V.C., a woman of Roma ethnic origin, was sterilized in a public hospital without her full and informed consent, following the birth of her second child via Cesarean section. When she was already in advanced stages of labor medical staff told her that if she had one more child, either she or the baby would die. She was then asked to sign a note in her medical record indicating that she had requested sterilization. V.C. did not understand the word “sterilization,” and signed the form fearing that if she didn’t there would be fatal consequences. As a result of the sterilization, V.C. has had serious medical health problems and she continues to suffer psychologically, knowing that she can no longer have children.

V.C. argued that the sterilization without free, full and informed consent and a failure of the state authorities to carry out a thorough, fair and effective investigation violated her rights to be free from inhuman and degrading treatment (Article 3), respect for private and family life (Article 8), right to found a family (Article 12), right to an effective remedy (Article 13), and freedom from discrimination based on sex and ethnic origin (Article 14) read in conjunction with Articles 3, 8 and 12 of the European Convention on Human Rights.