Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Act Now! End Involuntary Sterilization in Illinois

An opportunity for FRIDA Fighters!

What would you do if you were a person with a disability, and your legal guardian decided to have a doctor operate on you so you couldn’t have babies? What would you do if your guardian didn’t even tell you about this, or tricked you into doing it? This is called involuntary sterilization, and in Illinois it happens more often than you think. Involuntary sterilization is when your guardian and your doctor agree to tie your tubes or do a hysterectomy without your permission or knowledge. We are one of 16 states nationwide with no laws to protect people with disabilities who have guardians from sterilization.

Now we have a chance to change that. Today, there is a bill in the Illinois House of Representatives called H.B. 2290. This bill would update a law called the Probate Act of 1975. H.B. 2290 would add to the Probate Act by saying that a guardian would need to get a court order to have a doctor do a sterilization on a ward with a disability. The exception would be if you might die or be seriously harmed without it. Otherwise, a court would have to say that sterilization is ok, and the court would have to do their best to figure out whether the person with a disability is ok with it or not. Right now, we do not have that kind of protection at all. H.B. 2290 is an important Illinois bill that protects the bodies of people with disabilities who have guardians.

Remember, not every person with a disability has a guardian. Most people with disabilities make decisions about their own lives. A guardian makes decisions for a person with a disability who needs help with decisions. A person with a disability who has a guardian still can often make their opinions known, and it is important to respect that opinion.

So what can you do to help? We need this bill to pass the Illinois House of Representatives NOW! If you live in Illinois, contact your state representative and ask them to sponsor H.B. 2290 TODAY! You can find out who your representative is at the Board of Elections webpage. Right now, we especially want to reach representatives who are on the Judiciary;s Civil Law Committee—look them up here. If you are with an organization, have your organization join our list to support H.B. 2290! Let’s make this happen today! Check back at for updates.

Organizations Supporting H.B. 2290:

FRIDA, Equip for Equality

For more information, or to sign onto our list of organizations supporting H.B. 2290, contact FRIDA member Michelle Robbins at (915) 496-5468 or To read the bill, go to the bill online.