Sharing - Parents Banned From Forcibly Sterilising Their Disabled Daughter

~ Posted on Thursday, January 14, 2016 at 9:00 AM ~

I came across this article which I must definitely share with you guys as I'm very interested to know your thoughts on this. Do note that sharing this does not mean I agree or disagree with it. For your convenience, I have copied the excerpts from the article here:

The parents of an intellectually disabled woman who fear she is vulnerable to sexual advances that would likely result in pregnancy have been stopped from permanently and forcibly sterilising her. The parents of the 25-year-old woman, known as ZEH, said it would be in their daughter's best interest to become 'permanently infertile' and applied to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal for a guardianship order to have her fallopian tubes tied.

They told the tribunal that their daughter, who has a mild intellectual disability and relies heavily on her family, was easily influenced and believed she could be taken advantage of sexually given her 'friendly and trusting nature'. 'ZEH’s character and personality has evolved into a person who gravitates to anyone who has a smile or shows interest in her,' her parents told the tribunal. 'Unfortunately in this ever-changing world she can be exposed to potentially serious risks by being taken advantage of in a sexual manner.'

They noted an instance where someone touched ZEH inappropriately at a social activity some time ago, stating that this highlighted her inability to determine what is considered right or wrong when it comes to sexual activity.

ZEH, an accomplished athlete who holds a part time job, has trialled a combination of other contraceptives, including the Mirena IUD which unfortunately caused her 'significant hormonal side-effects'. She has been on the oral contraceptive pill since 2007 but her parents believe it may be causing her to experience headaches and dizziness, and claim that in the long-term could put her at risk of developing breast or cervical cancer.

Birth Control Pills

ZEH's sister, who has promised to take her in once her parents are unable to care for her, said she has no grasp on what is considered dangerous and recalled instances where she has seen her hug, smile or engage in conversation with strangers who have shown her kindness. 'This concerns me as she has no capacity to assess a person’s intentions whether good or bad,' she told the tribunal.

She said it would be 'preposterous' to think ZEH would be in a position to care for a child, or handle the hormonal and body changes that come with pregnancy. ZEH's sister said it would be 'selfish' to expect her or her parents to take care of a child that was a the result of an unwanted and unplanned pregnancy.

Psychologist Kerry Arrow spoke with ZEH about her parent's plan and found that she understood that they wanted her to have an operation to stop her falling pregnant. She said she is 'not able to look after a child' as she can not look after herself, but commented that she knew to take her contraceptive pill without prompting from her mother and was 'happy to do so'.

VCAT deputy president Genevieve Nihill said that while she believed ZEH's parents had the 'best of intentions', sterilisation was an invasive option that should only be used as a 'last resort'. Ms Nihill acknowledged the family's concerns that they would have to help ZEH raise the child if she did fall pregnant but stated that these issues did not relate to ZEH's best interests.

The guardianship order was denied.

What do you think?

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