“Mothers wait at a maternity hospital. Image from ‘Mothers Against The Odds’ #Mato2012. Anne Daly and Ronan Tynan had their eyes opened to one of the greatest injustices ever inflicted on Irish Mothers in Ireland’s maternity hospitals while filming ‘Mothers Against The Odds’ in Kenya. Should International Women’s Day be renamed End Violence Against Women Day? Women in Kenya as an experienced midwife explained to us are treated like children. They are treated like assets to be traded because they have no voice. This underlined the well-worn truth that the quality of a woman’s health is in direct proportion to her rights in society.
However, the really shocking and disturbing experience for us was in the filming of the Irish part of the documentary when we met the women who call themselves survivors of symphysiotomy.
|Symphysiotomy – MoonDragon Birthing Services|
They were subjected to a “barbaric” procedure which involved breaking their pelvises when they went into hospital to have their babies. It is claimed the rationale for this procedure was to overcome the natural limit on child-bearing that the cesarean section imposed. The cesarean was the routine procedure for complicated or problem deliveries but was less in keeping with Catholic Church teaching as it seemed to impose a limit on the number of children a woman could have. Sounds incredible, but the only way one can rationalise why in 1944 this “barbaric” procedure was re-introduced into some leading Irish maternity hospitals.”
A petition of over 20,000 names calling for justice for the victims of symphysiotomy was handed into Leinster House. The Survivors of Symphysiotomy (SOS) group presented the petition to the All Party Victims of Symphysiotomy Oireachtas Support Group, ahead of a government decision later this month as to whether the statute of limitations will be set aside for survivors os symphysiotomy.