Without a Choice: sterilization of people with mental disabilities.
On July 9th, 2002 The National aired "Sandra and Her Son: a mother has her mentally disabled son castrated."" This feature report was provocative and unsettling; it exposed many issues regarding disability, parenting and sterilization. It left viewers questioning their own opinions, ethics and values. Should parents have the right to choose sterilization as a treatment for their mentally disabled child?.
Sandra is the mother of a twenty-six year old mentally disabled son. She describes her son as:.
a four-year-old--he needs about that much supervision, and understanding, except you have to keep in mind that he is in a man's body, strong as a man and wants to do a lot of things that a man wants to do (http://www.cbc.ca/natinal/news/sandrason/). .
Sandra also explains that as her son grew older she became "afraid of his increasing aggression and sexuality- (http://www.cbc.ca/natinal/news/sandrason/). She feared that one day he would get into trouble, that he would hurt someone and end up in an institution- (http://www.cbc.ca/natinal/news/sandrason/). Sandra's increasing concern guided her to consult doctors and specialists on the issue. Sandra wanted her son to be "out in the community without worrying about him being sexually inappropriate- (http://www.cbc.ca/natinal/news/sandrason/). .
After much guidance and advice from doctors, Sandra agreed to her son having a bilateral orchidectomy, a form of castration. The bilateral orichidectomy succeeded in suppressing Sandra's son's aggression and inappropriate sexual urges. Sandra believes that she made the right decision for her son. Her son can be outside now; he can interact with others, and Sandra does not have to worry about her son's inappropriate behavior.
Although Sandra feels that she has made the right decision, other disability advocates are not supportive of her decision.