The Melbourne newspaper The Age reported the Royal Women's Hospital in Victoria submitted a paper to a Senate inquiry which admitted single mothers were denied access to their newborns and were unlikely to have been given options other than adoption.
The submission stopped short of admitting any illegal tactics to persuade women to give up their babies.
The apology comes after a study of the hospital's adoption practices by historian Shurlee Swain, which also acknowledged that unmarried mothers were treated in wards different from married women and were routinely referred to social workers to discuss adoption procedures.
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