Amnesty International Canada says the federal government needs to appoint a special representative to hear from Indigenous women coerced into being sterilized. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Coerced sterilization reports sparking concern in Canada’s medical community

Gigi Osler says no person should have a procedure performed without free, prior and informed consent

The Canadian Medical Association is “very concerned” about recent reports of forced and coerced sterilization of Indigenous women in Canada.

Its president Gigi Osler says no person should have a procedure performed on him or her without free, prior and informed consent, adding that pressuring women into being sterilized is not only a violation of a victim’s human rights but also a violation of medical ethics.

Osler says the association supports an Ontario senator’s call for a national study of the issue and it also plans to participate in a federal, provincial and territorial working group pitched by the federal government.

READ MORE: $500 million lawsuit proposed on coerced sterilization in Alberta

Last week, Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott and Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor sent a letter to provincial and territorial ministers, as well as members of the medical community, to express concern over recent reports on forced and coerced sterilization of Indigenous women in Canada.

Sterilization victims have expressed concern about the approach, fearing it does little to respect the trauma they’ve been through or prevent it from happening to other women.

During an interview with The Canadian Press on Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the practice “heinous” but stressed the importance of the working group of senior officials to oversee measures to improve cultural safety in health systems.

The Canadian Press

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