Australia mulls ban on sterilization of mentally challenged girls

July 16, 2013 at 10:15 AM
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CANBERRA, Australia, July 16 (UPI) -- Some parents of mentally challenged girls in Australia are urging the government not to ban sterilization for their daughters.

Australia's Disability Discrimination Commissioner Graeme Innes has called the practice of sterilizing intellectually challenged girls a breach of human rights and wants lawmakers to ban it, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported.

A senate panel is examining whether elective sterilizations must be prohibited or if there are circumstances where the procedure should be allowed.

Louise Robbins, whose 16-year-old daughter Eliza is intellectually challenged, said her family was not prepared for the difficulties puberty brought.

Robbins said Eliza will not take oral contraceptives and has an immunity condition that precludes her having an implant.

"This [sterilization] is the only option we have to make any kind of difference in Eliza's life," Robbins said.

Similar difficulties were experienced by the Carter family when Sophie hit puberty, Merren Carter said.

Ten years ago Sophie had her uterus removed after a New South Wales tribunal agreed a hysterectomy was in her best interests.

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