Forced Sterilization of Roma Women in Czech Republic

by Vins
Published: Last Updated on

Looking back at the history of forced sterilization throughout Europe under the rule of the Nazi and even in the United States in the 20th century, one would hope not to hear of such abuse being perpetuated on women anymore. However, from the 1970s to the 2000s, thousands of Roma women have come forward to disclose that they were sterilized without their consent while living in predominately Roma (gypsy) communities in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, formally Czechoslovakia. This program under the Czechoslovakian government sought to reduce the high birth rate in Roma communities. Even after the Czech government acknowledged in 2009 that Roma women were targeted with unwanted sterilizations, no effort was made to prosecute the doctors or to fine the facilities known to commit such crimes. The victims were unable to file civil lawsuits because the deadline to pursue legal action has expired since the crimes span more than three decades, therefore resulting in no compensation for the Roma women.

Source: Renate van der Zee, “Roma Women Share Stories of Forced Sterilization,” Al Jazeera, July 19, 2016,

Student Researcher: Mihaela Jurovschi (Indian River State College)

Faculty Evaluator: Elliot D. Cohen (Indian River State College)