It’s not like I count on Uzbekistan for all my rosy human rights stories or anything, but secret compulsory government sterilization of poor people is pretty bad:
According to human rights groups, tens of thousands of young women…have been sterilised without their consent in the authoritarian former Soviet state of Uzbekistan.
Uzbek sources say the measure was ordered by Islam Karimov, the president, who has ruled with an iron fist for 20 years. The policy is aimed at keeping down the country’s poor population — with 28m people, it is Central Asia’s most densely populated state.
Activists say mass sterilisation began in 2003, but was eased after two years following an outcry. It is said to have restarted in February this year, when the health ministry ordered doctors to recommend sterilisation as an “effective contraceptive”. Critics claim every doctor was told to persuade “at least two women” a month to have the procedure. Doctors who failed faced reprisals and fines.
I think MoJo copy editor Adam Weinstein summed it up pretty well in the email he sent bringing this story to my attention. But I’m not going to reproduce his commentary here, because it was basically just a string of alarmed swear words.