SYMPHYSIOTOMY IS A cruel and dangerous childbirth operation that unhinges the pelvis, severing the symphysis joint or, in the case of pubiotomy, sundering the pubic bones.
Ireland was the only country in the developed world to practise this discarded surgery in the mid to late 20th century.
Around a couple of hundred women
survive today, many of them permanently disabled, incontinent and in pain. One baby in ten died during the process and a number were brain damaged.
Women were occasionally informed their pelvis would be broken, but most were not.
The knowledge that this was wrongful surgery came slowly and painfully, in fragments heard in the media or read in a newspaper. Accepting that one has been abused is difficult: denial is easier.
Now that the veil has been rent on these abusive operations, the Oireachtas should lift the statute of limitations for survivors, for a brief period. This was done for victims of sexual abuse, a far more difficult area to legislate for. There are no floodgates, only 200 or so mainly elderly women, standing, waiting, for justice.
The SOS group hope to have the bill setting aside the statute bar brought before the Dail in the coming weeks. Government support is crucial in getting the legislation passed. Unless the legal barrier is lifted, women in their 70s and 80s may face long delays as lawyers battle procedural issues.
We, the supporters of the SOS group, call on the Irish Government to have the statute bar lifted so the SOS can seek redress through the courts for the permanent damage they suffered as a result of symphysiotomy, during which their pelvises were unhinged.
The Support Survivors of Symphysiotomy petition to Dáil Éireann was written by Symphysiotomy Survivor's Campaign and is in the category Human Rights at GoPetition.