Lithuania's legislation on forced sterilisation

Legislation about (forced) sterilisation

Forced sterilisation is taken into account in the Lithuanian Civil Code.

Under article 2.25 of the Code, any intervention into a human body requires the consent of the person concerned, and written consent shall be given for surgical operation. The guardian shall give their consent to the sterilisation of the person who is incapacitated. In addition, the authorisation of the court is required. The sterilisation of a person may be performed without her consent in cases of emergency when the person’s life is in danger and cannot express her will.

In a report to the CRPD Committee, Lithuania recalled that both the Constitution and the Civil Code “guarantee the right to the inviolability and integrity of the body”, thus preventing forced sterilisation of persons with disabilities.

The CRPD Committee expressed concerns about provision 2000 of the Civil Code, allowing persons with disabilities deprived of their legal capacity to undergo surgical operations including sterilisation, without their consent, upon authorisation by a court. The Committee thus recommended the State party abolish provisions allowing forced treatment including sterilisation and remove the possibility for third parties (guardians, doctors, courts) to approve this practice.

Similarly, CEDAW Committee also expressed concerns about the reports of involuntary sterilisation experienced by women with disabilities in Lithuania.

Lithuanian Disability Forum noted that women with intellectual or psychosocial disabilities and residing in care institutions experience important violations of their rights including involuntary sterilisation and they lack access to justice and legal complaint mechanisms.

Legal cases on the forced sterilisation of people with disabilities

In 2019, in a case where a doctor sterilised a woman with cerebral palsy without her knowledge and consent, a civil court ordered the hospital where the sterilisation had been carried out, to pay her €31,000 in damages.

Data related to the matter

The CRPD Committee expressed concerns about the lack of investigation and data on the forced sterilisation of persons with disabilities and recommended the State party collect disaggregated data on the forced sterilisation of persons with disabilities.