The active promotion of hazardous and life-threatening long-acting injectable contraceptives indicates the resumption of a 'making die' approach to contraceptives.
So argues C. Sathyamala in her chapter, 'Injectable contraceptives: technologies of power and language of rights' publishes in Birth controlled: Selective reproduction and neoliberal eugenics in South Africa and India, edited by Amrita Pande.
the reversal from a biopolitical project of ‘letting die’ to one of ‘making die’
Regulation of populations has been one of the central concerns of nation-states since the latter half of the eighteenth century, when disciplinary power over individual bodies shifted to power over populations in what Foucault termed as biopower.
Depending on the biopolitical objectives of a particular nation-state, this resulted in the promotion of pro and anti-natalist measures as part of a capitalist, racist, and imperialist agenda.
Dr C. Sathyamala
Over time, in modernizing states, the biopolitical project of elimination of bodies deemed superfluous and irrelevant to the economy had necessarily to give way from ‘making die’ to ‘letting die’.
However, the active promotion of anti-natal technologies such as the long-acting injectable contraceptives which are inherently hazardous and life-threatening, indicates the reversal from a biopolitical project of ‘letting die’ to one of ‘making die’.
Evidence for this comes from the three-decade long struggle in India against the introduction of the injectable contraceptives into its national family planning programme. Based on her engagement with this struggle as a member of the health and women’s movement in India, Sathyamala analyses the context within which the struggle gained currency and the context within which it lost out.
She examines the truth claims of the medical establishment, the NGO-isation and conflation of diverse ideologies under the rubric of ‘women’s’ groups as strategies deployed to overcome resistance to these technologies of power.
In the context of liberal democracy, the stripping away of the rights of certain populations and their elimination through such technologies of power makes the state of exception the new normal. She concludes that, notwithstanding the rhetoric of reproductive choice and women’s empowerment, unpacking the discourse demonstrates the class, gender, and caste dimensions (with its underpinning of racism) of the biopolitical intention of ‘making die’ at the national and global level, ably aided by transnational capital.
The analysis and conclusions arrived at are relevant to populations across the globe that are targeted by these anti-life technologies of power to ‘make them die’.