The adoptions, driven largely by religious groups in the post-war period, "created a lifelong legacy of pain and suffering", the national apology delivered by Prime Minister Julia Gillard said.
Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard (L) is embraced by a woman during a ceremony on the National Apology for Forced Adoptions at Parliament House in Canberra on March 21, 2013. Australia apologised for the brutal and often illegal forced adoption of tens of thousands of babies born mostly to unmarried mothers between the 1950s and 1970s.
"To you, the mothers who were betrayed by a system that gave you no choice and subjected you to manipulation, mistreatment and malpractice, we apologise," she said to applause from 800 people affected by the policy.
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