Court-Authorised Sterilisation and Human Rights: Inequality, Discrimination and Violence Against Women and Girls with Disability?

University of New South Wales Law Journal
Publication Type:
Journal Article
UNSW Law Journal, 2016, 39 (3), pp. 1002 - 1037
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Since at least the early 1990s, disability rights advocates have argued for the prohibition of sterilisation of women and girls with disability without their consent (‘non-consensual sterilisation’) except in that small proportion of instances where there is a serious threat to life.1 In part, this argument has been framed in terms of human rights: the act of non-consensual sterilisation (except where there is a serious threat to life) is fundamentally an act of discrimination and violence which violates multiple human rights including the rights to equality and non-discrimination, freedom from torture and personal integrity. In recent years these arguments have been increasingly supported by international human rights bodies which have framed non-consensual sterilisation of women and girls with disability as a violation of human rights and urged states parties, including Australia, to prohibit the practice.
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