Denmark’s Forced Contraceptive Program on Young Greenlandic Women Sparks Legal Battle


In the late 1960s and early 1970s, young Inuit women in Greenland, then under Danish colonial rule, were subjected to a compulsory contraceptive program aimed at slowing population growth on the island. Many of these women, including Henrietta Berelson, were fitted with IUDs intended for adult women while they were still in their early teens, without their consent or understanding. This policy has had long-lasting effects on the victims, including prolonged physical and psychological trauma. Recently, nearly 150 affected Greenlanders have begun legal action against the Danish State, seeking justice and recognition of their suffering as a violation of human rights. The Danish government has initiated an investigation into the matter, but the victims demand more than just research—they seek an official apology and equal respect from Denmark.
  • Young Inuit women in Greenland were forcibly fitted with IUDs in the 1960s and ’70s as part of a Danish policy to control population growth.
  • Victims like Henrietta Berelson experienced significant physical pain and psychological trauma from the procedure, which was performed without consent.
  • Despite the cessation of the compulsory contraceptive program, many of the women affected have suffered long-term health consequences, including infertility.
  • In 2022, the IUD Scandal was exposed by a Danish broadcaster, leading to nearly 150 affected Greenlanders suing the Danish State for justice.
  • Greenland politicians and victims are demanding that the investigation into the scandal include a focus on human rights violations, seeking more than just compensation.
  • The Danish government has been criticized for its lack of engagement and response to the scandal, with victims seeking an official apology and equal respect.
  • The legal case against the Danish State is expected to commence before the end of the year, with victims like Henrietta Berelson intending to be present in court.

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