Coercive and Cruel: Sterilisation and its Consequences for Romani Women
This report examines the practice of coercive sterilizations in the Czech Republic as experienced by Romani women against their will or without free and informed consent. Along with a review of the institutional, legal and policy context within which these sterilisations took place, the main focus of the report is on the personal experiences of sterilised Romani women.
It presents accounts of Romani women of their treatment by medical personnel and social workers. The report reveals how Romani women were subjected to sterilisation without prior information that such an operation would be performed on them; in some instances the women claim that their consent forms and other medical documentation were manipulated and their signatures forged. The procedure was often performed at the same time as caesarean sections or women were presented with consent forms when in great pain or distress during labour or delivery. In other instances Romani women were coerced into accepting sterilisation by misinformation about the nature of this procedure as well as through threats of the institutionalisation of their children and withdrawal of their social benefits. For some Romani women, sterilisation was falsely justified by their doctors as a life-saving intervention.