Forced Sterilization Remains Worldwide Concern

Recently, worldwide attention has been on Sweden’s forced sterilization law for transgender people, making an unnecessary operation compulsory before a sex change. It was eventually forced to abandon the law after international protests.

But there are laws forcing sterilization on transgender people in 16 other countries in Europe.

For women, such practices are widely believed to be historic (or maybe just happening in China). Last year there was widespread reporting of the eugenics-inspired sterilization of, up until 1977, over 7,600 people in North Carolina — including girls raped by older men, individuals with epilepsy, individuals determined to be “feeble-minded,” teenagers from poor families, a 10-year-old boy, and individuals with disabilities including blindness. The state’s actions were just the most aggressive of 32 states which pursued sterilization policies mainly targeting black and native Americans.

But such thinking still remains in the 21st century.  Forced sterilization continues to be a serious problem worldwide.

There has been a major scandal about ongoing forced sterilization of disabled women in Australia.

The Age reports that involuntary sterilizations on women and girls with disabilities were found to be widespread in 2001, the last time sterilization was researched by Women With Disabilities Australia, and also in 1997, when the Human Rights Commission last examined the issue. Courts are supposed to be involved but some doctors are ignoring them.

Disability advocate Stella Young told the ABC that she was almost sterilized as a young child.

“When I was four I was on holiday with my parents in Adelaide and I broke my leg while I was there and they took me to the hospital and they re-set my leg,” she told PM.

“One of the doctors said to them, ‘while she’s here we might as well do the hysterectomy,’ which was shocking because I was a four-year-old child.

“My parents thankfully were very empowered and didn’t take everything that doctors said to be gospel truth and they got me out of there as quickly as possible.”

Sterilizations Across the Globe

In 2010, Suzannah Phillips wrote for Care2 on the coercive sterilization of HIV+ women in Chile.

In Thailand, there have been serious allegations of sterilization of tribal Akha women carried out by American fundamentalist Christian missionaries.

In Czechoslovakia, a 2005 report found many examples of coercive sterilization of mostly Romani women.

A study on policy in Europe also found that:

In many countries, the practice of forced sterilisation continues to be debated and justified by governments, legal, medical and other professionals, family members and carers as being in the “best interests” of women and girls with disabilities.

And a medically implanted contraceptive, Norplant, continues to be forced on poor women and drug-using women deemed not worthy of reproductive freedom in many American states.

Photo credit: Wikipedia


David Sequeira
David Sequeira4 years ago

The problem seems to center around intellectual morality.

However, the real problem is emotional retardation.

When emotion is retarded nothing is left except intellectual domination which actually is the origin of the legend of hell.

David Sequeira
David Sequeira4 years ago

The problem seems to center around intellectual morality.

However, the real problem is emotional retardation.

When emotion is retarded nothing is left except intellectual domination which actually is the origin of the legend of hell.

Huda G.
Huda G5 years ago

This is a personal decision. But if you go ahead to have a child, then you need to remember your child has RIGHTS. A right to be LOVED and WANTED, a right to be fed and clothed etc to the standards that you live.

Adults with learning disabilities need protecting from people who want to Abuse them, in all areas of life.
Sterilization is not a form of RAPE control! Rape is a crime! The criminal needs to be punished not the Victim!

I have 6 children all from the same father, all loved and wanted. We pay all our own costs for everything. Who has the right to deny me my children? If I want more its my decision not yours, but I need to be responsible in making my decisions.
We need to respect others not violate them. We need to educate people so they make informed decisions or protect them.

LM Small
Ann Khorite5 years ago

@michelle R, I understand your frustration but I don't agree with your policy plans.

1. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled long ago that we cannot do forced sterilization, not even as punishment for a crime. CERTAINLY not as punishment for poverty.

2. Part of your answer sounds like you want forced abortions for people who are already pregnant, but of whom you do not approve. Is that what you meant?

3. Twice you obliquely acknowledge that your proposed policies will be used mostly against women. Our federal and state reproductive policies treat women badly enough already. I don't think it's a good idea to make thing worse.

Michelle R.
Michelle R5 years ago

I think we need to enforce some sterilization in the U.S. You have 1 baby you can't afford, fine, we all make mistakes. You get pregnant again and can't still can't afford the children, then we need to sterilize you and the man, if he can be found. Enough. The majority of people in the welfare system can't afford babies, but keep having them, some deliberately get pregnant when their benefits are about to run out. Generally speaking, these children aren't raised with appropriately with love and care then end up costing more tax money in the social system, medical system and then the criminal system. It isn't right to the children being born to women/parents that don't love them or care for them. It isn't right that taxpayers should have to take on the financial and social burden of these children who become adults. I pay more in WICA and FICA than I do my own Social Security.

Cindy Richardson
Cindy Richardson5 years ago


KS Goh
KS Goh6 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Pamela H.
Pamela H6 years ago

The simple fact is that humans have to stop breeding as we currently are. This has become a real problem and we need to be educated about being responsible.

Jessie R.
Susan Zitzler6 years ago

Geez--- what next genocide? I do see the sterilization of some who cannot protect themselves in institutions from being "used" by the employees (I have heard it happens) as a precaution so as not to have babies born there. However, it would be good to do to sex offenders- remove their penis and leave just a hole to pee out of then they can't molest kids/people hopefully--it might be a was to make it better since they at least can't have sex with someone.. As for "selective" sterilization for mentally handicapped, otherwise handicapped, poor, dealing with a race of a person, this kind of is like what Hitler did. Pick and choose the society we want, the types of people we want. Will we become something of a "child by order " like you would do if you wanted to buy something. Pick out the child you want and it will be made. If it is damaged in some way then dispose of it or castrate it so it cannot create any children of its own. This is rather crazy talk it appears. Even to think of this to be done to drug addicts, which in one way is sensible as then drug addicted kids would not be born. Will we come to be like China, limit how many you can have? There is plenty of room in this world for people, just depends what country you are in. Scarey to think it "IS" still going on now. Of course if you yourself made the choice so as not to keep having kids, that would be different. Tubalagation (sp) or something like this is a simple slip of the laser and they go through your be

Jill R.
Jill R.6 years ago

100 years from now, this won't be an issue. The planet is already over populated today - people starving and unable to feed their families. Countries crying out for more Aid etc. This will be natures way of culling the human population.