Is The Forced Contraception Alleged By Britney Spears Legal?
(Link): Britney Spears says conservatorship won’t let her remove her IUD. Is that even legal? – article behind paywall
by David Oliver
Britney Spears said many things when she addressed the court Wednesday and spoke for 20 minutes about the way her years-long conservatorship has affected her life, but one detail shocked her fanbase and fueled conversations about reproductive and disability rights.
“I want to be able to get married and have a baby,” she said during the hearing. “I was told right now in the conservatorship, I’m not able to get married or have a baby. I have (an) IUD inside of (me) right now, so I don’t get pregnant.
“I wanted to take the IUD out, so I can start trying to have another baby, but this so-called team won’t let me go to the doctor to take it out because they don’t want me to have any more children.”
…”Britney Spears has experienced the nexus of sexism and sanism in the public eye and now the court system,” disability rights activist Rebecca Cokley said.
“Having her right to parent, her right to work or not to work, her very right to bodily autonomy taken away for someone’s profit for 13 years is a public policy failure. One all too common for people with mental illness and developmental disabilities.”
…Robyn Powell, a professor at Stetson University College of Law in Gulfport, Florida, takes these issues personally.
“As a woman with a significant disability, I have been offered a hysterectomy more times than I can count,” Powell said. “This has been done based on assumptions about my reproductive desires rather than medical necessity.”
Attorney Leah Goodridge said Spears’ situation is emblematic of a bigger issue with American society. “This story about regulation, misogyny and who we deem ‘able-bodied’ is deeply rooted in American history,” Goodridge said.
Twitter user Sarah Lerner, like many others, made the connection between disability and reproductive rights: “Britney Spears being held under a 13-year conservatorship and being forced to keep her IUD in despite the fact that she wants another child is where disability rights and reproductive rights intertwine.”
Lawyer Madiba Dennie, compared the situation to “Buck v. Bell,” a Supreme Court decision in 1927. The court found that a Virginia law that allowed for Carrie Buck, who was in a mental institution, to be sterilized didn’t violate the Constitution.
“Forcing someone to be on birth control against their will is a violation of basic human rights and bodily autonomy, just as forcing someone to become or stay pregnant against their will would be,” said Ruth Dawson, a principal policy associate at the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports reproductive rights. Court-condoned compelled contraception is rare in conservatorship.
But the specter it raises — forced sterilization — does have a grim, extensive history in the United States, especially against poor women, women of color and inmates. In the early 20th century, the state-sanctioned practice was upheld by the United States Supreme Court…
Typically, a conservator has temporary control over the finances and even medical care of an incapacitated person. Experts underscored that Ms. Spears’s assertion is unverified.
But if it’s accurate, they said, the most likely rationale, however suspect, might be that Jamie Spears, her father, wants to protect her finances from a baby’s father, potentially her boyfriend, who is reportedly at odds with Mr. Spears.
If a guardian fears that a ward will make financially unwise choices, “the remedy is not to say they can’t procreate,” said Sylvia Law, a health law scholar at New York University School of Law. “It’s unspeakable.”