A Story of Life and Death: Population Control Policies and Women's Right to Survival

16 Pages Posted: 15 Nov 2014

Date Written: November 14, 2014


Recent reports of women who have died in a state-run mass sterilisation campaign in Chhattisgarh because of negligence and wrong practices are disgraceful. However, deaths due to sterilization are not a new phenomenon in India. Every year more than four million of these operations are performed as part of a long-running effort to control the booming population and most of these are performed on women’s bodies. Only, a few cases are reported, however a majority of complications, negligence or failure incidents never come into limelight.

This is a matter of serious concern because India as a country boasts its medical tourism yet there are many areas in the health care sector where much is required to be done. On one hand there are technologies developed for the modern India that are highly sophisticated, based on the precise technical surgical procedures, yet on the other hand there are masses in Bharat who are being denied and deprived of their basic health rights. Also, women’s health is one of a major concern where policies are now focused on family welfare/planning, reducing population while controlling women’s reproductive choices and decisions rather than focusing on improving maternal and child health through providing adequate nutrition, safe drinking water or proper health and medical care facilities at the local level. And even in the area of reproductive health, women are targeted, abused and subjugated because the entire paraphernalia consisting of state machinery, community, religion, national or international organizations working on the issue, has failed to convince men to adopt safe and healthy reproductive choices. In the process women’s bodies have become battlefields which continue to be used and misused to achieve health and development targets over the years.

Keywords: Women, Gender, Sterilization, Health, women's health, health rights, population policies, India, Chhattisgarh

Suggested Citation

Nigam, Shalu, A Story of Life and Death: Population Control Policies and Women's Right to Survival (November 14, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2524365 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2524365

Shalu Nigam (Contact Author)

Independent ( email )

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