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African women sue government clinics for coerced sterilizations

Catholic World News - November 16, 2012

A group of Kenyan women have filed suit against government health-care clinics in 5 different countries, charging that they were sterilized against their will.

The plaintiffs are all HIV-positive. Some testify that they were told sterilization was mandatory, or threatened that their AIDS medicines would be withdrawn if they refused to undergo the operation. Others say they signed a consent form that they did not understand, either because they are illiterate or because they were drugged at the time.

The women filed their suits in Zambia, South Africa, Malawi, Namibia, and Kenya. Their legal challenge comes in the wake of a report that coerced sterilizations have become routine in public hospitals in Africa.

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