A judge in the Court of Protection has approved the “therapeutic sterilisation” of a woman with learning disabilities who has six children.
In The Mental Health Trust the Acute Trust & the Council v DD & Anor, medical professionals warned that should the 36 year-old become pregnant again, it would be a “significantly life-threatening event”.
The woman was identified in the judgment as ‘DD’. She had been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and “mild to borderline learning disability”, with an IQ of 70. DD was in a long-term, sexual relationship with man identified as ‘BC’. He was described in the judgment as a man with “a significant learning disability” and an IQ of approximately 62.
Due to her difficulties, all six of her children are currently living with other people and she has “no continuing contact” with any of them. Before the birth of her sixth child, the Court of Protection approved a plan to give DD contraception education in addition to a three-month contraceptive injection.
Sitting at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, Mr Justice Cobb noted that DD had been “very resistant” to all attempts at the education ordered in the previous hearing. He ruled that the proposed sterilisation was in her best interests as its “one predominant purpose” was to save DD’s life.
The judge also approved any “proportionate steps” to be taken in order to secure DD for the procedure, including “forced entry [into her house] and necessary restraint”. He added that such action was authorised due to the “most extreme circumstances” of the case.
To read the full judgment, click here.
Photo by Contando Estrelas via Flickr