A Mother-of-six who has learning disabilities can be forcibly sterilised after a judge ruled it was in the woman’s best interests.
The woman, 36, had her children removed from her care due to her disabilities, while health authorities say her physical health problems could put her life in danger should she become pregnant again.
And in a landmark ruling, Mr Justice Cobb said today at the Court of Protection in London that the woman could be sterilised.
‘The ethical, legal and medical issues arising here are self-evidently of the utmost gravity, engaging, and profoundly impacting upon (the woman’s) personal autonomy, privacy, bodily integrity, and reproductive rights,’ said Mr Justice Cobb in his written ruling.
‘This is, in my judgment, an exceptional case on its facts; the applicants seek a range of relief which is likely to arise only in the most extreme circumstances.’
He added that the woman had a history of concealing or attempting to conceal pregnancies from health professionals.
Barrister John McKendrick, representing the health authority, hospital trust and council involved in the case, acknowledged earlier this week that the ruling sought was ‘extraordinary’ and seriously violated the woman’s basic human rights, but said they were necessary nonetheless.
Mr Justice Cobb was told that the woman and her partner had asked to be ‘left alone’ and had repeatedly refused to cooperate or engage with medical and social services staff.