UPI reports that the government of Rajasthan, which is the largest geographical state in India, is running a very aggressive sterilization campaign to try and lower the highest fertility rate in India of 3.3 children per woman.

Rajasthan has a highly specific and therefore rather creepy goal of 698,604 sterilizations in 2012-2013. They actually had a goal of 100,000 sterilizations in the two-week period ending on July 11, which for the uninitiated is World Population Day.

To meet these targets, state health officials offer cars on a lottery basis and free cooking gas connections to promote sterilization. Each health worker who facilitates the operation also receives cash incentives, which are openly mentioned in family planning programs.

Women who accept these bribes are shipped off to “sterilization camps.”

In the U.S. there used to be something called the Tiarht Amendment which said that American taxpayer money could not go to coercive family planning programs. The law then defined coercion rather broadly and included the use of targets, goals and incentives. Such a law is certainly needed in India and many other places, too.

In a world obsessed with human rights, where a woman’s desire to have her hair cut by a Muslim is asserted as a human right, where indeed any aspiration rises to the level of human rights, you would think that coerced sterilizations might become material for the human rights machinery.

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