As food shortages and the very real risk of starvation ravages Venezuela, more and more women are getting sterilized rather than risk having babies they cannot feed, according to a Wednesday report from Reuters.
Not only is Venezuela suffering from insufficient food, but it’s also running short on condoms and contraceptives in general. The inability of Venezuelan women to attain birth control has prompted them to get surgery, thereby sterilizing them and preventing further unwanted and unaffordable pregnancies.
Sterilization is part of Venezuela’s socialized health care, so the cost is minimal compared to having a child.
Milagros Martinez told Reuters that her decision to get sterilization-inducing surgery was out of compassion for children because, “Having a child now means making him suffer.” Martinez elected to undergo the procedure in the wake of an unplanned pregnancy due to a lack of birth control, which led to the birth of her second child and now her main priority is getting food for her family, according to Reuters.
The socialized medical system of Venezuela now has “sterilization days,” to meet the high demand for the procedure in the economically hard-hit country. Venezuela is set to hit over 700 percent inflation by the end of 2016.
Many hospitals in the oil-rich country are in shambles. The New York Times reports that the death rate, “among babies under a month old increased more than a hundredfold in public hospitals run by the Health Ministry, to just over 2 percent in 2015 from 0.02 percent in 2012, according to a government report provided by lawmakers.
Desperation among the Venezuelan people has reached a breaking point as dumpster-diving is now a not an entirely uncommon sight to see in the country. One group of particularly desperate people formed a mob and raided a truck filled with live chickens in the middle of the road in broad daylight.
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