A TEACHING union has condemned the two-child cap for tax credits and the so-called rape clause, with its president-elect saying the policy “borders on eugenics”.

The UK Government policy limits families to claiming tax credits for their first two children. One of its exemptions is the “rape clause”, which requires women to prove their third child was conceived through rape or during an abusive relationship to qualify for the benefit.

Now the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) national council has approved a motion from president-elect Nicola Fisher calling for support for the campaign against the cap on the grounds it will compound poverty and deprivation in society, and condemning the “rape clause” and further traumatisation of women who have been victims of sexual violence Fisher, who will take up her post at the union’s Perth AGM next week, said: “Imagine for a moment what it would be like to be child number three. To be the child in your family who the state considers less deserving, less worthy of support but more of a burden on your family. To be the child that the state considers really should never have been born.

"This policy is nothing short of shameful and borders on eugenics. It is certainly an attempt at social engineering.”

Of the rape clause, Fisher highlighted “the indignity, the humiliation, the utter callous cruelty” of victims of rape having to justify the existence of their children on a government form. Questions about whether the victim was still living with the father also displayed complete ignorance of the realities of domestic abuse and sexual violence within relationships, she said.

SNP candidate for Glasgow Central Alison Thewliss said the rape clause should be scrapped. “Making women who have been raped relive the trauma of that experience to access child tax credits is utterly appalling – and railroading this policy through the House of Commons is illustrative of the damage a Tory government can do," she said. "But it is policies like this, and other attacks on the most vulnerable in society – including pensioners, the disabled, vulnerable young adults and the bereaved – which would be pursued by a Tory government with a bigger majority.

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale welcomed the EIS move, adding: “Instead of shaming rape victims, we should be shaming Ruth Davidson and the Conservatives for supporting this vile policy. ”

Scottish Tory social security spokesman Adam Tomkins said: “The changes to child tax credits will only apply to new claimants, so no-one who was claiming them before this change will lose money. Child benefit will continue to be provided for as many children as families have.”