Young disable women sterilized with parent’s consent

by Ivano Abbadessa - 2016.08.04
Young disable women sterilized with parent’s consent
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This subject is rarely spoken about, but in Europe there are many disabled young people who are subjected to forced sterilization. The fear of unwanted pregnancies is at the root of this violent practice and unfortunately it is often initiated by the disabled person’s family. In Spain, there are heated debates on this controversial subject in the media and amongst experts. This has been triggered by an interview with Isabel Caballero white heat, activist for the CERMI foundation who has been fighting for years to defend the rights of the handicapped.  According to article 156 of the Spanish Penal Code, a judge, after finding a woman "severely mentally retarded" can authorize their sterilization.  This is a clear violation of Article. 23 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (ratified by Spain in December 2007) that: "people with disabilities, including children, retain their fertility on an equal basis with others."

A strong legal basis for the claim of Dr. Caballero , "the vast majority of parents continue to make the mistake of thinking that this surgery will serve to protect girls with disabilities. It is actually a real impermissible violation of the woman's body”. Each of these girls should be given the right to decide about their own body, identifying themselves in the first instance as being a woman and then a woman with disabilities. "

This is easier said than done bearing in mind that the issue is, to say the least, a complex and thorny one. It is enough to look on the Internet and read the testimonies of families with disabled children to see the irreparable division of the pros and cons of this medical intervention. And so, the organizations who are in favour of the prohibition of sterilization, have requested a clear stance on the part of the institutions that they should help parents and, above all, for girls to become aware of their bodies and of their femininity and to protect, as much as possible, the dignity and integrity of these people and not to destroy the young person’s desire to have a full life.

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