‘Not being born is a form of child protection too.’ So said De Jong, alderman responsible for youth welfare. The Rotterdam city council has started a voluntary contraception programme for 160 women who could not raise a child by their own because of learning difficulties, psychological problems or addiction. Should the government have a say in which families can have babies and which aren’t capable of raising a child?

Nanneke Quick-Schuyt, a former juvenile court judge, 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.”Pilule_contraceptive-560x345

Some people argue that the proposal is a violation of the international human rights; a judge cannot force a woman to not get pregnant. She has the right to have as many children as she wishes.

On the other hand the government is not sufficiently capable to ensure the safety of young children within the home. Child abuse still occurs a lot in the Netherlands, also in these days. By making sure a child isn’t born in a family from which you already know they are never capable of raising a child, you are protecting the child too. Whenever that does happen children are often placed in foster care. Some in group homes, others in institutes. That’s not what a child needs.

I think that there should be a law for compulsory contraception for women who are incapable of raising a child. Maybe the law should say those women have two chances to show they are capable but after two times they’ve had their chance. I think you really should think about the child more than the mother if she has mental problems, addictions or has learning difficulties. The child will eventually end up with the problems and they couldn’t have done anything about it.

Charlotte Jansen, A4d