Poland's legislation on forced sterilisation

Legislation about (forced) sterilisation

Forced sterilisation is criminalised by Polish Criminal Law.

According to Polish NGOs, “it is unclear whether consensual sterilisation, even with consent, is legal under Polish law since article 156§1 of the Criminal Law provides that “imperilling anyone’s reproductive capacities” is punishable with three years of imprisonment (this provision is on health offence). No exception is included in the Criminal Law, meaning that a doctor performing the sterilisation of a patient may potentially act illegally. However, the request and consent for sterilisation are legal for a woman. Due to this uncertainty regarding the performance of sterilisation, some doctors are reluctant to perform it.

Forced sterilisation is not permitted in Polish laws. However, some research reported that women with disabilities living in institutions are sterilised against their will or without their informed consent. According to the NGO, this issue is not well documented.

In this regard, the CRPD Committee expressed its concerns about such practices. The Committee thus recommended Poland ensure that women and girls with disabilities are assisted in life decision-making and that their sterilisation is not carried out without full, free and informed consent.