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Hospital apologizes for patient abortions

Date Posted: 2007-03-02

The Okinawa Sanitarium Hospital, home for decades to Hansenís Disease patients, is apologizing for conduct during the 1945-1947 time frame.

The hospitalís chairman is acknowledging that it aborted pregnancies of Hansen Disease patients during the era, saying ďwe are very sorryĒ. Hansenís Disease, commonly called leprosy, is a skin disease that worldwide has resulted in patients being isolated from the public.

Kazuo Yamauchi says the abortions are documented in hospital charts, and his apology extends to both patients and their families. Okinawa Airakuen, the saiarium here, has been the location where Hansenís Disease patients reside. Yamauchi says a memorial statue honoring unborn babies aborted at the facility will be unveiled soon. He said the abortions were forced on the patients by the state, which believed the disease was so strongly contagious patients could not even be allowed to have babies.

Other Hansenís Disease hospitals are administered by medical facilities on the mainland.

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