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NEW DELHI (TheBlaze/AP) — As part of a mass, government-run sterilization program, eight Indian women died and 20 others were in critical condition Tuesday after undergoing surgeries to help slow the country’s population growth.

A total of 83 women, all poor villagers under the age of 32, had the operations free of charge Saturday in a hospital outside Bilaspur city in the central state of Chhattisgarh, officials said.

The women were sent home Saturday evening after their surgeries, but more than two dozen were later rushed in ambulances to private hospitals after becoming ill. By Tuesday, eight of the women had died — apparently from either blood poisoning or hemorrhagic shock, which occurs when a person has lost too much blood, state deputy health director Amar Singh told the Press Trust of India news agency.

Written by Liz Klimas
Read more at The Blaze

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