Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 54.1. Professions and Occupations
Chapter 29. Medicine and Other Healing Arts
3/8/2021

Article 7. Sexual Sterilization.

§ 54.1-2974. Sterilization operations for persons 18 years or older capable of informed consent.

It shall be lawful for any physician licensed by the Board of Medicine to perform a vasectomy, salpingectomy, or other surgical sexual sterilization procedure on any person 18 years of age or older who has the capacity to give informed consent, when so requested in writing by such person. Prior to or at the time of such request, a full, reasonable, and comprehensible medical explanation as to the meaning and consequences of such an operation and as to alternative methods of contraception shall be given by the physician to the person requesting the operation.

1981, c. 454, § 54-325.9; 1988, c. 765; 2013, c. 671.

§ 54.1-2975. Sterilization operations for certain children incapable of informed consent.

It shall be lawful for any physician licensed by the Board of Medicine to perform a vasectomy, salpingectomy, or other surgical sexual sterilization procedure on a person fourteen years of age or older and less than eighteen years of age when:

1. A petition has been filed in the circuit court of the county or city wherein the child resides by the parent or parents having custody of the child or by the child's guardian, spouse, or next friend requesting that the operation be performed;

2. The court has made the child a party defendant, served the child, the child's guardian, if any, the child's spouse, if any, and the child's parent who has custody of the child with notice of the proceedings and appointed for the child an attorney-at-law to represent and protect the child's interests;

3. The court has determined that a full, reasonable, and comprehensible medical explanation as to the meaning, consequences, and risks of the sterilization operation to be performed and as to alternative methods of contraception has been given by the physician to the child upon whom the operation is to be performed, to the child's guardian, if any, to the child's spouse, if any, and, if there is no spouse, to the parent who has custody of the child;

4. The court has determined by clear and convincing evidence that the child's mental abilities are so impaired that the child is incapable of making his or her own decision about sterilization and is unlikely to develop mentally to a sufficient degree to make an informed judgment about sterilization in the foreseeable future;

5. The court, to the greatest extent possible, has elicited and taken into account the views of the child concerning the sterilization, giving the views of the child such weight in its decision as the court deems appropriate;

6. The court has complied with the requirements of § 54.1-2977; and

7. The court has entered an order authorizing a qualified physician to perform the operation not earlier than thirty days after the date of the entry of the order, and thirty days have elapsed. The court order shall state the date on and after which the sterilization operation may be performed.

1981, c. 454, § 54-325.10; 1988, c. 765.

§ 54.1-2976. Sterilization operations for certain adults incapable of informed consent.

It shall be lawful for any physician licensed by the Board of Medicine to perform a vasectomy, salpingectomy, or other surgical sexual sterilization procedure on a person eighteen years of age or older, who does not have the capacity to give informed consent to such an operation, when:

1. A petition has been filed in the circuit court of the county or city wherein the person resides by the person's parent or parents, guardian, spouse, or next friend requesting that the operation be performed;

2. The court has made the person a party defendant, served the person, the person's guardian, if any, the person's spouse, if any, and if there is no spouse, the person's parent with notice of the proceedings and appointed for the person an attorney-at-law to represent and protect the person's interests;

3. The court has determined that a full, reasonable, and comprehensible medical explanation as to the meaning, consequences, and risks of the sterilization operation to be performed and as to alternative methods of contraception has been given by the physician to the person upon whom the operation is to be performed, to the person's guardian, if any, to the person's spouse, if any, and, if there is no spouse, to the parent;

4. The court has determined (i) that the person has been legally adjudged to be incapacitated in accordance with Chapter 20 (§ 64.2-2000 et seq.) of Title 64.2 and (ii) that the person is unlikely to develop mentally to a sufficient degree to make an informed judgment about sterilization in the foreseeable future;

5. The court, to the greatest extent possible, has elicited and taken into account the views of the person concerning the sterilization, giving the views of the person such weight in its decision as the court deems appropriate;

6. The court has complied with the requirements of § 54.1-2977; and

7. The court has entered an order authorizing a qualified physician to perform the operation not earlier than thirty days after the date of the entry of the order, and thirty days have elapsed. The court order shall state the date on and after which the sterilization operation may be performed.

1981, c. 454, § 54-325.11; 1988, c. 765; 1997, c. 921.

§ 54.1-2977. Standards for court-authorized sterilization of certain persons.

A. In order for the circuit court to authorize the sterilization of a person in accordance with § 54.1-2975 or § 54.1-2976, it must be proven by clear and convincing evidence that:

1. There is a need for contraception. The court shall find that the person is engaging in sexual activity at the present time or is likely to engage in sexual activity in the near future and that pregnancy would not usually be intended by such person if such person were competent and engaging in sexual activity under similar circumstances;

2. There is no reasonable alternative method of contraception to sterilization;

3. The proposed method of sterilization conforms with standard medical practice, and the treatment can be carried out without unreasonable risk to the life and health of the person; and

4. The nature and extent of the person's mental disability renders the person permanently incapable of caring for and raising a child. The court shall base this finding on empirical evidence and not solely on standardized tests.

B. The criteria set out in subsection A of this section shall be established for the court by independent evidence based on a medical, social, and psychological evaluation of the person upon whom the sterilization operation is to be performed.

1981, c. 454, § 54-325.12; 1988, c. 765.

§ 54.1-2978. Reports of certain sterilizations.

The court shall report to the State Registrar of Vital Records the authorization of all sterilizations made in accordance with this article.

1981, c. 454, § 54-325.13; 1988, c. 765.

§ 54.1-2979. No liability for nonnegligent performance of operation.

Subject to the rules of law applicable generally to negligence, no physician licensed by the Board of Medicine shall be either civilly or criminally liable by reason of having performed a vasectomy, salpingectomy, or other surgical sexual sterilization procedure upon any person in this Commonwealth as authorized by this article.

1981, c. 454, § 54-325.14; 1988, c. 765.

§ 54.1-2980. Article inapplicable to certain medical or surgical treatment.

No provision in this article shall apply to or be construed so as to prevent, control, or regulate the medical or surgical treatment for sound therapeutic reasons of any person in this Commonwealth by a physician licensed by the Board of Medicine, which treatment may require sexual sterilization or may involve the nullification or destruction of the reproductive functions. For the purposes of this section the sterilization of a person whose health would be endangered by a pregnancy shall be deemed a medical or surgical treatment for sound therapeutic reasons.

1981, c. 454, § 54-325.15; 1988, c. 765.