Voluntary and Compulsory Sterilization in Brazil and the Reproductive Rights of Women





Abstract: Starting from the premise that the reproductive rights are accomplished by the human right to health, this article aims to study the female sterilization as a form of curtailment of the reproductive rights of women, considering the way it is regulated and implemented in Brazil. Therefore, thus paper starts with a background of the reproductive rights from the feminist struggle to its insertion into the list of human rights. Then, the concept of reproductive rights is developed followed by a debate on feminism. In the second part, the article's principle objective of the dichotomy between sterilization as a voluntary and compulsory measure is analyzed. In order to do so, there is a discussion of how the laws are challenged through looking at how it regulates female sterilization as well as how public sector (judges and prosecutors) legal professionals enforce the law. The Brazilian Family Planning Act and the 2018 São Paulo compulsory sterilization case are this article's grounds for analysis. The method is deductive and started from the legal doctrine of the act and the case. The conclusion is that the realization of the reproductive rights agenda debated in Brazil but that reproductive rights are not fully enjoyed by all of its citizens. Women cannot exercise full control over their bodies due to the requirement of their husband's consent and the eugenic action of the Public Prosecutor.

Keywords: reproductive rights, voluntary sterilization, compulsory sterilization.

Author Biographies

Marina Nogueira Almeida, Centro Universitário Ritter dos Reis

Lawyer. Master in Human Rights.

Adalene Ferreira Figueiredo da Silva, Centro Universitário Ritter dos Reis.

Master student in Human Rights.