The British government should apologise for its history of forced adoptions, according to a recently published letter.
Signed by several prominent public figures including Members of Parliament, academics, authors and campaigners, the letter was published in The Times. It says that “thousands of babies were adopted by British married couples because their mothers were unmarried” between the 1950s and 1970s.
It alleges that help was available for single mothers during this time but that information about such help was withheld. As a result, it continues, the mothers who gave up their children “did not give informed consent”.
The letter claims that the mothers were “coerced” into giving up their children and had “never recovered” from the experience. Many of those mothers “do not even know if their lost children are alive”, it alleges. This is because there is no mechanism in the law to notify the biological parent of their child’s death after they have been adopted.
In 2013, the sitting Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard issued a national apology to mothers in her country who had experienced forced adoptions. The Times letter cited this incident and demanded that the British government follow suit by giving women “an acknowledgement that adoption practices were unethical”.
Earlier this month, the Baltic country of Latvia alleged that the UK still practiced forced adoption. This was prompted by the case of a Latvian mother living in Britain who had her child taken into care.
Photo of the Houses of Parliament by Paul Brocklehurst via Flickr