Sterilisation issue much more complex: mother

CALLS for a national law to prevent the forced sterilisation of disabled children and women have been criticised by a mother who has personally battled with the issue.

The Australian Human Rights Commission and other groups have long been calling for the practice of sterilising disabled children to be outlawed.

In a submission to a Senate inquiry investigating the issue, the commission wrote that Australia had long been in breach of its international obligations on sterilisation.

But on a personal level, the issue was much more complex, according to the mother of a young disabled woman who wrote a submission to the inquiry.

She wrote that her 17-year-old daughter, who had moderate intellectual disability among several other conditions, had recently started living independently and had a boyfriend.

"There is no way in the world she would survive through a pregnancy, emotionally or physically," she wrote.

"So don't judge parents who make the decision to go overseas to have their precious children sterilised, because you don't know the half of it.

"You don't lie awake at night worrying about them being abused and getting pregnant, or how you are going to manage for the next day, week, month and year caring for them."

The mother wrote that those advocates calling for the practice to be outlawed did not understand the situation for families facing the choice.

"No hard and fast rules apply here because no hard and fast humans exist."

The Senate inquiry remains open for more public submissions until February 22.

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