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They Took My Choice Away

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Published on Mar 18, 2011

Hilma discovered that she was sterilized only after the fact. The procedure was performed without her informed consent during a caesarean operation.

Although she gave birth to two healthy boys, her doctor decided she should not be allowed to have more children because she is living with HIV. Thousands of women throughout Southern Africa have had their right to have a child taken away from them.

Forced and coerced sterilization are a grave violation of human rights and medical ethics and can be described as acts of torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment. Although sterilization may be carried out by individual health providers, it is ultimately the responsibility of governments to prevent such abuses from taking place.

The Campaign to Stop Torture in Health Care is working worldwide to hold governments accountable and put an end to human rights violations and abuses in health care settings.

Learn more about Open Society's health work: http://osf.to/health

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