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NSW nurses apologise for forced adoptions

The NSW Nurses and Midwives Association has issued an apology for the part played by the profession in the forced removal of children for adoption during the 1950s to the 1970s.

The union said the practices were “unjust” and “unacceptable” and the union should have taken a more vigorous stance against it.

A federal senate inquiry this year found that up to 250 000 babies from across Australia were taken from their mostly young and single mothers. Inquiry chair, Senator Rachel Siewert, said mothers and fathers were pressured into giving up their babies by their families and government and private institutions, including social workers, doctors and nurses.

On Thursday, the NSW Parliament apologised to those affected by the practices and the lasting damage it caused.

The ACT, West Australian and South Australian governments have already said sorry for the past adoption practices, and the federal, Victorian and Tasmanian governments have also committed to apologies.

In response, the NSW NMA issued its own apology on behalf of nurses and midwives.

The union said nurses and midwives were intimately involved with the women and their newborns at the time of birth and removal, and it apologised for the trauma experienced by mothers as a result of their behaviour.

The union also called on governments to fund free counseling, support and family-search services.

After the joint sitting in the lower house which was witnessed by over 300 people, NSW Families Minister Pru Goward called on the hospitals and charities involved in the forced adoptions to say sorry.

Apologies have been offered by the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, the Sisters of Mercy, St Anne’s Hospital in Perth, the Benevolent Society, Catholic Health Australia and the Royal Women’s Hospital.

The NSWNMA’s apology can be read in full here: www.nswnma.asn.au/news/42080.html

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