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Forced Sterilisation Could Raise More Questions than it Provides Answers For

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The Court of Protection has recently ruled that an unidentified mother of six with an IQ of 70 should be sterilised for her own safety as further pregnancy would be a "significantly life-threatening event" for mother and child.

Head of Childcare at Pearson’s, Solicitor Stacy Fox, says cases like this need careful consideration: “I see a lot of mothers in Court who have successive children removed because they lack the capacity to care.”

The Court of Protection, which rules in cases when people are unable to make decisions for themselves, heard the woman’s six other children are all being raised by carers.

Authorising the health and council services to intervene Mr Justice Cobb said it was not a case of "eugenics".

He added: "The ethical, legal and medical issues arising here are self-evidently of the utmost gravity, engaging, and profoundly impacting upon DD's personal autonomy, privacy, bodily integrity, and reproductive rights."

Stacy added that it was important to safeguard the rights of people with mental health conditions in these instances:

Although in this case the court has said it is not a question of eugenics, where is the cut-off point? What about cases where there is a significant mental health issues?  – it could open the door for further applications of this sort and could raise more questions than it provides answers for.”

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Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.

This blog was posted some time ago and its contents may now be out of date. For the latest legal position relating to these issues, get in touch with the author - or make an enquiry now.

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