Quimbee logo
DMCA.com Protection Status
From our private database of 16,500+ case briefs...

Conservatorship of Valerie N.

Supreme Court of California
707 P.2d 760 (1985)


Valerie (defendant) was born with Down Syndrome and as a result was severely developmentally disabled. When Valerie was in her 20s, her parents (plaintiffs) filed a petition to be named Valerie’s conservators. In the same petition, Valerie’s parents sought the power to authorize an operation that would permanently sterilize Valerie. Valerie’s personal physician submitted a declaration stating that the procedure was advisable and medically appropriate. A therapist who had worked with Valerie also believed that the operation was appropriate. The therapist had observed Valerie acting affectionately toward men and making inappropriate sexual advances toward them. Valerie’s parents stated that they were forced to be overly protective of Valerie in order to prevent a possible pregnancy. Valerie’s mother testified that Valerie had not been sexually active because she was so closely monitored, but that she was aggressive and affectionate toward boys. Valerie’s parents believed that Valerie’s condition meant that no other birth control methods could ensure against pregnancy. Valerie became ill from birth control pills, was unable to apply other methods of birth control, and would not cooperate in an examination for an intrauterine device. State statute bared nontherapeutic sterilization of conservatees. Valerie’s parents brought an action challenging the law, arguing that the law deprived Valerie of her right of procreative choice by precluding the only means of contraception realistically available to her. Valerie’s counsel argued that the law furthered Valerie’s right of procreative choice by protecting her against forced sterilization. The case eventually made its way to the state supreme court.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Grodin, J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 408,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 16,500 briefs, keyed to 223 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.

Questions & Answers

Have a question about this case?

Sign up for a free 7-day trial and ask it

Sign up for a FREE 7-day trial