After giving birth in a Saskatchewan hospital in 2001, a doctor performed a tubal ligation on 29-year-old *Lisa, leaving her unable to have more children.
She does not remember signing a consent form, but remembers her upset husband saying, “I’m not signing that!” to medical staff. After the surgery, the doctor said, “cut, tied and burned. There. Nothing is getting through that.”
Across Canada and as recently as 2017, Indigenous women report being forcibly or coercively sterilized. Some women were incorrectly told the procedure is reversible. Others were separated from their babies until they consented to a tubal ligation.
Forced and coerced sterilizations of Indigenous women are a result of systemic bias and discrimination against Indigenous peoples in the provision of public services in Canada, a pattern well known and acknowledged by government. They are an assault on the cultural integrity of societies that have already endured grave human rights violations including forced assimilation.
Sterilizing women without their free, full, and informed consent is a form of violence and torture. Measures to prevent births within ethnic or racial groups is explicitly prohibited by the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
All women have the human right to make decisions around if, when, and how to create a family. All women have a right to live free from violence and discrimination. All women have a right to health.
Call on Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, to take immediate action to end sterilizations of Indigenous women without their consent.