ZOMG, an article supporting the notion that “unfit mothers” should be forced to take birth control until they magically get fit – from The Sunday Times:
Dutch socialist politician, Marjo Van Dijken of the PvDA party (the social democratic Labour party), is putting a draft bill before the Dutch parliament recommending that unfit mothers should be forced by law into two years of contraception. Any babies wilfully conceived in that period should be confiscated at birth. Unfit mothers would mean those who have already been in serious trouble because of their bad parenting.
Dijken’s idea is to try to prevent a new pregnancy in a family whose existing children are already in care until the situation has improved enough for them to be able to come back home. Two years might be a suitable period. If, after the suggested two years of compulsory contraception, the family is still not safe for children, the contraception order could be extended by a judge’s review. “If there’s a better way, a less invasive way, I will never mention my proposals again,” she says.
If hers is not the answer to the problem, the question remains: what should be done about unfit parents? Children are increasingly being damaged by them. At the extremes, chaotic mothers who are prostitutes or addicts or mentally ill or just what my own mother called inadequate are condemning their children to the same miserable and disordered lives. Man hands on misery to man, as Philip Larkin wrote, and so does woman.
Less extremely, many children are also being damaged by parents who are not so obviously unfit, but still bad enough to do serious harm. On Friday questions by Michael Gove, the shadow education secretary, revealed that more than 4,000 children aged five or under were suspended from school in Britain because of their troubled and violent behaviour. Of the 400 suspensions of children aged just two and three, 310 involved physical assault and threatening behaviour. Numbers of exclusion in all groups under 11 are increasing, mostly because of uncontrolled or violent behaviour.
It seems to me unfair to deny people any children at all. But it might be right to reduce the number to two. That would be fairer to taxpayers than expecting them to support families larger than their own and it might persuade genuinely unfit mothers that it is not in their interests to keep producing babies; they will be better off without.
It is time that, like Van Dijken, we started asking these extreme questions.
Hey cool. Start with forced birth control and work your way up to forced sterilization of the poor and racialized. Maybe we can eliminate those poor black people altogether. It’s also convenient to blame the women (mothers) for parental “unfitness”. Fathers are so terrific, after all. Hells bells!
To be absolutely fair, the Dutch measure is directed toward families where there are children already in the care of the state and the birth restriction would be lifted when the “family” – mother? – was allowed to have already living children back hom. I still can’t think that the state should be allowed to force a citizen to take health measures against their will. But Minette Marrin takes the idea even farther – two children per family? And which families would that be, pray tell?