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Reading: Community members’ responses to the elective hysterectomy of an intellectually disabled girl

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Community members’ responses to the elective hysterectomy of an intellectually disabled girl

Author:

Carol Hamilton

University of Waikato, NZ
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Abstract

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (2007) guarantees all intellectually disabled women the right to full bodily integrity. However, non-therapeutic sterilisations continue to be proposed as a means of managing the support needs of some members of this group. The opinions of community members, and whether men and women’s views differ in relation to this topic, are rarely canvassed. Yet these views are significant as what constitutes acceptable social practice is ultimately set and contested at community level. This article reviews comments posted by male and female contributors to a BBC Have Your Say website about a mother’s request for a hysterectomy for her ‘severely disabled’ daughter. Comments suggest the majority of posters endorse the request, however a marked difference by gender in reasons for support is evident. Gender differences are also noted in remarks about the social implications of requests of this kind and in the gender of contributors who thought this topic to be unsuitable for discussion in public forum. The difficulty some posters had with comments made from a rights-based advocacy position is briefly discussed as are possible limitations involved in using rights when debating the issue of non-therapeutic sterilisation.

How to Cite: Hamilton, C., 2011. Community members’ responses to the elective hysterectomy of an intellectually disabled girl. Journal of Social Inclusion, 2(1), pp.23–38. DOI: http://doi.org/10.36251/josi.22
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Published on 23 Jun 2011.
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