Catholic hospitals in Kerala recanalise sterilized women
by CT Nilesh
This move could cost 10 thousand rupees (around 180euro). The Church is worried about the anti-birth campaign run by the government and about the decrease in the Catholic population. The state wants to penalise those who have more than two children with fines, esclusion from schools and medical cure.
Trivandrum (AsiaNews) – The Bishops in Kerala will “extend support to women who want to undergo reversal of tubectomy or recanalisation. Says Fr Jose Kottayil, secretary to Kerala Catholic Bishops Conference (KCBC) Commission for Family. He further added "we want to bring down the cost below Rs 40.000 (700€) to Rs 10.000 (180€) in church-run hospitals.
Male but especially female sterilization has been practiced in India since the 60’s as a method to curb the population. In the 70’s it was even practiced rather violently; now is being proposed with economic benefits. The same population is repeatedly targeted; the poorest, the minorities, the Muslim and Christians.
The possibility of reversing the sterilization, offered by KcBc, is one of the methods with which the Keralite church wants to use to encourage Christian families to have more children. Thanks to the publicity in the schools and in the society, and the emargination of those who have more than two children by the government, in the last 50 years the Keralite Catholic population has decreased from 24% to 19% .
One of the reasons of the decline is the constant and strong immigration of educated Christians abroad and to other states in India. But the Bishops are particularly worried about the size of the Christian families that do not have any more so many children as before.
Early in 2006 the Catholic Church had issued a pastoral letter exhorting the faithful to have more children,. This created tensions with the government of Kerala which instead wants to start a birth control program in order to keep the growth in population around 2%. Last year the Bishops opposed a state family planning bill that would penalize families for having a third child. According to the proposed bill, families having a third child will be fined 10.000 Rs. In addition families will also be denied free education and treatment in government hospitals. The legislation even recommends punishing those calling for more children in the name of religion or caste.
Coming strongly against the bill, Fr Althara, spokesperson of KCBC, then said, the Church in Kerala would launch aggressive pro-life campaigns through its family apostolate in every diocese. “The Church would take care of the education and health-care needs of children from economically backward families, if they are willing to have more babies,” he added.