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Do you think parents have the right to sterilize their disabled children?

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Posted by on Jul. 17, 2013 at 9:36 AM
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Parents of Intellectually Disabled Teens Want to Sterilize Them for Their Own Good

by Ericka Sóuter

teenFor parents of disabled children, the reality is that they may be caring for them for the rest of their lives. For those that do, there is an unsettling issue that comes up -- how to deal with your teenage daughter when she goes through puberty? Some parents want to be able to sterilize their intellectually disabled girls to ensure a better quality of life. It's controversial, to be sure. But is it wrong?

Parents in favor of sterilization have found opposition in Australia. A commission on disability discrimination says that it may be a breach of human rights and the practice should be banned. However, I don't think the issue is so cut and dry. It's an agonizing decision for any parent. But it's not a question of imposing a limit on their child's future reproductive rights. These children will never have independent adult lives and families of their own. 

These moms and dads say it is difficult for their daughters to go through menstruation. It's a painful and messy process that they don't often understand. One of the families tried pills to halt the process, but their daughter just wouldn't take it. For them, it was all about quality of life for her and their family.

But more than that, there are other risks associated with becoming a woman. I have seen it within my own family. I have a cousin who is “intellectually disabled.” She has matured physically, but not mentally or emotionally. As she's aged, we have often feared someone would take advantage of her. She has the communication level of a non-speaking 2-year-old. It’s really frightening to think that someone could take advantage of her vulnerability and she could get pregnant. Perhaps making this choice for her and others like her should be considered an act of love and protection.

Do you think parents have the right to sterilize their disabled children?

by on Jul. 17, 2013 at 9:36 AM
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Replies (1-10):
kgsharber
by Bronze Member on Jul. 17, 2013 at 9:40 AM
I can see the point, but there should be some guidelines that have to be met. Some sort of rules and standards.
Anonymous
by Anonymous on Jul. 17, 2013 at 9:44 AM
Yes
EarlGrayHot
by on Jul. 17, 2013 at 1:38 PM

I would say no.  Trying the pills again so she has fewer periods would be better.  Sterilizing people against their will or just doing it without their consent has been done in the past by the Nazis, even by our own government.  I'd try to figure out something else if at all possible.

Anonymous
by Anonymous on Jul. 17, 2013 at 2:53 PM

My middle stepson is autistic and the state told me he needed to be put in an apt building made especially for autistic kids and would be sterilized......We said no

jobseeker
by Member on Jul. 17, 2013 at 3:59 PM
1 mom liked this

Many issued to be considered here.  The doctrine of my faith does not provide for sterilization.  Putting that aside, I think individual cases have to be considered separately.  There are mentally and emotionally disabled people who do not have a grasp of sexuality and cannot be responsible for the gravity of a sexual relationship.  There are also those who would take advantage of that vulnerability. There is no cookie cutter answer to this dilemma 

NDADanceMom
by Bronze Member on Jul. 17, 2013 at 6:27 PM
Hitler did that and it was modeled on an American program. Doctors made the decision about who would be sterilized for the good of the country.
Anonymous
by Anonymous on Jul. 17, 2013 at 6:44 PM
This is not Hitler sterilizing people for whatever reason. What happens if they get pregnant? Who takes care of the baby? what if the baby is special needs? Why is it not parents who are their guardians still right to do this. I don't understand why anyone would want a severely handicapped person to have a baby? I am not talking someone mild that can live alone, but severe.


Quoting NDADanceMom:

Hitler did that and it was modeled on an American program. Doctors made the decision about who would be sterilized for the good of the country.

Anonymous
by Anonymous on Jul. 17, 2013 at 6:54 PM
1 mom liked this
Comparing this issue to Nazi germany is ignorant and, as a Jew, offensive. Do you honestly believe there's no difference between what my great-grandparents and their contemporaries went through at places like Auschwitz and the actions taken by parents who are desperate to improve their child's quality of life? Please visit a holocaust museum and get some education on what forced sterilization was actually like for my people before comparing it to a medical procedure which is closely scrutinized and regulated by law enforcement.


Quoting NDADanceMom:

Hitler did that and it was modeled on an American program. Doctors made the decision about who would be sterilized for the good of the country.

NDADanceMom
by Bronze Member on Jul. 17, 2013 at 7:09 PM
1 mom liked this
Hitler did other things besides killing Jews. I have been to Poland and auschwitz. I have also studied the history. There is no need to focus in on what happened to the Jews. It was terrible for them, and the Russians, the gypsies, political prisoners AND the disabled.
Please do not minimize the pain of other groups by insisting its only about the Jews.
The sterilization and propaganda surrounding it started long before the Jews were being sent to camps. The doctors in Germany did model it after a program here.


Quoting Anonymous:

Comparing this issue to Nazi germany is ignorant and, as a Jew, offensive. Do you honestly believe there's no difference between what my great-grandparents and their contemporaries went through at places like Auschwitz and the actions taken by parents who are desperate to improve their child's quality of life? Please visit a holocaust museum and get some education on what forced sterilization was actually like for my people before comparing it to a medical procedure which is closely scrutinized and regulated by law enforcement.




Quoting NDADanceMom:

Hitler did that and it was modeled on an American program. Doctors made the decision about who would be sterilized for the good of the country.

Anonymous
by Anonymous on Jul. 17, 2013 at 7:22 PM
Clearly missing my point. Nowhere in my post did I claim that Nazi practices only affected the Jewish, nor do I trivialize the pain and suffering experienced by other groups and ethnic minorities. However, since I don't belong to any of those groups or ethnic minorities, I can't speak for them or whether or not they may take offense at your original generalization. I am very well aware of the facts behind the Nazi sterilization campaign, and it's origins- this does not change the fact that there are only the basest of similarities between the two issues. The practice of sterilizing a mentally incapacitated child is 1) not hidden beneath a veneer of civility and statehood, and 2) not a decision made by the state or even by individual medical practitioners. Neither of those facts apply in any way to Nazi Germany. Whether the practice is wrong or right... I'm not really firm in my opinions about that, but I AM certain that it is spurious and smacks of a lack of education to claim that these issues are any way related beyond the medical procedure itself.


Quoting NDADanceMom:

Hitler did other things besides killing Jews. I have been to Poland and auschwitz. I have also studied the history. There is no need to focus in on what happened to the Jews. It was terrible for them, and the Russians, the gypsies, political prisoners AND the disabled.

Please do not minimize the pain of other groups by insisting its only about the Jews.

The sterilization and propaganda surrounding it started long before the Jews were being sent to camps. The doctors in Germany did model it after a program here.




Quoting Anonymous:

Comparing this issue to Nazi germany is ignorant and, as a Jew, offensive. Do you honestly believe there's no difference between what my great-grandparents and their contemporaries went through at places like Auschwitz and the actions taken by parents who are desperate to improve their child's quality of life? Please visit a holocaust museum and get some education on what forced sterilization was actually like for my people before comparing it to a medical procedure which is closely scrutinized and regulated by law enforcement.






Quoting NDADanceMom:

Hitler did that and it was modeled on an American program. Doctors made the decision about who would be sterilized for the good of the country.


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