Minister calls for free sterilisation for addicts

Denmark’s health minister has called for free sterilisation for female alcoholics and drug addicts to help prevent birth defects in children. Bertel Haarder is proposing that the DKK 13,000 (EUR 1,744) fee for surgical sterilisation should be waived for certain vulnerable groups.

Haarder claims that drug addicts and alcoholics run a significantly higher risk of giving birth to deformed babies, which would cost society more in the long run than the sterilisation fee. “We’re talking about relatively few women here, so I hope we can find the means to help them,” he said.

The charge for the procedure was only introduced earlier this year along with a fee for artificial insemination under the public health service.

Tover Neilsen, who runs the Reden drop-in centre in Odense for prostitutes and female addicts, said she is disggusted by the changes. She added that the decision to get sterilised is only taken by the most vulnerable women. “Our women simply do not have that option because they will never be able to afford it,” she added in a report by YLE.

Socialist People’s Party spokesperson, Ozlem Cekic, also said it is contradictory that costly abortions are free to addicts on the public health service but sterilisation is not.

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