The Family Court of Australia has given a couple permission to sterilize their disabled 11-year-old daughter.
The child, known only as Angela, is profoundly disabled and unable to communicate, The Australian reports.
Angela began menstruating at the age of nine, and her parents, who live in Queensland, believe that her periods trigger epileptic fits. Angela has Retts syndrome, which is a progressive neurological disorder. She cannot talk and does not have the coordination to use sign language.
They want her to have her womb removed — a hysterectomy – in order to stop the periods and decrease her distress. Other treatments failed.
The court's decision prompted an immediate reaction from disability organizations, who describe forced sterilization of any girl as an abuse of human rights.
"It is only ever the disabled girls," said Carolyn Frohmader, chief executive of Women with a Disability Australia, a charity which wants to ban the sterilization of disabled children.
"When you go through the cases, there is never a boy, no matter how intellectually disabled, who has to be sterilized."
Judge Paul Cronin said he made the order in Angela's case to improve her quality of life.
Three of Queensland's leading gynecologists agreed a hysterectomy was the best treatment.