Four Corners - Given or Taken?
Over five decades thousands of women gave up their newborn children for adoption. While they were supposed to make their decision freely, many claim they were coerced, bullied and their children were effectively stolen.
It's now a cornerstone of social welfare policy that children should, if at all possible, stay with their birth parents, in particular their mother. Not so in years gone by. Right up to the 1970s, having a child out of wedlock was frowned upon and young women who fell pregnant were actively encouraged to give up their babies for adoption. Authorities argued this was done with good intentions, but now a powerful Senate Committee has heard evidence that tells a very different story.
It now seems many young, single mothers were never given the option of keeping their child. Unmarried mothers automatically had their hospital records marked ready for adoption - even before giving birth. There is evidence that some were sedated. Others were denied access to their babies as they were making crucial decisions about their future. As a result, these women have suffered terrible emotional distress throughout their lives.
Reporter Geoff Thompson talks to some of the women who lost their children.
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