Monday, July 18, 2005

Indian Tsunami Victims Regret Their Sterilization

The Guardian reports today that in the wake of the tsunami, popular demand is forcing India's government to pay to undo sterilizations. Otherwise, parents who lost children in the tsunami would have no hope of having more biological children of their own.

The Guardian previously chronicled the Indian government's history of coercive sterilization. In the new article, reporter Randeep Ramesh writes, "the tsunami has revealed the downside of such progressive policies [as sterilization], leaving many angry at being robbed of the right to have children, albeit in extreme circumstances.

"'I never wanted for my wife to have family planning surgery,' says Laxman Shekar, Vairam's husband. [Vairam lost three children in the tsunami.] 'My wife did it and I was angry. Because of the tsunami we have to have another surgery to undo this. We have been cursed.'"

The sterilization plan's chief champions are the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the International Planned Parenthood Federation.