It's Past Time for an American Apology to Birth/First Mothers
At the beginning of 2021, Ireland's leader issued an apology to women who endured the humiliation, emotional and psychological abuse inflicted by state and church-run mother-and-baby Homes during the last half of the 20th Century. In November, National Adoption Awareness Month in the United States, the Irish government went a step further and promised financial reparations to these mothers.
The issue was first explored in the film, The Magdalene Sisters, and gained increased international attention when the movie Philomena,
starring Dame Judy Dench in the title role of Philomena Lee, who was forced to surrender her son, received international acclaim and twenty-two awards. Lee has been a tireless advocate, raising awareness and even receiving an audience with Pope Francis in 2014.
Actor Liam Neesen has recently announced plans to produce a major film about the Tuam mother and baby home, where some 800 infants and children died and were discovered to have buried in what euphemistically have been called unmarked graves, but were in fact sewer pits.
Government officials in Australia and Canada, along with the United Church of Canada, have made similar gestures in recent years, acknowledging coercive relinquishment practices and resultant trauma and loss inflicted upon mostly unwed mothers who were declared unfit and separated from their babies.