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Friday 19 December  
Call for compulsory contraception
Hilversum, Netherlands
Hilversum, Netherlands

Call for compulsory contraception

Published on : 13 April 2012 - 2:39pm | By Marco Hochgemuth (Photo: HamburgerJung)
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The Netherlands needs legal provisions to allow compulsory contraception for serious drug addicts, psychiatric patients and the mentally handicapped. That’s the controversial argument being made by Queen Beatrix’s brother-in-law Pieter van Vollenhoven, former head of the Dutch Safety Board.

The subject of compulsory contraception is taboo in the Netherlands. But Mr Van Vollenhoven believes that situations regularly occur in which such a far-reaching measure should nevertheless be possible. In an interview with current affairs TV programme Zembla he says:

“People will accuse me of going too far. But to be honest, that’s an easy thing to say if you do not know the facts. My eyes have been opened by seeing these problems. They came as a shock. You can see that these parents need help, since they’ve no control over their own lives. When it’s clear that’s the case, perhaps contraception would be the best step.”

Child abuse
His final investigation as head of the Dutch Safety Board focused on the cases of 27 children who were severely abused at a young age. Then the Board concluded that “the government is not sufficiently capable of delivering on its responsibility to ensure the safety of young children in the age group 0 to 12 within the home”. It is estimated that 50 children die each year as a result of abuse.

In his appeal for compulsory contraception, Mr Van Vollenhoven has the support of experts from the Netherlands’ Child Protection Agency and the mental healthcare sector. Erik Gerritsen, director of the Child Protection Agency in Amsterdam explains:

“In some cases, these parents have already demonstrated once or twice that they are not capable of looking after their children, with all the terrible consequences that this entails. If you keep on giving these parents another chance, you are basically condoning child abuse.”

Huge dilemma
Under existing Dutch law, it is possible to institutionalise a female addict 24 weeks into her pregnancy and take the baby directly into care after birth.

In her previous job as a juvenile court judge, Nanneke Quick-Schuyt, Socialist Party member of the Upper House, had several encounters with parents who should never have been allowed to have children:

“It’s definitely a huge dilemma, but these cases do exist. As a judge, you are faced with terrible cases. The worst are where children are neglected from birth because their parents’ addiction means they are incapable of feeding their children on time. The kids become malnourished and the consequences of that can be very serious indeed.”

Social debate
Nanneke Quick-Schuyt is indignant that there has never been a proper social debate on the subject of compulsory contraception for addicts, psychiatric patients and the mentally handicapped.

“There is a kind of taboo on these subjects. The argument is that everyone should be allowed to have a child. But there is no such thing as the right to have a child. A child has a right to good parents, but not the other way round. It’s a taboo that needs to be broken and there is a pressing need for people working in the care and welfare sector to raise this issue.”

Yet as a Socialist member of the Upper House, she also anticipates problems in drawing up a legal framework for compulsory contraception. Where should the line be drawn?

“That’s the problem when drafting legislation. You have to define categories and that simply doesn’t work in practice. I am not in a position to say who should be included and who should not. But family doctors and people working in the health and welfare sector who know that these people cannot take care of themselves are well able to see that they would also be incapable of taking care of a child.”

Compulsory contraception in the Netherlands
Back in 2009, the Dutch Labour Party made the case for compulsory contraception under special circumstances for mothers who have shown themselves to be incapable of looking after their child. But at the time the party was alone in this view.

The Christian Democrats and the Christian Union were vehemently opposed to the proposal, but so too were the Socialist Party and the right-wing liberal VVD. The liberals believed it would prove unfeasible on legal grounds.

Lawyer Geert-Jan Knoops argued that the proposal was in violation of international human rights: “A judge cannot force an individual to give up the possibility of becoming pregnant by making them take medicine.”




Anonymous 7 November 2014 - 12:33am / England

I wonder how many people who are against this actually see for themselves on a daily basis the damage severe neglect causes for a child. I doubt, due to their naivity, they have seen it at all. In my opinion it is barbaric to allow some people to have children, not barbaric to enforce contraception. We don't have to go as far as drug addicts to draw the line either. The welfare bill cannot be sustained when certain non-tax payers deliberately have children so they can claim benefits. This section of the population are reproducing 3 times as fast as tax payers. Do the maths. Do I want to go as far as compulsory contraception for these types? No .... but what is the answer then, because 20 years from now there will not be enough to keep them in their current relative comfort. And personally, I'd prefer my tax to go towards people genuinely need it, who are in difficult circumstances through no fault of their own.

andik4004 26 September 2014 - 9:38am / france

your page are going to manage to change governance Harga Baja wf murah
is just about all the additional quality

joesolo 15 May 2012 - 7:40pm

My opinion: everyone in your government and their families sign up for the program first.
I agree that not everybody is a 'fit parent', in principle. But who gets to make the judgment ? It's easy to say in hindsight 'yeah that person was a lousy parent', but to claim the authority to revoke 'reproduction privileges' is tyranny of the worst sort. if a government panel gets that kind of power, even with the best of intentions, nothing good can result.
That's why I would demand they first subject themselves to the treatment they are recommending for others-- at least then we would only have to deal with 1 generation of these sick-minded individuals and not their similarly-indoctrinated progeny

Anonymous 15 May 2012 - 4:41pm

There needs to be a new law to stop inbreeding , free-loading royals from reproducing. These leeches on society are the leftovers of a bygone age who have NO place in a free democratic society the sooner all there estates and jewels are nationalised the sooner the wordl will be a better place.

We are citizens NOT subjects !!!!!!!!!!!!!.

Anonymous 15 May 2012 - 5:40pm

Right on brother!

waitsmt 21 April 2012 - 8:30pm / norway

reproduction is not a right.

Anonymous 7 November 2014 - 12:36am / England

I couldn't agree more. Children have a basis right to love and parenting. Adults do not have a right to churn out babies and them emotionally and physically damage them. If anyone doens't agree, I hope your homes are brimming with damaged foster children. But I doubt they are.

Al Sharpton 15 May 2012 - 5:41pm


Anonymous 15 May 2012 - 4:33pm

Thats what Adolph Hitler said.

Winston Churchill 20 April 2012 - 8:37am / UK

These types of goofy proposals always start with such reasonable premises - who would argue that drug addicts make good parents. Before long, the definition of fit parents starts to expand to include 'others' deemed to be unworthy. A beaurocracy evolves to manage the whole thing - the beaurocracy continues to expand as publically funded organizations always do. An organization in search of a purpose - pretty soon the definition of who is fit to be a parent gets turned on its ear as the beaurocracy consumes more public resources in search of new 'unfit' parents. I'm surprised that no one sees the irony of a public welfare consumer such as a royal commenting on the unfitness of other people to be parents. Physician heal thyself.

Anonymous 20 April 2012 - 1:28am / New Mexico, USA

The Queen's brother-in-law is an honest and intelligent man. I wish we would consider his proposals here in the USA and especially in New Mexico where there are too many children suffering from child abuse because their parents are unfit to parent.

Anonymous 7 November 2014 - 12:41am

Agree. It's happening in Britain too. All we hear at the moment is 'immigration immigration' ... whereas the most serious problem is a sector of white British people with zero aspriations, other than reproducing at an alerming rate and fialing to contribute to society. They're usually the ones moaning about immigration too .... far more fascist than me any day of the week. It's time the tables were turned on them.

Anonymous 19 April 2012 - 10:00pm

What about sterilizing the 1% who think they need to control and own the whole planet. That is a real mental illness which is called being a psychopath which is a real psychiatric illness which cannot be cured.

Anonymous 20 April 2012 - 12:50pm

Hahahhahaha so true. [deleted] nazis all off em

Anonymous 16 April 2012 - 1:18pm

"'Eugenics' was first created in the US and then applied in Nazi Germany...and this is what this stench is: eugenics. There are many 'normal' people who should not have children either."

Exactly. And what is to stop the government once this is in place, to force contraception on ALL couples for a number of years. Hard cases make bad laws.

Vera Gottlieb 14 April 2012 - 4:42pm / Germany

'Eugenics' was first created in the US and then applied in Nazi Germany...and this is what this stench is: eugenics. There are many 'normal' people who should not have children either.

Schmancy Pants 15 April 2012 - 9:45pm

Much more than a very slippery slope indeed VG ... an informative link along these lines ==>

Anonymous 13 April 2012 - 3:38pm

"Lebensunwertes Leben"

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