Thursday, October 23, 2008

One woman's tale of forced sterilisation


This is Helena Ferencikova. She is a Czech Roma and in 2001, aged just 19, she was sterilised without her knowledge or consent. The operation was performed just after she gave birth to her second son.

"I was in pain because it was a complicated birth," she told the Prague Post. "They just shoved some papers at me and told me to sign, so I did."
A day later she found out that she'd never be able to have children again.
In November 2005, Ferencikova, who was one of over 80 Czech women, mostly Roma, to file complaints about forced sterilisations with the Czech legal ombudsman, won a court case against the hospital which sterilised her.

4 Comments:

Blogger voltaires said...

And you presumably are implying that this was paid for by the EU's (fictitious) Roma Forced Sterilisation Programme?

The story you report here is appalling, but please do not mislead readers about this. Unless you are against sending any kind of aid or funding to any country that has any practice that fails to meet liberal standards of human rights (a great way of cutting the budget I suppose), then treat this for what it is. Otherwise it will look suspiciously like an early piece of politial salami slicing from an anti-abortion activist.

10/25/2008 3:47 AM  
Blogger Red Maria said...

No, I didn't imply that the EU had a Roma forced sterilisation program, or even a specific forced sterilisation program. But it does fund countries population control programs which perpetrate such human rights abuses. It therefore shares in their complicity for these programs and associated abuses, even at one or several removes. And that is scandalous.

The story I reported is indeed appalling and serves as a human example of what forced sterilisation is. It's not an abstraction, it happens to real people, real people whose rights are sold out if the EU funds programs it knows involve forced abortion and sterilisation. It would be a lot more difficult for repressive regimes to implement brutal population control policies if the funding tap was switched off.

Am I against any foreign aid to countries involved in human rights abuses? Absolutely not. But is it legitimate to scrutinise the destination of foreign aid monies? Certainly. Is it legitimate to challenge foreign aid which ends up subsidising practices or policies at variance with its aims or contrary to human rights norms? Even more so. Is doing so any kind of salami slicing of anything? Hardly. To suggest that it is looks like a rather desperate and irrational reaction to someone who doesn't share his pro-choice views.

10/25/2008 5:30 PM  
Blogger voltaires said...

Again, as I said below, your tone and tenor implies that there is some deliberate move on the part of Brussels to "fund forced sterilisation" (your words, not mine), and that is palpably untrue.

It's as though I were to write an article highlighting the Catholic Church's efforts to "force teenage rape victims to have their attackers' children". On the one level such a statement has a degree of truth, but in reality it grossly misrepresents the debate. That is what you're doing here, intentionally or not.

10/26/2008 1:10 AM  
Anonymous Oli said...

Whether or not the EU funded this programme is not the point, surely?

The point is that women in the EU are still having their rights abused.

10/27/2008 8:00 AM  

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