Sterilization of the mentally disabled
The use of sterilization of mentally handicapped for what ever reason is a denial of a fundamental human right, the right to procreate.
"Sterilization shall never be carried out as a treatment for mental illness" (Article 12, Principle 11 of the "Principles for the Protection of Persons with Mental Illness and for the Improvement of Mental Health Care", UN Commission on Human Rights, 1991).
In Austria in 1997, 70% of mentally handicapped were sterilized, and the practice continues. Australia sterilized more than 1000 retarded girls between 1992 and 1997 without the required court permission, a figure contradicted by the Australian health ministry. Now such sterilizations are illegal unless medically required. Swiss doctors sterilized mentally handicapped patients without their consent from 1928 until around 1977. The Swedish government sterilized 60,000 women, commonly against their will, between 1935 and 1976 on grounds of low intelligence, race, promiscuity or rebelliousness.
The physiological and psychological changes brought about by pregnancy and the demands of parenthood are beyond the capacity of mentally retarded people to handle. Especially retarded women are vulnerable to sexual exploitation and abuse. Normal contraceptive methods are inadequate, because they are not capable of taking adequate precautions against pregnancy. The only acceptable alternative is sterilization, and in the cases where they are not competent to make the decision, the consent for sterilization is given by others on their behalf.