For those who suggested that my post last week, the one with the statement from the Kenyan Bishops on the tetanus vaccines, was feeding into conspiracies about sterilization, CNN has a report today on the deaths of
eight eleven women who have died after being paid to undergo sterilization in India.
Watch the piece above or read the CNN article.
Some interesting things to note from the CNN information –
- [Paid] sterilization campaigns are common in India. Presumably poor women were targeted, women for whom the money would make a difference, women who would think that the risk to their health is worth the compensation. To be fair, these are probably women for whom having [more] children would be a financial burden and for whom contraception may not be that reliable given lack of access, etc.
- The issue raised in this situation is the quality of the facility and the medical services.
- 11 women have died; 62 others have been hospitalized.
- The sterilizations were carried out by one doctor and one assistant; 83 women were sterilized in five hours. That’s about 16 women an hour [16.6]. That’s less than four minutes per woman. Just to give you a bit of context, the American Dental Association recommends that an individual spend two minutes twice a day brushing her teeth. The doctor did not spend even that amount of time on the women he was sterilizing. Or think of it in terms of how long it takes to microwave a bag of popcorn.
Both groups of people targeted in this campaign and those in the alleged tetanus/sterility campaign in Kenya are women of child bearing age.
Many cultures continue to accept the skewed bias that women are somehow worth less than men. I can’t help but think that campaigns like this only reinforce such thinking.
As someone who thinks that contraception is inherently wrong (feel free to agree or disagree in the com-boxes below), I continue to think that one of the best kept secrets is natural family planning (NFP). And given the rates of success – achieving a pregnancy, postponing a pregnancy, and increased intimacy between husband and wife – of some forms of NFP, it seems that maybe this ought to be a priority for the Synod on the family next year. It would address a multitude of issues affecting families in every part of the world, not just certain countries. There’s no reason why international health organizations couldn’t partner to help teach women and men a natural, healthy, and holistic way of determining when and how to use their fertility. And it would be a welcome break from campaigns that continue to suggest that women are less than men or somehow disposable. Naturally, more needs to be done in the area of development: education, economic, etc.