Forced sterilization case will be reviewed by Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

October 10, 2014


The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights will examine a case on the forced sterilization of a Chilean woman living with HIV, which was brought to its attention by the Centre for Reproductive Rights. 

More than a decade after the woman was forcibly sterilized because she is living with HIV, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights announced that it will hear her case. According to the Centre for Reproductive Rights it will be the first-ever forced sterilization case for a person living with HIV in Latin America to be decided by an international human rights body.

F.S. is a Chilean woman living with HIV who gave birth in November 2002 via cesarean. Aware of her HIV status, the surgeon surgically sterilized her during the delivery without her knowledge or consent, despite the fact that Chilean law requires written consent from a woman before any sterilization procedure.

Making history

In a press release, Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights said:

“Every woman across the globe has a fundamental right to control her reproductive life, no matter who she is, what her HIV status may be, and whether she decides to build a family or not. The unconscionable actions of the doctor who took it upon himself to forcibly sterilize a young woman because she was living with HIV were a gross violation of her human rights, robbing her of her basic reproductive decision-making and future. The Inter-American Commission of Human Rights is making history in taking her case and must send a clear message that no country can ever ignore human rights violations or allow discrimination as horrific as forced sterilization to occur.”

Press release Centre for Reproductive Rights