Uzbekistan may be secretly sterilising women

Uzbekistan has a policy of secretly sterilising women, according to the BBC. According to women interviewed in neighbouring Kazakhstan, Uzbek authorities have run a program over the last 2 years to sterilise women across the nation, often without their knowledge. Apparently the government wants to control Uzbekistan’s growing population – official figures place it at 28 million.

“Every year we are presented with a plan. Every doctor is told how many women we are expected to give contraception to; how many women are to be sterilised,” says a gynaecologist from Tashkent, the Uzbek capital. "There is a quota. My quota is four women a month,” she says.

The push for sterilisation is strongest in rural Uzbekistan, where some gynaecologists are expected to sterilise eight women per week. One woman says she faced months of strange pains and severe bleeding after she gave birth to her son. She then had an ultrasound check and discovered her uterus had been removed. “They just said to me, ‘What do you need more children for? You already have two,’” she told the BBC.

“On paper, sterilisations should be voluntary, but women don't really get a choice,” says a senior physician from a provincial hospital. “It's very easy to manipulate a woman, especially if she is poor. You can say that her health will suffer if she has more children. You can tell her that sterilisation is best for her. Or you can just do the operation.” ~ BBC, Apr 12

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