Adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) have the legal right to make their own choices, including the right to choose to date, live with a significant other, and get married. They have the right to exercise choices regarding sexual expression and social relationships. The presence of IDD, regardless of severity, does not, in itself, justify loss of rights related to relationships or sexuality.
All people have the right within interpersonal relationships to:
- Develop friendships and emotional and sexual relationships where they can love and be loved, and begin and end a relationship as they choose;
- Dignity and respect; and
- Privacy, confidentiality, and freedom of association.
With respect to sexuality, individuals have a right to:
- Sexual expression and education, reflective of their own cultural, religious and moral values and of social responsibility;
- Individualized education and information to encourage informed decision-making, including education about such issues as reproduction, marriage and family life, abstinence, safe sexual practices, sexual orientation, sexual abuse, and sexually transmitted diseases; and
- Protection from sexual harassment and from physical, sexual, and emotional abuse.
With respect to the potential for having and raising children, individuals with IDD have the right to:
- Education and information about having and raising children that is individualized to reflect each person’s unique ability to understand;
- Make their own decisions related to having and raising children with supports as necessary;
- Make their own decisions related to using birth control methods within the context of their personal or religious beliefs;
- Have control over their own bodies; and
- Be protected from sterilization solely because of their disability.