No Brotherly Love in Deutschland

by Christina Geyer on March 2, 2007 · 12 comments

On CNN International this evening, there was a report about a German brother and sister who, after growing up apart with no knowledge of each other (the brother grew up in a foster home), met as young adults and fell in love (they did know they were siblings when they met). They have four children and because sex between siblings is illegal in Germany, the brother, Patrick, spent 25 months in prison. Three of the children have been taken from them, two were reported to be disabled, but the cause of the disabilities was not reported. (read the CNN report in English, or the SpiegelOnline report in German).

I’m not sure what to think about this, but I guess as long as it’s two consenting adults, what business is it of anyone else. And sure they have an increased risk of having disabled children, but so do a lot of other people (Rainer specifically cited hemophiliacs as an example). If I were in such a situation (ugh, trying not to think about it – blah!), I certainly would not procreate, but I’m not going to try and stop people with diabetes or other inheritable problems from procreating, so what business is it of ours if these two want to raise a family.

I’m pretty sure the German government will end up repealing this law. Sex between siblings is apparently legal in most of the EU, so I can’t imagine it staying on the books much longer here. Actually, I’m pretty surprised that the guy was charged and sent to jail.

Also, the CNN newscasters discussed how big a news story this is here in Germany, but the CNN broadcast this evening was the first that either Rainer or I heard about it, and I’ve been making a concerted effort to watch the German news most every day (a New Years Resolution of mine). I’m sure the story is out there, but I don’t think it’s been huge or anything – certainly no “Anna Nicole’s Body”-type story. Any thoughts?

For more info, see the Wikipedia articles on: genetic disorder, incest (especially “Genetics” section), and royal intermarriage

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