It is believed at least 150,000 Australian women had their babies taken against their will by some churches and adoption agencies between the 1950s and 1970s.
Psychiatrist Geoff Rickarby has treated scores of affected women, and says it is a stain on Australia’s history.
“It sounds like some totalitarian country somewhere hundreds of years ago, but in fact it’s Australia only 35, 40 years ago,” Dr Rickarby said.
The chief executive of Catholic Health Australia, Martin Laverty, says he is sorry for what happened.
Juliette Clough is one of the women who says she was forced to give up her baby at a Catholic-run hospital in Newcastle in 1970.
She was 16 at the time and says she was alone, afraid and desperate.
“My ankles were strapped to the bed, they were in stirrups and I was gassed, I had plenty of gas and they just snatched away the baby,” Ms Clough said.
“You weren’t allowed to see him or touch him, anything like that, or hold him and it was just like a piece of my soul had died. And it’s still dead”
Margaret had a similar experience when her son was taken against her will in 1975, when she was 17.
“Straight away he was taken out of the labour ward. By the records it only took 13 minutes to transfer him from the labour ward to the nursery, so he was gone,” she said
The women claim they were not told about single parent benefits or their rights to revoke consent for adoption.
“Women have told stories about going into hospital not realising that they were going to have to give up their babies, but that pillows were put over their faces, that curtains were put up so they couldn’t see the baby,” Senator Siewert said.
Women have also told the ABC they were given milk suppressing drugs that have now been linked to cancer, as well as barbiturates that caused sedation and in some cases delirium.
Mr Laverty says it is not a period to be proud of.
When are people going to wake up and see that the Catholic Church is ran by absolutely despicable people?
Somehow I doubt saying, “Whoops. Sorry!” is going to make-up for the bullshit these women were put through.
This has been your fucked up catholic bullshit of the day.