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Passage of Illinois House Bill 2290 Adds Crucial Due Process Protection Governing Sterilization of Adults With Disabilities
Date:5/18/2009

Equip for Equality's Judicial Victory Leads to Legislative

Reform for Adults with Disabilities Under Guardianship

CHICAGO, May 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, the Illinois General Assembly passed legislation to ban the sterilization of adults with disabilities under guardianship without due process. In so doing, the reproductive dignity of adults with disabilities under guardianship has been preserved. The bill, HB 2290, will now be sent to Governor Quinn.

Previously, there was no requirement that a guardian of an adult with a disability petition the court to authorize a ward's sterilization. In recognition of the fundamental rights at stake, and the history of involuntary sterilization of people with disabilities, most states have enacted statutes to provide due process protection for wards facing this life-changing, and potentially traumatic, situation. Prior to today, Illinois was one of only 16 states failing to provide statutory protections.

"Passage of this legislation is long overdue and critical to the protection of the fundamental rights of people with disabilities," said Zena Naiditch, founder and CEO of Equip for Equality. "Despite having legal guardians, people with disabilities retain basic rights regarding their own bodies and irreversible reproductive decisions. We call on Governor Quinn to put an end to the tragic history of involuntary sterilization and take a giant step forward for human rights by immediately signing this bill into law."

After obtaining a landmark decision in the Illinois Appellate Court upholding the denial of a petition for involuntary sterilization of a 26-year-old woman, Equip for Equality set to work on obtaining a permanent statewide policy change. In the court case, the young woman's guardian sought to have her ward permanently sterilized. In the bench trial and in conversations with the guardian ad lite
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SOURCE Equip for Equality
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