Sterilization Rule Assailed by Archbishop

Says the Poor and Uneducated Could Be Targeted

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SANTIAGO, Chile, FEB. 11, 2001 ( A new rule permitting voluntary sterilizations “opens the doors” to abuse directed against the poor and uneducated, the archbishop of Santiago warns.

Cardinal-designate Francisco Javier Errázuriz raised his voice last week in defense of Christian and anthropological principles of human life, given the country´s ongoing debate over the modification of the norm on voluntary sterilization. The Health Ministry supports the change allowing sterilizations.

In a document entitled “Values, Culture and Sterilization,” Archbishop Errázuriz calls for the review of the norm published Dec. 9 in the Official Journal which establishes that men and women may volunteer for sterilization.

The archbishop Wednesday said he fears that the law will be used to promote sterilization campaigns among the poor or uneducated, as has already happened in countries such as Brazil and Peru.

He pointed out that the Ministerial Resolution is unclear when “it opens the doors to sterilization requested by third parties, in special cases. The norm´s lack of precision might lead to grave abuses, especially against less educated people, the poor, and disabled, as has happened in several countries, in which the state assumed that function and put a stop to population growth, by despotically using its power to sterilize.”

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