In his fascinating book Merchants of Despair, Robert Zubrin tells the shameful story of how Lyndon B. Johnson pressured Indira Ghandi to enact draconian population control measures in India as a condition of receiving U.S. foreign aid. The quotas and goals put in place resulted in insanitary and degrading mass sterilization camps.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Scores of women were dumped unconscious in a field after a mass sterilization because there was no room in hospital for them to recuperate, medical officials said on Thursday.
Medical experts also voiced shock over conditions at the hospital, where four doctors carried out a total of 106 sterilizations in one day.
The Population Research Institute has more on how these women were induced to put themselves at the tender mercies of such a medical system and permanently give up their fertility:
“The camps are happening non-stop right now throughout the country because the end of the financial year — March 31st — is approaching and there is pressure on health workers to meet their sterilization quotas,” Kerry McBroom, an American lawyer with the Human Rights Law Network (HRLN) in Delhi told PRI Review. “We’ll have a constant stream of injured women and dying women as a result.” Although India denies having targets for sterilizations, quotas are, in fact, set by local health administrators and are well publicized, she added. In 2011, for example, officials in the district of Rajasthan determined to sterilize 1% of the population. To meet this target, they offered mobile phones to men undergoing vasectomies and lottery tickets for cars, motorcycles and refrigerators to anyone who agreed to be sterilized. While paying people for sterilization is against the law in the U.S. and other countries—and has been widely denounced in India—most Indian states are still in the business of bribing people to give up their fertility. The amounts offered range from 150 rupees (about $2.70 US) to about 600 rupees (about $11 US). So-called Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA workers) or “motivators” are also paid a bonus for every person from their district that they bring to a sterilization camp.
In March, HRLN photographed a sign in a village in Bihar stating that every ASHA worker would be required to bring 12 women and one man in for sterilisation. In Bihar there are 8,400 ASHA workers. This means that the ASHA workers, if they met their quotas, would be responsible for over 100,000 sterilizations. “The ASHA workers are just other women in the village,” said McBroom. “They’re not usually motivated by ideology or population control. But they are definitely motivated by incentives. Just like all the other women in the villages, they’re trying to eek out an existence.”
One of HRLN’s affidavits, from a Jitna Devi, who was 22 years old at the time, claims that she was three months pregnant when she was sterilized and that she miscarried 19 days later. She also claims she did not understand the procedure would render her permanently sterile.
So these women, who are hardly free and liberated even within their own families, are offered pathetic financial incentives to be sterilized, which they may not even understand means being permanently sterilized, under horrific, unsafe conditions. Indian wives (in case you didn't know this) are very much under the control of their husbands' families, who may harm them if their dowries don't come up to snuff. That they would have much of a choice one way or another in accepting these "incentives" is highly dubious. Plus, most people understand that there are some things you shouldn't pay people to do--getting sterilized being one of them.
Who is paying for these programs? That's where it gets really interesting. (Emphasis added)
Whatever the Supreme Court of India rules this spring, it is hard to see how Indian women will be better treated as long as their fertility is tied to foreign aid. Tens of millions of dollars from the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the UK, the World Bank and other population control agencies flows into Indian programs whose primary aim is reducing fertility. A 2008 USAID document discusses implementation of the “population policy” in the state of Uttar Pradesh, for example, whose primary stated goal is reducing the state’s fertility rate from 4.3 to 2.1 by 2016. It is hardly surprising then, that each year 450,000 women in the state undergo sterilizations, most of them at government- sponsored camps. The US budget for health programs in India in the 2011 fiscal year was $78 million, $23 million of which is specifically earmarked for family planning.
Allegedly, U.S. dollars cannot be given to programs that involve bribes for sterilization.
A U.S. law called the Tiarht Amendment prohibits USAID from funding any family-planning program that has targets or quotas, is coercive, has financial or other incentives or involves non-consensual experimentation. If any of these requirements is violated or a “pattern or practice of violations” emerges, the administrator of USAID has 60 days to submit a report of findings and remedies to the Committee on International Relations and the Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Foreign Relations and the Committee on Appropriations of the Senate.
It's moderately obvious that the Tiarht Amendment is not being enforced when it comes to USAID and India. Couldn't the relevant House or Senate committees demand that USAID be held accountable? They could, and they should.
This is a real "war on women," and it's being waged with U.S. dollars. This isn't something the Taliban is doing. This is something our country's foreign aid agency is directly funding with dollars earmarked for "family planning" programs, and the buck needs to stop somewhere, in both senses. USAID shouldn't be allowed (as the UNFPA is so often allowed) to pass the buck to the local officials on policy violations while continuing to pay for the offending programs.
Commentator Aaron Gross suggested below that, when the leftists come up with a fake crisis, one response by conservatives should be to come up with a counter-crisis. I tend not to like the word "crisis," but it's actually exceedingly easy to come up with things that the left either doesn't care about or overtly promotes that are real outrages, while the left simultaneously tries to drum up crises or outrages that are either trivial by comparison, non-existent, or not best dealt with by public policy at all. Hence, the left makes up a completely fake "war on women" on the grounds that Republicans and conservatives resist paying for every woman's birth control pills, of all things, while the left is solidly on-board with U.S.-funded worldwide population control programs that leave wounded women lying in open fields after being sterilized for a bribe of eleven bucks apiece.
Whether pointing out the left's upside-down priorities will "get us anywhere" politically, there is certainly plenty of fodder for a campaign to take the offensive on these issues. Will the left find something to say? Sure, the left always finds something to say, as we may even see in this thread, and it may be that that specious facility with words, magnified a hundredfold by the expressly complicit MSM, will sap the political power of any such counter-crisis political campaign. As everyone knows by now, I think we make a mistake if we make "I'm sure this will work" the lodestone of our political approach. But here, for what it is worth, is the raw material for one such counter-crisis campaign.