A member of the PRI Review staff recently interviewed Dr. Blanca Neira of Ceprofarena, a pro-life organization in Lima, Peru.
Review: Dr. Neira, What is the political climate like in Peru since the resignation of President Fujimori?
Neira: The political climate in Peru is not good. It is very poor. There is a lot of confusion. Fujimori and his cohort have left a legacy of total corruption. It is not tranquil.
Review: Are there any signs that the population control abuses which plagued Peru are continuing?
Neira: The abuses are continuing for the whole population. In the area of family planning, horrible abuses continue. In a couple of state hospitals women go in to find out why they haven’t had their period. Manual vacuum aspirations are performed on the spot without letting them know what’s going on. They think they are just undergoing an examination. If the woman is pregnant, this is an abortion. These are poor women, women of lower means.
Another abuse involves the marketing of RU-486 to young girls who are able to purchase the pills in drug stores without prescriptions. They are given four pills, two of which they take vaginally and two orally. Later they go to the doctor to make sure the baby has been expelled.
I have heard that in a small town in an isolated jungle region, a study was done of 257 women. Of these women, 39 had taken the pill. There were abuses in the study.
The Ministry of Population Affairs is extremely anti-life and has no concern for women. Their idea of dealing with perceived overpopulation problems is to endorse the pill or ether abortifacients.
Because the government is in transition, Dr. Panyagua is in charge for six months. He is doing the best he can under the circumstances and is not responsible for the turbulence.
Review: Is USAID still active in Peru?
Neira: USAID in Peru is concerned about the recent reinstatement of the Mexico City Policy and is nervous about what will happen. USAID works with Pathfinder in Peru. USAID recently changed the location of their headquarters.
Review: Are ligation festivals still being held in villages in Peru?
Neira: They are not being called that any longer. They are more covert in their actions, but the abuses continue. We have a videotaped interview with a woman who went in for a tubal ligation and had her intestines ligated instead.
Review: Has the 72-hour waiting period for ligations and vasectomies been instituted?
Neira: On paper, there is supposed to be a 72-hour waiting period. In Lima, there is compliance with this rule. But in other areas where women don’t know about it, I suspect they are not being given a 72-hour waiting period.
Review: Are you aware of any other abuses?
Neira: We suspect that young girls are being given sterilization agents when they go in for routine vaccinations and are attempting to document this.