Public Defender of Georgia Addresses Ministry of Health with General Proposal regarding Blockage of Woman’s Uterus Tubes (Sterilization)
On 28 September 2018, the Public Defender of Georgia addressed the Ministry of IDPs from the Occupied Territories, Labour, Health and Social Affairs, with a general proposal to inform the medical institutions operating on the territory of Georgia that the blockage of woman's uterus tubes (sterilization) does not require the consent of the spouse/partner.
On 29 November 2017, the Public Defender of Georgia received an application from Sapari, according to which, medical institutions require the consent of the spouse/partner in writing for conducting the procedure of blocking woman's uterus tubes (sterilization), which is a discriminatory approach.
According to the Ministry, the law does not require the consent of a spouse or unregistered partner. However, the national clinical practice recommendation on family planning, approved by the Order No 366/O by the Minister of Labour, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia on 21 March 2007, envisages social aspects of sterilization, which are determined by the legislation of the relevant country and are based mainly on the woman's wish, taking into account the consent of the partner.
According to the factual circumstances examined by the Public Defender, the consent of the spouse/partner is required for the sterilization procedure in several medical institutions. According to the letters, the purpose of this rule is to avoid future protests of spouses and family conflicts.
The Public Defender notes in her recommendation that women's reproductive rights should be protected in accordance with high standards, which includes their right to make decisions with regard to their sexuality without discrimination. The decision to have a child is completely tied to the woman's reproductive health and therefore, only women have the right to make decisions on sterilization. Although this decision may have a significant impact on the rights of the spouse/partner, the decision should be made by the woman and it is not permissible to force her to change her decision.
The Public Defender's recommendation indicates that adult women shall make decisions with regard to their own reproductive health issues by themselves and that any barrier imposed on them encourages discrimination. Requesting the consent of the spouse/partner portrays women as weak, dependent persons, who are unable or have no right to make decisions about their own body. Such an approach reinforces stereotypes that a woman is subordinated to a man and encourages discrimination.