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Namibian Judge Elton Hoff ruled Monday that the nation’s government sterilized three HIV-infected women without proper consent, coercing them to sign forms they didn’t fully understand while they were in labor. This is a major decision in a nation that is grappling with how to deal with fertility and child-rearing in a nation with a heavy HIV infection rate.
While the ruling rejected claims that the women were singled out for the procedure strictly because they had the disease, activist are still celebrating the decision. They worry more women in Namibia are being forced into sterilization by doctors and have introduced several cases on the matter into local courts.