JAPAN – It isn’t just the reproductive right to have an abortion that is still criminalised

by Kazane

“I had always been uncomfortable with my fertility, and wished to be sterilised for a decade,” writes Kazane, a Japanese feminist. “However, in Japan, where I’m from, voluntary sterilisation is criminalised. Under Japan’s ‘Maternal Body Protection Law’, all girls and women are treated as ‘future maternal bodies’ for the country, as if we were national property. We must have several children, and even then, get spousal permission to be eligible for sterilisation.

“If you choose to be sterilised voluntarily, without having had children or spousal authorisation, or without medical justification, you can be fined 500,000 yen (approx. USD 3,320) or jailed for one year. This made it impossible for me to seek sterilisation in my country, and left me no choice but to receive the procedure from a US hospital. After I was sterilised at age 27 in the USA, I decided to sue Japan for infringing my right to choose sterilisation.

“With four other childfree plaintiffs (see photo) wishing to be sterilised, whose bodily autonomy has also been taken away from them, I have sued Japan for its violation of our reproductive health and rights, and our constitutional right to pursue happiness on our own terms.”

For further information about and to support the lawsuit see: https://www.call4.jp/info.php?type=items&id=I0000132