I had written previously about the deaths of several women in Indian sterilization camps. This article explains to a greater extent the horrors that take place in these filthy centers, the lies that women are told and the tragic deaths and bodily harm that befalls them. Totally outrageous in all of this human misery is the fact that USAID underwrites most of these clinics!
Human rights activists have repeatedly documented that camps like those in Chhattisgarh are pervasive and routine throughout India. They’ve detailed how women are persuaded with cash incentives – or the chance to win a refrigerator or a car – and how they are coerced – into sterilizations. And they have described cases in harrowing detail: young childless women consenting to procedures by thumbprint unaware that it would leave them infertile; dozens of women being sterilized on school desks by doctors operating by flashlight; women maimed in the quest to meet government sterilization quotas. Just last year, there was outrage after the national television station aired footage of women lined up and bleeding on the ground at a camp where 103 lower caste women had been sterilized in under five hours in another state.
Yet none of the Supreme Court of India rulings, international policies and declarations, ever seem to make a difference in India which has been a playground for population controllers for decades.
Investigative journalist, Celeste McGovern, does a superb job in ousting the culprits of this human rights tragedy. Despite distancing itself, USAID is found to have its tentacles all over the population control and government quotas for sterilizations in India.
Documents reveal that USAID has for more than two decades been at the helm of India’s family planning programs, not just funding the massive directive that includes tens of thousands of camps, but overseeing and orchestrating the entire program, even encouraging cash incentives for sterilization and IUD insertion.
McGovern goes on to describe how USAID designed a program called the Innovations in Family Planning Services (IFPS) launched in 1992 with $325 million from USAID to be matched by $400 million from India’s government. Buoyed up by the success of the IFPS, USAID and the IFPS created a special “autonomous parastatal” agency called the State Innovations in Family Planning Services Agency (SIFPSA) to “provide flexibility and avoid bureaucratic delays.” According to McGovern, they made an unaccountable agency to operate away from public view and outside the democratic process
Kerry McBroom, an American human rights lawyer with HRLN in Delhi told McGovern that “85% of all family planning money goes to female sterilization”. She continues:
Donor organizations need to be accountable for rights violations perpetrated with their funding. Activists have made reports of unsafe and unethical sterilization for decades – it’s impossible that donors are totally oblivious to the violations.
This brilliantly researched article is a must read if you intend to know what is happening abroad with foreign aid money.
And stay tuned for Part 2.by