Weekly global roundup: Namibian High Court says forced sterilization violated women’s human rights; Spain is looking at tougher abortion restrictions; the world witnesses China’s one-child policy and a gruesome forced abortion; gender equity in New Zealand still not up to snuff.
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.
Human rights defenders often put their own lives on the line to promote and protect all of our rights. Today we celebrate the women living with HIV and others who advocate for sexual and reproductive rights in the context of HIV and AIDS.
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.
As far back as 2001, women living with HIV/AIDS were being sterilized in Namibian hospitals, without their autonomous consent. Shockingly, these women, whose cases the International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS began documenting in 2008, continue to wait for redress.
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.