Criminalize having children with birth defects

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Richard Chu
Richard Chu signed this petition

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.