Canada: Rally backs lawsuit alleging forced sterilization of Indigenous women - - PressFrom - Canada
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Canada Rally backs lawsuit alleging forced sterilization of Indigenous women

10:35  27 november  2019
10:35  27 november  2019 Source:   leaderpost.com

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Indigenous leaders from across Saskatchewan marched to the Legislative Building Thursday morning, calling on the provincial government to take “immediate action” to prevent more Indigenous women from having forced sterilizations .

The women allege their fallopian tubes were tied, burned or cut in public hospitals when the women were unable to give sufficient consent – which would be a “The issue of forced sterilization of vulnerable people, including indigenous women , is a very serious violation of human rights,” she said.

a group of people walking down the street: A group of people march down Legislative Drive demanding an end to forced sterilization of Indigenous women and girls.© BRANDON HARDER A group of people march down Legislative Drive demanding an end to forced sterilization of Indigenous women and girls.

Indigenous leaders from across Saskatchewan marched to the Legislative Building Tuesday morning, calling on the provincial government to take “immediate action” to prevent more Indigenous women from having forced sterilizations.

In 2017, Saskatchewan law firm Semaganis Worme Lombard launched a class-action lawsuit in Saskatoon against the federal and provincial governments, specific doctors and the health region, saying the plaintiffs were forced to have a tubal ligation without the women giving full and prior consent. Currently around 100 Saskatchewan women are represented in the lawsuit.

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

“All of them were in the throes of labour and it was put to them that they needed to have this sterilization procedure, which is an entirely elective procedure. It had no medical emergency behind it,” Helen Semaganis, a lawyer with the firm, told reporters on Tuesday.

a police car parked in a parking lot:  A group of people finish a march at the Saskatchewan Legislative Building, to which they marched demanding an end to forced sterilization of Indigenous women and girls.© BRANDON HARDER A group of people finish a march at the Saskatchewan Legislative Building, to which they marched demanding an end to forced sterilization of Indigenous women and girls.

One of the lawsuit’s main plaintiffs, whose name is protected by a publication ban but who was referred to as S.A.T., said she was forcefully sterilized in Saskatoon in 2001 at the age of 29.

“What was done to me was wrong. I’m doing this to protect our future generations, our daughters, our granddaughters, our nieces. We need to protect all Indigenous women and girls,” she said, noting she came forward with her experience in 2015 along with a handful of other women.

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“Something sacred was taken away from me. I demand immediate action to resolve and fix this, fix what has happened to all the women in Saskatchewan.”

Semaganis said, although the Saskatchewan Health Authority and Saskatchewan government have been aware of the alleged cases of forced sterilization for several years , she believes it continues to happen. She was contacted by an Indigenous woman in December 2018, alleging she had been recently forcibly sterilized in a Moose Jaw hospital.

“We’re here today to demand immediate action so that this does not continue to happen. We are hoping that nothing has happened since December 2018, but we don’t know that. It should not have happened to begin with after filing suit and giving notice to those who need to be informed,” said Semaganis.

Starting with a pipe ceremony at the First Nations University of Canada, Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) Vice Chief Heather Bear, Chief Margaret Bear of Ochapowace Nation and Chief Lynn Acoose of Sakimay First Nation marched with supporters to the Legislative Building. Outside they spoke on how forced sterilization is a continuation of violence against Indigenous women.

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Sixty Indigenous women are currently filing a class action lawsuit alleging forced sterilization dating back 30 years in Saskatchewan. The women allege their fallopian tubes were tied without their consent, or that they were pressured into undergoing the procedure by doctors and told that it was

Forced sterilization of Native women based on racist policies was also rampant in the United The impact of forced sterilization can be severe. The plaintiffs in Lombard’s lawsuit say they have Rally behind truth! Join the movement for people-powered journalism. Make your single or monthly donation

Bear said what shocks her even more than the number of women that have faced forced sterilization is the federal and provincial governments’ apparent lack of action on the issue.

“It’s one of the greatest transgressions against our people … that has revealed itself in the last few years, very disturbing,” she said.

“I want to see criminalization of this act … It is a true violent act toward women. I mean, how much more blatant can you get?”

Semaganis said a second class-action lawsuit was filed in Manitoba in August 2019, and that a “shocking” number of women have come forward with similar stories all across the country.

“A lot of them are, now that we’ve come out and we’re giving a lot more public awareness to this issue, are saying that they at least don’t feel like they’re alone, so there’s some support out there,” she said.

By raising more public awareness of the issue, Semaganis hopes that more women will be willing to step forward with their experiences and that governments will be pushed to action.

lgiesbrecht@postmedia.com

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