India’s population control program under fire: 37% of women paid to be sterilized

July 18, 2010
By Tracy R Twyman

A new article from the Global Post examines India’s policy of providing financial incentives for sterilization operations in an effort to meet the “Millennium Development Goals? set for them by the United Nations, which demands that India reduce its birth rate to 2 children per mother by 2015. Presently, a full 37% of India’s female population has undergone sterilization, and 1% of the male population has undergone vasectomies. Critics warn that the procedures are often done in unsanitary conditions, with many women dying during the operation, and that women who are sterilized early in life are at increased risk for gynecological health problems. Most of those targeted for sterilization are poor villagers, who are deemed too ignorant to use less dangerous temporary birth control solutions. Each operation is worth tens of thousands of rupees for all of the participants involved, including the doctors, the hospitals, and the patients. Advocates say that this policy is consensual and thus more ethical than the Indian government’s policy in the 1970s of forcing vasectomies on men with two or more children.

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