Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Mentally Disabled Man to Be Sterilised in Landmark Ruling

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Mentally Disabled Man to Be Sterilised in Landmark Ruling

Article excerpt

Byline: Martin Bentham Home Affairs Editor

A MENTALLY disabled man is to be sterilised after a landmark ruling today by a High Court judge that the operation is in his best interests.

The 36-year-old man, known only as DE, has had a son with his girlfriend, but told his nurse that he did not want to become a father again.

He was unable to consent to a vasectomy because of his incapacity, which has left him with a mental age of between six and nine, so his local NHS trust went to court in an attempt to gain authorisation.

Today, in the first judgment of its kind, Mrs Justice Eleanor King approved the application after hearing that another child could cause DE "psychological harm".

The judge was also told that, although efforts had been made to prevent DE meeting his girlfriend without supervision to "keep them safe", his parents were concerned that there remained a risk of pregnancy. Giving her ruling today, Mrs Justice King said that these restrictions had resulted in "very serious consequences" for DE because of their impact on his independence and that sterilisation would allow him to regain the autonomy which he had previously enjoyed. …

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