The Right To Bare Children

   By drodriguez  Jun 03, 2010

Protesters in Namibia are staging sit-ins outside state hospitals to show their support of the women who have come forward to say they were forced into a sterilization procedure because they are HIV positive. The Associated Press reports that all three women are suing the Namibian government after alleging that they underwent medical procedures to remove their uterus without their consent.

The women believe that the government took away their rights to have children and discriminated against them because of their medical conditions. The Namibian government claims that the women did give their consent before the surgeries. One protester, Vicky Noa, tells the press why she is taking part in the sit-ins. Noa says that there should be "peace of mind that if you have HIV you can still go to the hospital and be treated with dignity and equality. If we were scared we might be sterilized we will not use the hospital services as much. We do not want to be denied the right to motherhood."

This is a huge issue for women living in Namibia because of the high rate of HIV in this area. UNICEF reports that more than 15 percent of the population is currently HIV positive (that is roughly 200,000 people and 110,000 of these people are adult women.) About 14,000 people suffering from HIV in Namibia are children while another 66,000 children live as orphans because their mothers died from AIDS. Though the numbers are high, protesters feel that forced sterilization is too drastic of a measure when mother-to-child transmission of HIV is preventable with proper medications.

What do you think of the current protests over forced sterilization in Namibia?

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MyEmptyCanvas by MyEmptyCanvas | KOSCIUSKO, MS
Jun 26, 2010

I sat here for about 2 minutes thinking of everything I'd type, and when it came time to do so - none of it came close to what I truly wanted to say. I will say though, that this is a sad, sad situation and I hope that one day these women AND men are more educated and that this disease dies down in their country so that the cycle will not continue for another 5. 10, or 20 years!

sharman421 by sharman421 | TALLAHASSEE, FL
Jun 20, 2010

President Bush launched the largest international health initiative directed towards HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment than any other charity,country, or leader before him. It has prevented hundreds of thousands of infants from contracting the disease from their mothers through antiretroviral treatment . But these mothers die leaving thousands of orphans behind. If the answer is sterilization to keep these women from procreating, so be it. What becomes of these poor children? Many are in orphanages. Many are put in the care of family members. Many are on the street and in child-headed households struggling to care for younger siblings. Many wind up acquiring aids themselves. That is where the injustice lies! Not in these women who feel their rights have been violated!

cmjune76 by cmjune76 | LAKEWOOD, WA
Jun 07, 2010

If i were to become HIV positive, I would not continue to have sex for starters. Sterilization makes sense... why risk another life that most likey will have have HIV/AIDS too? Completely stupid and assinine!

MadHatter by MadHatter | Whitestone , NY
Jun 07, 2010

i want to add to my previous post. i can't even come to imagine what will happen when that child grows up (if lucky) to be a young adult and isn't even aware that they were born with HIV and spread it that way without even knowing about it. its like a silent killer.

msfriendly by msfriendly | MONROE, WI
Jun 06, 2010

I agree with the other comments. The key here is to educate these people.

Ellayem by Ellayem | Cincinnati, OH
Jun 05, 2010

It is irresponsible for an HIV woman to want to bear a child. If she wants to be a mother then she should adopt. There are plenty of adoptable children that need homes. The fact that these women want to spread this horrible disease is appalling! Especially the fact that they are willing to give HIV to their own child. A woman like that has no business being a mother. I agree that the HIV positive men should be given vasectomies as well. It's called social responsibility people!

reneeg50 by reneeg50 | Round Rock, TX
Jun 04, 2010

Why would anyone want to physically have children if they have HIV? I just don't understand and I think these women are just being selfish. You don't have to have children to feel like a mother. There are so many children that have been orphaned because of this virus or worse. I also agree with irritates me that these women seem to be targeted. Why aren't the men being asked to be fixed as well? I think the people should be educated better on HIV and how devastating it is. And there are many ways to be a mother. We are not just a walking uterus, womanhood is not only about popping out our own flesh and blood. I think it's horrible if these women were coerced but I can't help but wonder what kind of woman would want to even get pregnant under these circumstances. Its just weird.

MadHatter by MadHatter | Whitestone , NY
Jun 04, 2010

i find that being forced to undergo the procedure or doing the procedure without thier concent/knowledge is completely wrong. but why is this only targeted towards women? what about the men? they are just as guilty. the women who wants to bring a child up in the world when they know they have HIV and could pass this onto thier kids need to be educated in this matter. i dont think they even know how sever this disease is. so i dont blame them for wanting to have kids if they dont know what HIV can do to a person.

jemappel by jemappel | Rye Brook, NY
Jun 04, 2010

This is a tough one. Based on American values, the women should be able to make their own medical choices and not be forced to be sterilized. But my pragmatic side says there are already 66,000 orphans, and if the women want kids, why don't they take on one of the orphans? But it's easy for me to be pragmatic because I'm not in their shoes. And while medications to prevent mother-->child HIV spread exist, these women probably can't afford them, and with all the starvation, etc,. in the world, should resources be going towards subsidizing those medications? Probably not. So while I admit it's easy for me to say this because I'm not a victim of this situation, I agree with Mardel.

mardel by mardel | SCHAUMBURG, IL
Jun 03, 2010

I support the what is going on in Namibia! The women need to understand that bringing a child into this world being a HIV carrier intentionally is selfish of them! Not only are the children in danger of becoming HIV carriers but also losing their mothers and becoming orphans. The women should understand this, accept it, and if they want to be mothers than why not help take care of all the children that are with no parents due to this terrible disease!! Please don't bring children into this world to suffer!! Please don't be selfish!!