Courts-Scope of Authority-Sterilization of Mental Defectives

Respondent, age nineteen, appeared before the probate court of Muskingum County, Ohio, upon an affidavit filed by her mother alleging the child to be feeble-minded and in need of medical treatment. Results of psychological tests were presented at the hearing, revealing that respondent had an intelligence quotient of thirty-six and was therefore a feeble-minded person within the statutory definition. Respondent had had one illegitimate child, for whom she was unable to provide even rudimentary care or financial support, and was physically capable of bearing more children. Taking judicial notice that the state mental hospitals were then overcrowded and unable to accommodate additional inmates, the probate court invoked its interim power to provide for the welfare of incompetents until they can be committed to an institution. On order from the probate court, held, respondent will submit to a salpingectomy operation in an approved hospital by a licensed physician. The legislative grant of plenary power at law and in equity, as well as the special interim authority to care for incompetents, enable the probate court to provide extraordinary relief which takes into consideration the interests of both the incompetent and the community. In re Simpson, 180 N.E.2d 206 (Ohio P. Ct. 1962).