Compulsory female sterilisation in Brazil: reproductive rights for whom?

Leila Marchezi Tavares Menandro, Hazel Rose Barrett

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    1 Citation (Scopus)


    Family planning programmes have been implemented throughout the world since the mid-20th century. In Brazil, the act governing family planning has been law for 25 years. However, the concept does not seem to be well known, being understood as contraceptives distribution. This article discusses Brazilian family planning policies, using a compulsory sterilisation lawsuit – reported by the media – to illustrate one of the many facets of gender-based violence in Brazil. This article is based on documentary research and uses a qualitative approach, applying content analysis to three selected texts. Only the news report that made the case public directly mentions the Family Planning Law and questions the suppression of reproductive rights. It was clear that conservatism was present in the actions of the judiciary, which appeared to be selective when choosing whose rights should be protected, denying poor women’s reproductive rights and upholding coercive birth control for the most deprived groups in the population.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)23-39
    Number of pages17
    JournalCritical and Radical Social Work
    Issue number1
    Early online date30 Aug 2021
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2022


    This work was supported, in part, by the Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES),Brazil (Finance code 001),and by CAPES/PRINT under grant number 88881.311890/2018-01.


    • Brazil
    • family planning
    • female sterilisation
    • gender-based violence
    • reproductive rights

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Sociology and Political Science


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