Monday, 20 October 2014

Another crime of the Catholic Church

I used to regard Ireland as a 'Western' country -  that is, reasonably civilised.  Oh, I knew they were backward in regard to the rights to abortion and even the right to use contraception.  But by and large, I thought the country reasonably civilised. 

I should have known better. Any country that is too heavily religious is likely to have areas where they are primitive and cruel - especially when it involves women's rights.  And Ireland is heavily Catholic.  Ever heard of the operation called Symphysiotomy?  Well, neither had I until it was on the Al Jazeera news yesterday.

Symphysiotomy - the breaking of the bones of the pelvis during childbirth in order to open it wider.  It's an alternative to a Caesarean.  The perceived disadvantage of a Caesarian is that it is risky to perform too many times - no more than twice, I was told in the 1980s.  And while sometimes they would allow a 'trial of labour' after a Caesarean, most doctors thought 'Once a Caesarean, always a Caesarean' the safer option.

BUT:  This would mean only a small family of maybe two or three children, and the Catholic Church thinks a woman should have as many children as possible, whether or not her health suffers. So in Ireland, especially in Catholic private hospitals, they sometimes did one of these vile operations instead - while the woman was in labour, and without permission -  or maybe they asked the husband,  though probably not mentioning the frequency of  side effects such as incontinence, chronic backache, and a limp.

About 1,500 symphysiotomies were carried out in Ireland between 1941 and 1987, and it is alleged that there were a few even later, one even in 2005.  Probably some women who had the operation never knew what was done to them.  

  The link below takes you to an article that explains further.
There is now an ongoing complaint to the UN - 
'SOS says the performance of symphysiotomy and pubiotomy constituted torture under Article 1 of the Convention Against Torture as severe pain and suffering, both physical and mental, were intentionally inflicted on women and girls, for reasons based on discrimination – but for the fact that they were pregnant, they would not have had these abusive surgeries perpetrated upon them.'
For more information, there are other sites:  
This one is to do with a law suit:
As part of the evidence, there was this argument for the 'defence.'

[a number of senior Catholic Irish obstetricians, including some Masters of the  National Maternity Hospital were] anti­ caesarean section.  The reason for that was apparently that a woman could only be expected to  undergo a relatively limited number of operations and it was assumed that she  would probably need to have quite a few of them because it was anticipated that  a woman was going to have a lot of children. If doctors were to perform  caesarean sections more or less as required, there would come a point at which  they would have to advise a woman that she should not have any more children and  that would lead to the consequence that she might be tempted to use artificial  contraception or she might even look for sterilisation or some other means of  preventing a pregnancy. This consideration or these thoughts were sufficient to  justify the doctors’ hostility to caesarean section. This led them to be favourable to symphysiotomy… [1]
 I'd convict the sanctimonious bastards on the evidence of that alone.  How dare they subject a woman to torture in order that she might bear more children for the church!

After effects:
Side-effects of Symphysiotomy
Permanent Backache
Difficulty in Walking
Extreme Pain
Bowel Problems
Psychological Effects

From this site -
For a personal account.  This woman did not know what had been done to her, look at this site:
Religion might be responsible for some good in the world, but it is also responsible for a great deal of bad.  This was just one of its crimes.



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