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Mother Speaks Out Against Council Over Forced Contraception Bid On Daughter

August 20, 2010

This is part of the debate on DisAbility And Parenting.

She said social services should be supporting her daughter, who has learning difficulties, rather than “attacking” her and her husband and interfering in their private lives.

The woman asked why the authorities had not considered the human rights of her daughter, who faced being removed from her home by police, forcibly sedated and given birth control against her will until a judge blocked the move.

“Don’t human rights come in here? How far can social services take it?” asked the woman’s mother.

“Social services should definitely be supporting her, not attacking her. I just think it’s unfair.

“I’m extremely sad that social services are not there to support her. My daughter is scared to death of them.”

As The Daily Telegraph disclosed, the 30 year-old woman has an IQ of just 53 and has previously had two babies taken away from her and adopted over fears she could not look after them.

Her local council began proceedings last year to have contraception forced on her, as social workers believed she had stopped taking birth control on the orders of her husband, who has an IQ of 65.

The authority told the Court of Protection, which can rule on the financial affairs and personal welfare of people judged to lack mental capacity, that she was unable to understand the consequences of not using contraception, and there were fears she was suffering abuse at the hands of her husband.

Mr Justice Bodey agreed the woman, known only as Mrs A, lacked capacity and said her decision to stop taking birth control was “not the product of her own free will” because of the “coercive pressure” placed upon her by her husband.

But he declined to make an order as to her best interests, adding: “It is obvious on the facts of this case, that any step towards long-term court imposed contraception by way of physical coercion, with its affinity to enforced sterilisation and shades of social engineering, would raise profound questions about state intervention in private and family life. Whilst the issue of the use of force has not been argued out at this hearing I cannot, on these facts, presently see how it could be acceptable.”

Mrs A’s mother contacted this newspaper to insist that her daughter and husband are in a loving relationship, and that they manage to live independent lives including doing some charity work despite the council’s claims about her low intelligence.

“He loves her and I know he does, otherwise he wouldn’t have married her,” she said.

“She gets phone calls threatening this and that, they want to take her away from her husband and force her to by put out and sterilize her. It’s so scary.

“She has learning difficulties and it’s hard for me to sit and explain these awful things that have been said to her. It’s not her fault she has these difficulties.”

Mrs A’s mother said it was “heartbreaking” for her daughter to have her two babies taken away, and that she still asks why it happened.

She added: “What she wants is to be with her husband and not to be taken away from him. It’s so sad when she rings me in tears and says they’re going to take me away.”

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