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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 49 (2007) 9, 667 - 671

Case report

At the boundaries of self-determination: ethical and juridical dimensions of involuntary abortion and sterilization

J.C. Eschauzier, S. Tuinier †, F.M.M.A. van der Heijden, C. Heesmans, W.J. Schudel

summary A young woman, diagnosed with schizophrenia, was admitted to a psychiatric clinic with an acute relapse of her illness. Two months later, while still at the clinic, she was found to be pregnant. Due to her illness she was not considered competent to decide whether to have an abortion. Treatment was complicated by the chronic nature of her illness, a total lack of family and social support and mild mental retardation. Eventually she gave birth to a healthy baby and then was sterilized with the consent of her guardian. Ethical and juridical aspects are discussed here.

keywords abortion, autonomy, competence, schizophrenia, sterilization