Population Matters wholly condemns coercive family planning of any kind, and sees control of one’s own fertility choices as a basic human right, especially for women.
The BBC has reported allegations of an unacknowledged Uzbek policy of sterilising some women, either without their knowledge or by deception. The Uzbek government has denied the allegations. The Observer has separately reported allegations that deceptive, coercive and unsafe practices characterised some sterilisations in the Indian states of Bihar and Madhya Pradesh.
“Sterilisation is a popular choice for people who do not wish to have any more children; but coercion and deception are plain wrong”, said PM Chair Roger Martin. “This applies equally to coercive contraception and to the far more common problem of pregnancy arising from lack of access to modern family planning. The United Nations has rightly made universal access to reproductive health a Millennium Development Goal; and we congratulate DfID for giving priority to strictly voluntary family planning and women’s empowerment in the aid programme”.
“Slowing the growth in the world population – which the UN project as between 1.1 and 3.6 billion more people by 2050 depending on our collective actions meanwhile – is critical for hopes of sustainable development. It directly affects climate change, biodiversity loss, and food, water and energy security.”
“The high stakes, however, make it all the more important that family planning programmes are firmly based on consent”, he concluded. “Where coercion of any kind is alleged, we urge the responsible authorities to provide for independent investigation. These programmes are vital to the prospects of all our children; and their credibility and effectiveness depend on their remaining voluntary”.