By Sarah Terzo
In a video from the Save the 8th Campaign, Irish nurse Caren Níh Allacháin described witnessing an abortion at 22 weeks where the baby was born alive. The baby had a “chromosomal abnormality,” possibly Down syndrome
“I wasn’t looking after [the woman having the abortion] directly, but I was on the ward. The other nurse had gone for a break, but I went into the sluice room [where medical waste was taken]. And the baby was in a kidney dish, in the sink where all the clinical waste was. The baby was born alive, and the baby was then taken from the mother – the mother never saw the baby. The baby was put into a kidney dish and brought away from the room, and to the sluice room, and left there just to die.
The baby was the full size of the kidney dish, so the baby was probably a little bit more than the length of my hands. He was small but he was perfect. He had – you could see his toes, his hands, it seemed like he had blonde hair. His eyes were closed. His mouth was open slightly. At first when I saw him, I thought he was actually dead, but I could see the rise and fall of his chest once I looked, because through the shock – he was breathing. And he wasn’t really moving. He had been there at least an hour and a half if not two hours.
I just did not know what to do. But there was nobody treating that baby. That baby was breathing and yet I couldn’t go and ring for the emergency team to come. I couldn’t get oxygen for the baby. I couldn’t put a blanket around the baby. I couldn’t pick the baby up…. the baby was still breathing. I couldn’t treat that baby as any other baby in any other part of that hospital, where you have babies the same age being treated in incubators and being ventilated and being given every assistance to live.
And yet this baby was left… in a kidney dish, which is [a] cold stainless steel metal dish, and just left to die. I had to leave the sluice room. I had to leave the baby there. That part is the hardest part of all because I felt I had abandoned the baby. When I went back the baby had died. The baby wasn’t breathing anymore. So the baby was still in the kidney dish. It was when the other nurse came back that she disposed of the baby’s body.
To see that baby trying to breathe – to see the dignity of him in the kidney dish trying to breathe, and nobody, just nobody there. He is a human being and a person. You can’t deny it. You can’t deny that that child was a son. It is something that will stay with me for the rest of my life. I think the worst part of that is the fact that I wasn’t allowed to do anything. The baby was small, but it was perfect. [He] was perfect. The baby had a cleft lip – that was it.”
“Nurse Recalls Baby Born Alive After Abortion “He was Small but Perfect.”
Editor’s note. This appeared at Clinic Quotes and is reposted with permission.