The Catholic Church of England recognized the grief and pain it caused in the past by forcing unwed mothers to give up their babies for adoption.
The Catholic Church of England issued an official apology to the victims of the forced abortions that occurred in England back in the 60s. One of England’s most brutal periods, this was a time when the Catholic Church, the Anglican Church and the Salvation Army carried out a massive campaign to take away the children born to unmarried women and offer them up for adoption. Christianity has traditionally been against sex out of wedlock. These forced adoptions were a brutal way of enforcing traditional Christian teachings upon helpless young girls.
Today, women who were victims of the forced abortions have been interviewed to share their stories in a documentary called “Britain’s Adoption Scandal: Breaking the Silence,” scheduled to be released on November 9. Now aged, these women were once young mothers of 18 or 19, who had conceived out of wedlock, thereby committing a very serious sin in the eyes of religious institutions. With nowhere else to go, these mothers often found themselves seeking shelter in homes and hospitals run by these churches. It was here that they were forced to give up their children for adoption.
Helpless and with nobody to look to for support, the young women often gave in to the psychological pressures that the priests, nuns and other religious would subject them to. The women were even forced to believe that they should agree for the adoptions because they are in their own “best interests and the best interests of their children.” The young girls often fell for these arguments and agreed to part with their children. By the time they realized the full weight of their decision, it was too late- they would have lost their children forever. The women reveal that they were often mistreated in these homes, especially if they refused to give up their babies.
The abhorrent practice of Forced adoption by the Catholic church between the 40's and 70's compounds my decision to be atheist
— Lesley (@Dollypogs) November 3, 2016
@Derserned my forced adoption was orchestrated by the Catholic church.
— Angela Barra (@AngelaMBarra) September 13, 2016
Cardinal Vincent Nichols apologized on behalf of the Catholic Church, recognizing the pain and trauma that the Church put the mothers through. Nichols also admitted to the reality that despite the good intentions of the charitable organizations, a lack of care and sensitivity has resulted in causing a lot of emotional damage. The Catholic Church in Australia too issued an apology earlier for something similar that had happened there. Besides the Catholic Church, the Anglican Church too admitted their role in the forced adoptions and sought forgiveness from the mothers.
Nearly half a million children are estimated to have been given up for adoption this way in the decades following World War II. The highest number of adoptions happened in 1968, totaling close to 16,000.