A mother’s request to have her severely disabled daughter’s womb removed to prevent future problems is likely to be decided in the courts.
Planned op for disabled teenager sparks anger
Alison Thorpe’s decision to ask doctors to perform a hysterectomy on her 15-year-old daughter Katie, who has cerebral palsy and severe learning disabilities, has caused anger among disability organisations who believe it breaches her human rights.
The case is being compared to that of Ashley X, the nine-year-old American disabled girl, who had growth-stunting drugs, a hysterectomy and her breasts removed “to improve her quality of life”. Read about Ashley X here.
Katie’s mother accepts the operation is not medically necessary, but says it will save her the “pain, discomfort and indignity of menstruation”.
“I am not advocating this as a blanket policy,” said Ms Thorpe, who is Katie’s full-time carer. “For my daughter this, I think, is the right decision and a decision that we have thought long and hard about.”
But David Congdon, Mencap’s head of campaigns and policy, said the proposed operation was unnecessary and morally wrong. “We urge the courts and doctors to consider the rights of the girl involved above anything else.”
The case is now likely to go to court, with Katie having separate legal representation to her mother.
This article appeared in the November/December 2007 issue of Viewpoint
Photo credit: East News