Investigation into “thousands” of sterilisations and forced abortions on Reunion Island in the 1960s

Publié le 4 Feb, 2019

A commission of inquiry[1] was set up at the French National Assembly on 19 December 2018 “to examine cases of sterilisation or forced abortion in Reunion Island in the 1960s and 1970s“.


In the 1960s, on Reunion Island, several practitioners performed thousands of abortions and sterilisations without patient consent. These facts were revealed in the 1970s; three doctors and one nurse were convicted. The doctor and clinic director, David Moreau, “will be recognised as civilly responsible but not sentenced“.


However, some facts are still unclear such as “the relatively small number of charges in relation to procedures reported in the press (only thirty-six abortions led to prosecution and conviction), the ‘disappearance’ of the clinic’s patient register before the investigation began (preventing potential victims from being identified), the existence of advertisements highlighting the State’s anti-natalist policies on Reunion Island”.


The parliamentary commission will therefore be instructed to “shed light” on these issues, “precisely determining the scale of the events and extent of personal and institutional involvement, and assessing the number of victims as accurately as possible“.


[1] Investigation into forced abortions and sterilisations on Reunion Island

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