The government of Laos is encouraging women to undergo surgical sterilization, with support from the United Nations. In the province of Huaphan in eastern Laos, the government offers tubal ligation surgery free of charge as part of a project supported by the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA). While the program is scheduled to conclude at the end of 2013, at least 60 women have been involved so far.
Health Care Department deputy director Thongbay Thavisouk claimed that women in the province bear an average of six children. He said that this has a negative impact on women’s health and the welfare of families. His agency is also encouraging the use of other means of artificial contraception, including condoms, hormone injections, intrauterine devices, and combined oral contraceptive pills. Sterilization is promoted by government authorities as a “means of improving the economic status of family life,” especially in rural areas. The other means of contraception are more commonly used in urban areas.
Even so, the pro-life movement is growing in Laos, especially among Christians but also among other faith communities. Human Life International, which opposes abortion, eugenics, and euthanasia, is working to assist local pro-life groups that have been active since 2008.
Catholics and other Christians are working to insist on the respect for life at all stages. Despite the communist government in Laos, and other unfavorable political and cultural issues, Sister Milagros Azucena is conducting outreach to couples, as well as women and children in Vientiane, the national capital.
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