population control

[I]n the 1960’s, population control received first priority within U.S. nonmilitary foreign aid. In fact, receiving foreign aid usually obligated receiving nations to undertake population control programs in accordance with U.S. State Department specifications. So it was that Lyndon Johnson remarked that $5 spent on family planning was worth more than $100 spent on development. Today, approximately 67% of all U.S. outlays for health care are now earmarked for population planning. And the Agency for International Development (A.I.D.) has increased its population control budget 40% over the last three years to $144 million in 1976–at the expense of other health programs. [Mass, Bonnie. 1975. “The Political Economy of Population Control in Latin America.” (Pamphlet) Women’s Press, Montreal.; Mass, Bonnie. 1977. “Coercive Population Plans Continue.” Guardian (Jan. 19)](CCESA 1977)

 In 1977 Dr. R.T. Ravenholt, director of the United States Agency for International Development (office for Population Control), said that the United States hoped to sterilize 25% of the world’s roughly 570 million fertile women in the interest of maintaining the “normal operation of U.S. commercial interests around the world.” (Johansen 1998)


  • In India, for example, the government first tried to bribe people into sterilizations by handing out transistor radios or cash payments. As that didn’t work, some states in India have passed legislation requiring sterilizations for government employees with two or three children. Last year, up to 150 people were shot in protests over the new sterilization laws. Some reports tell of men being forced off buses and transported to vasectomy camps. Women are thus not the only victims of sterilization abuse. [Rosenhause, Sharon. 1976. “Tell India Deaths in Sterilization Row.” Chicago Sun Times Oct. 28.] (CCESA 1977)

Latin America

  • Coercion has also increasingly become a part of family planning programs in Latin America. The Ford Foundation, for example, donated one million dollars for an experimental sterilization program there, in which individuals would be guaranteed $5, $6, or $7 a month for the rest of their lives if they agreed to be sterilized. (CCESA 1977)
  • Colombia

    • Between 1963 and 1965, 40,000 women in Columbia were sterilized by Rockefeller funded programs. These women were coaxed by gifts of lipstick, artificial pearls, small payments of money, and promises of free medical care. (CCESA 1977)
  • Bolivia

    • [I]n Bolivia, a U.S. population control program administered by the Peace Corps sterilized native Quechua women without their knowledge or consent.(CCESA 1977)
  • Puerto Rico

    • Probably one of the most insidious U.S. population control programs in the Third World has been in Puerto Rico, which has the highest incidence of sterilization in the world. (CCESA 1977)
    • A government issued survey found that 35% of all women of childbearing age there had been sterilized–more than one out of every three such women.(CCESA 1977)
    • Thousands of women are sterilized each month in U.S. funded family planning clinics there, which provides them free of charge.(CCESA 1977)
    • Many sterilizations are performed postpartum, which is standard procedure in some teaching hospitals for women with two or more children. Welfare women, people on food stamps, and people who want housing are all receiving special orientations about overpopulation and sterilization. (CCESA 1977)
    • The primary goal behind this U.S. population plan is to reduce the working class population on the island in order to make way for U.S. corporations. A report of a Puerto Rican economic policy making group proposes reducing the working sector of the population in order to reduce unemployment, which is by some estimates, as high as 30%.47 Heavy industries, mainly U.S. petroleum and petro chemical industries, have moved onto the island in recent years, displacing many rural and light industry workers. These heavy industries require a relatively small workforce–the excess working population must somehow be “disposed” of, either through sterilization or forced migration. (CCESA 1977)



Chicago Committee to End Sterilization Abuse (CCESA). 1977. “Sterilization Abuse: A Task for the Women’s Movement”(January-1977). Available online: Accessed: November 20, 2007.
original references for Latin America

  • references from CCESA article:
    • Barclay, William, Joseph Enright, and Reid Reynolds. 1970. “Population Control in the Third World.” NACLA Newsletter Vol. IV, No. 8 (Dec.)
    • Mass, Bonnie. 1975. “The Political Economy of Population Control in Latin America.” (Pamphlet) Women’s Press, Montreal.;
    • Mass, Bonnie. 1977. “Coercive Population Plans Continue.” Guardian (Jan. 19)
    • C.E.S.A. 1975. “Government Network Sterilizes Workers.” (mimeo): Box 839, Coopers Station, New York.
    • “Sterilization: Report Lists Abuses.” 1976, Guardian (Dec. 29).

 Johansen, Bruce E. 1998. “Sterilization of Native American Women Reviewed by Omaha Master’s Student.” Native Americas (September, 1998). available online <http://www.ratical.org/ratville/sterilize.html> accessed on November 21, 2007.

Ross, Loretta J. 2006. “The Color of Choice: White Supremacy and Reproductive Justice” pp. 53-65 in Color of Violence: the INCITE! Anthology. Boston: South End Press.


~ by Serena on November 20, 2007.

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