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THE EFFECT OF STERILIZATION AMONG HANDICAPPED OR MENTALLY

DISABLED PEOPLE

A Study by

Tagalog, Ireneo Jr. (BSME)

In Partial Fulfillment

of the Midterm Requirements for the HUM 003

(Ethics)
CHAPTER I

INTRODUCTION

The practice of sterilization among the handicapped emerged

as a convenient way to avoid unwanted pregnancies. A request for

sterilization can develop from concerned parents, professionals,

or from the mentally disabled individuals who chose to remain

childless. However, some of the mentally handicapped people have

been coerced to undergo sterilization processes, leading to

incapacity to procreate or enjoy other social responsibilities. In

medical perspective, sterilization of the handicapped resulting

from genetic factors may be necessary to minimize the population

of mentally retarded people. Handicapped or mentally disabled

people should enjoy the same rights as any other citizen. It is

essential for obstetricians and gynecologists to consider ethical

issues surrounding sterilization procedures on mentally disabled

people, as each individual requires careful considerations before

undertaking the process.

Sterilization to disabled people may save them from

discrimination in society. According to Wertz and Fletcher, it is

ethically acceptable to undertake sterilization on handicapped

persons to limit procreation and to enhance their own best

interests. In most cases, disabled people have experienced

difficulties while taking care of their offspring, particularly


when none of their family members is physically fit to assist in

carry out daily routines at home. If procreation is likely to harm

the handicapped, undertaking the sterilization procedure can be

ethically justified. Due to their incompetency, mentally disabled

people are not responsible for numerous consequences that may

emerge due to their conditions. Thus, limiting their rights to

procreation should not be perceived as a punishment, but rather a

suitable measure to prevent misfortune, as well as family burdens.

This would reduce the cost incurred by family members to afford

them necessary care. A decision to bear a child, or to prevent

childbearing permanently are best made while taking full

deliberation of the burdens that the disabled person may carry to

parenthood. If the cause of disability is genetic factors,

sterilization of disabled persons can be permitted to minimize the

population of mentally disabled people. The burden of pregnancy

may be too heavy for a disabled person, as pregnancy, birth, as

well as parenthood may create emotional stress due to loss of

sleep, and demand for caring for an infant.

It is better for a handicapped person to undergo sterilization

process than to be left alone to bear the consequences of

parenting. In addition, sterilization would minimize the

proportion of children with disabilities who require special care,

and who experience sadness, depression, and low self-esteem.


BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

Sterilization is one of the methods of birth control that is

available to most American adults, including the handicapped,

which involves a surgical procedure to control reproduction for

life. The issue of sterilization, particularly to women and girls,

stirred a heated debate in the US at the start of the twentieth

century due to its social implications. The first sterilization

program, which occurred in Indiana State in 1907, was non-

voluntary, and this made other states and countries to adopt the

procedure. However, doctors usually face challenges when requested

to perform a sterilization procedure to mentally handicapped

individual, who have no capacity to give consent by themselves.

Some parents may prefer their mentally disabled children to be

sterilized so that they do not worry about those who take care of

them.

In the initial stages, it appeared as a dreadful idea to

propose sterilization without the consent of the handicapped

person, but later it became a common practice. Sterilization was

part of the eugenics, where ‘undesirable’ humans would be

sterilized to avoid producing children that would be equally

undesirable. This practice was carried out by the Nazi regime to

get rid of hereditary illnesses.


Sterilization affects procreation, thus, may interfere with the

moral beliefs of mentally disabled patients, their families, and

their personal physicians. Forcing disabled women and girls to

undergo sterilization is denying them human rights, which include

reproductive rights. A decision on sterilization should be made

only when it serves the best interest of the patient.

STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

This study aims to determine the factors and reasons why

should a handicapped or a disabled individual should undergo

sterilization.

Specifically, it seeks to answer the following sub

problems:

a. Unwanted Pregnancies or Procreation

b. Alarming Population of mentally retarded person

c. Hereditary Illnesses

d. Discrimination in Society

e. Sexual Abuse

f. Emotional stress to Parenthood


SCOPE AND LIMITATIONS

This work study was conducted last January 10 up to January

12, 2018. This study is primarily focus on the effect of

sterilization among handicapped or mentally disabled persons. This

study covers sterilization issues among handicapped or mentally

disabled persons.

SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

This study is significant to the following:

To the Parents of the Handicapped or Mentally Disabled person,

sterilization serves as a suitable measure to prevent misfortune

as well as to be a family burden.

To the Handicapped or Mentally Disabled person, preventing to

bear a child, considering their ability of incapable of taking

good care of themselves, would shun carrying a burden of parenthood

during her adulthood. Also Unwanted Pregnancies or Procreations,

Sexual Abuse and Discrimination in the Society will not also

happened.
DEFINITION OF TERMS

Coerced Sterilization occurs when financial or other incentives,

misinformation, or intimidation tactics are used to compel an

individual to undergo the procedure.

Force Sterilization occurs when a person is sterilized after

expressly refusing the procedure, without her knowledge or is

not given an opportunity to provide consent.

Gynecologists is a doctor who focuses on women’s reproductive

health.

Obstetricians provides surgical care for women during pregnancy

and childbirth. They also handle postnatal care.

Offspring is a children or young of a particular parent or

progenitor.

Procreation is the production of offspring. It is often referred

as reproduction.

Sterilization is a procedure performed to stop fertility

permanently, in either male or female. It is a method of birth

control reproduction of life.

Unwanted Pregnancy is a pregnancy occurred when no children, or

no more children, were desired. It is happened when mentally

disabled person was sex abuse.