Reproductive Rights In Other Countries: A Set of Two Case Studies

Uzbek woman crying because she was forcibly sterilized.

Case Study One: The Forced Sterilization of Women in Uzbekistan

Since 1999, when the first cases were reported, there have been hundreds of cases where forced sterilization was performed on healthy women in Uzbekistan. This mass program of sterilization has been part of a government program, even though the government continues to deny either its involvement or the existence of this program [2]. The Uzbek Ministry of Health ruling 1098 states that a woman should be sterilized after giving birth to two children, sometimes three, with the consent of the woman and in a professional facility where their chances of complications will decrease [3].

Unfortunately, that is not the case. A big part of Uzbekistan culture is having big families, where women who birth many children consider it an honor. So, when some women went to the doctor because they couldn’t get pregnant, they were informed that they were surgically sterilized when they had their previous child. A procedure they never consented.

Doctors have testified that they are pressured to fill a quota of sterilizations set by health administrators, which gives them an incentive to convince pregnant women to get a c-section instead of a natural birth [2]. It is then that a doctor will perform either tubal litigation, a hysterectomy, or another form of permanent sterilization without informing the patient. The government has also denied that this quota exists [3].

The government of Uzbekistan has therefore violated international law and international human rights standards and continues to do so. It is believed that the government is enabling this ‘project’ for two main reasons. Firstly, for population control because if there are more women that cannot give birth then the birth rates will decrease. Secondly, because Uzbekistan puts great importance on being recognized at an international level for its success in reproductive health. The more sterilizations that are performed, the less that birth and children mortality occurs, meaning that birth and child mortality rates will decrease which helps to continue their great standing on reproductive health [2].

Compared to the US, the country of Uzbekistan has much fewer reproductive rights, especially since forced sterilization is being performed at such a mass scale. At the same time, it has been known that throughout US’s history forced sterilization has occurred especially in minorities, people of color, and Native Americans.




Case Study Two: Accessibility to Reproductive Health Services in the US Compared to The UK and Other Western European Countries

While the United States is known for its acceptance and legal rights to abortion and other health services, it still falls short in reproductive health accessibility compared to other developed countries like the United Kingdom and other Western European countries. Adolescents, which are at an age where they start to explore their sexuality, are particularly at risk.

Compared to the UK and other Western European countries, adolescents and women in general have a harder time accessing reproductive heath care due to financial concerns. In the US, a person needs to rely on their insurance coverage (if they have one), their ability to pay out of pocket, and access to family planning programs to cover for medical appointments and visits. Compared to the US, teens in the UK and other countries have fewer barriers since they can generally rely on government sponsored healthcare [4].

Another aspect that may prevent adolescents from seeking reproductive health care is how there are concerns for patient-doctor confidentiality for a teen in the US. In some cases, the parents are informed either by the clinic or the insurance company because the adolescent is underage.

There are also more barriers in the US for the accessibility of abortion in adolescents. There is much variation in state abortion laws with twenty-three states requiring parental consent before a minor can obtain abortion services, and twenty-one states require parental notification [4]. Some states in the US also ban abortion after a certain amount of time has passed. A recent example of the denial of abortion, an essential part of reproductive rights, is the Texas Heartbeat Act. This bill bans abortion once a baby’s heartbeat is detected, which generally occurs after about six weeks of pregnancy. Unfortunately, most women don’t even know they are pregnant at six weeks [5].


[2] Antelava, Natalia. “Report: Tens of Thousands of Women Forcibly Sterilized in Uzbekistan.” Open Society Foundations, December 2013.

[3] Snyder, Maddie. “Wrongful Conceptions: Reproductive Rights in Uzbekistan.” Harvard International Review 36, no. 4 (2015): 4–6.

[4] Hock-Long, Linda, Roberta Herceg-Baron, Amy M. Cassidy, and Paul G. Whittaker. “Access to Adolescent Reproductive Health Services: Financial and Structural Barriers to Care.” Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health 35, no. 3 (2003): 144–47.

[5] Irvine, Bethany. “Why ‘Heartbeat Bill’ Is a Misleading Name for Texas' near-Total Abortion Ban.” The Texas Tribune, September 2, 2021.

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