Today's shocker comes from Spain, but it's not at all a unique story.
What began as a trickle of revelation about General Francisco Franco’s ideological cleansing by taking children from their parents is now a fully engaged scandal in a country wracked by debt, unemployment and civil unrest. As many as 300,000 babies, Spaniards have been told, were wrested from their mothers between 1960 and 1989 by a network of doctors, midwives, priests and nuns who then sold them to infertile couples for huge sums.
The scandal emerged four years ago, when a dying father revealed to his son, Juan Luis Moreno, that he and a childhood friend, Antonio Barroso, had, in fact, been bought from a priest and a nun for about 200,000 pesetas each in 1969, money that could have bought a small flat. Pesetas were the Spanish currency until 2002.
Nobody knows for sure how many children — and parents — are living false lives. Nearly 1,000 lawsuits have been filed in courts ill-prepared to handle them. And with the scandal has come a stream of shocking details — tiny corpses kept in freezers as decoys to show grieving parents; nuns with million-dollar real estate holdings and caskets exhumed after decades found empty.
Same story in Australia with added misogynist glee -- torture.
More than 50 years have passed since Betty Mills was kept in solitary confinement and forced to give birth without medical help, but time has done nothing to erase the pain she was forced to endure in giving up her child because of her status as an unwed mother.
As a 21-year-old she was forced into a maternity home for six months where she was forbidden to have contact with other mothers and gave birth in a small bedroom alone and unassisted before having to relinquish the son she so dearly wanted to keep.
Her story of abuse and loss stayed a painful secret for decades but it has become a familiar story for the Senate Community Affairs Committee, which has been going through submissions for an inquiry into the Commonwealth's contribution to former forced adoption policies and practices.
The accounts received by the committee date from the 1950s to as recently as 1987.
The Australian Relinquishing Mothers Association has told the committee that many of its members had experienced being shackled or tied down, denied pain relief and told they must ''suffer for their sins'' at government- or church-run homes in Australia.
''As young and vulnerable women we found ourselves banished from our homes and communities because of a sense of shame,'' the group told the committee.
''Governments, churches, schools and employers all played their part in separating and isolating us from our families, peers, partners and support networks, reinforcing a sense of shame and the need for secrecy and causing severe emotional distress.''
ARMS said in a written submission that some mothers were never allowed to hold their babies and some could not even see them because a screen of pillows was put in front of them while they gave birth.
Others were wrongly told their children had not survived the birth when they were in fact alive.
In July this year, the Catlick Fucking Church actually apologized.
The Catholic Church in Australia has issued a national apology over past adoption practices that have been described as a "national disgrace".
The apology was prompted by an ABC investigation into claims of abuse and trauma in Newcastle.
It is believed at least 150,000 Australian women had their babies taken against their will by some churches and adoption agencies between the 1950s and 1970s.
Psychiatrist Geoff Rickarby has treated scores of affected women, and says it is a stain on Australia's history.
"It sounds like some totalitarian country somewhere hundreds of years ago, but in fact it's Australia only 35, 40 years ago," Dr Rickarby said.
But really, should we in Canada be surprised by lies, avarice, and child abuse by the Vatican Taliban?
Our national twist on the scheme was to label the children themselves defective.
Orphanages and schools were the financial responsibility of the provincial government but funding for mental institutions was provided by the government of Canada. Beginning in the 1940s and continuing into the 1960s, Quebec Premier Maurice Duplessis, in cooperation with the Roman Catholic Church which ran the orphanages, developed a scheme to obtain federal funding for thousands of children, most of whom had been "orphaned" through forced separation from their unwed mothers. In some cases the Catholic orphanages were re-labelled as health-care facilities and in other cases the children were shipped from orphanages to existing insane asylums. Years later, long after these institutions were closed, the children who had survived them and become adults began to speak out about the harsh treatment and sexual abuse they endured at the hands of the psychiatrists, Roman Catholic priests, nuns, and administrators.
Kinda funny, innit? We progressives are wringing our hands at the imminent prospect of becoming serfs in the new(ish) corporate feudalism. When, really, most of us have been mere incubators, sex toys, slaves, and commodities for centuries. Our owners have changed, that's all.
h/t for the story from Spain to Dr. Dawg