Namibia Court Upholds Reproductive Rights of HIV+ Women Sterilized While Giving Birth

Holy Hormones Honey!  Finally a landmark court ruling defending reproductive  rights and informed consent for women. Forced sterilization has been going on for too many years. If women were in control of their fertility, and if men respected women instead of using our bodies this would be a non-issue. For now every victory in this arena is a milestone.

Namibia court in landmark HIV ruling

A court in Namibia has ruled that the southwest African country’s government violated the human rights of three HIV-positive pregnant women who were forcibly sterilised while giving birth.

The  Telegraph UK
By , Johannesburg
5:23PM BST 30 Jul 2012

The women, who ranged in age between mid 20s and mid 40s, had all opted to have caesarean sections to reduce the risk of passing Aids to their babies.

But they were told by doctors in public hospitals in Namibia that they would only be eligible for surgery if they agreed to be sterilised at the same time.

Their lawyers argued that obtaining consent from women when they were in severe pain or in labour did not constitute informed consent and thereby violated their human rights.

Judge Elton Hoff agreed, finding too that the women had suffered physical and mental pain during the process and its aftermath.

The landmark judgment at the Windhoek High Court on Monday was hailed as a victory for HIV positive women across Africa, and could be used to challenge the governments of Swaziland and South Africa, where similar cases have been reported.

“This ruling affirms not only the rights of HIV positive women but also of all women to access their sexual and reproductive rights,” Nicole Fritz, the Executive Director of the Southern Africa Litigation Centre, said.

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Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.