Court Allows Parents To Have 11-Year-Old Sterilised

11/03/2010 13:04 | Updated 22 May 2015

An Australian court has given a couple permission to go ahead with a hysterectomy for their 11-year-old daughter.

The decision has proved controversial in Australia, sparking a debate about the rights of children with disabilities.

The girl apparently has a medical condition which causes her to have epileptic seizures when she menstruates.

She has Rett Syndrome, which is also profoundly disabling and means she cannot communicate, feed herself or walk without help.

The girl, known as Angela, has her seizures controlled by medication but they get worse when she has a period.

Experts told her parents she should have a hysterectomy, but doctors refused to carry out the surgery without a court order because it is an irreversible sterilisation.

The court has ruled in favour of Angela's parents but there has been outrage by some campaigners who say the girl's basic human rights are being violated.

Leanne Dowse, from the University of New South Wales, told ABC News Online that children like Angela need to be protected.

She said: "Australia became a signatory to the UN convention on the rights of persons with disabilities in July 2008,

"That convention says that individuals with a disability have a right to respect for his or her physical integrity. That sort of idea means that the first position is to protect an individual from these sorts of things."

However, Mark Patterson, from the Australian National Council of Intellectual Disability, told ABC that it was a complicated case.

He said: "Sometimes people get the idea that families just do this as a matter of convenience and it's all done within five minutes.

"It's not done like that at all. I think we need to think about the process and have some care and respect for the families and the judges involved."

What do you think? Should parents be allowed to make these sorts of decisions for their disabled children?

Source: ParentDishUS

Suggest a correction