Sterilisation of intellectually disabled minors

J Law Med. 2007 Feb;14(3):299-305.


The complex issue of sterilisation of minors with intellectual disabilities has arisen again for Australia with proposals for a uniform approach by the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General under which the principal forum for decision-making about such matters will be State and Territory administrative tribunals. This provides an opportunity not just for scrutiny of the proposed legislation and model but evaluation of the role of decision-making bodies, their procedural supports and the criteria on the basis of which sterilisations of young people should be authorised by Australia's courts and tribunals. The opportunity exists for an approach to be forged on the basis of empirical assessment of the success of administrative tribunal involvement, understanding of the phenomenon of "therapeutic" and "non-therapeutic" sterilisation of minors in contemporary Australia and current medical and psychological awareness of ways to manage menstruation and the potential for pregnancy for vulnerable young people.

Publication types

  • Editorial
  • Legal Case

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Australia
  • Ethics, Medical
  • Humans
  • Jurisprudence
  • Minors / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Persons with Mental Disabilities / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Sterilization, Involuntary / ethics*
  • Sterilization, Involuntary / legislation & jurisprudence*