Sterilisation of People with Disability
Non-therapeutic sterilisation of persons with disability is a particularly egregious form of human rights abuse and one that impacts particularly on girls and women with disability. Non-therapeutic sterilisation of children and young people and non-therapeutic sterilisation of adults without their full and informed consent, is a procedure to which neither a child or young person, or a parent, or a court or tribunal may consent.
Comprehensive law reform is required to provide effective guarantees against such abuse. Uniform national legislation must prohibit this human rights abuse and outline the circumstances in which only therapeutic sterilisation can occur.
PWDA strongly supports the development of uniform national legislation to protect persons with disability from non-therapeutic sterilisation.
Therapeutic sterilisation can only occur:
- where the procedure is necessary to save life or to prevent serious damage to the person’s health; and
- where the procedure is authorised by a court or tribunal under legislation.
The only exception to court or tribunal authorisation of therapeutic sterilisation would be where an emergency procedure is required, which will have the direct or indirect effect of sterilisation of the child or young person, or adult where this is reasonably necessary to save life or prevent serious damage to the person’s health.
- July 2013 First report - Involuntary or coerced sterilisation of people with disabilities in Australia
- March 2013 Australian Senate considers forced sterilisation ban by Anna Hipsley, Radio Australia
- March 2013 PWDA Submission to the Inquiry into the involuntary or coerced sterilisation of people with disabilities in Australia Word 267kb
- PWDA Position Statement on Sterilisation Word 63kb
- Letter to UN Special Rapporteurs on Involuntary Sterilsation of Women and Girls with Disabilities by Human Rights Watch
- Summary of the International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics regarding sterilisation.
- PWDA’s previous work around sterilisation and women with disability, including a media release issued in March 2010.
- Women with Disabilities Australia (WWDA’s) position on the sterilisation of women and girls with disability.