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Monday, May 02, 2005

 

Forced birth control alleged in Uzbekistan

From Muslim Uzbekistan:

The authorities in Uzbekistan have a robust policy on birth control, but evidence is emerging that in pursuit of a smaller population they are abusing women's rights by conducting hysterectomies and implanting contraceptive devices against their will.

IWPR has interviewed healthcare experts and mothers who accuse the authorities of using coercive family planning measures that are often brutal in their implementation, and that allow for neither consultation nor alternative options.

Although the methods are shrouded in secrecy, there is mounting evidence that this is a coherent state policy rather than misguided imposition of voluntary methods.

According to one doctor, there is a secret order from the health ministry dating from 2000 to reduce the birth rate among women in rural areas. One of the methods recommended for achieving this goal is to perform hysterectomies on young women who have already given birth.

As well as hysterectomies, the other main practice is the implanting of intrauterine devices, IUD (commonly known as "the coil") immediately after a mother has given birth. Again, both mothers and health professionals say this is often done without consent.

The way both types of intervention are carried out leads to heightened health risks, medical experts say.

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