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103 Women Sterilized, 14 Dead – All in a Day’s Work at One Camp

Steven W. Mosher - published on 12/19/14 - updated on 06/07/17

Indian officials claim that in 1996 the country abandoned quotas and adopted a “target-free approach” to family planning. But recent investigations by human rights activists in India have found that population targets and sterilization quotas are still routine and widespread.

“Every state sets targets in its annual health plan for female sterilization, male sterilization, insertion of IUDs, and distribution of contraceptive pills,” Human Rights Watch (HRW) concluded in 2012 based on interviews with 50 Indian health workers. “A central government body, the National Project Coordination Committee, reviews these targets and allocates funds for family planning in every state.”

“They shout at those who have not fulfilled their targets during meetings. It’s humiliating,” one worker told HRW. “They say, “If others can achieve the target, why can’t you? You must know some women? You must have relatives or some contacts after working in the villages? Use them and get women operated [sterilized].”

“In much of the country, authorities aggressively pursue targets, especially for female sterilization, by threatening health workers with salary cuts or dismissals,” the HRW report explains.” As a result, some health workers pressure women to undergo sterilization without providing sufficient information, either about possible complications, its irreversibility, or safer sex practices after the procedure.”

“I have to keep going to women’s houses,” one worker explained. “Sometimes in one week I go 10 times to one woman’s house.”

When you threaten government workers with the loss of their jobs unless they bring in a certain number of young women to be sterilized, it is not surprising that they will do or say anything to meet their quotas.

This is why young, vulnerable Indian women are dying in sterilization camps. They are victims of one of the darkest and cruelest population control regimes on earth. Second, perhaps, only to China.

Steven W. Mosher
is the President of the Population Research Institute and the author of Population Control: Real Costs, Illusory Benefits.
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