Stop the exploitation of rural Indian women by banning uterus removal surgeries.

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Wrongful and unnecessary uterus removal surgeries or hysterectomies have been on the rise in India in the recent years. Particularly amongst poor women labourers who work in sugarcane fields.

Studies with affected women have revealed that there are socioeconomic reasons behind this phenomenon which is leading to grave injustice for these poor women.

It’s a matter of serious concern that these women are being coerced into undergoing this surgery. During the menstruation cycle women find it difficult to work but farm contractors arm twist them into working 24x7 without allowing any leaves in the month. And when they reach a healthcare centre to get the surgeries done, nobody makes them aware of the grave consequences.

It is these extremely poor women who are at the receiving end of such grave malpractice in order to be employable throughout the month and avoid penalties imposed by contractors for every day they are not able to show up for work due to menstruation.

All these women work as sugarcane harvesting labourers. Unhygienic and inhuman working conditions in the field lead them to develop genital infections, and they’re allowed no rest and are forced to pay their contractors if they do not work. Compounded by abject poverty and lack of awareness, they are left with no choice but to get their uteruses removed.

It’s a vicious cycle. The contractor who gives work to sugarcane cutters, employs workers as couples and gives them a lump sum as an advance. However, a condition is laid down that if either of them fail to report to work, a fine of Rs. 500 would be imposed, which needs to be paid in cash for distributing among other workers who take the extra workload.

When these women start work they discover that the routine backbreaking work of cutting sugarcane is extremely daunting on days their menstrual cycles set in. But they’re not able to take leave for fear of being heavily penalised. Finally, fed up with these troubles and other recurrent gynaecological issues they undergo the uterus-removal surgery.

We, at Healthians, believe that this gross injustice being meted out to these female farmworkers should come to an end. A life altering procedure like uterus removal, which otherwise should be prescribed only for a handful of serious medical conditions and be performed as a last resort, is being misused for the benefit of a handful of contractors.

We are therefore seeking a law that bans unnecessary uterus removal surgeries which have a devastating repercussion on the lives of these poor women who work in sugarcane fields, rendering them physically and mentally broken for life and often leading to early death.