Hold Harmless


by Máiréad Delaney

It is January 29th, 2015. Today marks the opening in the High Court of the case of a woman who endured a symphysiotomy. Symphysiotomy, an experimental and brutal surgical intervention practised on Irish women, severed the joint of the pelvis, supposedly to ease the delivery of a child. It is snowing in Dublin. The court’s first session commences at 11am. This is when I begin as well, on Holles Street. I came to the National Maternity Hospital to act in solidarity with a group of women who have been denied justice by their state, and whose bodies were altered for pro-life, nationalist purposes. They have since been denied access to restitution. The redress scheme presented to these women by the Department of Health requires them to indemnify and ‘hold harmless’ all bodies and people in respect to the carrying out of symphysiotomy, in direct contradiction to the…

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