In a new report, The Intercept found deteriorating economic conditions were driving women to extreme birth control measures, including irreversible sterilization and risky illegal abortions. With birth control pills and prophylactics prohibitively expensive for most Venezuelans, women are left with little means to prepare for what comes next.
The majority Catholic country outlaws abortions, often leaving women to seek clandestine abortions that could lead to further complications or death. It is uncommon for a man to consent to sterilization, even though it is a less dangerous and less invasive surgery.
The stories they shared were ones of desperation, survival and anger. A 21-year-old woman named Darling opted to be permanently sterilized to avoid bringing any more children into Venezuela’s harsh realities.
Her sister, Jennifer, found she could not feed her baby because her breast could not produce milk, and she could not afford formula.
Another woman, her face hidden from the reporters’ camera, completes an illegal abortion just offscreen.
One mother, Natalie, recalls losing her young son because she couldn’t afford his medicine. She cries during much of her interview.
Venezuela’s collapsing economy extends to the teenage girls who are asking to be sterilized, the women risking their lives to terminate pregnancies and the parents who are watching their children die before they do.