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End non-medical sterilisation of the disabled

5 November 2004

End non-medical sterilisation of the disabled: Greens

The Green Party yesterday proposed an amendment to the Care of Children Bill to protect young disabled women from non-medical sterilisation.

Disabled women are sometime sterilised to make it easier to manage their menstruation, rather than for medical reasons. CCS, who presented a compelling submission to the Select Committee, have long campaigned for greater legal protection for such women who are unable to consent to sterilisation.

"Many families are concerned when their young women reach menstruation and want to protect their children from the unnecessary pain and complication," said Sue Bradford, the Green Party's Spokesperson on Disability Issues.

"But a woman's right to make decisions over her own reproduction is a fundamental human right, a human right for all women disabled or not. We must protect young disabled women from discrimination and from unnecessary medical procedures that have life-long effects.

"Many sterilisations occur early in the young woman's menstrual life, when menstruation is often the most painful and difficult. Over time these problems settle down, but sterilisations are happening to girls as young as 13 years and sometimes before their periods have even begun

"Unfortunately the amendment was not passed but the Greens understand that the Government will look seriously at this issue," said Ms Bradford.

ENDS

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