The Involuntary, Non-Therapeutic Sterilisation of Women and Girls with an Intellectual Disability – Can It Ever Be Justified?
AbstractThis paper examines whether the involuntary, non-therapeutic sterilisation of women and girls with an intellectual disability can ever be justified under international law. There has been a tendency by international human rights bodies and advocates who are opposed to this practice to argue that rights such as equality, non-discrimination and bodily integrity prohibit such treatment without free and informed consent. However, a substantive engagement with human rights reveals that in limited circumstances, an involuntary sterilisation of a woman or girl with a profound intellectual disability will be justified where there is no reasonably available alternative and the procedure is necessary to secure her right to health.
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