The Chilean government has apologized to a woman for forcing her to undergo a sterilization procedure because she was HIV-positive.
The woman, identified only as Francisca, was 20 years old in 2002 when she fell pregnant. During a routine checkup, she was revealed to be HIV-positive.
After chastizing Francisca for getting pregnant with the disease, she was forced to have a cesarean and doctors sterilized her without her consent.
Her son was born HIV-negative.
“This act of reparation reaffirms the Chilean state’s commitment to attempting to repair the damage caused by the actions of its employees,” said Antonia Urrejola, Chile’s foreign affairs minister, alongside President Gabriel Boric said at a news conference. “It also underlines this administration’s commitment to making sure that women’s reproductive rights and sexual and reproductive autonomy are not affected in the way they were in [Francisca’s] case.”
Francisca filed a lawsuit, telling the courts that she wanted to have several children. Her case was dismissed.
Fewer than 1 out of 100 women will get pregnant within a year of surgery after having a tubal ligation. The procedure can be reversed, and the pregnancy rate after this procedure is 75%-80%.
President Boric acknowledged Francisca during the public address:
“I want to start by apologizing to Francisca, as I understand you’re on the other side of the camera, for the clear violation of your rights, and also for the denial of justice and for all the time you had to wait for this,” Boric said.
Francisca accepts the apology but adds that there are many others like her who have experienced the same.
“I receive the apology that the state is offering as a commitment with myself and all the people who went through a similar story,” Francisca wrote in a statement. “It must be clear that I was not the only one and we still face discrimination in the healthcare system.”