Mothers forced to give up children call for Royal Inquiry 228



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A group of mothers whose babies were taken away from them and adopted during the 60s and 70s are pushing for a Royal Commission into the medical profession for what they say were illegal and heinous practices.

They have not ruled out a class action, should it come to that.

Around 250,000 babies taken away as part of the forced adoption policy than ran from 1958 to the 70s in Australia.

In 2012, the state of Victoria apologised for forced adoptions followed by then-prime minister Julia Gillard but the mothers say the apologies were hollow, because nothing has been done since to adequately acknowledge their trauma.

The mothers have appealed to the Australian Medical Association but have had no response.

“It’s not right there are all these women in society sitting in pain inflicted by the medical profession,” Janet Tough, one of the mothers, told the ABC.

“We need an apology by the medical profession; we did nothing wrong. It needs to say, ‘we know we abused you, and we’re sorry’.”

Australians might be tiring of royal commissions, but the mother believe it is the only way the medical profession, which has been excluded from previous inquiries, would be investigated.

And they want the inquiry to extend beyond the baby trade to allegations young women were used as guinea pigs for clinical trials and intrusive gynaecological examinations, also without consent.

“The prime minister of Australia said it was illegal, [Victorian Premier] Dan Andrews mentioned the word illegal,” said a mother called June Smith.

“All these things should have got the Victorian attorney-general to start proceedings for a royal commission into the medical profession and bring people to account for crimes they committed.”

The mothers all have memories of being horrifically separate from their babies, forced to sign consent forms and humiliated. Mothers of the adopted babies were typically listed as deceased on the child’s birth certificate.

Mother, Lyn Kinghorn recalls, “I was told to go home and be a good girl. I was dragged from the hospital screaming, it’s still the worst memory of my life.

Do you think there should be a royal commission into the forced adoption policy? What do you think it will achieve? 







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  1. If it helps these women gain some some recognition for their pain and suffering I say bring it on

    3 REPLY
    • Please explain WHO was going to keep all these children, if the girls parents weren’t going to, . I look at Child Welfare now, a lot more should have been adopted, they are treated appallingly , This policy of J Howards to give Parent Allowance was one I live to regret,

    • Not really Dawn Bruce…… You only hear about the bad situations……many single parents have been great & raised wonderful children.

    • Yes I personally know girls from good families who had the mean to help bring up these babies but sent their daughters away out of shame and religion in a small country town

  2. I am not sure what a Royal Commission would be expected to achieve. Many of those who made the decisions and ran the institutions that young women were sent to are long gone. Nothing can really be achieved that can’t be achieved without such an expensive exercise. Records have been opened to allow mothers and children to reunite. It may help the children of these mothers understand that they weren’t abandoned and unloved by their mothers. Many had their babies virtually stollen.

    8 REPLY
    • Who was going to keep them ,? NO pension in those days, and 14 year old girls MUST have had parents, My sons mother said HER parents signed everything . MOST of them were given up into loving families and the many I know were over indulged, The child was the concern , thats why it was done, BUT i adopted in 1965, and I never new about these forced adoptions , no mention anywhere of it, The age of consent then was 21, so parents would have had to have some input. My sons mother never forgave her mother, BUT now she realises she wouldn’t have managed .

      1 REPLY
      • Yes, Dawn – we keep hearing about ‘forced’ adoptions. I don’t recall any ‘force’ being applied. Most of these girls had parents & where the girl was underage her parents as her legal guardians signed the papers – with or without her consent. Where the girl was a Ward of the State then that Dept as her legal guardian had authority to make the decision & sign. If of age then the girl/woman made her own decisions as was her legal right but at all times I believe the welfare of the child was important. I think more information should be disclosed about this.

    • Agree with you Dawn. While I missed my child, and never forgot her, at the time my mother had children & babies herself and our circumstances could not have managed another little one. I had to sign adoption papers as did my Mum. I was 15. I was interviewed by police as I was under the age of consent. This doesn’t happen now. It was a sad period of time….my daughter was adopted by a wonderful couple who gave them every chance in life an RC will only cause more grief for many. I personally think the people who were involved in the system were sometimes corrupt. My opinion only.

    • I was very fortunate in that I was not taken from my mother for adoption. My mother had very understanding parents and my grandparents would never have signed anything that would take me away from the family. For that I am eternally grateful but I do have sympathy for the mothers and their babies who were forceably taken from them. I cannot understand how the parents could sign papers to allow their grandchildren to be adopted out. My Aunt, mum’s younger sister, and her husband could not have children and were lucky enough to adopt three, the first in 1967. Whether my cousins were forceably taken from their birth mothers we do not know but my cousins are very much loved, had a great upbringing and are very happy.

    • Can’t believe parents could sign away their grandchildren, so sorry for those young women that didn’t get their parents support. Maybe this will bring closure to some.

    • I had a very close friend during my teenage and twenties. She had her first child forcibly removed by catholic nuns at a home for unmarried mothers, that ran a business as a laundry and used the girls as unpaid labor. Her second child after marriage died from cot death at three months and a couple of years later her two year old was killed in a car crash. Her marriage fell apart as did her life and we lost contact. I remember her with fondness and have tried to find her.

  3. Lost years, lost memories, these can never be replaced but they can pave the way to reunite these families and heal some of the hurt

    5 REPLY
    • Because Wendy for some of these poor women it’s not the past, it’s something the live every day of their lives wondering what happened to their baby’s, I think your comment is very hard.

    • When you live your life with a hole in your heart & never allowed to mention that part of you is living with another family somewhere else, THEN & only then can you begin to understand the pain & loss of the child you grew. Whether they were stolen or let go because it was socially a disgrace to keep an out-of-wedlock child, the scar across your heart is still permanent. So do not judge what you CANNOT POSSIBLY begin to understand…

    • Thank you Lyn for a ‘like’. My story has a happy result with my son finding me 20 years ago. I now have 4 more grandchildren to my family tree that i might never have known. A sadness for lost years but a softening of the hurt from discovery… live long & love.

  4. If we had to say sorry for the stolen generation of Aboriginals taken, then we have to help all these poor women and help them to some how heal from having the children stolen from them…..

  5. What about the fathers who choice. I know of one who desperately wanted to find his child. Sadly he is now deceased it was his dying wish.

  6. So much for the good old days, if this could help some of these poor women achieve some sort of closure then I think it is well & truly owed to them.

  7. Times have changed thank goodness ,what would this achieve .Just a waste of tax payers money

    2 REPLY
    • So are politicians but maybe, just maybe it may bring some closure to an unfulfilled mother’s broken heart.

    • I feel that specialised counselling may help bring closure for these poor women ,I just don’t see yet another Commission is of any help except to confirm what we already know.

  8. The injustices visited upon these women need to be publicly, formally and legally recognised. Their lives have been permanently affected. The lives of their children have been permanently affected. If they feel a Royal Commission can help their situation and give them a public forum, a public voice to express, and go some measure to deal with, their pain then we owe it to them to facilitate the process. But for the strength of character combined with the sheer luck in the timing of our mother’s visit to the hospital, one of my nieces would have been ripped from the arms of my sister and lost to our family. I support any measure those not as fortunate call for.

    1 REPLY
  9. I think this is a waste. We all in this day and age agree that what was done was wrong. The parents of the under age girl gave concent. They were trying to avoid the stigma of the pregnancy. Also they were hoping to allow you to go on with your life without the baby to hold you back. What is a royal commission going to accomplish.

    9 REPLY
    • Thank you for speaking up, I’ve tried to point out that the girls parents had to sign for the adoption if she was under 18 but have received some abrasive remarks denying this fact. I had a girlfriend here in Tasmania who delivered at the Salvation Army home for the girls, and her mother signed the consent form. Also had an Aunty who adopted a Down’s syndrome little girl, massive amounts of forms. I feel so sorry for their hurt, but as you say in that time an unwanted pregnancy was a huge black mark against the girls and family, no one would want a daughter in law with a child in tow, neither would a job be given to them because of needed Childcare. Some of these children will not have been told they were adopted, others will be happy in the life they now live. Those that are not would probably either be a personality that suffers from many situations as well. Birth mothers also may never have passed on the information. Once again thanks, pleased some one else agrees with me.

      1 REPLY
      • You are right Denise – such a pity you are spoken to badly for telling the truth. We are now not only hearing about force being used against the mothers but that the babes were ‘stolen’!!

    • mike here-what is the point of a Royal Commission into this, I can’t help but think that not many of them were forced, unless by their circumstances, to do what they did. If it is the case that some ex mothers feel guilt, make an attempt to find your child & beg their forgiveness.

    • My personal experience is that it was family not outsiders who determinded whether you took you baby home. My family were supportive and my daughter is now 43. I knew many girls who were compelled after family conferences to leave their child in the hospital.

      1 REPLY
    • The personal guilt and pain and grief held some of us back from our lives, worse than the baby (as you put it Jenny L).

    • A royal Commission will not give back the years that have been lost by many young girls back then. I know from personal experiance.

    • June Denison or is it Mike? YOU!!!!! have NO idea of situations at the time. Legal papers had to be signed denying the mother ANY contact with the adopted child. So shove a sock in your judgemental mouth spewing crap you know nothing about. You’re a heartless gutless wonder that needs to get the facts!!

      1 REPLY
      • i agree with you Carlene, i was adopted and i want a royal commission before my adopted parents passed away i was told we dont need you any more unless you are adopted or had your child taken people dont understand its like being told all your family have been murdered and people tell you get on with your life.

    • It’s not a waste while these women and their families who have also bee affected, are still alive.

    • Art the time it was thought to be right. As with so many things in hindsight, it was wrong. We didn’t have the single parents pension then so tne parents would have to have helped out financially which then would have caused hardship.

  10. This is an issue that only those involved could ever understand, so it’s not a question to put out there!!

    3 REPLY
    • My Sons mother, tells me her mother refused to let her keep the baby & at 14 , her Dad was out of work & one more would have been a struggle . BUT as she was 14 her parents had the say. We have met her , she says we have given him more than she ever could, She is happy that he is in a big loving family. By the way I know many who were “”persuaded ” by parents to give them up in early 70s and now only think about it occasionally, they have moved on.

    • while u may know of an individual who has moved on, many have not, but you are not expected to understand that Dawn Bruce!!!

    • I agree with you Dawn and a lot have moved on, and it was not just government, as you say it was parents pushing as well, so no it should not go ahead. Don’t drag up the past, it will only cause hurt to a lot of people.

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