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Minister Stehlikova for law regulating sterilisation

Prague, 24.3.2007 16:59, (CTK)

A law that would better protect women against unwanted sterilisation should be passed, Minister without Portfolio Dzamila Stehlikova (the Greens) told journalists during her two-day visit to the Moravian and Silesian Region today.

At present, the medical act is being regulated by a decree of the Health Ministry.

Tens of Romany women have complained about unwanted sterilisation.

Stehlikova said that she would discuss compensation to them.

In January, the High Court in Olomouc, north Moravia, dealt with the first complaint about involuntary sterilisation. It ruled that the Vitkovicka hospital in Ostrava should apologise to a Romany woman who was sterilised six years ago without her explicit consent.

However, the court did not recognise her right to financial compensation since her case fell under the statute of limitations.

Ombudsman Otakar Motejl whose office received about 80 complaints from Romany women by the end of 2005 alone has also proposed that women be compensated for involuntary sterilisation.

"I would like the law on the provision of health services to be amended by a clause on the execution of sterilisation," Stehlikova said.

"The legislation should see to it that not only informed agreement, but also further legal steps should be the condition," she added.

In such a case, sterilisation would not be made unless a number of conditions were fulfilled, Stehlikova said.

The compensation will be dealt with by the government council for Romany affairs, she said, adding that it would meet in May.

Stehlikova today visited one of the women who had undergone sterilisation. Helena Balogova, who turns 46 today, is a mother of five and grandfather of four children.

"I was 28 when sterilisation was made on me. Before I got married, we had four children and I have one children with my husband. We would like to have some more children," Balogova said.

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