Criminalize having children with birth defects
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Law reform is needed to make it a criminal offense for parents to create a child with a birth defect and the punishments should be for offenders to be subject to fines, sentenced to education genetic counseling, community service (caring for a children with physical and/or mental defects) and possibly jail time for repeat offences.
At present, the average world-wide the rate of children being born with birth defects is about 6% of live births. In Australia the rate is about 3%, Modern science and technology has made it possible for early detection and prevention in many cases. However the medical costs fall largely on the public purse, as well as an increasing share of the extra costs associated with caring and bringing up such children, who obviously need special attention.
At present there is no rational system of deterrents set up to prevent such births occurring, and while some are unavoidable, many appear due to careless attitudes to sexual relationships. There is no law requiring prospective parents to have blood or DNA tests to ensure one or both partners don't carry potentially fetus-harming diseases, incompatible blood types, or damaged or unusual or poorly matched recessive genes.
At present the only people who risk a criminal prosecution if they have a child born with physical or mental defects are those who are detected to have been in an incestuous relationship, even if it was adult and consensual. The number if cases of pregnancies from people in ACI ( Adult consensual incest) relationships are very small, possibly less than one tenth of one per cent of all birth defect cases. This means that possibly as many as 99.9% of cases do not involve ACI couples.
To make the situation more equitable under our current neo-liberalist ideology, . those 99.9% of cases should also be subject to criminal prosecution, since they make up 99.9% of the cost of birth defect cases,and thus the heaviest burden on the public taxation system.
The argument for making ACI illegal most often used is that ACI parents have a higher than 'normal' (i.e. 3%) chance of having a child with a birth defect. However, the reality is that many more people have a higher than 3% chance of having a child with a birth defect...i.e. women over 35 years, women married to older men, women who take drugs, drink alcohol or smoke during pregnancy, couples exposed to radiation and toxic chemicals, and everyone exposed to a heavy dose of pseudo estrogens in plastics, PCBs etc. (Women exposed to PCBs before or during pregnancy can give birth to children with significant neurological and motor control problems, including lowered IQ and poor short-term memory.).
There is no reason for this level of 3% of children with birth defects to be arbitrarily considered as 'acceptable.' The average rate of birth defects in Scotland has been lowered to about 2%.
Paradoxically , in approximately 40 countries where ACI is not a crime, the birth defect rate is often respectably low. France's experiment in legalizing ACI in 1810, has not caused a huge increase in birth defects, and their rate is approximately the same as ours, if not lower. (Recently France had the lowest birth defect rate in the world!)
'A child born with a birth defect is at the very bottom of the social welfare scale. A life time of handicap, poverty and third class citizenship lies ahead.'
It is ridiculous that children of ACI parents, healthy or not could be legally and forcibly removed from their birth parents and placed in state care while their parents are treated as criminals.
All parents of children with birth defects must be punished by law by having to care for their sick children, and given a disincentive not to produce more. ACI couples should be subject to the same punishment as the 99.9% ought to be and not more. They are equally guilty, and the punishment should be in proportion to the harm done. It should be a criminal offense to arrest detain, imprison and torture (with separation from loved ones), ACI couples, who have not produced children with birth defects. If ACI parents have had children with birth defects, let them be subject to the same punishments that other parents get for producing sick children.
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