Voluntary and Involuntary Sterilization: Denials and Abuses of Rights

International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Vol. 68, pp. 61-67, 2000

7 Pages Posted: 22 Nov 2006

See all articles by Rebecca J. Cook

Rebecca J. Cook

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law

Bernard Dickens

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law

Abstract

Laws that allow competent persons to make free and informed decisions for sterilization serve their entitlements to reproductive choice. Laws that allow others to consent to sterilization of disadvantaged persons who cannot freely consent risk oppression and denial of human rights. Laws that prohibit competent persons' choices for their own sterilization are comparably oppressive and violative of human rights to decide whether and how often to have children. Whether laws approach sterilization as a procedure done for patients, or to patients, is often ambivalent. Details of laws may indicate their liberating and oppressive potential. Programs offering inducements to persons to be sterilized may assist those who are disadvantaged to achieve their goals, but may appear to coerce those who, through poverty or dependency, cannot resist the inducement.

Keywords: Voluntary sterilization, Involuntary sterilization, Criminal law, Free and informed consent, Professional guidelines, Coercion, Inducement

JEL Classification: I18, K19

Suggested Citation

Cook, Rebecca J. and Dickens, Bernard, Voluntary and Involuntary Sterilization: Denials and Abuses of Rights. International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Vol. 68, pp. 61-67, 2000. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=946472

Rebecca J. Cook

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law ( email )

78 Queen's Park Cr.
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2C5
Canada
416-978-4446 (Phone)
416-978-7899 (Fax)

Bernard Dickens (Contact Author)

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law ( email )

78 and 84 Queen's Park
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2C5
Canada
416-978-4849 (Phone)
416-978-7899 (Fax)

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