Sask. Indigenous women file lawsuit claiming coerced sterilization – Saskatchewan

Indigenous women in Saskatoon are proposing a class-action lawsuit against the province, its health regions, individual physicians and the country for what they call coerced sterilization.

They are seeking $7 million each in damages.

According to the summary of claim, the term “coerced sterilization” refers to the practice of sterilizing Aboriginal women in Canada without their proper or informed consent. It says the practice has been going on since at least the 1930s.

The women allege that the province, and the country, were complicit in the matter, and “set the tone of institutional systemic racism.”

The two women who have been named as plaintiffs claim they have suffered physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally and psychologically. A publication ban has been ordered by the judge protecting their identities. 

Neither woman says she gave informed consent prior to her tubal ligation. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC)

The women are being represented by Alisa Lombard, who said she found their stories troubling.

“One of the most significant aspects on it is how dehumanizing the treatment they say they were subjected to is and what kind of effects that can have on a human being’s life,” she said. “To be subjected to a treatment that fundamentally removes such a basic choice away from them, which is the choice to have children or not to.”

The class-action lawsuit has yet be certified by a judge. If it is, women who have similar stories will be included. 

Lombard said they must be Indigenous, but can be from all health regions in Saskatchewan. Those who don’t want to be part of the suit will have to opt out if the definition of the class applies to their story.

The lawsuit claims there to be at least 20 Aboriginal women in the province who experienced coerced or forced sterilization without proper and informed consent.

Women asked to consent while in labour

One of the two women in the lawsuit is Anishinaabe and a victim of the Sixties Scoop. She…

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