Columnist David Quinn denies catholic church had a direct influence on the practice of symphysiotomy in Irish maternity hospitals

Religion and social affairs columnist DAVID QUINN today launched an attack on people wishing to lay the blame for the practice of symphysiotomy on the door of the Catholic Church in Ireland.

The former editor of The Irish Catholic and founder of the Iona Institute, a religious think-tank, he cites a lack of evidence of theological doctrine in making an informed assessment of why the catholic church is being seen being the cause of the effects of a benighted church and a benighted time. In his article published in the Irish Independent, David argues only a small portion of the blame for the use of the procedure can be laid at the door of the church and that even that is highly circumspect.

Whilst arguing that the operation was medically justifiable and was the result of medical and economic conditions which were prevalent due to a lack of resources in Irish maternity hospitals at the time, David Quinn does at least acknowledge that in ‘some’ cases symphysiotomy would leave women with terrible, life-altering side effects such as chronic back pain and incontinence.

Arguing that recent reports have affected the catholic church in Ireland without primary sources of evidence. He decries the highly polemical tone by which the current debate is taking place within the Irish media and defends former Archbishop John Charles McQuaid.

Arguing against one of SOS’s core beliefs, that symphysiotomy and pubiotomy were performed in preference to caesarean sections due to perceived moral obligations in respect of limiting the ability of Irish women to limit family size, he goes on to state the reasons that lay behind the use of symphysiotomy have been supported by reports of neutral organisations like the the World Health Organisation and the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in Ireland and that the reason they were phased out is not ‘because we became less Catholic, but because we became richer and our hospitals became better resourced and caesarean sections became much safer.’

Survivors of Symphysiotomy in Ireland strongly disagree with the opinions expounded by David Quinn and have published a large amount of evidence contrary to his opinion that the Catholic church in Ireland did not have a direct moral influence on the administration and performance of public and maternity health policies in Ireland.

Further reading

See more about our campaign to seek redress for the tragedy of symphysiotomy

Read the full article in the Irish Independent here

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