A month after women’s groups blew the whistle on a Peruvian government sterilization program, reports of women being forced or bribed to submit to tubal ligations continue. Government health workers reportedly offered gifts, including food and clothing, to poor women for undergoing tubal ligation.
Those who survive the surgery are sent away with gifts of clothes and food, however, fatal complications sometimes arise for women who cannot afford medical treatment. A neighbor of Magna Alva, who died ten days after the surgery, said “When you don’t have anything and they offer you clothes and food for your kids, then finally you agree to do it …. Magna told them that her husband was against the idea, but they told her, ïDon’t worry, we can do it right now, and tonight you will be back home cooking and your husband will never realize what happened.”
The Peruvian government issued quotas for sterilizations in 1995 in an effort to curb the growing population and poverty in exchange for promotions and cash for doctors and nurses. Family planning officials in Peru, where abortion is illegal, say that abstinence, the IUD and tubal ligation are the most common forms of contraception.
A United States Congressional Subcommittee on International and Human Rights Operations has begun investigations concerning the reports of forced sterilization.