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British government conspires to sterilize mother of six with learning disabilities

Forced sterilization

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(NaturalNews) A London judge has ruled that health and social service authorities may forcefully sterilize a mother of six who has learning disabilities.

Justice Steven Cobb of the Court of Protection ruled in favor of an application submitted by the authorities which requested permission to use "forced entry and necessary restraint" in the process of having the unnamed woman taken from her home to the hospital to be sterilized.

The judge referred to the case as being "exceptional" and said that, in this case, "therapeutic sterilisation" would be legal and in the best interests of the woman in question.

The 36-year-old woman's current children have all been taken into custody by child care authorities, and health and social officials say that the woman (who can't be named for legal reasons) and her partner "had repeatedly refused to co-operate or engage with medical and social services staff and a legal representative."

The woman was quoted as simply wanting to be "left alone," but the judge, after hearing evidence from psychiatrists, doctors and social workers, said that the woman was incapable of making decisions regarding the use of contraceptives.

He authorized health and social service authorities to remove her "from her home and take steps to convey her to hospital for the purposes of the sterilisation procedure."

Court-appointed attorneys were in favor of the plan to sterilize the woman, agreeing that she lacked mental "capacity."

The woman reportedly has a very "extraordinary" and complicated health history: From a report in The Independent:

The judge has seen evidence from psychiatrists, an obstetrician and gynaecologist plus social workers. Details of a number of gynaecological problems the woman had were detailed in the report.

Specialists have said the issues would pose a grave risk to her health if she became pregnant again.

The judge was also told professionals had faced difficulties in trying to persuade the woman to use contraception and in administering contraception.

Barrister Michael Home, the court-appointed representative of the woman, agreed that sterilization was necessary to avoid "grave risks" to her life. He also said that the sterilization has nothing to do with "eugenics."

And that's the issue lurking at the heart of this case. Where does society draw the line between "therapeutic sterilization" of those who "lack capacity" to make decisions regarding their reproductive choices?

Should forced sterilization ever be morally, legally and socially acceptable? Even in "extraordinary" circumstances?

Looked at in this light, the ruling in this case may very well set a dangerous precedent. Eugenic theory is a dangerous concept, and one that has already been the driving force behind countless atrocities, with human casualties numbering in the millions. Nazi Germany is not the only nation in history that has embraced or practiced eugenics in one form or another.

We need to be extremely careful within our societies when it comes to protecting reproductive rights. The liberty to make one's own decisions in these matters is one of the foundations of a truly free society.

In this case, the authorities involved may have been truly acting out of a spirit of compassion and concern, but perhaps the larger issue is of more crucial import and one which is not being fully addressed.

There was little, if any, real debate in the mainstream press over this case. Not even the court-appointed attorneys raised much of a protest against the violation of the woman's basic human rights.

Is it possible that we are ignoring the beginnings of a dangerous trend in the courts and health and social systems? Will forced sterilizations become a common occurrence? Maybe it's time for some serious debate on the subject...





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