Caren's Story.

"I saw the baby in the dish. He was breathing... "

save the 8th

My Abortion Story

“I believe the government has put together this abortion proposal without fully consulting with medical practitioners and without fully considering what legalising abortion can mean for medical staff, even for those who do not carry out abortions.

I was an agency nurse in Sydney Australia in the early 90s and I was on a ward one night when a woman had come in for an abortion. She was 22 weeks pregnant and had been told her baby had a chromosomal abnormality.

I wasn’t looking after her directly but I was on the ward. The other nurse had gone for a break.

I went into the sluice room and I saw the baby, a 22 week old baby boy, in a kidney dish in at the sink where all the clinical waste was flushed.

He was small but he was perfect. You could see his toes, his hands, he seemed like he had blond hair. He was the full size of the kidney dish and he was alive. I could see the rise and fall of his chest, he was breathing.

I was a young nurse and I did not know what to do. Because this was an abortion I wasn’t allowed to intervene, I couldn’t get help for the baby, I couldn’t hold him or comfort him, or get oxygen for him or ask anyone to help him live.

To see that baby trying to breathe, and nobody helping him, was so distressing and it will haunt me for the rest of my life.

I had to leave the sluice room, and I had to leave the baby there and that was the hardest part of all because I felt I had abandoned the baby.

He was a child, he was a human being. That same evening I heard the baby’s mother weeping in her room, she was inconsolable. I wondered what she had been told, and if she was advised to abort her baby because he was considered imperfect.

There is no dignity in abortion, there is no respect in it, there’s no justice in it.

I fear for nurses like me if this abortion proposal is passed, and for the culture it will create in Irish hospitals. I fear that doctors will be expected to sit in judgment on the value of a baby’s life because of a suspected abnormality.

There is a heart-breaking reality to repealing the 8th amendment and legalising abortion that is largely being ignored. I never want any nurse to see the heart-breaking reality that I saw."

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