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NEWS BRIEFS

Fewer Roma sterilisations

Just days after some Slovak physicians denied claims Roma women had been sterilised without their knowledge another said fewer Roma women were asking for the operation.

Ondrej Slíž, chief surgeon at the gynaecology department at the Revúca hospital in eastern Slovakia, said since the end of communism and the stopping of payments for sterilisation, demand for the operation had fallen dramatically.

Under the old regime, every Roma woman sterilised received tens of thousands of Slovak crowns.

Now that they have to pay for the operation the situation is different, said Slíž.

"A number of women that have already had seven or eight babies think about having the operation. Those that don't have the financial means to get sterilised, miscarry after a few months," the surgeon said.

Another top gynaecologist at a hospital in Rimavská Sobota said his department rarely performs sterilisations.

"The whole problem comes down to money," said Doctor Igor Bornay.

Doctors say many Roma women do not have the money to use contraceptives regularly and resort to abortion to terminate unwanted pregnancies.

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