Intro - History - Issues - Rights - Resources - Service
IIlegal sterilisation, particularly of girls with an intellectual disability, is a controversial issue that has attracted attention from the media, the legal and the medical fraternity. Illegal sterilisation was identified as an issue as far back as World War Two, but nothing was done to stop it. (HREOC, 1997). "The fear was that large numbers of intellectually disabled children would result" if people with an intellectual disability were allowed to have children. (Tomison 1996).1996).
Today the issue is still significant for reasons, including the perception that people with disabilities are less able to make the right decisions and to manage the responsibilities involved in raising a family. (Goddard & Carew, 1993).
Sterilisation was perceived as a way of protecting people with disabilities against not being able to cope with this responsibility and preventing society from the burden of supporting these children.
Although the Victorian Administration and Guardianship legislation sets out the processes which are required before a child or young person can be sterilised, these processes can be time consuming and costly.
Since sterilisation is a medical procedure that qualifies for Medicare benefits, the option of performing illegal sterilisation can and often does become the easy way out. (HREOC, 1997).