An external review report released Thursday by the Saskatoon Regional Health Authority into the forced sterilization of Indigenous women at Royal University Hospital has found “covert and overt racism” amongst healthcare providers and is putting forward ten calls to action.
In January 2017, the Saskatoon Health Region appointed Metis lawyer Dr. Yvonne Boyer and Metis physician Dr. Judith Bartlett to lead the review after a number of Indigenous women reported feeling coerced into sterilization.
APTN Investigates told their stories in “Against their Will”
According to the report, 16 Indigenous women answered the call for participation in the review with only six attending face to face interviews.
Read the report here:
Eight health care providers were interviewed and some relayed stories of coercion conversations amongst staff at times, systemic discrimination towards Aboriginal populations, and one incident of severe racism where one resident in Labour and Delivery said, “I f…g hate you people more than any other race on this entire earth,” the report found.
Ten Calls to Action are proposed to become a base for an action plan that will address root causes and inequities that have the women vulnerable to coerced sterilization in the first place.
According to a press release, the Saskatoon Health Region, “supports the calls to action, following today’s release of an external review into the lived experiences of coercion into tubal ligations for Aboriginal women. “
“On behalf of Saskatoon Health Region, we are deeply sorry for what these women experienced, and for any other women in our community who had similar experiences, but were unable to come forward,” says Jackie Mann, vice-president Integrated Health Services, Saskatoon Health Region.
“The report states that racism exists within our health care system and we, as leaders, acknowledge this. This report provides us with clear direction on how we must move forward to truly start the healing that needs to occur. We are thankful to the women who had the courage to come forward to share their story with the reviewers about their experience. You have been heard and will be listened to.”
(Melika Popp was featured in an APTN Investigates story Against Their Will. She has now hired a lawyer)
Jackie Mann and Leanne Smith, director of maternal services for the region spoke at a press conference in Saskatoon Thursday. Both apologized for the incidents and pledged to implement the calls to action.
They committed to make reparations to each woman to help on her “healing journey” from forced sterilization at the region’s hospital and indicated each woman needed an individualized approach.
APTN reached out to Melika Popp, one of the women featured in Crozier’s documentary who had been working with the external reviewers. She referred us to her recently-hired lawyer Alisha Lombard.
“We look forward to reviewing the report with our client.” she said.
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