I used to regard Ireland as a 'Western' country - that is, reasonably civilised. Oh, I knew they were backward in regard to the rights to abortion and even the right to use contraception. But by and large, I thought the country reasonably civilised.
I should have known better. Any country that is too heavily religious is likely to have areas where they are primitive and cruel - especially when it involves women's rights. And Ireland is heavily Catholic. Ever heard of the operation called Symphysiotomy? Well, neither had I until it was on the Al Jazeera news yesterday.
Symphysiotomy - the breaking of the bones of the pelvis during childbirth in order to open it wider. It's an alternative to a Caesarean. The perceived disadvantage of a Caesarian is that it is risky to perform too many times - no more than twice, I was told in the 1980s. And while sometimes they would allow a 'trial of labour' after a Caesarean, most doctors thought 'Once a Caesarean, always a Caesarean' the safer option.
BUT: This would mean only a small family of maybe two or three children, and the Catholic Church thinks a woman should have as many children as possible, whether or not her health suffers. So in Ireland, especially in Catholic private hospitals, they sometimes did one of these vile operations instead - while the woman was in labour, and without permission - or maybe they asked the husband, though probably not mentioning the frequency of side effects such as incontinence, chronic backache, and a limp.
The link below takes you to an article that explains further.
As part of the evidence, there was this argument for the 'defence.'
Side-effects of Symphysiotomy
Difficulty in Walking
From this site - http://patientfocus.ie/site/index.php/patientfocus/cases/symphysiotomy/