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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 65017 Find in a Library
Title: STERILIZATION OF THE MENTALLY RETARDED - RUBY V MASSEY 452 F SUPP 361 (D CONN 1978)
Journal: CAPITAL UNIVERSITY LAW REVIEW  Volume:9  Issue:1  Dated:(1979)  Pages:191-206
Author(s): J E DIEHL
Corporate Author: Capital University Law Review
United States of America
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 16
Sponsoring Agency: Capital University Law Review
Columbus, OH 43209
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A COURT DECISION GRANTING AUTHORIZATION FOR THE STERILIZATION OF THREE NONINSTITUTIONALIZED RETARDED SISTERS IS REVIEWED WITH EMPHASIS ON ISSUES NEGLECTED IN THE DELIBERATIONS.
Abstract: THE CONNECTICUT DECISION OF RUBY V. MASSEY WAS BASED ON EXTENSION OF THE STATE STATUTE ALLOWING STERILIZATION OF INSTITUTIONALIZED MENTALLY RETARDED INDIVIDUALS. THE COURT REASONED THAT TO DENY THE PETITIONERS WOULD VIOLATE THE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT OF THE NONINSTITUTIONALIZED TO EQUAL PROTECTION. THE FIRST OPTION REJECTED WAS DISMISSAL OF THE PETITION FOR LACK OF APPLICABLE JURISDICTION, WHICH WOULD HAVE LED TO THE TOTAL UNAVAILABILITY OF STERILIZATION FOR RETARDED CHILDREN. THE SECOND OPTION, CHOSEN BY THE COURT, WAS TO DEAL WITH THE CONSTITUTIONALITY OF THE STATE STATUTE. THE STATUTE COULD HAVE BEEN STRUCK DOWN, BUT IT WAS EXTENDED INSTEAD TO APPLY TO ALL MENTALLY RETARDED INDIVIDUALS. AS IT STANDS, THE STATUTE IS PROCEDURALLY DEFECTIVE, WITHOUT SAFEGUARDS OR GUIDELINES FOR ITS APPLICATION. IN CONTRAST, A MORE ADEQUATE NORTH CAROLINA STATUTE STATES OBJECTIVES FOR STERILIZATION DEFINING WHEN IT IS IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE INDIVIDUAL, IN THE PUBLIC GOOD, OR DESIRABLE FOR PREVENTION OF DEFECTIVE OFFSPRING. MOREOVER, THE NORTH CAROLINA STATUTE REQUIRES THE FEMALE'S CONSENT OR PROOF OF EXPLANATION TO THOSE INCAPABLE OF CONSENT, AND PROOF OF THE INCOMPETENT'S MENTAL DEFICIENCY. THE OPTIMUM RULING IN CONNECTICUT SHOULD HAVE PROTECTED THE MENTALLY RETARDED INDIVIDUAL'S FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS WHILE ALSO SECURING THE MEDICALLY INDICATED STERILIZATIONS. THIS COULD HAVE BEEN ACHIEVED THROUGH THE THIRD OPTION, SUBSTITUTED JUDGMENT, WHICH ALLOWS PARENTS TO SUBSTITUTE WHAT THEY FEEL WOULD BE THE INCOMPETENT PERSON'S DECISION. HAD THE COURT TAKEN THIS INITIATIVE, THE FULL PROTECTION OF RIGHTS AS WELL AS EQUITABLE DECISIONS WOULD HAVE BEEN ENSURED. AS IT IS, THE CASE SETS A PRECEDENT FOR THE 13 STATES WITH EXISTING STATUTES ONLY. THE DOCTRINE OF SUBSTITUTED JUDGMENT SUPPLEMENTED WITH GUIDELINES WOULD HAVE SET A PRECEDENT FOR COURTS NATIONWIDE. FOOTNOTES ARE INCLUDED.
Index Term(s): Connecticut; Constitutional Rights/Civil Liberties; Laws and Statutes; Mental defectives; North Carolina; Right to treatment
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=65017

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