Also referred to as forced sterilization, compulsory sterilization are phrases that are used to define government programs or policies that attempt to forcefully direct people to undergo surgical sterilization. Quite a number of countries across the globe instituted such programs in the first half of the 20th century. The policies were introduced as part of the eugenics programs aimed at preventing the reproduction as well as multiplication of members of a population that is considered to be a carrier of genetic traits that have been established to be defective.
Despite the continuous practice of compulsory sterilization in some countries around the world, widespread or systematic forced sterilization has been identified by the Rome Statute as a crime against humanity in the Explanatory Memorandum. However, the illegality and inhumanity of the forced sterilization exempts one country, Uzbekistan where it has been suggested that the government can continuously pursue such kind of programs.
In most countries, people who are transgender are required to undergo sterilization before a legal recognition of their gender is acquired. However, this should not be confused with a compulsory sterilization that is not part of a government policy. Among the groups of people or population that are at greater risk of forced sterilization, women top the list.
According to most reports, women are the ones who have been largely subjected to compulsory sterilization. However, men have also suffered the loss of the ability to reproduce that is caused by forced sterilization. For instance, 400, 000 men and women were forcibly sterilized in Nazi Germany, 63, 000 in Sweden, 800,000 in Japan, 11,000 women from Finland among others. So far, Australia is the country that is said to have had the highest number of forceful sterilization cases since 1992.
In the US, compulsory sterilization was mainly a government policy introduced and executed mainly in the 1930s and 1940s as an attempt towards perfecting gene pool in order to give rise to a society without crime, homelessness and mental illness. The argument was that if the degenerates were barred from having children, the problem of that society would disappear.
Outside of the United States, various nations conducted compulsory sterilization for different reasons, especially population control. Most countries are threatened with the significant growth in population without increase in supplies; thus, turn to forced sterilization in order to control the population.
Whenever a country introduces a eugenics program, there are particular groups of the population that are targeted. Some of those that have been and are often targeted by compulsory sterilization programs include the poor, minorities, alcoholics, prostitutes, epileptics, criminals, manic-depressives and homeless. The illiterate and the poor are the ones that are often targeted in the event that a country is undertaking forced sterilization programs.
Apart from the above mentioned countries, other governments that have also practiced compulsory sterilization include Peru, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Russia, India, China, Canada, and Czech Republic among others.
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