30 % were a cause for concern. ‘In practical terms child protection has to become involved,’ he said.
Dupuis, who has previously chaired the Netherlands Association for Disability Care (VGN), said preventing women who wanted to have children but were unable to raise them was an ethical choice. ‘It’s choosing the lesser of two evils,’ she said.
Health minister Hugo de Jonge proposed a similar scheme in 2016, when he was alderman for health care in Rotterdam.
‘This is a very complex and sensitive subject,’ he said at the time. ‘The situations in which some children come into the world are downright harrowing. That’s why I support the prevention of vulnerable parenthood.’
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