Monday, 6 February 2012


The following was copied from the beginning of a Mail Online article published today.

A judge has banned an autistic woman with an IQ of 64 from having sexual intercourse on the grounds she does not fully understand she could say no to such actions.
Mr Justice Hedley said the 29-year-old lacks the mental capacity to consent to having sex, and made the order to protect her best interests.
He said she had to be protected from 'potentially exploitative and damaging' relations in the future, as she had already been involved in risky behaviour with people.
The order prevents the woman from having sex and also means anyone trying to have sex with her can be charged with sexual assault or rape.
And here is a comment by a total fucking moron.

If they applied this minimum IQ policy across the country, the chav problem would be solved in a single generation.

Okay. Deep breath. I have the feeling that whatever I sat about this case could be wrong because it's one of those where there really is no easy or obvious answer and maybe there is no right answer. But first off let's demolish that cretin cupid.

Ignoring the word chav because he (I really doubt it's a she) basically means the underclass. What he's done is raised the spectre of that specious so-called science known as eugenics. Eugenics believes that you can weed out those with genetic abnormalities (like disability and low i.q.) by restricting breeding. Which sounds fine except that it doesn't work and has long since been discredited by scientific research, though that doesn't stop ignoramuses coming along who believe it does. No it doesn't!

Back to this individual case. There are a couple of principles at issue here. The first is the duty of care by society to its weakest members who may be have to be protected from themselves. And then we have the principle of freedom of the individual to conduct their own lives  the way they wish (in accordance with the law). And honestly I don't think I can reconcile them.

I'll accept that this woman needs protection from those would exploit her sexually or otherwise. But I'm not happy about depriving her of the pleasures of having a sex life nor the risk of a rape accusation against someone unaware of this ruling who enters into a consensual act with this woman.

So, an alternative is to sterilise her instead. That still leaves her at the risk of STI's of course as she can't be relied on to insist on the use of a condom but there you go. Except, of course, sterilisation raises the issue of eugenics. And do we honestly have the right to deprive her of conceiving a child? 

I don't know. I don't know what the right thing to do is. Protect but deprive. Freedom but at risk. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Poor woman.

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