Saskatchewan suit says indigenous women were forced into sterilization

Credit: hxdbzxy/Shutterstock.
Credit: hxdbzxy/Shutterstock.

.- In a class-action lawsuit in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan, more than 60 indigenous women allege they were coerced into being sterilized. The incidents happened as recently as 2017.

In July 2017, a representative of the Saskatoon Health Region apologized for the forced sterilizations, saying, “I am truly sorry for the coercion for tubal ligation that you experienced while in our care.”

Alisa Lombard, a lawyer representing the indigenous women, told the CBC that “in the throes of labour ... they would be approached, harassed, coerced into signing these consent forms.” They would be told they could not leave, or see their child, until they had been sterilized.

An Ontario senator has called for a nationwide inquiry into force sterilization of indigenous peoples, as there have been reports of the practice from multiple provinces and territories.

Advocates have urged that forced sterilization be criminalized, and that Health Canada give guidance to doctors on sterilization procedures.

Jane Philpott, Minister of Indigenous Services, said that “the issue of forced sterilization of vulnerable people, including Indigenous women, is a very serious violation of human rights.”

Tags: Forced Sterilizations, First Nations