Sterilisations at delivery or after childbirth: addressing continuing abuses in the consent process

Rowlands, S and Wale, J (2019) 'Sterilisations at delivery or after childbirth: addressing continuing abuses in the consent process.' Global Public Health, 14 (8). pp. 1153-1166. ISSN 1744-1692

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1080/17441692.2019.1583265

Abstract

Non-consensual sterilisation is not only a historic abuse. Cases of unethical treatment of women around the time of a pregnancy continue in the Twenty-First Century in five continents. Sterilisation is being carried out by some healthcare professionals at the time of delivery, or soon afterwards, without valid consent. A range of contemporary examples of such practices is given. Respecting women’s autonomy should be the touchstone of the consent process. Avoidance of force, duress, deception and manipulation should go without saying. Ethnic minority communities and women living with HIV, in particular, are being targeted for this kind of abuse. Attempts have been made in various countries and by international professional organisations to introduce clinical guidelines to steer health professionals away from this malpractice. Survivors have sought justice in domestic and international courts. This paper critically assesses the evidence on the practical, ethical and legal issues around the handling of consent for these procedures. Suggestions are made about possible regulatory responses that address abuse, whilst maintaining access for those individuals who freely elect to undergo these procedures.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: consent, delivery, ethics, human rights, sterilisation
Divisions: Bath Business School
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1080/17441692.2019.1583265
Date Deposited: 23 Jul 2020 15:37
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2020 16:28
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