New Resource on Guidelines for Female Contraceptive Sterilizations
Thursday, July 21, 2011 11:50 AM

The International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) has recently taken a significant step in the fight against the ongoing human rights violation of forced and coerced sterilization of marginalized women. FIGO has created strict and comprehensive guidelines governing when and how sterilization can be performed.


Among the guidelines, FIGO recommends that only the women themselves can give consent to sterilization; sterilization should be completely voluntary and not part of a government program; sterilization is never an emergency procedure and is therefore not an exception to free and informed consent; sterilization should not be a condition of access to medical care; consent should not be asked during a position of vulnerability such as labor or the aftermath of labor; the permanent nature of the procedure must be expressed and information must be provided in a language the woman understands.


Medical professionals frequently make the sterilization decision on behalf of poor, racial and ethnic minority, HIV-positive, and disabled women. The campaign to Stop Torture in Health Care has created the Working Group to Stop Forced/Coerced Sterilization and has worked closely with FIGO to create the guidelines that will help stop this egregious human rights violation. However, the Ministries of Health and national policymaking bodies and medical institutions of individual countries need to respect the guidelines in order to eliminate the practice.



Compiled from: A New Resource: FIGO: Guidelines on “Female Contraceptive Sterilization", Association for Women’s rights in Development, (20 July 2011).