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

Monday, August 8, 2016
By Paul Martin

by: Isabelle Z
Monday, August 08, 2016

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

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