Non-therapeutic sterilisation of persons with disability is a particularly egregious form of human rights abuse and one that impacts particularly on girls and women with disability.  Non-therapeutic sterilisation of children and young people and non-therapeutic sterilisation of adults without their full and informed consent, is a procedure to which neither a child or young person, or a parent, or a court or tribunal may consent. 

Comprehensive law reform is required to provide effective guarantees against such abuse. Uniform national legislation must prohibit this human rights abuse and outline the circumstances in which only therapeutic sterilisation can occur.

PWDA strongly supports the development of uniform national legislation to protect persons with disability from non-therapeutic sterilisation.

Therapeutic sterilisation can only occur:

  • where the procedure is necessary to save life or to prevent serious damage to the person’s health; and
  • where the procedure is authorised by a court or tribunal under legislation.

The only exception to court or tribunal authorisation of therapeutic sterilisation would be where an emergency procedure is required, which will have the direct or indirect effect of sterilisation of the child or young person, or adult where this is reasonably necessary to save life or prevent serious damage to the person’s health.