An NHS trust is fighting a court battle to sterilise a man with moderate learning difficulties.
The High Court Photo: Alamy
A judge has been asked to decide whether it is in the man’s best interests to undergo surgical sterilisation by means of a vasectomy.
No details about the man’s identity or the trust in question can be published due to legal restrictions covering the case being heard in the Court of Protection.
Both the man’s family and his GP support the application, and it is claimed he lacks the capacity to decide for himself.
The case follows other instances in which judges have been asked to rule on whether a person with learning difficulties should be sterilised without their consent.
In 2011 an NHS trust and a council applied to sterilise a woman with learning difficulties at the same time as she gave birth to her child by caesarean section.
Last year a hospital applied for permission to sterilise a man who was in a sexual relationship with a woman who also had learning difficulties without his parents or mental health supervisors knowing about it.
Campaigners have claimed that sterilising without consent is wrong and could have a devastating impact on the human rights of the disabled.
Local authorities can apply to have a person with learning difficulties sterilised without the consent of their families. However, there have been instances in which parents have personally applied for the right for the procedure to be carried out.
It is rare for judges to grant permission. In 2000 Mr Justice Wall gave the go ahead for a hysterectomy to be performed on a woman with learning difficulties, but his ruling was overturned by the family division of the High Court.
SOURCE: The Telegraph