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Court slams sex change forced sterilization clause

Published: 14 Mar 2012 14:26 GMT+01:00
Updated: 14 Mar 2012 14:26 GMT+01:00

Compulsory sterilization for people undergoing gender reassignment surgery is in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights and the rule should therefore no longer apply, an administrative court in Sweden has ruled.

“I think that it is important for anyone who has been involved in the issue that the legal community has taken a stand and that we receive confirmation that the convention’s support for human rights apply in practice,” said Kerstin Burman, lawyer at the rights organization Diskrimineringsbyrån, in a statement.

The verdict follows the appeal from a Swede opposing the demand for sterilization from the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) in order to legally change sex from female to male.

According to political journal Riksdag & Departement, the court ruled that mandatory sterilization is a forced physical procedure and goes against the right to privacy in the European Convention.

“This is positive for our client. I am very happy. Now it will be interesting to see how the National Board of Health and Welfare will act,” said Burman to the paper.

According to legislation passed in 1972, to undergo a sex change operation a person must be over 18-years-old, a Swedish citizen, be sterilized and unmarried.

In the proposal for new legislation, to be presented by the government this spring, the conditions that sex change candidates are unmarried and Swedish citizens would be dropped, according to TT. But not the sterilization condition.

The matter has sparked a heated debate both in the Riksdag and among the parties of the centre-right Alliance government, with the Moderates and The Liberals (Folkpartiet) arguing the clause was obsolete.

Against them stood the Christian Democrats, but after some deliberation the party fell into line with their coalition partners.

The court now ruled in favour of the claimant, saying that his sex will be considered male, despite not agreeing to sterilization.

”I can hardly believe it is true. It is a great victory in a question that will have an impact on a great number of people,” said the man in a statement.

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Your comments about this article

16:17 March 14, 2012 by karex
Hurray for them. One small step.
16:21 March 14, 2012 by Nemesis
Which will be quickly followed by Sweden's first pregnant man.
17:11 March 14, 2012 by Amber Dawn
I am glad this idiotic practice is shot down, but it leaves a few what-ifs.

Where will this fall within the confines of the reproductive assistance? As of now, only partnered women, either gay or straight, can receive insemination or IVF assistance. There is much talk of assisting single women as well. Will this guy also fight for the right to use the reproductive services since he is able to carry a child? Two men can't seek assistance because it would require the cooperation of a third party. This person is biologically female, so that wouldn't be the case.
19:17 March 14, 2012 by philster61
Ah yes. The Swedish eugenics program. Had almost forgotten about that.....
20:49 March 14, 2012 by prince T
I cannot believe this is happening
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