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Sweden blocks plans to overturn sex-change sterilisation law

Sweden’s government delays proposals to overturn laws which require people undergoing sex changes to be surgically sterilised.

Goran Hagglund, Sweden's social affairs minister, has blocked proposals to overturn Sweden's demand of sterilisation for people undergoing sex-change surgery.
Goran Hagglund, Sweden's social affairs minister, has blocked proposals to overturn Sweden's demand of sterilisation for people undergoing sex-change surgery.
Image: PONTUS LUNDAHL/AP

THE SWEDISH GOVERNMENT has shelved plans to overturn the country’s controversial laws which require people undergoing sex-change surgery to be sterilised.

Opposition parties had tabled plans to scrap the laws, dating from 1972, which require people undergoing gender reassignment surgery in the country to be over 18 years old, unmarried, a Swedish citizen and to have been surgically sterilised.

An official commission had recommended the overturning of the sterilisation requirement in 2010, prompting political moves to have it overturned – but now the government has watered down the proposals being put forward.

Although the government is still proposing reforms to the laws, its proposals are merely to drop the clauses requiring candidates for surgery to be unmarried Swedish citizens.

TheLocal.se reports that the clause requiring candidates to be sterilised, however, is set to remain intact.

It explains that concerns of the Christian Democrats – the smallest of the four parties in Sweden’s ruling centre-right coalition – were enough to sway the government into seeking a full inquiry.

Opposition parties have decried the request for a full inquiry into the proposal’s medical implications as an attempt to fudge the issue and stop it from progressing any further.

The Christian Democrats, whose leader is Sweden’s social affairs minister, described the government’s decision to back an inquiry as a victory.

Social Democrat MP Lena Hallengren, who had backed calls to overturn the clause, said the government had not taken the true wishes of the parliament into account – and told UPI that a majority of members supported scrapping the sterilisation requirement.

The RFSL group, a lobby for LGBT rights in the country, has attacked the Christian Democrats’ stance and is to hold a rally outside the Riksdag building later this week.

“”It’s extremely remarkable that a democracy like Sweden now believes that this must be examined further,” its chairwoman said.

RFSL has organised a global petition, asking prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt to ignore the demands of “a small conservative party” and to proceed with the removal of the forced sterilisation clause.

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Gavan Reilly

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