Forced pregnancy

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Forced pregnancy is the practice of forcing a woman to become or remain pregnant against their will, often as part of a forced marriage, or as part of a programme of breeding slaves, or as part of a programme of genocide. Forced pregnancy is a form of reproductive coercion.

Imperial Japan[edit]

Female prisoners of Unit 731 were forced to become pregnant for use in experiments.[1]

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.[2] In the former Soviet republic of 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.[3]

As a means of genocide[edit]

Rape, sexual slavery, and related actions including forced pregnancy and sexual slavery, are now recognized under the Geneva Convention as crimes against humanity and war crimes;[4] 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.[5][6]

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".[7] Despite these measures, rape, whether systematic or otherwise, remains widespread in conflict zones.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Gold, Hal (2011). Unit 731 Testimony (1st ed.). New York: Tuttle Pub. pp. 157–158. ISBN 978-1462900824.
  2. ^ "Footage of 'bride kidnappings' makes for truly disturbing viewing". NewsComAu. 2017-11-17. Retrieved 2019-11-23.
  3. ^ Department Of State. The Office of Electronic Information, Bureau of Public Affairs (2008-03-11). "Kyrgyz Republic". Retrieved 2019-11-23.
  4. ^ "Geneva Conventions as Discussed in Rape Crime". Retrieved 2012-09-07.
  5. ^ 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
  6. ^ "Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court". Retrieved 2013-10-18.
  7. ^ "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.