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Call To Action: Australian Mental Health Bill Severly Endangers Children and Parental Rights

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Anthony Gucciardi
Natural Society

Following the call by ethicists for after-birth abortions and the press explosion surrounding the ‘Euthanasia Coaster‘, new legislation from Australia is now paving the way for children of any age to consent to sterilization — without parental consent. That’s right, if a psychiatrist determines that a child under the age of 18 years is ‘sufficiently mature’, they will be sterilized without any say from the parents. Again, there is no age minimum, as long as they are ‘mature‘ enough.

The legislation, known as the ‘Draft Mental Health Bill 2011′, also allows for 12-year-olds to consent to psychosurgery and electroshock. You can view the bill for yourself on the Australian Mental Health government website. Written by the Western Australia Mental Health Commission (MHC) and overseen by Mental Health Commissioner and clinical psychologist Mr Eddie Bartnik, objections can still be submitted to Australian parliamentary members in each state until March 9th.

Some main points of the bill read:

  • CHILDREN OF ANY AGE TO CONSENT TO STERILISATION: If a psychiatrist decides that a child (under 18 years) has sufficient maturity, he or she will be able to consent to sterilisation. Parental consent will not be needed. Only after the sterilisation procedure has been performed does it have to be reported and then only to the Chief Psychiatrist. [Pages: 135 & 136 of the Draft Mental Health Bill 2011]
  • 12 YEAR OLDS WILL BE ABLE TO CONSENT TO PSYCHOSURGERY: Banned in N.S.W. and the N.T., psychosurgery irreversibly damages the brain by surgery, burning or inserting electrodes. This draft bill proposes to allow a 12 year old child, if considered to be sufficiently mature by a psychiatrist, to be able to consent to psychosurgery. Once the child has consented it goes before the Mental Health Tribunal (MHT) for approval. Parental consent is also not needed for the MHT to approve the psychosurgery. [Pages: 108, 109, 110, 197,198, 199, 213]
  • 12 YEAR OLDS WILL BE ABLE TO CONSENT TO ELECTROSHOCK (ECT): Electroshock is hundreds of volts of electricity to the head. Any child aged 12 and over, whom a child and adolescent psychiatrist decides is “mature” enough, will be able to consent to electroshock. Also, once consent is given, there is no requirement for parents or anyone, including the MHT, to approve the electroshock. Electroshock should be banned. Its use on the elderly, pregnant women and children is especially destructive. [Pages: 100, 101, 103, 104, 194, 105]
Action will need to be taken to make sure the bill does not pass. Objections can be sent to the Mental Health Commission and to Australian state legislators. Feedback options come to a close on the 9th of March at 5pm, so it is important to voice your opposition today. Here are a few ways to contact the Mental Health Commission and state your objection to the bill:
  • Mail: GPO Box X2299 Perth Business Centre, W.A. 6847

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