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Do you think the Judge is right?

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Sharron Report 16 Feb 2013 19:37

Downs is a chromosome thing isn't it? I used to have a friend who had Downs syndrome and she was eventually living in a home where I would visit her.

One of the nurses was telling me how they sometimes had problems particularly with the Downs clients who had trouble dealing with their sexual one girl was found in the toilet with the brush bristle end up!

Idon't know but maybe Downs girls need a little more protection form their own urges than do others with learning difficulties.


Paula+ Report 16 Feb 2013 19:16

It is really very difficult to say, but really just stop and think about what would you do if it was your child in these circumstances? My sons step daughter “E” has learning difficulties. My DIL and my son have talked to her about boy friends and explained what can happen in a relationship. She has had a couple of boyfriends at school but nothing serious, they have always encouraged her to bring all of her friends home and are very aware of where she is going, who she is with and what she is doing. She is so honest, and when asked she will just tell it as it is. My son & DIL are loving, generous and responsible parents they both adore “E”, as does the rest of the family.
There is no way that she would be able to cope with independent living for the foreseeable future. I think we all agree the prospect of her having a baby would be unfair on her and also the baby. “E” is tall, beautiful looking; a very happy and bubbly girl, who thinks everyone is her friend. She is almost nineteen and has always been well below her age in maturity and reasoning. She has recently left school and started at a local collage where they have a wonderful special needs 6th form department. She loves it there and feels much more confident and assured., but there is still a vulnerability about her that she could so easily be taken advantage of. As a family we have talked about “E” and what they would do if she started a relationship, at the moment they have decided that a contraceptive-implant would possibly be the best option. My concern regarding “E” becoming pregnant is how she would cope not just with a baby, with a child as he/she becomes older.
<3 <3


BrianW Report 16 Feb 2013 17:21

Having pondered on this one I believe that any decision should be based on the mental age of the subject and not the chronological age.
If someone has a mental age of, say, twelve, then any decisions should be based on that age. Not only for Downs but for any sort of mental impairment and for any decisions regarding their life.
Intercourse with a twelve year old would be illegal. If that were the case here, then, since the subject would be expected to remain at that mental age, then any action to mitigate the consequences of that condition is in their interests.


ChAoTicintheNewYear Report 16 Feb 2013 16:48

I'm another 'don't know' on this one.

Sterilisation can fail, tubes can 'untie' themselves. It can also increase the risk of ectopic pregnancy. Failure is rare, about 1 in 200, but not impossible. Maybe the implant/injection would be better, at least for now.

If K doesn't have the capacity to make decisions about contraception does she have the capacity to consent to sexual intercourse. If not then pregnancy, although still a concern, is not the most important concern.


BrianW Report 16 Feb 2013 16:43

Whilst it would depend on the severity of the Downs, if my brother-in-law who lives with us were female then a sterilisation would be a definite choice.

With a mental age of no more than five, not able to read, write, hold any sort of conversation, make a hot drink let alone a meal, requiring 24/7 supervision, a hysterectomy before puberty would have been in "her" best interests.

In the case of this girl, is she be able to understand marriage, periods and sex? If not, unless she is to be kept virtually under lock and key then the judge is wrong. She has a human right to live a "normal" life within her understanding, not to be put through things beyond her comprehension.


Kay???? Report 16 Feb 2013 16:38

reactions tell the judge is right,,,,,,,,but having Downs isnt the end of having a relationship......perhaps if her health is good, precautions can be administered.


Sharron Report 16 Feb 2013 16:14

Part of the basis of common law is precedent. It is one of the things the judge had to take into account when coming to his decision,as do all judges in all decisions.

He had to be careful not to set a precedent that could be interpreted in any way that would be detrimaental to any Downs girl in the future whose fertility was being threaetned by another person.


Caroline Report 16 Feb 2013 14:44

Whilst it is a very difficult situation to say the least I'm behind the parents on this one I'm afraid.
Joy the place you've described sounds amazing but how many people have access to somewhere like that ? Not many I'm afraid. Most live at home with aging parents or end up in nursing homes.
I have a Neice who has Downs, a lovely women living with her family still. She is just about capable of looking after herself in the most basic way...would she be able to care for a pet let alone a baby ?...of course not.
My heart goes out to the family involved here because I'm sure they didn't take this decision lightly, and now after all this they are still in the same situation. Maybe the use of other methods isn't posible for some reason we don't know.
Human Rights are always banned around these days, and yet more often than not they don't seem to really care about the person at the centre of it all. Is it really against her Human rights to not be allowed to have a baby ? It can't be for the Human rights of an unborn baby.


Muffyxx Report 16 Feb 2013 14:28

Absolutely agree but it appears even her close family aren't allowed to make that decision for her......


Guinevere Report 16 Feb 2013 14:28

Exactly, Muffy, the judge isn't going to be the one left holding the baby. The parents are acting out of love for their daughter, they know what she can and cannot cope with far better than a total stranger.


JoyBoroAngel Report 16 Feb 2013 14:28

I can see two sides to this muffy
the fore and against

i dont think any of us can make that choice unless
it was a close family member
and even then all cases are diffrent in some ways :-D


Muffyxx Report 16 Feb 2013 14:17

ooops..sorry you were talking of the one in the village...just re read..


Muffyxx Report 16 Feb 2013 14:17

But Joy there isn't a baby...that's the whole point..and her parents want to make sure for her sake that it stays that way as they are clearly going to be the ones who will have to pick up the pieces should she fall pregnant.


JoyBoroAngel Report 16 Feb 2013 14:13

some of the Downs People are driving tractors
and a few can drive cars there to
they have a wonderful life there in the village
you can tell by how happy they are by the smiling faces :-D
i dont think anybody has the right to remove this girls baby
when she is doing a good job with suport to bring it up
i think the childs about 9/10 now it was a long time ago


Sharron Report 16 Feb 2013 14:07

What a strange place to be doing that good job though.

It has been born and is being given a good life but, had they been planning ahead,I doubt that it would have been an ideal choice to be bringing up a child,who may or may not have learning difficulties in a village made up almost entirely of those who do.


JoyBoroAngel Report 16 Feb 2013 14:01

we have a wonderful village near us at Danby called Botton village
every house has a carer and everybody else is downs or has learning problems
its a wonderful place ive been many times with the school band
they have a bakery a farm a doll shop a printers ect
they make bread jam wonderful dairy produce and farm grown veg to sell
they milk the cows feed the animals
all money made goes back into the village
my point is two of the residents with downs had a baby
that was born without downs
and the carers are helping the parents to bring the child up
and they are doing a good job :-D

there but for the grace of god goes I :-D :-D

♥†۩ Carol   Paine ۩†♥

♥†۩ Carol Paine ۩†♥ Report 16 Feb 2013 13:59

Anaesthesia complications are more likely to occur in individuals with Down syndrome than people without, so a non surgical way could be far safer for her.

We do not know the severity of her condition, but the fact that she is at college gives the impression that hers is not too severe.

'I have sought to achieve the right balance between protection and empowerment.'


Muffyxx Report 16 Feb 2013 13:23

I wonder if the judge will be helping with the child care arrangements,cost of counselling, upkeep or any other issue should the contraception fail.......

I'm a *don't know* on this one...but my gut feeling is that the parents aren't wanting the sterilisation against her best interests and ultimately they are the ones who are dealing with her care and day to day needs so they know best.

I can of course see the other side to it.


DazedConfused Report 16 Feb 2013 13:21

Whilst the concerns for the girls health both mental and physical are of great concern for all.

Who is going to have to look after any child born to this girl. Her parents - who already have the worry of keeping her safe.

Yes, sterilization is a big step to consider, but yet again without this, it will be down to her parents to ensure that any form of contraception, expecially the pill, is taken.

As a person who has a Downs Syndrome nephew I can the the toll of looking after him has taken on his parents (especially his mother) for the last 30 years. He is a grown man with the mental age of an 8 year old. Everything to him is black or white there are no grey inbetween areas in his life. I know I could not do what his mother does or any other parents out there.

Also you have to consider the level of Downs - some are very hard to notice yet others are so obviously Downs. And they all have different levels of competency so like the rest of us they cannot all be put in the 'one size fits all' category.

Maybe the judge should have spent 1 week living with this family to see what their day to day life is like.


Sharron Report 16 Feb 2013 13:14

Most forms of contraception are able to fail.

Sterilization would be extreme but not as extreme and cruel as subjecting the poor girl to a termination with it's subsequent hoemonal upheavals should a chosen form of contraception fail.