Forced sterilisation restricted, but not banned: inquiry

STRICT limitations need to be placed on the forced sterilisation of people with a disability, but not banned outright, a Senate committee has recommended.

The report of a 10-month-long Senate inquiry into the practice of forced sterilisation was released on Wednesday.

People with a disability who can give consent, or those who may one day be able to give their consent for sterilisation, should be spared the possibility of the procedure, the committee said.

The complex inquiry looked at the forced sterilisation of people with a disability by parents, and the hard questions parents faced if their children were disabled and wanted to have children.

While the committee did not recommend an outright ban on the practice, due to the complexity of the issue, it did recommend states enact laws to prohibit such operations if unauthorised.

It also recommended individual legal representation for disabled people in forced sterilisation cases.

"Representation should be independent, while family or guardians should have a right to be involved, an independent representative should not be a member of the person's family or a caregiver," the report reads.

The report also said the protection of the individual's right to chose to have a child needed to be enshrined in state laws, to ensure a "uniform best protection of rights test" to maintain "future options".


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