Woman with learning disabilities “to have contraceptive device fitted against her will”

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The woman has already had children taken into care and is due to give birth to another child, but she told the court “it’s my body and it’s my life”

A woman with learning disabilities who has given birth to a number of children should be fitted with a contraceptive device against her will, a Court of Protection judge has decided.

Specialists told Mrs Justice Gwynneth Knowles that the woman, who is in her 20s and has had children taken into care, was pregnant again and due to give birth soon.

They said she had a number of physical health problems and further pregnancies could pose a significant risk to her.

The woman said she would agree to having contraception via three-monthly injections but did not want to be fitted with a contraceptive device.

“It’s my body and it’s my life,” the woman had told the judge.

“I should have the choice on what I want.”

Doctors were concerned that she would not turn up to appointments for injections.

They said fitting a contraceptive device was the best option.

Mrs Justice Knowles analysed the case at a recent hearing in the Court of Protection, where judges consider issues relating to people who may not have the capacity to make decisions for themselves, and outlined her decision in a written ruling published today.

The judge decided that fitting a contraceptive device would be in the woman’s best interests.

She concluded that the woman did not have the mental capacity to make decisions about contraception.

The judge said a contraceptive device should be fitted when the woman was having a planned caesarean section.

Mrs Justice Knowles has ruled that the woman cannot be identified in media reports of the case.

The hearing was conducted via Skype and the woman spoke to the judge from her home.