Saturday 20 January 2018

Parents win right to have child sterilised

Bonnie Malkin in Sydney

The parents of a profoundly disabled 11-year-old girl have won a court case to have her sterilised, prompting claims that the ruling amounted to an "abuse of human rights".

The Australian girl, known only as Angela, suffers from an extreme form of Retts Syndrome, a neurological disorder. She cannot communicate and "acts as a three-month-old baby would".

Angela's parents had sought permission from the Family Court for doctors to perform an irreversible hysterectomy -- the removal of her womb -- to stop her menstrual cycle, which they believed was the cause of her epileptic seizures.

Medication had not worked, and three gynaecologists had agreed that a hysterectomy was the best solution, she said.

However, Queensland Health, the government body responsible for carrying out the surgery, would not approve the procedure without a court order.

Justice Paul Cronin said the decision would improve Angela's life.

"Angela is never going to have the benefits of a normal teenage and adult life," his judgment said. "A fundamental consideration is . . . the risk to Angela's life."

The court heard Angela could not speak or control her movements. She had no bladder control, wore a nappy and had a walking frame because she could not stand unsupported.

but the ruling incensed disability groups.

They said forced sterilisation of any girl was an abuse of human rights.

Carolyn Frohmader, chief executive of Women with a Disability Australia, said: "It is only ever the disabled girls.

"When you go through the cases, there is never a boy, no matter how intellectually disabled, who has to be sterilised." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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