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Peru’s Coercive Family Planning Program and USAID Involvement

Peru’s Coercive Family Planning Program and USAID Involvement

For Immediate Release

March 9, 2000

Contact Scott Weinberg

(540) 622-5240

WASHINGTON, DC – Did you know that in Peru, women of color are regularly called “beasts,” “dogs,” “cats” or “ignorant” by family planning officials, in an attempt to coerce their acceptance of family planning? Did you realize that the US Agency for International Development’s (USAID) is heavily involved in Peru’s coercive program?

On 14 March 2000, Steve Mosher, David Morrison and Dr. Pat McEwen will present chilling testimonies obtained during a December 1999 PRI-sponsored investigation of USAID-funded family planning programs in Peru. Testimonies include:

Coerced sterilization;

Forced injection with Depo-Provera during pregnancy, and mandatory use of “family planning” pills made in the USA with threats of sterilization;

Stealth sterilization after questionable caesarian delivery, and

The use of targets, and incentives given to family planning officials.

Congressman Todd Tiahrt (R-KS) will address the question of whether these horrific practices in US-funded programs constitute violations of US law.

USAID recently claimed that “Substantial progress has taken place… in helping the Government of Peru reform its family planning program, so that all Peruvians can realize their reproductive intentions, with full information, voluntarily and safely” (USAID, “Congressional Presentation FY 2000: Peru”; lac/peru.html).

But does this sound like “voluntary” and “safe” reproductive health to you?

Despite past promises made by the Peruvian Ministry of Health and USAID to Congress that abuses would end, PRI’s recent investigation confirms that abuses are rampant. PRI’s investigation found that the Peruvian Ministry of Health family planning programs, of which USAID is the primary benefactor, overwhelmingly targets poor minority women.

In 1997, PRI documented Peru’s notorious “ligation festivals.” This led to legislation enforcing “voluntarism” in US-funded family planning programs overseas. PRI’s latest investigation confirms USAID funding of Peruvian Ministry of Health programs that routinely violate the rights of women. Poor minority women are relentlessly targeted with propaganda and undergo fierce verbal abuse from government officials.

Human rights abuses are commonly found in USAID-funded family planning programs. The Clinton Administration has promised to increase foreign aid for family planning to record levels this congressional year. But abuses in existing programs such as those found in Peru should be corrected before consideration is given to additional funding.

Complimentary refreshments will be served.

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