British court weighs forced sterilization

Feb. 14, 2011 at 11:07 AM

LONDON, Feb. 14 (UPI) -- A mentally impaired British woman may be involuntarily sterilized when she gives birth this week.

The woman, whose identity is being kept secret, is due to give birth by Caesarean section Wednesday and could be sterilized by tubal ligation at the same time if the Court of Protection agrees, The Daily Telegraph reported.

The secretive court, which rules on issues like ending life support for patients unable to speak for themselves, has scheduled a rare public hearing on the case Tuesday.

The patient's local National Health Service office asked the court to decide whether she lacks the capacity to make decisions about contraception for herself. She will be represented by a government-appointed lawyer.

David Congdon of the disability rights group Mencap said, "It is a gross invasion of someone's basic rights unless there are clear medical grounds and there do not appear to be in this case. Using sterilization as a form of contraception is totally unacceptable. There are other methods of contraception."

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