AMSTERDAM—Alderman Marianne van den Anker for the Leefbaar Rotterdam (LR) party has called for a debate in Rotterdam on compulsory abortion and contraception for mothers she believes are responsible for raising unloved babies that fall victim to child abuse.
SWA, a foundation promoting health among Antilleans and Arubans in Rotterdam, said the alderman’s comments were degrading. It called on the Mayor Ivo Opstelten and the LR’s coalition partners, the Christian Democrat (CDA) and Liberal (VVD) parties, to distance themselves from Van den Anker’s views. She has also received dozens of emails criticising her ideas.
As legal experts pointed out, Van den Anker’s plan would never be permitted, a CDA spokesperson warned: “If Leefbaar Rotterdam raises this idea in the talks to form a new coalition, the CDA will not be part of such an executive.”
The VVD said women had a right to control their own bodies and the government could not interfere.
Van den Anker is a mother of two children and the official in charge of Rotterdam’s health and security portfolios. She is also a candidate in the local elections.
In an interview in newspaper ‘NRC Handelsblad’ on Saturday, she said she had tried everything to prevent child abuse. “I fail, I fail,” she told the interviewer as she outlined her controversial idea for a debate on compulsory abortion and contraception.
The three target groups she has in mind are Antillean teenage mothers; drug addicts and people with mental handicaps.
Van den Anker said children from these groups run an “unacceptable risk” of growing up without love and with “violence, neglect, mistreatment and sexual abuse.”
“The exceptions, are there are some, can be counted on a pair of hands,” she said.
The politician told the newspaper the courts would decide on whether abortion was the right option. The decision would be based on experts and care workers who “who can see in 95 percent or even 100 percent of cases whether the child has a chance of growing up with love”.
Van den Anker supported her argument by suggesting that there were a lot of Antillean youth gangs in Rotterdam whose members come from loveless homes. The gangs, she said, committed rapes, were loverboys (pimps) and guilty of street terror.
“Antillean youths who commit serious crimes have been through everything themselves. History repeats itself and they visit the tragedy of their life history on others,” she said.