In a case centering on the rights of people with intellectual disabilities, a court has ruled that an Iowa mother overstepped when she arranged a vasectomy for her son with special needs.
The Iowa Supreme Court said in a unanimous decision Friday that Maria Kennedy should have obtained court approval before arranging a February 2013 vasectomy for her adult son with intellectual disability, reports The Des Moines Register.
Kennedy, who has had guardianship of her son since 2009, arranged for the procedure after becoming concerned that her son was in a relationship with a co-worker at at big-box store. However, the 21-year-old said he told his mother and the doctor who carried out the procedure that he did not want a vasectomy, according to court papers.
While guardians are empowered to arrange regular medical care and make emergency decisions, the state supreme court ruled that a vasectomy is a “major elective surgery” that would require a guardian to get permission from a judge.