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Forced sterilization: Discrimination based on disability, gender

Hospitalized patient lying in bed and wheelchair

The forced sterilization of women with disabilities is an example of the particular gender discrimination suffered by the group, when it comes to, for example, freely forming a couple or exercising their maternity in an informed free manner.

This is evidenced by the ‘Basic Guidelines on gender and disability’ launched by the Spanish Confederation of People with Physical and Organic Disabilities (COCEMFE) and the State Confederation of Women with Disabilities (CEMUDIS) in cooperation with the Institute of Women, with which they intend to make visible the current situation of women and girls with disabilities.

“In our country, forced sterilizations are still being carried out on many women from the disability community,” alerts this guide. Specifically, Marta Valencia, Secretary for Women and Equality COCEMFE, points out that this is a particular struggle of women with disabilities. Still, it should not be understood as a separation from the feminist struggle in general since without the feminist gender approach, the analysis would lose political content.

The guidelines stresses that the disability variable can overshadow the discrimination suffered by women with disabilities, creating a situation of greater vulnerability, and warning that this discrimination is not a consequence of the sum of both factors, but of its “multiplier effect.”

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