A class-action lawsuit accusing Quebec's Catholic Church of kidnapping, fraud and coercion to force unwed mothers to give up their children for adoption is being organised by one of Canada's highest-profile law firms, reports The Montreal Gazette.
The accusations date back to the 1950s and 1960s, when the law firm alleges unwed mothers in maternity homes and hospitals were coerced by social-service personnel and hospital employees, often members of the Church working for the government, to sign documents giving up their children without being told they had the right to keep them.
Lawsuits alleging similar abuses are pending against several provinces.
One against the government of British Columbia is close to being launched, said Tony Merchant, head of the law firm orchestrating the lawsuits.
Close to 200 women have come forward to take part in the lawsuits since the firm started the process half a year ago, Merchant said.
"The beliefs the Catholic Church (in Quebec) had about premarital sex and the judgmental approach the church had made it particularly aggressive in pressuring women into putting their children up for adoption," Merchant said.