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Should DisAbled Girls Be Sterilised?

Katie Thorpe 1

Katie Thorpe 2

Katie Thorpe 3



P 2

Alison Thorpe On P

Girl X- play.

‘Mrs P’ Withdraws Case

Ashley Treatment On The Rise

Stella Young Is Glad She Was Not Sterilised

Alison Thorpe Trying Again

29 Comments leave one →
  1. November 15, 2010 5:55 am

    I think it would be much more cost effective to neuter the males who are the ones who seem to have the sexual drive in their teens and 20’s to impregnate disabled teens or adults women. It’s males that have the raging testosterone so let’s see ‘that’ as the problem and fix it rather than society always blaming the ‘woman’ and punishing her. I base my opinion of a friend’s painful loss of her ‘one child’ to CPS. The father of her baby just happened to have one prior to her’s and has two other kids since…………so he’s a daddy to four kids but two have been taken. Why doesn’t the system ‘counsel’ him or give him free birth control ?!

  2. April 3, 2011 8:32 pm

    What is “Dee Dee” talking about? Where are the teenagers that are impregnating adult women? How much access do teenage boys have to severely disabled women? Surely it’s grown men who are in a position of trust who abuse it, or else other disabled men these women meet. (Perhaps these men ought to be sterilised, but certainly not castrated.)

  3. Ellesar permalink
    October 22, 2011 6:04 am

    As far as I can see such a move smacks of eugenicist thinking, additionally making it easier for men to rape women with impunity (if the women and girls are unable to communicate effectively, and quite frankly even if they can in rape trials any man’s word seems to be better than a woman’s).
    Many years ago I knew of a moderately intellectually disabled young woman who was raped, got pregnant, had an abortion. She wouldn’t have understood what was going on and the whole thing must have been utterly terrifying for her. I suppose to save those women from that sort of suffering I would support it, but then you are basically saying it is inevitable that they will be raped.

  4. Sarah Lund permalink
    November 18, 2012 2:30 pm

    No. I think it’s kinda pervy to suggest that. Isn’t it enough that someone is as disabled as they already, without having to go through the horror of a dr parting their legs and invading a very private part of a woman’s body? How invasive. What if some disabled women have a fear of these procedures? Gonna force them? Oh somebody heartless probably will. They always do. And people wonder why they’re suddenly shy or sicker than before. It doesn’t surprise me. As long as the disabled woman is mentally stable and knows what she’s doing, I don’t see why she can’t be a parent. Oh. One more thing. Since when did being diagnosed with Spina Bifida ever become an excuse for a woman to not be sexual or have children? [a thing I’ve heard my family discuss. So nice to be slated]. I hav A RIGHT TO AN ADULT LIFE LIKE YOU ABLE-BODIED, THAT ARE MORE THAN HAPPY ABUSING YOUR HOUSING RIGHTS AND LIVING OFF BENEFIT YOU DON’T NEED? How about sterilizing able-bodied women while they’re teenagers? Not much different science-wise.

    • November 2, 2013 2:28 am

      YES! I agree with you! We are human beings! No human being should be forcibly sterilised. Why do able bodied people persist in thinking that it only happens to mentally disabled women and is therefore somehow OK? I have two First class honours degrees and yet my mother still wanted me to ‘choose’ sterilisation and a GP still told me I ‘MUST’ have an abortion when my husband and I were expecting.

      Of 200 people in one school for disabled children and teens, my friend says that only TWO went on to have kids! TWO! And yes, they have sterilised my friends, without consent or talked them into abortions ‘all for the best’.

      If people don’t want disabled people to hsave children they should make damn sure not to have children themselves. If they do, they are nothing more than hypocrites!

      • gwyneth permalink
        March 17, 2017 3:58 pm

        Luckily enforced sterilisation no longer happens in Britian. It was prevalent in 1970s, perhaps 1960s as state trying to economise in response to being hard up. Campaign in which I may have played a small part may have led to stopping this practice, which often applied to those who were requesting an abortion or anyone who had three Caesarean as it could be expensive to spend a few weeks pre-birth in hospital.
        Surprisingly this sterilisation against a woman’s wishes is kept very quiet here.

      • October 19, 2019 12:40 am

        I just saw your response and you are wrong I am afraid. This may have been true in 2000 but by 2013 it had certainly returned. Thank you for your own efforts in that regard but as you yourself observed it is a financial measure and as such recent case law shows it is happening again.

      • October 19, 2019 12:49 am

        See links for 2013 re sterilisation below.

  5. Anne permalink
    January 25, 2013 7:11 am

    Are able-bodied people required to prove their genetic integrity before they are allowed to have children?
    No, theyre not. So any argument that disabled people should be sterilised on the basis that they could pass on their disability would be discrimination in the extreme and well into eugenics territory.

    The argument that disabled girls who lack mental capacity should be sterilised brings up several points that have been pointed out by others.
    – If these girls lack mental capacity then why are they having sex? Such sex would be questionable on the grounds of consent and would possibly means their carers are contributing to allowing those girls to be raped. If they do have the capacity to consent to sex and this is a happy consensual relationship (P was pregnant twice?) then they should have the capacity to decide if they wish to be sterilised. Nobody should be making that choice for them.
    -If we have accepted that there are girls or women who have absolutely no capability then why would we sterilise them in the first place. As they cannot consent to sex then it seems to be an automatic assumption that they will be raped. If that is the case then why are we not protecting them from rape rather than mitigating the consequences?
    -There is the argument put forward by several families that puberty, periods, and bodily changes will confuse or distress the girls. However tubal ligation and hysterectomies are hardly without consequences. Both are surgeries which comes with its own risks and can cause massive and lasting damage as well as symptoms. Tubal ligation can make periods heavier and more difficult to deal with, premenstral problems, and issues with mental health. Hysterectomy can cause much worse symtpoms like prolapsing (I have personal experience with this one) due to there being a cavity in the abdomen which drags down the bladder and bowel, premature menopause, increased risk of cardiovascular disease, adhesions in the bowel, urinary incontinence, even increased risk of a rare form of Cancer.

    We also have more radical cases like the Ashley one in which the family go further and subject the girl to medical and surgical intervention in order to prevent her reaching puberty and to keep her small and childlike.

    When logic is applied it does not seem that these treatments are for the benefit of the girls involved. The rather nasty effects of these surgeries and the risk of surgery itself because periods may distress? It doesnt make sense especially when we have a range of contraceptive which can stop periods such as the Depo shot or the Neplanon implant – both have their own side effects but the important thing is that they can be reversed should those side effects be unmanagable. A tubal ligation or hysterectomy cannot!
    If a girl is incapable of consenting to sex then she should not be subject to such things because she shouldnt be having sex! The assumption that she will be raped but little is done to prevent that is frankly horrifying.
    If a girl is capable of consenting to sex then she has demonstrated she has the capacity to decide what happens to her body. In these cases she needs open and detailed information about contraceptives and guidance so that she can make the choice. It is not for the family or state to put her through surgery.

    Forgive me but in so many of these cases it seems like the girls themselves are going somewhat ignored and that these medical interventions are not to make things easier for them but are in fact to make things easier for the family and carers. I really dont think anyone should be made to suffer surgery and the potential lifetime of managing the consequences of that just for the convenience of someone else.

  6. November 2, 2013 2:39 am

    Some of the most intelligent women I know have been forcibly sterilised or talked into abortions on the grounds of misapplied ‘mental incapacity’ or assumptions about their physical capabilities.

    I no longer speak to my own mother , since for years she refused to discuss my desire for children and yet had been insistent that I marry a ‘suitable’ man after I had been abused in my teens. That past abuse worried her not at all, the idea that I might have children with my husband did.

    When my able bodied siblings became engaged it was a very different story. The sheer hypocrisy of her attitude led me to revise my beliefs that I could never be a good enough mother and I stopped the pill and was pregnant within the year. Only to be told that I MUST have an abortion or risk losing our child to social services. I miscarried on Christmas Day last year and not one single person said they were sorry to hear that.

    The single most hurtful thing anyone has ever said to me?
    ” A miscarriage would be better in your case”.

    • Amanda Marques permalink
      November 10, 2013 8:15 pm

      Ladycrookback – I was really horrified to hear what you had been through, so much so that I felt compelled to write something back to you. I am so sorry for what you have been through with your mother and her inability to accept you for who you are.

      I am also so sorry that you have been subjected to such stressful circumstances due to societies misconceptions of disability. It must have been so very difficult to lose your child, especially on Christmas Day.

      I really have no additional information to add but I could not read this post without offering my sincere condolences and saying I am sorry for what you have suffered. I can only hope that your husband is a good and supportive man and that you are have been able to work through this together.

      • December 3, 2013 11:54 pm

        So, so pleased for you, Nia! So glad to hear of someone who has made it through and escape the injustice

        People talk about all the things we can do and how ‘remarkable’ or ‘inspiring’ we are. The most inspiring thing we can do? Inspire people to realise that we REALLY are HUMAN BEINGS with a right to a LIFE a FAMILY and a FUTURE. It’s not the job we would have chosen but we have a mission to change the world. One family at a time!

        P.S. Please give your daughter an extra hug when you read this. xx 🙂

      • December 4, 2013 12:03 am

        Thank you so much, Amanda.

        My husband and I had tears in our eyes as we read your lovely post. Thank you for taking the time and for your kindness . You are indeed the first person to put your condolences into writing and as with our consultant’s little note congratulating us on ‘expecting’ we will cherish the note and the sentiments. My husband wanted me to add how very much he appreciated your comments and that ‘humanity is still in the world’.

        Thanks to wonderful pregnancy loss magazines like ‘Still Standing’ and Facebook pages like CarlyMarie and some supportive friends we are coming through and trying to hold on to the blessing of our weeks of happiness and let go of the past. The pain we will not pretend does not exist will fuel our fight for justice for others.

        Many many thanks and God bless you for writing.

  7. Nia permalink
    November 14, 2013 10:01 am

    I am a disabled woman. I have Spina Bifida and I use a wheelchair.
    I got pregnant at the age of 17. It was an accident. But five years on, I’m bringing my daughter up as a single mother. She is a healthy, happy child and has everything she needs. It disgusts me that there are people in this world who would want to deny me this right.

  8. phil permalink
    November 7, 2014 12:14 am


  9. phil permalink
    November 7, 2014 12:16 am

    not printable

  10. December 1, 2014 10:12 am

    As a man I have no stake in this, but I agree with those who say that intellectually disabled women should not be sterilised because men in a position of trust should prove themselves worthy of that trust. I also agree with not interfering with the reproductive choices of disabled women who don’t have intellectual disabilities simply because they are as capable of raising children as any other woman, albeit with more difficulty.

  11. March 3, 2015 4:50 pm

    Able bodied people do not test themselves before having sex with a partner, that is conception, to see if their combination creates the disabled child in the first place.

    Some genetic problems go through the female line alone or the male line alone.

    But you need both to create the child in the first place.

    So disability is not eradicated by enforced sterlisation of disabled women nor if it was extended to men as well.

    Abortion is a surgical procedure as is sterlisation so equal risk in surgery, as both are far more invasive for women than men.

    The poor, whether able bodied or disabled, are the ones under threat by benefit withdrawal (97 per cent of benefit goes to people in work or poor pensoners), prejudices in access to health and the belief that the disabled are less human than the able bodied.

    It is the able bodied who hold disability within the genetic code by the fact of needing sex to replicate and happenchance of genetics.

  12. March 4, 2015 6:22 am

    I tell you what, when I first came across this article several months ago, I was tempted to answer the question in the title with “Yes, absolutely.” Then I realised that Katie Hopkins is stupid, not disabled, and I changed my mind.

    • March 4, 2015 9:13 am

      As it happens, Katie Hopkins has epilepsy- a recognised disability!

      • March 4, 2015 10:46 am

        Well, it seems that the word ‘intellectually’ got cut out of my comment. It’s weird; when the comments system plays up, you expect the last word to get cut off, not one in the middle.

  13. Andrew rich permalink
    October 1, 2015 12:37 am

    Disabled still have the right to have children like anybody else. We are still human just like so called normal people.this is England not Germany in the 1930’s

  14. February 24, 2016 9:24 am


  15. Dee permalink
    August 8, 2018 1:19 pm

    This is a difficult question to answer but I think it would come down to the mental capacity of the girl/woman in question, if the person has very limited mental capacity and would be unable (even with support) to care for a baby/child then I would say yes sterilisation should be an option because it would be more cruel if the person in question was to become pregnant and have a resulting child taken away from them or forced to undergo an abortion.
    Furthermore if there is a genetic defect in mother/father (likely to cause severe harm/disability) with a high probability of being passed on then yes pregnancy should be prevented (either by sterilisation or long term contraception) or terminated.
    I think society has to accept everyone regardless of disability has the right to have a (consensual) physical relationship although not necessarily sexual, however if the latter applies then certain safeguards may need to be considered to prevent an unwanted pregnancy.
    If a pregnancy is the result of coerced sexual activity in someone with limited mental capacity or worse rape then the law of the land needs to be prosecuted to the fullest extent.

  16. KATHY THUREEN permalink
    April 29, 2022 12:40 am



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