Equal access to health and family planning information for all women in Hungary
The communication was filed with regards to the alleged forced sterilization of an ethnic Roma woman by medical staff pursuant to an emergency caesarian section that was required to remove a deceased fetus. The Committee found that previous medical care, the poor medical condition of the victim, A.S., upon arrival at the hospital, short time span between her arrival, the supposed consent and completion of the procedure (17 minutes in total), as well as the terms through which such consent for sterilization was received (a short hand written note that used Latin terminology) was in violation with Articles 10(h), 12 and 16.1(e) of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. The Committee recommended that Hungary compensate Ms. A.S. and take measures to ensure that health officials give information to patients and obtain informed consent.
The first time an international body held a state responsible for the failure to provide a woman with necessary information and obtain full consent with regards to her reproductive health. While the rulings on discrimination concerning health care and “matters relating to marriage and family relations” were important, findings concerning Article 10(h) on “access to specific educational information to help to ensure the health and well being of families, including information and advice on family planning” are particularly relevant for the human rights-based approach to social protection. The Committee asserted that the State has a positive duty to duly provide complete and comprehensible information to women in a manner that allows them to make fully informed choices about family planning.
Case Title: A.S. vs. Hungary
Date of Views: 29 August 2006, [Link to official record]