Call for forced contraception for abusive parents
24 November 2005
BRUSSELS — A Liberal VLD Senator has called for parents who abuse their children to be given forced contraception to prevent them from having any more offspring.
“Enforced contraception is in some cases desirable,” Patrik Vankrunkelsven said.
The comments were sparked by the death of baby Xena, whose parents are on trial in Antwerp Court for beating and torturing the seven-month-old girl.
The court was told on Tuesday the baby’s injuries were akin to being thrown out of car window travelling at 70kmh. She died of severe head injuries.
Xena was found dead in her bed by an attending doctor on 5 December 2002. Her parents, David B., 30, and Cindy C., 28, stand accused or manslaughter, torture and physical abuse.
The case is raising serious questions, due partly to revelations the drug abuse of Xena’s parents was known to social services for some time, newspaper ‘Het Nieuwsblad’ reported on Thursday.
Nurses with the Flemish family services unit Kind&Gezin visited the family 10 times, but were refused entry to the home. However, little or no action was taken.
Social services had on one occasion taken Xena’s sister away from her parents, but the question that is being posed now is: why Xena was left to her fate?
“If we, as juvenile court judges, get a case where there is a hint of abuse is, we normally don’t take any risk,” judge Heleen Martens said.
“Even if the investigation is not completed, we still often decide to remove the child. However, we sometimes have to let the children return home to a drunken father or a mother who snorts cocaine simply because there are not enough foster homes.”
There are some 7,000 children in Belgium living in institutes and foster families. In 20 percent of these cases, the children have committed crimes forcing them to be sent to an institute, but 80 percent come from a problem family.
VLD Senator Vankrunkelsven said a debate should be waged in Belgium over people who want to have children, but are heavily addicted to drugs or abuse their children.
“We must not shut our eyes to abuse. I think it is better that some people don’t have children. Sterilisation is not an option, that is mutilation,” he said.
“However, there are other possibilities, such as a contraceptive injection or IUD. Judges must be able to impose that.”
However, the Flemish Christian Democrat CD&V is opposed to the proposal, stressing that everyone has the right to fertility.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Belgian news