Involuntary sterilisation of HIV-positive women in South Africa: A current legal perspective

M du Toit


This article examines the reality of HIV-positive women being subjected to perpetual stigmatisation as a result of involuntary sterilisation practices. The reproductive autonomy and dignity of HIV-positive persons is protected by various constitutional provisions, and a legal framework providing for the requirement of informed consent, as well as the prohibition of discrimination on the grounds of HIV status. This article considers the issues of both informed consent and discrimination in the context of the practice of involuntary sterilisation of HIV-positive women. The article considers the legal framework in light of the physical, emotional, social and cultural implications for HIV-positive women who are subjected to involuntary sterilisation.

Author's affiliations

M du Toit, Atlantic Fellow for Health Equity in South Africa based at Tekano Atlantic Fellows, Cape Town, South Africa

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South African Journal of Bioethics and Law 2018;11(2):80-84. DOI:10.7196/SAJBL.2018.v11i2.641

Article History

Date submitted: 2018-11-30
Date published: 2018-11-30

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