Yesterday The U.K. Independent posted a story about some changes to British law that occurred this year.
The headline of the story is, “While you celebrate the third royal baby, remember all of the women in Britain who aren’t allowed a third child.” First of all, the headline is totally misleading–there is no law prohibiting a third child.
The article reports:
In April this year the Government reformed child tax credits, introducing what is commonly referred to as the “rape clause”. From now on, a woman will be unable to claim tax credits for any child after her first two unless she can demonstrate conception occurred “as a result of a sexual act which [she] didn’t or couldn’t consent to” or “at a time when [she was] in an abusive relationship, under ongoing control or coercion by the other parent of the child”. To claim this exemption, she must complete an eight-page “rape assessment” form, countersigned by a third party professional to whom she must disclose her assault. Continuing to live with the father of her child will render her ineligible for support.
So what the law actually does is say that there will be no tax credits for the third child unless extraordinary circumstances are involved–not that a person cannot have a third child. One wonders if the tax credit is significant enough to make a difference. In America, we get a tax deduction for each child, but that deduction in no way even approaches the cost of feeding, clothing, and housing that child for a year.
There is another interesting aspect of this law. In recent years, Britain has taken in a large number of Muslim refugees and immigrants who tend to have large families. One wonders what impact this law will have on the Muslim population. Does the two-child rule apply to each wife or to every wife of a Muslim man? Is polygamy now legal in Britain since they now have Sharia courts? These are also questions that may apply to this law?
In 2015, The Guardian reported:
The Muslim population of England and Wales is growing faster than the overall population, with a higher proportion of children and a lower ratio of elderly people, according to an analysis of official data.
One in three Muslims is under 15, compared with fewer than one in five overall. There are also fewer elderly Muslims, with 4% aged over 65, compared with 16% of the overall population.
The Muslim Council of Britain’s (MCB) study of data from the 2011 census found that Muslims are still a small minority of the overall population – one in 20. This contrasts with popular perceptions held by Britons, who overstate the proportion of Muslims in the country by a factor of four, according to a recent survey by Ipsos Mori.
In September 2016, the U.K. Mail reported:
Mohammed is the most popular name for boys in England and Wales- but it doesn’t top the official list because there are so many different ways to spell it.
There were 7,361 children born last year called Mohammed, Muhammed, Mohammad or Mohamed, according to the Office for National Statistics, which would have made it the number one boys name if the variations were taken into account.
Demographics can change very quickly. I wonder if this law is an attempt to slow down that change.