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Venezuelan women turning to sterilizations as economic implosion prevents access to traditional contraceptives


(NaturalNews) Venezuela is becoming such a hostile place to live in, that women are turning to sterilization in a desperate bid to avoid bringing new life into the misery-ridden country, and enduring pregnancy and childbirth in the deteriorating medical system.

Food shortages, poor medical care and inflation are all part of everyday life for Venezuelans, and many women fear becoming pregnant and having to raise a child under these conditions. Compounding the problem is the fact that birth control pills and condoms are becoming increasingly difficult to find, just like food and other basic necessities. Even when condoms are available, their price is too high for those who earn minimum wage in the country.

While official statistics on sterilizations are not available, health workers and doctors report a growing demand for sterilization procedures. One health program in the state of Miranda has been offering sterilization days for several years, but the 40 slots did not usually fill up – until recently. Now, not only are all the slots taken, but as many as 500 women are on a waiting list. Health workers in other states, such as Merida, Tachira and Falcon, all confirm that sterilizations are being increasingly demanded.

That is not to say, however, that every woman who wants to be sterilized can get the procedure. Women can be forced to wait for months, and private clinics charge the equivalent of a year's salary for those who earn minimum wage. Some hospitals cannot perform the procedure at all, because they lack the expertise or equipment.

Women facing a difficult choice

Sterilization is a difficult choice for many women, particularly in light of the high proportion of Roman Catholics in the country. The religion rejects contraception and bans abortion unless a woman's life is in danger. However, regular riots for food and poor medical care are causing many women to re-think their stance.

The simple fact is that most ordinary people do not have an adequate store of survival food for themselves, much less any unexpected additions to the family. Getting by is hard in Venezuela today even without children. Women are being forced to spend hours waiting in line for very scarce baby food, diapers and medicines, often while holding their children and exposing them to heat and sun, without any guarantee that they will actually walk away with any food or supplies when they reach the end of the line.

The next generation of Venezuelans can expect a hard life. The country has said that all companies will be required to allow their workers to be reassigned to grow crops as a measure to stem the country's economic emergency. If people are being forced into agricultural work and scavenging dumpsters for food now, most women would rather not think about the type of life their children will face in the future.

Lack of medicine, supplies and even doctors

In addition to all of this, the country's maternal mortality rate was a startling 95 per 100,000 live births last year, which is one of the worst rates in all of Latin America, and a concerning rise from the 90 noted in 2000. Medicine shortages are at 85 percent, and even supplies like surgical gloves can be hard to come by. In addition, many doctors are emigrating in search of better wages and a better quality of life overall, leaving hospitals understaffed.

One Venezuelan mother lamented that announcing a pregnancy used to be a joyous occasion, but now women are scolded when they break the news that they are expecting. She told some women who were nervously awaiting their turn in a sterilization waiting room, "If you get scared, just remember those food lines."

This sad state of affairs began with the socialist policies instituted by Hugo Chavez, and carried on by his successor, President Nicolas Maduro. The country is on the brink of collapse, and falling oil prices are making matters worse. Murders and violence are on the rise, and the power grid is in serious danger of collapsing as well. If women continue to go to such great lengths to avoid pregnancy, there will not be anyone left in this gigantic evidence of the failure of socialism.

Sources include:

Yahoo.com (Reuters)




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