Birth control, Uzbekistan-style

Published April 26, 2012

Islam Karimov’s brutal regime is sterilizing young women without their consent. Photo: ANGLO

Uzbekistan is sterilizing young women without their consent and sometimes, without their knowledge. Reports from human rights groups and a recent BBC documentary allege that the state is forcing doctors to perform sterilizations to control population growth-and improve the repressive state’s dismal ranking in worldwide maternal and infant mortality charts.

The surgical sterilizations include tubal ligations and hysterectomies. These are sometimes performed without the women’s consent during routine surgical procedures and C-section births, or with consent obtained through deceitful or forcible persuasion.

Large families are highly valued in Uzbekistan. Still, some women only learn when they are trying to start a family that they cannot conceive.

In light of these reports, the global activist organization Avaaz ( is circulating an online petition urging U.S. secretary of state Hilary Clinton to institute sanctions against the brutal regime of Islam Karimov, president of Uzbekistan. The U.S. uses Uzbekistan as a supply conduit for its troops in Afghanistan and is one of the long-reigning dictator’s major financial backers.

Avaaz, a progressive NGO co-founded in New York in 2007 by Edmonton-born Ricken Patel, alleges that doctors are given monthly quotas for the number of women they have to sterilize. Quotas can range from four a month to eight a week in rural areas.

To sign the petition, click here.


  • Diana Swift

    Diana Swift is an award-winning writer and editor with 30 years’ experience in newspaper and magazine editing and production. In January 2011, she joined the Anglican Journal as a contributing editor.

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