A judgment by the high court in Namibia in favor of three women who claimed they had been sterilized without their informed consent confirms the principle that in order for consent to be truly “informed,” it must be freely given and clearly understood.
Weekly global repro roundup: Foreign Policy’s ”Sex Issue” has hits and misses; Uzbek Government is accused of “sterilization quotas”; women and girls in UK still vulnerable to female genital cutting; Muslim women in India envision a new marriage law.
Activists fighting on behalf of access to high-quality sexual and reproductive healthcare are watching Namibia’s courts to see if good precedent will be set on forced sterilization.
Forced sterilization of any woman, regardless of her HIV status, is not just an unfortunate biproduct of medical arrogance- it is a violation of every woman’s fundamental human right to sexual and reproductive autonomy.
For Namibian HIV positive women who need to access health services for their survival, hospitals should be a place of safety, not stigma, coercion, or forced sterilization.
After a year of unsuccessful lawsuits, a woman living with HIV and sterilized without her consent filed a complaint against Chile before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.