[Sinn Fein]

20th June 2003

Survivors of `barbaric' Symphysiotomy procedures to hold press conference

Sinn Fein TD for Louth Arthur Morgan will facilitate a press conference in Buswell's Hotel on Tuesday next (June 24th) for the Survivors of Symphysiotomy at 11am. Symphysiotomy was a procedure carried out on women instead of Caesarean sections in a number of hospitals throughout the State between the 1950s and 1980s. The procedure is no longer practiced in Ireland. It has led to a growing number of women suffering a range of disabilities including acute back-pain, difficulty walking, incontinence and depression.

Survivors of Symphysiotomy (S.O.S.) is a newly formed organisation representing victims of Symphysiotomy who have come together to demand answers to why they were subjected to this procedure without their consent and in many cases without their knowledge.

In Leinster House this week Sinn Fein called the practice ``barbaric'' and called on the Minister for Health to meet with the women and to agree to an inquiry into the practice. Deputy Morgan is also attempting to facilitate meetings between the women and the Health spokespersons of all the political parties in Leinster House.

Survivors of Symphysiotomy Press Conference
Buswells Hotel
11am, Tuesday June 24th 2003

What were Symphysiotomies:

A surgical procedure to effect an immediate dramatic increase in the size of the pelvic outlet to permit delivery of a baby. The cartilage of the symphysis pubis (where the pubic bones come together) is surgically divided in the procedure. Symphysiotomy was used to permanently widen the pelvis of women who might normally have required repeated Caesarean sections.

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