Sterilizing Women Means “Liberating” Them?

Sterilizing women is the most popular form of birth control in the planet.



After the report on the eugenics deaths in India, the media has been working on rehabilitating the image of programs aimed at reducing poverty by eliminating the reproduction of the poor. It seems troubling to many that the most popular form of birth control on the planet is the sterilization of women.

It should be troubling. But NPR is ready to defend the status quo—happily reporting that 223 million women were sterilized in 2009. As summarizes,

A reproductive health expert tells NPR in an interview that we shouldn’t demonize the process, which, he says, offers women “a sense of autonomy” and leaves them “less subjected to gender-based violence.” “They can have the life they want without worrying about unwanted pregnancies,” adds John Townsend, reproductive health director at Washington DC’s Population Council.

Unwanted for whom?

John Townsend, you will notice, doesn’t claim to work for an organization that is aimed at promoting feminism or (alternatively!) equal rights or opportunities for women. I applaud the Population Council of Washington DC for being honest enough to name themselves according to their real concern. These people want to reduce the world’s population. They will appeal to anything that sounds good in order to promote their agenda, but their agenda is population reduction.

If they wanted to really empower people, of course, they would want to give people control over their own bodies. That would mean promoting forms of contraception that were temporary and could be discontinued at will. Then husbands and wives could decide when it was time to start having children and how many to have. Sterilization demands that a potential parent forever forswear childbirth from the time of the procedure onward.

Why force people across the world into that kind of commitment? What makes that the preferred method of contraception for men or women? The claim that it is “empowering for women” (NPR) is obviously bogus.

Also, vasectomies are even more reliable than tubal ligations or other ways of sterilizing women. But men don’t want them. So, because women are less resistant to global population control propaganda, they are the ones convinced to undergo the procedure. That seems more like a way of exploiting women than empowering them.

Also, the extent of NPR’s “story” was simply interviewing  John Townsend and passing on his assertions. For example, he claims that women who undergo the procedure, “have a sense of autonomy, are less subjected to gender-based violence and overall, have a fuller, richer life.”

“Less subjected to gender-based violence”? Why? And describing them as having “a fuller, richer life” does not sound like the result of rigorous scientific research.

It isn’t. It is just ad hoc propaganda to get people to go back to sleep and feel good about themselves. We’re not Nazis. We’re freaking humanitarians. Sure we are.