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Icono DiscapacidadIcono Salud sexual y reproductiva

Forced sterilization

(Esterilización forzada)

Pictograma de una mujer con una cruz en el abdomen al lado de unas tijeras.

This is an imposed or coercive procedure where a person is sterilized without their free and informed consent. It is a form of physical violence that specially affects girls and young women with a disability, especially those with a developmental or intellectual disability.

This practice —which has physical and emotional consequences— is based on various reasons. First, the prejudice that people with disabilities cannot make their own decisions and should not have or raise children. Second, it is usually done for the convenience of caregivers. Finally, this practice has been registered at institutions to avoid pregnancies resulting from the perceived inevitable sexual abuse that people with disabilities are expected to experience (UNFPA – WEI, 2018, p. 108).

‘People with disabilities have the right to a full emotional and sexual life that is healthy and satisfactory’ (Ministry of Justice and Human Rights, 2019, p. 11) and to protection from all types of violence, including sexual and gender-based violence such as forced sterilization, forced institutionalization, abortion, or forced contraception.

The Human Rights Council recommends that States prohibit forced sterilization of children and adults due to disability. It also ensures safeguards to protect the rights to free and informed consent, and safeguards to protect prior informed consent. (Human Rights Council, 2012)


Human Rights Council. (2012). Thematic study on the issue of violence against women and girls and disability (A/HRC/20/5). United Nations.

Ministry of Justice and Human Rights. (2019). Guía de información Personas con Discapacidad. Conocé y ejercé tus derechos. Ediciones SAIJ – Sistema Argentino de Información Jurídica.

UNFPA – WEI. (2018). WOMEN AND YOUNG PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES. Guidelines for Providing Rights-Based and Gender-Responsive. UNFPA.

Photo credit: bsd

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