Forced pregnancy

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Forced pregnancy is the practice of forcefully impregnating a woman or girl without her consent. This act is often as part of a forced marriage, as part of a programme of breeding slaves, or as part of a programme of genocide.[1] Forced pregnancy is a form of reproductive coercion.[2]

Imperial Japan[edit]

Female prisoners of Unit 731 were forced to become pregnant for use in experiments.[3]

Bride kidnapping[edit]

The practices of bride kidnapping and forced marriage typically (with the exception of purely symbolic "bride kidnappings" which are actually consensual elopements) involve the rape of the "bride" with the intention of forcing her to become pregnant, putting her in a position where she becomes dependent on the rapist and his family and, because of cultural attitudes toward rape, unable to return to her own family.[4] In Kyrgyzstan, thousands of young girls and women are kidnapped every year to be forced into marriage. Although the practice was outlawed in 2013, bride kidnapping continues to exist, with destructive consequences for society. It is often referred to as a tradition, perceived as the obvious thing to do when the male is ready for marriage.[5] China is grappling with a pressing issue of bride trafficking. This predicament can be traced back to the country's historical one-child policy and the prevailing preference for male offspring, which have resulted in a significant gender imbalance. Consequently, numerous Chinese men are encountering challenges in their quest for life partners. Regrettably, due to security vulnerabilities within China, a distressing enterprise has arisen involving the trafficking of women and girls from neighboring nations. Over the years, the primary approach of the Chinese government has been to disregard the mounting accusations regarding the potential involvement of officials in these illicit activities.[6][7][8]

As a means of genocide[edit]

Rape, sexual slavery, and related actions including forced pregnancy, are now recognized under the Geneva Convention as crimes against humanity and war crimes;[9] in particular from 1949, Article 27 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and later also the 1977 Additional Protocols to the 1949 Geneva Conventions, explicitly prohibit wartime rape and enforced prostitution. The Rome Statute Explanatory Memorandum, which defines the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, recognises rape, sexual slavery, forced prostitution, and forced pregnancy as crimes against humanity if part of a widespread or systematic practice.[10][11]

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda identified rape as capable of amounting to genocide when used systematically or on a mass scale to destroy a people; later the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia also categorized rape as capable of being a crime against humanity. In 2008 the U.N. Security Council's resolution 1820 identified such acts as capable of being "war crimes, crimes against humanity or ... genocide".[12] Despite these measures, rape, whether systematic or otherwise, remains widespread in conflict zones.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Forced pregnancy: a commentary on the crime in international criminal law" (PDF). Amnesty International. 2020. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2022-05-26. Retrieved 2023-04-19.
  2. ^ "Forced pregnancy" means the unlawful confinement of a woman forcibly made pregnant, with the intent of affecting the ethnic composition of any population or carrying out other grave violations of international law. This definition shall not in any way be interpreted as affecting national laws relating to pregnancy; Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, 17 July 1998
  3. ^ Gold, Hal (2011). Unit 731 Testimony (1st ed.). New York: Tuttle Pub. pp. 157–158. ISBN 978-1462900824.
  4. ^ "Footage of 'bride kidnappings' makes for truly disturbing viewing". NewsComAu. 2017-11-17. Retrieved 2019-11-23.
  5. ^ Department Of State. The Office of Electronic Information, Bureau of Public Affairs (2008-03-11). "Kyrgyz Republic". Retrieved 2019-11-23.
  6. ^ "China's Bride Trafficking Problem | Human Rights Watch". 2019-10-31. Retrieved 2023-10-04.
  7. ^ Beech, Hannah (2019-08-17). "Teenage Brides Trafficked to China Reveal Ordeal: 'Ma, I've Been Sold'". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2023-10-04.
  8. ^ "China's Trafficked Brides". Retrieved 2023-10-04.
  9. ^ "Geneva Conventions as Discussed in Rape Crime". Retrieved 2012-09-07.
  10. ^ As quoted by Guy Horton in Dying Alive – A Legal Assessment of Human Rights Violations in Burma April 2005, co-Funded by The Netherlands Ministry for Development Co-Operation. See section "12.52 Crimes against humanity", Page 201. He references RSICC/C, Vol. 1 p. 360
  11. ^ "Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court". Retrieved 2013-10-18.
  12. ^ "Security Council Demands Immediate and Complete Halt to Acts of Sexual Violence Against Civilians in Conflict Zones, Unanimously Adopting Resolution 1820 (2008)". Retrieved 2012-09-07.