Indigenous Women File Class-Action Lawsuit for Forced Sterilizations

Nearly 100 indigenous women have filed a class-action lawsuit against the Saskatchewan government for forced sterilizations going back to 2009. The Canadian government isn’t denying the claims and haven’t confirmed if sterilizations have stopped. The lawsuit is seeking $5.3 million for each plaintiff.

The provincial health ministry told the Thomas Reuters Foundation it has changed its policies after indigenous women came forward last year with claims of being pressured into sterilizations after giving birth. Those policies include implementing cultural training for its maternal services staff and working with indigenous leaders on providing better healthcare for indigenous people.

According to the Canadian government census, half of its indigenous people live in western provinces such as Saskatchewan, with forced sterilizations going back to the 1930s in Saskatchewan and other areas of Canada.

The lawsuit could go to trial this year.

The Realist Woman’s take:

Under Universal Law, forced or coerced sterilizations are considered a form of torture and are illegal under Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms. I think by now, we all know indigenous people have been left to the wayside by governments all around the world. It’s also not surprising to hear that indigenous women were victims of sterilizations. But to know that it’s still happening is heart-wrenching. These women are disproportionately poor, face racism and sexism.

These women go missing at alarming numbers and receive very little support from their government. This only adds to the shameful and discriminatory tactics against them. Every plaintiff in this lawsuit needs to be heard and paid the requested amount of $5.3 million. While the money can and will help their lives in more ways than one, it is nothing compared to the trauma they experienced physically and psychologically.