A northern Indian state has reversed a child-restriction law that barred people with more than two children from running for political office or serving as politicians.
Haryana state authorities have admitted that the 2-child limit has had “disastrous” social consequences, with couples aborting third pregnancies, giving children up for adoption, or failing to register a child’s birth, Catholic World News reported yesterday.
State ministers had been exerting pressure on the government to make the change. An effort to overturn the ban in 2004 failed when the Supreme Court upheld an earlier ruling in favor of the law. The court said it was “in the national interest” to limit population growth, which it said “posed a menace to be checked,” the Tribune reported at the time.
Bishop Percival Fernandez, secretary-general of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India, spoke out against the court’s decision, saying, “I am amazed and shocked to learn that our honorable Supreme Court holds that ‘it is in the national interest to check the alarming growth of India’s population through legislative disincentives.”
“If this is true, then we have to redefine individual freedom and fundamental rights. Would it then be wrong to introduce legislation that children born to parents who already have two children have no right to live? This, too, would be in line with the ‘national interest to check population growth.’”
Studies conducted by the government showed the ban, introduced 12 years ago, caused “adverse effects” on women, particularly in poor areas, said chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, who announced the change last Friday.
Changes to the policy were triggered in part by the highly-publicized action of an elected official who disowned his wife and third child to avoid losing his position, according to CWN.
Haryana was one of at least six Indian states that brought in the two-child limit in an attempt to control population growth in the country. Other efforts have included offering cash or property incentives to government employees who agree to sterilize themselves after one or two children.
Two other states, the central state of Chattisgarh and neighbouring Madhya Pradesh, have already dropped the controversial policy, after criticism by federal government leaders for the use of coercion or quotas to slow population growth.
(This article courtesy of LifeSiteNews.com.)