Are Women Being Forcibly Sterilized in Uzbekistan?

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This week’s issue of The Lancet reports on accusations of forced sterilizations of women in Uzbekistan. One non-governmental organization gathered evidence of 80,000 sterilizations over seven months in 2010 but could not determine how many were forced. However, doctors have admitted sterilizing women without consent, and some women have reported forced sterilization during cesarean births.

Ed Holt writes:

A nationwide campaign of forced sterilisation is being undertaken in Uzbekistan as the autocratic regime in the poverty-stricken former Soviet state looks to impose population controls and head off potentially enormous socioeconomic problems, it has been claimed…

Some doctors admitted that they tricked women into agreeing to sterilisation, taking advantage of poor public health awareness, caused in part by the attitude of the authorities to providing information, or playing on poor people’s fears of the financial burdens of large families. But more chillingly, some also seemed to admit to doing sterilisations without the patient’s consent. The main method inferred was tying off fallopian tubes during caesarean sections. Women interviewed in the reports spoke of how they had been sterilised during caesarean births, only discovering months later what had happened to them.

For more information on the story, visit the BBC website.