Sweden's legislation on forced sterilisation


From 1934 to 1975, Sweden put in place a eugenic sterilisation program: in this regard, numerous forced sterilisations were performed during this timeline.

In 1975, the program had been abolished and measures were taken to prohibit sterilisation.

Legislation about forced sterilisation

Sweden adopted in 1975 the Sterilisation Act, which governs the conditions in which sterilisation may occur, based on women’s self-determination.

For this sake, any sterilisation performed in violation of the law is punishable with fines or imprisonment of up to six months under section 8 of the said Act.

Under Chapter 3, Sections 5 and 6 of the Swedish Criminal Code, forced sterilisation (meaning performed without the consent of the woman) is also a criminalised offence, constituting an assault.

Data related to the matter

A Special Commission investigated the practice and found that some 63,000 persons, mainly women, had been sterilised during this period and half of them forcefully. A government body had been established to process applications for compensation for persons who underwent forced sterilisations.