Disability campaigners speak out following Britney Spears’ conservatorship testimony

Britney Spears shared her shocking testimony to Judge Brenda Penny in a Los Angeles court hearing on Wednesday

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After Britney Spears’ powerful testimony detailing how restrictive her conservatorship is, disability campaigners say she is not alone in her experience.

Imani Barbarin, a disability rights and inclusion activist, said: “I hate the way non-disabled people gaslight disabled people about Britney Spears’ situation because guardianship and conservatorship is not unique.”

In a video posted to Twitter on Wednesday, she agreed that Spears’ claims are “horrific but again, it’s not unique” for disabled people.

“This is something that disabled people are scared of all the time,” she added.

“Because there are instances in which disabled people will ask the wrong question to the wrong person, and wound up in a conservatorship or guardianship.”

Around 1.3 million adults across America are affected by guardianship or conservatorship, according to a 2018 report by the National Council on Disability.

In her court testimony on Wednesday, the 39-year-old pop star described the conservatorship as “abusive.”

She detailed how she was implanted with an IUD against her will to stop her from having children.

“I want to be able to get married and have a baby,” Spears said.

“I was told right now in the conservatorship I am not able to get married or have a baby.”

Spears told the court that she wants her IUD removed so she could “start trying to have another baby, but this so-called team won’t let me go to the doctor to take it out because they don’t want me to have children, any more children.”

Planned Parenthood has backed Spears and say forced IUD is “reproductive coercion.”

Disabled people also face the reality of not having autonomy over their bodies.

As a result of a 1927 US Supreme Court decision in Buck v Bell, it is legal for the state to forcibly sterilise disabled people “for the protection and health of the state.”

Spears is legally classed as disabled.

Other disability activists and Britney fans have also taken to social media to share similar sentiments as Barbarin.

For nearly 13 years, Spears has been locked in a conservatorship led by her father, Jamie who has control over her life and her $60 million net worth.

She was put in conservatorship, after her public mental health crisis in 2008. The conservatorship is split into two parts - her estate and her financial affairs.

Her father controlled both areas up until 2019 when he had to step down from one of the areas due to health reasons but still retains 50 per cent control.

Jodi Montgomery, a care professional has replaced him on a temporary basis but Spears has requested this be made permanent.

Many are hoping that Spears’ story will push the disability rights movement forward.

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