Learning Disability Today
Supporting professionals working in learning disability and autism services

Test case on forced sterilisation of woman with learning disabilities unresolved

A test case regarding the forced sterilisation of a young woman with learning disabilities will be heard in April by the Court of Protection.

The outcome of the case could have implications regarding issues of consent. The woman in question – known as P – was due to give birth to her second child on Wednesday by caesarean section. Her mother, known as Mrs P, had pleaded with the Court of Protection on Tuesday for her daughter to be sterilised at the same time.

Mrs P told the court that she had told her daughter that any future babies would have to go “to a new mum and dad” – but said that her daughter failed to see the implications. Mrs P is already supporting P to raise her first child, and has agreed to help raise her second child, but said that the family would be unable to help raise any further children.

The main issue to be decided when the case resumes in April is whether P has the capacity to make decisions about contraception, or whether “tubal ligation” is in her best interests.

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