German Ethics Council: Incest Is a Right

Laws banning sexual relations between siblings may get the boot if the German Ethics Committee has its way. “Criminal law is not the appropriate means to preserve a social taboo,” the advisory committee said in a statement released Wednesday. “The fundamental right of adult siblings to sexual self-determination is to be weighed more heavily than the abstract idea of protection of the family.” The Committee’s declaration follows a case famous in Germany about a sister and brother who had four children together. They didn’t meet until the sister was 16 and the brother was an adult. They were forced to live separately and the brother served three years in prison for incest. A spokeswoman for Angela Merkel’s ruling Christian Democrats said the government was unlikely to adopt the recommendation. According to the Max Planck Institute, 2 to 4 percent of Germans have had “incestuous relations.”