Forced sterilization: critical analysis of legal framework Surrounding reproductive rights in Kenya

Mwangi, Anne Wanjiru
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Strathmore University
Women's rights are central to the progress of women in social, economic, political and cultural spheres of life. It is for this reason that these rights have been given special regard at both an international and national levels. Among such women's right is the right to reproduction; a right encompassing a conglomerate of rights such as the right to the highest attainable standard of health and the right to decide the number and spacing of one's children and the right to be free from discrimination. Reproductive rights are further premised on the principle of bodily integrity which enshrines the right of the person to make decisions concerning one's body. Forced and coerced sterilizations involve making a woman permanently unable to bear children without her consent, or with consent obtained under duress or incentive without proper understanding or knowledge of the procedure consequences. This study aims to show how such sterilizations undermine the human dignity of the person and the resultant violation of the right to reproduction at both international and national level, more specifically Kenya. The research is a qualitative one based on information from text books, journal articles, news articles and appropriate case law from various jurisdictions. The paper looks to apply its findings to the Kenyan jurisdiction and to propose mechanisms through which reproductive rights within the region can be more strongly protected by reducing the occurrence of harmful practices such as forced and coerced sterilizations.
A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the Bachelor of Laws degree