Campaigning for survivors

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Around 1,500 women had their pelvises broken in childbirth in Ireland from 1944 onwards: less than one fifth survive today, many of them permanently disabled, incontinent and in pain.

Despite the tragedy of these operations, no person or agency has ever been held to account, nor has any restitution been made to victims.

These operations were not performed in an emergency or out of medical necessity, but as a matter of policy, out of personal choice. Some obstetricians and gynaecologists disliked Caesarean section because it capped family size. In place came symphysiotomy, a more dangerous procedure that enabled women to have an unlimited number of children.

The authorities have always insisted that these mutilating operations were justified. Successive governments have refused to hold an independent inquiry into the surgery, so survivors have been forced to take the legal route.

Survivors Of Symphysiotomy-Ireland is campaigning for truth and justice.

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