Julia Gillard has apologized for Australia’s policy in the 1950s 60s and 70s of forcing unmarried mothers to give up their infants for adoption.
A senate inquiry found that about 250,000 children were removed from unmarried mothers in Australian hospitals shortly after their births in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s and given to childless married couples.
Many women said they were coerced into signing away their children.
That doesn’t sound like a very humane policy.
Ms Gillard made the apology at Parliament House in Canberra in the presence of more than 800 people affected by the policy.
They cried and cheered as they listened to Ms Gillard and responded with a standing ovation when it was finished.
The prime minister told the audience that the policies had “created a lifelong legacy of pain and suffering”.
“We acknowledge the profound effects of these policies and practices on fathers and we recognise the hurt these actions caused to brothers and sisters, grandparents, partners and extended family members,” she said.
“We deplore the shameful practices that denied you, the mothers, your fundamental rights and responsibilities to love and care for your children,” she added.
This report is from RTE. Ireland has reasons to pay attention, as it goes on to say.
Meanwhile, Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte has told the Dáil that there is no legislation planned for a State inquiry into illegal adoptions in Ireland.
The matter was raised during the Order of Business by Sinn Féin’s Aengus Ó Snodaigh, who claimed that it was an emerging issue as a result of reports into Magdalene Laundries.
Noting today’s apology in Australia to those affected by illegal adoptions there, Mr Ó Snodaigh asked if there were any plans to hold a similar inquiry in Ireland, which would look at the falsification of adoption records.
Mothers who lose their children, children who lose their mothers, siblings who lose each other…It’s a heartbreaking legacy.