Forced Sterilization of Women and Girls with Disabilities in Australia: The WWDA submission

In November, I posted on the Australian Senate Inquiry into the forced sterilization of women and girls with disabilities.  Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA) has just made its powerful, eye-opening submission to the Inquiry.  And there’s something you can do, pronto, that may make a difference here: endorse or support the submission.  Anyone who thinks that forced sterilization is a “thing of the past” shoudl read this submission.  First, from the submission (p.20),

There is a historical precedent in several countries including for example the USA (until the 1950s), in Canada and Sweden (until the 1970s), and Japan (until 1996) indicating that torture of women and girls with disabilities by sterilisation occurred on a collective scale – that is, mass forced sterilisation. This policy was rationalised by a pseudo-scientific theory called eugenics – the aim being the eradication of a wide range of social problems by preventing those with ‘physical, mental or social problems’ from reproducing.  Although eugenic policies have now been erased from legal statutes in most countries, vestiges still remain within some areas of the legal and medical establishments and within the attitudes of some sectors of the community:

  • “Disabled people should not have babies.”

  • “We neuter our dogs and cats for the perfectly ethical reasons such as their health, to lessen the natural biological impact it causes to their bodies and to ensure that they don’t breed unnecessarily….. If she [re Angela] were a cat, dog, horse, hamster we would do what we could to alleviate her burdens and to make sure she enjoyed the best quality of life she can have.”

  • “She [re Angela] doesn’t have the skills necessary to raise a child herself (who will most likely be disabled too), so what use is a reproductive system anyway. Our health system is under enough pressure with the aging population without the addition to any more disabled people.”

  • “Disabled children cost the council too much money and should be put down.”


Dehumanised: The Forced Sterilisation of Women and Girls with Disabilities in Australia, by Carolyn Frohmader for Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA), March 2013.  Submission to the Senate Inquiry into the involuntary or coerced sterilisation of people with disabilities in Australia. 118 pages, 18 recommendations. Available in 4 versions:  The submission also includes substantial information on the history, legal and social context, and the lived experience of women and girls with disabilities on forced sterilization in Australia.

WWDA Facebook: See entries for March  12 and 16-17th for the submission and support for it, including a template letter.  PLEASE TAKE THE TIME TO SUPPORT THIS SUBMISSION.

WWDA website:

Australian Senate Inquiry:

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