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Climate change cash pays for forced sterilisation

The Guardian is reporting that UK climate change aid money has been used to fund forced sterilisation programmes in India.

Tens of millions of pounds of UK aid money have been spent on a programme that has forcibly sterilised Indian women and men, the Observer has learned...

Court documents filed in India earlier this month claim that many victims have been left in pain, with little or no aftercare. Across the country, there have been numerous reports of deaths and of pregnant women suffering miscarriages after being selected for sterilisation without being warned that they would lose their unborn babies.

Yet a working paper published by the UK's Department for International Development in 2010 cited the need to fight climate change as one of the key reasons for pressing ahead with such programmes. The document argued that reducing population numbers would cut greenhouse gases, although it warned that there were "complex human rights and ethical issues" involved in forced population control.

I couldn't help but recall the comments of a Royal Society fellow, Paul Erlich, on the subject of involuntary sterilisation:

[T]he first task is population control at home. How do we go about it? Many of my colleagues feel that some sort of compulsory birth regulation would be necessary to achieve such control. One plan often mentioned involves the addition of temporary sterilants to water supplies or staple food. Doses of the antidote would be carefully rationed by the government to produce the desired population size. Those of you who are appalled at such a suggestion can rest easy. The option isn’t even open to us, since no such substance exists.

If the choice now is either such additives or catastrophe, we shall have catastrophe. It might be possible to develop such population control tools, although the task would not be simple. Either the additive would have to operate equally well and with minimum side effects against both sexes, or some way would have to be found to direct it only to one sex and shield the other.”

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Reader Comments (53)

Modern societies tend to have declining birth rates....poorer areas of the world have the opposite. Modernise the world and the problem should resolve itself.

If there is still a problem...cull the middle classes...joke

May 2, 2012 at 9:29 PM | Unregistered Commenterjames griffin

Well, I believe Earth does have a cancer - it is Leftie catastrophiles who will sacrifice anything (on behalf of others who do not share their views!) to save their own comfy lifestyles.

May 3, 2012 at 4:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterIan E

Those of you who are appalled at such a suggestion can rest easy.
The option isn’t even open to us, since no such substance exists.

Somehow I don't find myself resting easy at all. Presumably when the required substance does exist there will be plenty of people considering the option seriously.... Apr 30, 2012 at 3:59 PM | Mike Jackson

The substance does exist. The United States Department of Agriculture supplied the funding. A bio-tech company named Epicyte (California), announced success at a 2001 press conference. The president of Epicyte, Mitch Hein, pointing to his GMO corn plants, announced, “We have a hothouse filled with corn plants that make anti-sperm antibodies" as stated in your own Grauniad:

Epicyte estimated commercial availability by 2006 or 2007. Epicyte no longer exists but the patent does and was transferred to Biolex, a biotech firm in Pittsboro North Carolina, in May 2004.

Information on the spermicidal corn has since vanished from the internet with the exception of second hand sources. (SURPRISE)

What is interesting is this finding in "Demographic Change in Sub-Saharan Africa" (1993)

In Chapter 2, Barney Cohen reviews levels, differentials, and trends in fertility for more than 30 countries from 1960 to 1992. He finds evidence of fertility decline in Botswana, Kenya, and Zimbabwe, confirming the basic results of the DHS. What is new here though is his finding that the fertility decline appears to have occurred across cohorts of women at all parities, rather than just among women at middle and higher parities, as might have been expected on the basis of experience in other parts of the world. He also presents evidence that fertility may have begun to fall in parts of Nigeria and possibly in Senegal.

Normally subsistence farmers regard children as "free Labor" so the birth rate is much higher rural areas. A fertility decline... across cohorts of women at all parities would therefore indicate some sort of "intervention"

May 5, 2012 at 2:56 PM | Unregistered Commentergaia

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