Stronger laws on forced sterilisation

The report from the Senate Community Affairs References Committee on involuntary or coerced sterilisation, published yesterday, made 28 recommendations, including banning sterilisation in disabled people unless they were unable to consent and were unlikely to ever develop the capacity to do so.

Professor Michael Permezel, president of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said the recommendations added more rigour to current processes.

“We are very pleased to see...they recognise there are a small number of individuals where that particular procedure remains the best option,” he said.

“An outright ban would have been extremely foolish and we would have been astounded, even though some individuals have called for that.”

Jane Chivers, senior project co-ordinator with Family Planning NSW, said the committee recognised that while some disabled