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Mental capacity to make decisions about contraception

In a recent Court of Protection case involving a 31 year old woman with autistic spectrum disorder, mild learning disability, emotionally unstable personality disorder and recurrent psychotic disorder, the judge concluded the woman had mental capacity to make decisions around contraception and stated: ‘There are reasons to avoid setting the bar too high for capacity to make decisions about the use of contraception...Daily, in GP surgeries and clinics, women make decisions about contraception without considering the risks to them or to the health of their baby if they were to get pregnant. The risk of becoming pregnant following intercourse is a core piece of relevant information, but not all the many and varied risks which may be consequent on becoming pregnant. Some may envisage all manner of risks, others will not do so.’ The case confirmed the established ‘benchmark’ information a person needs to understand in relation to make decisions to use contraception.

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