New study goes way beyond confirming worst fears of pro-life campaigners, says Mulroy.

A new study published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, based on a series of interviews with doctors carrying out abortions in Ireland makes for truly devastating reading, according to the Pro Life Campaign.

The study confirms that under Ireland’s new abortion law unborn babies are sometimes born alive after botched abortions and left to die. Some of the doctors performing these abortions talk about the “internal conflict” they experience and how ending the lives of unborn babies can be “brutal”, “awful” and “emotionally difficult”. The study quotes one doctor referring to what they do as “stabbing the baby in the heart.” Another doctor interviewed for the study said: “I remember getting sick out in the corridors afterwards because I thought it (feticide) was such an awful procedure and so dreadful.”

Yet, despite all this, some of the doctors interviewed believe the new abortion law is too restrictive and want all remaining restrictions removed.

Responding to the study, conducted by researchers in UCC, Eilís Mulroy of the Pro Life Campaign said:

“The findings in this study are truly heart-breaking. It goes way beyond confirming the worst fears that pro-life campaigners expressed before the 2018 referendum about what would happen in the event of legalised abortion. Doctors in this study are openly talking about the grotesque life-ending procedures they engage in, yet in the same breath they want to see the legal grounds for abortion expanded even more. It’s clear from reading the study that many of these same doctors are more preoccupied with concerns about the threat of litigation than the horror of what they are doing in ending lives. The study highlights something else very clearly – the abortions being carried out have nothing whatsoever to do with genuine healthcare.”

Ms Mulroy continued:

“Reading the study also brings home the way in which politicians denied, deflected and muddied the waters when the reality was pointed out to them of what would happen in the event of an abortion regime being introduced in this country. TDs also refused to accept an amendment to the new law in 2018 that would have ensured babies born alive after botched abortions were given medical care. If there is any consolation to take from the study, it is the revelation from several of the abortion performing doctors that they are encountering significant opposition from colleagues who don’t regard what they are doing as healthcare and are conscientiously objecting to assisting with the abortions. Hopefully some good will also come from the study in awakening people to the horrific reality of what is now happening in our country on a daily basis in the name of ‘choice’ and ‘freedom’. The revelations in this study coupled with the news earlier this year of a 60% increase in the number of abortions since repeal, reminds us all that we must work even harder to inform and educate the public about the reality of the new law.”

The study* interviewed 10 doctors involved in performing abortions. The researchers confined the interviews to doctors carrying out abortions on babies with a life-limiting condition or as the study refers to the babies having a ‘fatal foetal anomaly’.

*Fetal medicine specialist experiences of providing a new service of termination of pregnancy for fatal fetal anomaly: a qualitative study  -S Power S Meaney, K O’Donoghue, The Irish Centre for Maternal and Child Health Research (INFANT), University College Cork, Cork, Ireland b Pregnancy Loss Research  Group, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland c National Perinatal Epidemiology Centre, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland Correspondence: K O’Donoghue, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Cork University Maternity Hospital, Wilton, Cork, Ireland. Accepted 3 September 2020