Women of Venezuela choosing sterilization due to economic hardship

In crisis-hit Venezuela, where raising a family is an increasingly grueling and expensive task, a growing number of young women are choosing to be sterilized.


A study by PLAFAM, the biggest family planning clinic in the country, estimates that about 23 percent more Venezuelan women are being sterilized today as compared to four years ago, said the clinic’s director, Enrique Abache. “The financial crisis is one of the main causes for this,” he explained.


Years of government mismanagement have fueled what is now a full-blown humanitarian crisis in a country where infant mortality has almost doubled in recent years, most people lack enough money to buy the food they need, mothers often spend whole days searching for milk powder or diapers, and traditional contraceptive methods such as condoms and birth control are scarce.


“It wasn’t a hard decision to make,” said a recently sterilized mother of two, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the personal nature of the topic. “It was the most feasible option because of the country’s financial situation.”


The 31-year-old opted to be sterilized in November, as soon as she gave birth to her second daughter. “It’s so difficult to find contraceptive methods and the [baby’s] basic needs are hard to fill,” she explained.


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