The Sterilization Act
Summary of the original Act of 1998 including the Amendment of 2005
STERILIZATION IS A RIGHT under the right circumstances,of the right people, including those who are mentally disabled and cannot give own consent.
Purpose of the Act
To Restore, Protect And Promote The Human Dignity Of Persons, In Particular Those Who Are Incapable Of Consenting Or Who Are Mentally Disabled, By Ensuring That Decisions About Sterilization Are Made In A Manner That Is Responsible And Considerate.
Sterilization means – a procedure whereby a person could be permanently rendered incapable of fertilisation or reproduction.
A person capable of consenting may be sterilised if 18 years of age and above.
A person capable of consenting may not be sterilised without his or her consent.
Sterilization may be performed on a person under 18 years if failure to do so would jeopardize the person’s life or seriously impair his or her health.
The above person may be sterilised if –
i) Consent is given by a person who is lawfully entitled to give consent.
ii) An independent medical practitioner has consulted with that person and has provided a written opinion that sterilization is in the best interest of that person.
iii) So authorised by a sterilization panel. (see next section)
Sterilization may be performed on any person who is incapable of consenting or incompetent to consent.
i) Upon a Request for Sterilization of such a person by the parent, guardian, spouse or curator.
ii) The Panel will consider
a) The person’s age
b) Whether there are other alternatives to sterilization
c) The person’s mental and physical health and wellbeing
d) What the effect of sterilization would be on the above
e) The type of sterilization procedure to be performed
f) Will the person become capable of consenting?
g) Is sterilization in the best interests of the person
h) Any benefit from sterilisation?
The Panel will agree that sterilisation may be performed if the person is mentally disabled and cannot:
- make his or her own decision about contraception or sterilization
- develop mentally to be able to make an informed choice
- take on the parental responsibility of giving birth to a child.
The person in charge of the hospital, or who receives the request for Sterilisation must convene the Panel consisting of:
- A Psychiatrist or Medical Practitioner
- A Psychologist or Social Worker
- A Nurse