The documentary Children of Shame exposes atrocities committed at a home for unwed mothers in Tuam, Ireland. The home was founded in 1925 and closed in 1961.
At the time, religion was an important part of the Irish culture. Purity was viewed as an essential trait and failure to live up to that standard brought extreme shame, so unwed mothers were sent to special homes.
The unwed mothers were forced to live and work in these homes against their will. They were treated as criminals, even though fornication was not considered a legal crime.
The babies could be put up for adoption by the home, regardless of the mother’s desire to keep her child. Children remaining in the home were treated poorly. They were malnourished, abused, and did not receive appropriate medical care. This resulted in a mortality rate for babies born out of wedlock that was six times higher than the norm.
Legislating morality has been a hot topic in the United States. For example: should gay marriage be legalized and should birth control be easily available to all women.
However, stories like this one remind me of the dangers of strictly legalizing morality. The appearance of purity can become more important than people. The end result is evil acts are committed to hide immorality.