July 25, 2011

Catholic Church apologises to Australia’s adoption victims

by Jan Harris

The Catholic Church in Australia has issued an apology over the practice of forcing unmarried mothers to give up their babies for adoption.

The practice took place over three decades, from the 1950s to the 1970s, with many maternity hospitals across Australia forcing mothers to give up their babies against their will.

It is believed that as many as 150,000 Australian women had their babies taken away from them.

A statement from Catholic Health Australia and Sisters of Mercy nuns from Singleton said:

“We acknowledge the pain of separation and loss felt then and felt now by the mothers, fathers, children, families and others involved in the practices of the time.

“For this pain we are genuinely sorry.”

Catholic Health is offering counselling to victims, as well as help with accessing medical and adoption records.

The CEO of Catholic Health Australia, Martin Laverty, says he will apologise in from of the ongoing Senate inquiry in the issue, if this would help the women whose babies were removed.

Mr Laverty wants the federal government to move more quickly in setting up a national state-funded program to assist the mothers and children who were forcibly separated.

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