Legal first as court gives go-ahead for sterilisation of disabled man
A High Court judge made legal history yesterday by sanctioning the sterilisation of a man with learning difficulties because it was in his “best interests”.
The man, 37, known only as DE, from the Midlands, already has one son, born in 2010, with his girlfriend. He was deemed as lacking the capacity to consent to the procedure.
Mrs Justice Eleanor King made her decision at the Court of Protection in London. She said a vasectomy was “lawful and in the best interests” of the man after hearing that he did not want to be a father again but lacked the capacity effectively to choose or use contraception.
Mrs King said DE had a “remarkable and precious” decade-long relationship with his girlfriend, PQ, who also has learning difficulties. But the court heard that another pregnancy would cause DE “further psychological distress”.
Recently, the couple have only been permitted to see each other under supervision to “keep them safe”. Experts believe an operation will give DE back his “independence”.
Mrs King ruled that a vasectomy was “undoubtedly in DE’s best interests” and that all “reasonable and proportionate steps” should be taken so that the operation can be carried out. She ruled that her decision pointed to “re-establishing as normal a life as possible” for him.
She said one medical expert had described DE’s desire not to have any more children as the “most magnetic factor” in favour of sterilisation. But in her judgment, she said that “allowing DE to resume his long-term relationship with PQ and restoring to him his lost skills and independence are as important, if not more so, when determining his best interests”.
In anticipation of the controversy that might be caused by the landmark decision, DE’s solicitor was keen to stress that the case “was not covered by the shadow of eugenics”. Mr Angus Moon QC told the court that the case “should not be seen as a green light for other applications for vasectomies in respect of other people with learning difficulties”.
The Independent has campaigned for the right to report on the workings of the Court of Protection for years. In this case, names have been changed to protect the identities of those involved.
Beverley Dawkins, policy manager at learning disability charity Mencap, said the court seemed to “have carefully weighed up what is in the best interests of this man, and reached a balanced decision that allows him to continue a loving relationship with his partner”.
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
- 2 PornHub begs users to stop uploading video clips of Brazil getting beaten 7-1
- 3 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
- 4 L'Oreal cuts ties with Belgium supporter Axelle Despiegelaere after hunting trip photographs
- 5 The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week
Game of Thrones author George RR Martin says 'f*** you' to fans who fear he will die before finishing Westeros saga
Loom bands: Bids for dress made from colourful rubber pass £170,000 on eBay
Supermoon 2014: When and why will the moon look bigger and brighter this summer?
Gaza-Israel conflict: The terrible price Palestinian children are paying for Israel’s war with Hamas
Rotten egg smell could help battle heart disease and Alzheimer's
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
War is war: Why I stand with Israel
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’
£70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...
£30000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...
£60000 - £80000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Integration...
£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...