British judge orders man to be sterilized ‘for his own good’By Mason White 7:36 PM August 17, 2013
|Judge Eleanor King|
By: Sarah Weiss
For the first time, a judge ordered a man to be sterilized so he does not have more children.
The 36-year-old man in England, who is referred to as DE in court proceedings, already has one child with his girlfriend.
The man was brought to court by his family, who wants him to be sterilized, due to his mental status.
According to court papers, the man has the reasoning age of a child. He has learning difficulties and is unable to make decisions about the use of contraceptives, London’s High Court heard.
Judge Eleanor King ruled that the family can have him sterilized, even though he cannot consent to the procedure. The judge heard that having another child could cause “serious psychological distress” to the father of one.
“After hearing all the evidence, I have concluded that a vasectomy is in the best interest of DE ,” the judge said.
His family and doctors supported the decision, which is the first of its kind in Britain.
Experts said that the man has an IQ of 40, which means he has the mental age of a child between six and nine years. According to his family, he is not able to live alone, and he has limited language.
The 36-year-old and his girlfriend, who also suffers from learning difficulties, had a son in 2010. The family said that he could not be relied upon in using condoms or other birth control methods effectively in order to prevent pregnancy.
This is not the first time the family petitioned the court for the right to sterilize their mentally disabled son. In 1999, an application was filed for the sterilization of the man, but it was refused.
The court heard that the birth of the couple’s first child had a profound effect on both families, and to the couple. Since then, the couple, who have been together for 10 years, were not allowed to see each other without supervision in order to “keep them safe”.
The court heard that the man suffered distress during the separation from his girlfriend and his confidence was shaken by the loss of his independence.
“A vasectomy will allow the man to resume a sexual relationship with his girlfriend,” the judge said.
The couple’s son is being cared for by the woman’s family.