These are incredible allegations, but there is evidence of what around 4,500 Greenlandic women are accusing the government of: records from the national archives show that between 1966 and 1970 alone, thousands of women had intrauterine devices (IUDs) inserted without their consent or even their knowledge became – better known as the spiral. Some of those affected were only 13 years old.

The government of Greenland estimates that by the end of 1969, 35 percent of women who could potentially have children were fitted with an IUD. According to the allegations, the Danish government was behind this – Greenland was a Danish colony until 1953. The Inuit living on the island should have been prevented from reproducing. This appalling practice is known to have continued until 1975. However, the BBC has now learned that it continued for many years afterwards. For example, a Greenlandic woman discovered that she had had an IUD inserted in 2009 – this became apparent when she later had difficulty becoming pregnant. Another told the BBC that she was injected with a hormonal contraceptive without her consent in 2014.

A commission set up by the Danish and Greenland governments to investigate the incredible program is not expected to present its results until May 2025. However, for many of those affected, this is clearly too late. “We don’t want to wait for the results of the investigation,” says psychologist Naja Lyberth, one of the initiators of the compensation demands. “We are getting older. The oldest of us, who received an IUD in the 1960s, were born in the 1940s and are approaching age 80. We want to act now.”

Well Lyberth reports that in some cases the devices introduced were too large for the girls’ bodies and subsequently caused serious health problems or even infertility, while other women were not even aware until recently that the devices had been inserted into them by gynecologists . She accuses the then Danish government of wanting to control Greenland’s population in order to save money on social benefits.

“It is already 100 percent clear that the government at the time broke the law by violating our human rights and causing us serious harm,” said Lyberth. She still expects that the government will reject the request pending the outcome of the investigative commission. But then the group will take the case to court.

She and the other women affected are each demanding 300,000 crowns (approx. 40,000 euros) in compensation. The lawyer Mads Pramming, who represents the women, has sent a corresponding request to Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen. Last year, Denmark apologized and paid compensation to six Inuit who were taken from their families as children in the 1950s as part of a cruel attempt to create a Danish-speaking elite in Greenland.

Greenland has a population of just 57,000 people and is both the largest island and the northernmost permanently inhabited area in the world. The territory has its own flag, language and now has a prime minister, and the country also took control of the health system in 1991. However, its currency, judicial system, and foreign and security affairs are still administered by Denmark.

Greenland’s health minister told the BBC last year that she was unaware that women were still being treated without their consent and contrary to the laws and ethics of the medical profession. Contraceptives were administered.

Sources:  BBC,  “Euronews”