In a surprising development the Czech High Court over-ruled a decision to award a Roma woman damages for being sterilized against her will. In 1997, Iveta Cervenakova went to the hospital to have a Cesarean section procedure and while going through this experience was urged to sign a consent agreement which allowed the hospital to sterilize the young woman. The hospital argues sterilization was in accord with the law which allows such procedures if the patient gives consent. Actually, her case was one of several that have been taken up by the Sterilized Women’s Association(SZPS) which believes several hospitals have been forcing young women to go through the sterilization procedure. The Olomouc High Court overturned a 2007 ruling which awarded her financial damages for the procedure. The court ruled she had to file her case within three years after the event and since it came past that date, she could not receive financial compensation.
The court did rule the hospital had to apologize to the woman. Cervenakova said she didn’t even know she had been sterilized until fairly recently when she tried having a child. One can only wonder how many middle or upper class women were urged while going through a medical procedure to undergo a sterilization process. We suspect only poorer women are asked such questions.