Bishops slam proposal to sterilize poor in Argentina

.- The Bishops’ Conference of Argentina issued a statement this week expressing their complete rejection of a bill being debated in the country’s House of Representatives which would legalize hysterectomies and vasectomies.

In their statement, the bishops underscored that such procedures “are mutilations that deprive the person of the functions of a healthy organ.  For this reason they are not therapeutic (they do not cure an illness but rather nullify the normal functioning of the body) and their legalization constitutes a violation of the human right to corporal integrity thus falling into an unsalvageable unconstitutionality.”

The statement comes as a group of lawmakers has put forward the bill claiming it is necessary to help the poor.  The bishops slammed the proposal as a “form of discrimination against those who are most poor, as sterilization does not solve poverty and is simply limited to preventing new births.”

“Socio-economic problems require socio-economic solutions, not medical ones,” the bishops stated.  “Unfortunately the aforementioned bill is just a repeat of the solutions of the wild liberalism of the past decade that have been tried already in other countries,” they continued.  Such strategic health plans result in “those most poor being forced to undergo practices that limit them for life” and which they will never be able to undo.

The Peruvian case

In their statement the Argentinean bishops made an indirect reference to the case of Peru, where the approval of a similar sterilization law led to a massive forced-sterilization campaign that left more than 100 women dead and 90,000 sterilized against their will.  The US Congress condemned the program as a violation of human rights.

The bishops called on each Argentinean representative and on society in general to seek out real solutions to poverty and to become instruments for the common good and for the development of persons and families, “respecting the dignity and integrity of the human being.”

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