Stolen Motherhood


documentary, 57 minuts
in production since September 2006
postproduction 6-9/2008
world film premiere 10/2008
Story developed by Libuse Rudinska
Sound recordist and sound engineer Michal Janoušek
camera nad directing Libuše Rudinská
editing Miloš Málek

description of the film:

Film is focused on stories of four Roma women from Ostrava who are fighting for apology and for compensation from hospitals where they were forced to undergo sterilization.

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Elena Gorolová, Helena Balogová a Vlasta Holubová at supreme court

Film is a comprehensive excurse into problem of forced sterilization in the Czech Republic. Personal stories of each characters are confrontated to point of view of experts such an ombudsman JUDr. Otakar Motejl, doctor-gyneacologist from the clinic where such actions were performed, a lawyer of the women, humanitarian workers who explain the problem of sterilization from the human rights point of view, from the medecine point if view and from the pointof view of law. Each character is explaining her personal story.

There is an accent on the impact of this operation on personal lives of each character and their partner.We go deeply under the surface of everyday life of each woman and we look on the problem from the personal, feminine and social point of view.We lear how woman and her partner delt with it and how their life continues. We were able to gain confidence of each character. The story show later on the way of thougts, actions and life philosophy of Roma community. We observe four characters and three supplementary cases.

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The main caracter of the film was Elena (39) who was sterilized in her age of 23 during cesarian section procedure in 1991. After years she comes back together with her husband to recall her experience. Apart from her experience of sterilizations we observe her recent life. We see her hope while she works for non profit organization, where she tries to help those who were simirlarly harmed. She is enjoying society life and opportunity to travel all over the world. She visits a seminar in UN department in New York, Strassbourgh and other places. Besides she studies secondary school and has plenty of time for herself.

At the same time we see how she is dealing with doubts about the sense of her life. She is the only one of all characters who is conscious of her situation but she has difficulties to overcome the feeling of emptiness. We see how she totters into health crisis.

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Elena together with her husband Bohus

Together with her story we see peripetia of her husband who was raised in a children´s home and later on he was a loyal employee of Ostrava coal-mines. He explains how the forced sterilization of his wife changed relationship between him and his wife. He is facing never ending problem of unemployment and frustration from doing nothing. We observe how their situation changes during one year.

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Elena at parlament of the Czech Republic

Elena is connecting stories of each charcters mainly because of her work in non-profit organization Life together.


Gizela (33)

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Gizela with her daughter Michaela

Was sterilized at her age of 23 during the second c-section delivery. It is obvious from the medecine report and from ombudsmans report that Gizela was cheated by doctors. But she does not spend any affort to gain compensation and all her energy she invests into her private life.
Shortly after delivery of her second child and after sterilization doctors realised the fatal desease of her child who 8 days later died from heart failure. The grief and helplesess almost delt the marriage in the collaps.

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With her son Dominik

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With her husband Roman

Gizela´s husband started to drink and he did not care much for his family members but Gizel healed herself up very quickly thanks to working group at railway station repair pit.
Five years later gynaecologist proposed Gizela to try in-vitro fertilization. Her husband sold his car to cover all necessary expenses connected to in-vitro procedure and healthy boy was born. Gizela and her husband took control of their lives and they gained the victory over their unlucky fate. Consequently we learn from the film that this motion was a solitare step because they went back to thier passive manners. Gizela as well as her husband suffer from unemployment and no one of them has enough power to fight it. Husband ends up with serious depression and Gizela is finding a relaxation in lotteries. Is spite of that her life story sounds very positive compare to others because finally she forced herself to find a way out of miserable conditions she lives in.

Helena (45)

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Helena

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husband Milan

She was sterilized during ther fifth delivery while she was giving birth to the first and the only son of her eleven years young husband. She is explainaing how her marriage felt apart and even though her husband came back to her after several months he sometimes ocassionally blames her for sterilization. Helena si completely reconciled with her situation and she enjoys her time with grandchildren. Husband runs out of the camera or Helena hides him from the camera but finally he talks about the situation in his family.
Because Helena is unable to speak clearly, sometimes she twists information and her medical record got lost her story seems to be incredible and if we want to find a pecuniar reason it might be the case.

Jirina (41)

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Compare to other women, she lives in the worst material conditions. Jirina was sterilized in 2001 during surgery because metacyesis was indicated. She has 18 years old daughter and 6 years old son with her husband. She did not overcome her problem with sterilization yet. The reason of her melancholy is among others caused by bad personal conditions. Her helplessness does not give her chance to také control over her life. She has an idea together with her husband to adopt 3 kids of her husbands daugher who left them in orphanage.We observe how this idea goes along with the reality of their lives during one year period.

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Together with her husband Jirka


Jirina as well as other women comes up with the problem of unemployment and suffers from desperation. Her contrary as a personality of her husband who is occassional scrap iron collector and heavy drinker. He looks like man of no scruples until he appears as tender-heart man so we suddently feel sympathy with him. We focuses on his life attitude and hear his comment which makes us more understand mentality and way of thinking of Roma community members.

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Jirka

Beside persoal stories of those wome we observe their pablic activities such in Parlament of the Czech Republic on demonstration against discrimination etc.

Supplementary characters:

Helena (26)

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Was steriliyed in her age of 19 during her second c-section and she is one of three women who are fighting law suit. Beside apology from the hospital where her sterilization was performed she requests financial compensation which was alredy twice denied. She would like to have another child but she has not enough financial resources.

Marcela (42)

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Marcela Marcela´s husband Julius and adopted daughter Simonka

She was sterilized during her fourth c-section delivery at her´s own request. She was in serious life danger and she decidet to get steriliyed after consultation with gyneacologist and her husband. She neither impeach nor regret her decision. She has no conflicts with her husband but both of them admitt regret the act because of lower sexual life quality after Marcela was sterilized. A year ago they adotet one year girl from the orphanage.

Iveta (31)

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Iveta with Kumar Vishwanathan

She was sterilized during her secon c-section delivery at her age of 21. Until now four times she trid to in-vitro fertilization. Unsuccessfuly. This year her case became the first lsuccessful law suit in the history of forced sterilizations and Iveta received not only apology from the hospital but financial compensation as well. This break through is a precedens and opens gate to out-of-court settlement for the rest of 82 women harmed by forced sterilization.