Three Namibian women with HIV are suing their government for sterilizing them without their consent and for violating their right to have children through doing so. The women are seeking damages at a High Court hearing scheduled for Friday, the first legal challenge of its kind in Namibia. Supporters of the women have staged sit-ins at two state hospitals in protest.
One of the protesters, Vicky Noa, brought attention to how the right to medical access is also being limited when forced sterilization is a risk.
There should be “peace of mind that if you have HIV you can still go to the hospital and be treated with dignity and equality. If we were scared that we might be sterilized we will not use the hospital services as much. We do not want to be denied the right to motherhood.”
Sterilization is an unnecessary tactic for stopping mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDs – preventative medication is available.