The youth wing of the Swedish Liberal People’s Party argued for the decriminalization of incest and necrophilia at their recent annual meeting in Stockholm. The group’s president Cecilia Johnsson spoke to the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet about their motion, claiming, “We are a youth wing and one of our tasks is to think one step further.”
The group argued that sexual intercourse between siblings over the age of consent (15 in Sweden) should not be illegal based solely on feelings of disgust or immorality. Johnsson said:
“I understand that [necrophilia and incest] can be considered unusual and disgusting, but the law can not assume that it’s disgusting. We don’t like morality laws in general, and this legislation is not protecting anyone right now.”
While presenting their argument for necrophilia, the group highlighted the fact that people can legally determine what happens to their bodies after their death:
“You should get to decide what happens to your body after you die, and if it happens to be that one wants to bequeath (i.e. legally give possession of) his body to the museum or research, or if you want to bequeath to someone to sleep with it then it should be part okay.”
The spokesperson for the Liberal People’s Party Adam Alfredsson said that these proposals do not reflect those of the mother party. “We reject Liberal Youth’s proposal in Stockholm. There should be no change in the law.”
This is not the first time that issues with “morality laws against incest” have been raised in Europe. In 2014, the German Ethics Council argued:
“In the case of consensual incest among adult siblings, neither the fear of negative consequences for the family, nor the possibility of the birth of children from such incestuous relationships can justify a criminal prohibition. The majority of the German Ethics Council is of the opinion that it is not appropriate for a criminal law to preserve a social taboo.”
This call to amend the law stems from the case of Patrick Stuebing, a young man that grew up in foster care and met his biological sister later in life. The couple produced four children: three of them are disabled but it is unclear if the disabilities resulted from the incestuous intercourse. A spokeswoman for Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel and her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party dismissed the possibility of removing the law and its punishment at the time. She said, “Eliminating the threat of punishment against incestuous acts within families would run counter to the protection of undisturbed development for children.”
While most would dismiss incest and necrophilia solely on ick factor, case studies show that the offspring of incestuous relationships often pay the price health-wise. A study by the Czechoslovakian Academy of Sciences showed that less than half of the children born to incestuous couples were born completely healthy: 42 percent were born with severe mental defects or died shortly after birth and another 11 percent showed signs of mild mental retardation. When the same group of women were impregnated by non-familial partners only 7 percent of the offspring were born with birth defects.
As for necrophilia, one could argue that a corpse is not a person and thus does not require consent. Except the bodies of deceased people often belong to next of kin, making sex with a dead person somewhat like schtupping someone else’s property. Even if there is no next of kin, organ donation programs require dead people to consent to bodily intrusion before they die, making any argument in favor of necrophilia in conflict with the idea of consensual sex. However, if the youth wing of the Swedish Liberal People’s Party is suggesting we start asking people to consent to post-mortem sexual activity before they die, that’s another issue entirely, though one few people will likely get behind.