20111101 Sterilization Disability Briefing Paper


Sterilization of Women and Girls

with Disabilities


A Briefing Paper


What is Sterilization?


In many parts of the world, women rely on access to a range of methods to control their fertility, including voluntary sterilization. However, too often, sterilization is not a choice. Sterilization is defined as "a process or act that renders an individual incapable of sexual reproduction." Forced sterilization occurs when a person is sterilized after expressly refusing the procedure, without her knowledge or is not given an opportunity to provide consent. Coerced sterilization occurs when financial or other incentives, misinformation, or intimidation tactics are used to compel an individual to undergo the procedure. Women with disabilities are particularly vulnerable to forced sterilizations performed under the auspices of legitimate medical care or the consent of others in their name.