Forced sterilization

“A nurse put me on a stretcher and tied my hands and feet”

Most of the victims are indigenous women. (AIZAR RALDES/AFP/Getty Images)

Peruvian women who were victims of forced sterilization have shared their harrowing experiences with a reporter for the BBC, after an earlier investigation into the practice was re-opened in November.

A modification to the General Population Law in 1995 by then-president Alberto Fujimori, that aimed to reduce poverty in the South American nation by incorporating voluntary sterilization among available contraceptive methods, was initially met with praise. It was not long, however, before many women began to complain about sterilization procedures occurring without their consent. Most of the victims were indigenous and spoke Quecha.

The first case to be investigated was that of Mamerita Mestanza, in 1996, who died of a post-operative infection after submitting, under considerable duress, to a tubal ligation.

Sabina Huillca says she was bound to a stretcher after giving birth, anaethetized and sterilized. “A nurse put me on a stretcher and tied my hands and feet,” she said. “When I woke up, the doctor was stitching my stomach.”

Esperanza Huayama was three months pregnant when she was sterilized, on the same day as at least 100 women from her village. “I was three months pregnant and I didn’t know it,” she said. “But they [health center staff] did and still they went ahead.”

Micaela Flores said the doors were padlocked and she was sterilized against her will.

Rights group the Latin American Committee on Women’s Rights (CLADEM) says that as many as 90 percent of the 260,874 women who underwent tubal ligations between 1996 and 2000 may have been forced to do so.

The current investigation should be complete by February 2016, but court proceedings will take longer.

Read the full story at the BBC.

Related:

Peru tries to right the horrors of forced sterilization with national victims registry

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