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‘Mrs P’ Withdraws Court Of Protection Sterilisation Bid For Daughter ‘P’

April 21, 2011

I covered this case in detail the day it first came to public attention. As I said then, I was waiting with interest for the final ruling. I’m very happy to read tonight that the case has been withdrawn. This is a big step forward for those who are, as I am, against the sterilisation of disabled women without a medical reason.

A legal attempt to sterilise a 21-year-old mother with “significant learning difficulties” to prevent further pregnancies has been withdrawn.

The mother of the woman from London had argued it was in her “best interests” and wanted the procedure to take place once her second child had been born.

Her decision to halt the action came after the birth took place.

Unusually, the Court of Protection case was in public because it raised issues of “considerable” importance.

But reporting restrictions mean that no details about the woman’s identity can be published, including the name of the NHS trust or the local authority involved.

Expert evidence

The case first came to court in February, the day before the woman was due to give birth.

The woman’s mother – referred to only as Mrs P – wanted a ruling to enable the sterilisation to take place once the baby had been delivered by caesarean section. But the case, before Mr Justice Hedley, was adjourned for expert evidence to be obtained.

Announcing the decision to end proceedings, president of the Family Division Sir Nicholas Wall said it had been right for such a hearing to be “publicly debated” and open to “scrutiny and debate”.

But he added: “P has given birth and there is no longer any application by her mother Mrs P for sterilisation and therefore the issue of sterilisation has gone from the case”.

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