By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman, Latin America Correspondent

BOGOTA, June 18, 2009 ( – The Colombian House of Representatives has approved a program to convince Colombians to submit to sterilization, and provide the procedure free of charge, according to the Catholic news agency ACI Prensa.

Rewards to be provided to Colombians include expedited government services, preference for government subsidies, and other incentives, ACI Prensa reports. The primary sponsors of the bill are senators Samuel Arrieta and Gabriel Zapata.

News of the Colombian sterilization bill arrives at the same time that Peru ‘s right-wing government is announcing that it will shelve an investigation into that country’s former sterilization program, in which thousands of indigenous women were sterilized against their will in the 1990s, with help from the abortionist United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

The Colombian sterilization bill, should it pass, would be considered an “involuntary” sterilization program according to standards adopted by the United States in legislation known as the Tiahrt Amendment. The amendment regards any program that uses “incentives, bribes, gratuities, or financial reward for family planning program personnel for achieving targets or quotas, or for individuals in exchange for becoming a family planning acceptor” according to the government’s USAID program.

Although Colombia is led by a nominally right-wing government, it has pursued aggressive anti-life policies in recent years.

The nation’s Supreme Court struck down criminal penalties for abortions in cases of rape in 2006, and the nation’s health ministry has fined a Catholic hospital for refusing to do an abortion. Free contraceptives are distributed through the nation’s hospitals. And recently, the nation’s Supreme Court granted a host of legal privileges to homosexual couples.

Related LifeSiteNews Coverage:

Colombian Government Fines Catholic Hospital for Refusing to Perform Abortion

Colombian Supreme Court Grants Broad Special Rights to Homosexual Couples

Colombia’s Attorney General Pushes Catholic Hospitals to Provide Abortions

“Authorized” Abortions Underway After Colombia Court De-penalized Abortion