Genesis of Eden

Genesis Home

Brazil's Population Abatement Soaps may be the Source
New Scientist 30 Apr 96 p5

BRAZIL has become one of the developing world's great successes at reducing popuration growth-but more by accident than jesign, says a demographer at Harvard University. While countries such as India jave made concerted efforts to reduce birth rates, Brazil has had better results without trying, says George Martine, a visit.og scholar at Harvard's Center of Populaion and Development Studies. Brazil's population growth rate has iropped from 2.99 per cent a year between 1951 and 1960 to 1.93 per cent a year between 1981 and 1990, and Brazilian nomen now have only 2.7 children on average. Martine says this figure may have fallen still further since 1990, an achievement that makes it the envy of many other third World countries. "Brazil has never had a family planning programme, yet the decline in the fertility rate has been twice is fast as that of India," says Martine. Martine puts it down to, among other things, soap operas and credit programmes introduced in the 1970s. Both played an important, albeit indirect, role in lowering ie birth rate. Brazil is one of the world's iggest producers of soap operas, or noveis, which first became popular in the late 1960s. Globo, Brazil's most popular television network, shows three hours of soaps six nights a week, while three other all show at least one hour a night. Soaps are based on wealthy characters iring the high life in big cities. "Although they have never really tried to work in a message towards the problems of reproduction, they portray middle and upper class values... not many children, different attitudes towards sex, women working," says Martine. "They sent this image to all parts of Brazil. It was an indirect effect. It made people conscious of other patterns of behaviour and other values, which were put into a very attractive package." The credit programmes, in which people could buy small items, such as shoes, in regular instalments, were also introduced in the 1970s to try to encourage poorer segments of the population to become consumers. "This led to an enormous change in consumption patterns and consumption was incompatible with unlimited procreation," says Martine, Martine, who has studied Brazilian population growth for 20 years, expects the country's population, currently around 1 So million, to stabilise in the first quarter of the next century at around 250 million.

New Scientist 1996 see also

Row Over Sterilization Divides India

Critics of a controversial sterilization are preparing to take the Indian government to court for turning a blind eye to its use in a number of Indian cities in trials under the auspices of NGOs. Pellets containing quinacrine, an anti-malarial drug are inserted into the upper part of a woman's uterus. The resulting inflammation blocks the Fallopian Tubes with scar tissue. Some doctors fear that quinacrine could cause cancer, especially since animal toxicity studies have not been completed and it can cause mutations in cultured cells. An Indian BJP MP, surgeon in a Delhi private hospital, J K Jain claims it is a safe an effective way to curb India's population growth, which involves no surgery, can be administered by rural healthcare workewrs and costs only $1 for 7 pellets. It has been used already in several Indian cities by a variety of organizations, and was originally developed in the 1970s by a Chilean scientist. Supporters allege that sterilizing 1000 women prevents 2000 births and also saves 10 women's lives as 5% of women die in childbirth.

Forced sterilization practices under Indira Ghandi.

Women in Peru Alarmed over Sterilization Practices
Guardian Weekly Jan 6 98

Women in remote rural areas who speak only Quechua are being sterilized at the same time as their children are being vaccinated without proper care to inform them of what is involved. They are often simply asked whether or not they want to 'have children like guinea pigs' and if they answer no they are sterilized forthwith. One woman died after being sterilized when she said her partner did not agree, another reported being sterilized by being offered bonuses of clothing and utilities.