German ethics committee says incest a 'fundamental right' and must be legalised
A government-backed German Ethics Council hopes to coerce lawmakers to scrap anti-incest laws, claiming brothers and sisters have a “fundamental right” to marry and have children.
“Criminal law is not the appropriate means to preserve a social taboo,” the German Ethics Council said in a statement. “The fundamental right of adult siblings to sexual self-determination is to be weighed more heavily than the abstract idea of protection of the family.”
The National Ethics Council claim that there isn’t enough evidence, to prove that the offspring of incestual relationships have an increased risk of disability, to warrant the law.
Reports indicate that the decision was made after the council reviewed the case of Patrick Stuebing, a man who met his half-sister for the first time when he was 24 and she was 16, after having been put up for adoption at a young age.
Patrick and his sister Susan Karolewski have four children together.
Patrick Stuebing and Susan Karolewski keep it in the family
Patrick was jailed in 2008 for three years and three of the couple’s four children were taken from them.
Two of the children are disabled, although it hasn’t been definitely proven that it is a result of their parents being brother and sister.
The German Ethics Council has shockingly recommended that Section 173 of the German criminal code, the law making incest illegal, should be repealed.
Christiane Woopen, the council’s chairmen was one of the 14 members who voted in favour of repealing the law.
Nine voted against and two abstained.
“The majority of the German Ethics Council is of the opinion that it is not appropriate for a criminal law to preserve a social taboo,” the council said.
“In the case of consensual incest among adult siblings, neither the fear of negative consequences for the family, nor the possibility of the birth of children from such incestuous relationships can justify a criminal prohibition.
“The fundamental right of adult siblings to sexual self-determination has more weight in such cases than the abstract protection of the family.
“Incest between siblings appears to be very rare in Western societies according to the available data but those affected describe how difficult their situation is in light of the threat of punishment.”
The Ethics Council’s recommendation only covered brothers and sisters having sex, not parents and their kids.
Incest remains illegal in Ireland, Britain and most European countries, although France abolished its incest laws under Napoleon I and there has been growing debate over the taboo in Germany.
Around two to four per cent of Germans have had “incestuous experiences”, according to an estimate by the Max Planck Institute.
But a spokeswoman for Angela Merkel’s ruling Christian Democrats indicated the government was unlikely to adopt the Ethics Council’s recommendations.