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German Ethics Council: Decriminalize incest

German Ethics Council calls on politicians to overturn anti-incest laws, saying "adult siblings" have the right "to sexual self-determination."
By Ben Hooper Contact the Author   |   Sept. 24, 2014 at 12:13 PM

BERLIN, Sept. 24 (UPI) -- The German Ethics Council, a government advisory body, is recommending the country decriminalize incestuous relationships between siblings.

The council, which is comprised of 26 members including scientists, theologians, doctors and lawyers, announced Wednesday it is recommending Germany reconsider its anti-incest laws.

"According to all available data, sibling incest appears to be very rare in Western societies," the board's statement read.

"But affected people have described how difficult their situation is," the members wrote. "They feel that their basic rights are not respected and forced into secrecy or denial of their love."

"The right of adult siblings to sexual self-determination weighs heavier in these cases than the abstract good of the family," the council said.

The recommendation only covers incest between siblings; sex between parents and their children would remain illegal.

A dissenting statement from nine of the council's members said the anti-incest laws are needed as they "protected the integrity and incompatibility of different familial roles, as an important precondition of healthy personality development."

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