An academic review of 18 studies that interviewed nurses and midwives involved in performing abortions has found that many of them feel “stress, anger, grief”, requiring support and “coping strategies” to continue their day to day work as healthcare professionals.

One of the nurses interviewed said: “It was difficult for me to change my feelings…I assisted with the induced abortion…I cared for the crying woman and aborted foetus. I took the day to grieve and became depressed…and soon after, I assisted with childbirth…I couldn’t truly feel happy, and it was difficult for me to say ‘Congratulations on your newborn baby’ to the mother and family”.

Other nurses and midwives said they needed “moral support… just so you are not alone with the foetus … or alone with [the mother]”. One of the nurses said: “I chose this job to help to create life, not to participate in care involving the termination of pregnancy.”

The review of the 18 studies was carried out in 2021 by researchers from Zhejiang University and Ninghai Maternal and Child Health Hospital in China. Among the other accounts included in the review were nurses and midwives talking about how they were unsure how to dispose of the body of the baby whose life they had just ended, and how to help the women who were often grieving for their babies after the abortion.

In December, when the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, announced the framework of the Government’s Three Year Review of Ireland’s abortion law, he went to great lengths to stress that the review will only look at things like “ease of access” for abortion and not at the real impact of the new law and the horrific things that have occurred under it.

The narrow and defensive way the Government is approaching the review signals they have no real interest in conducting the “broad consultation” they publicly claim the review will entail.

The research being commissioned by the Government as part of the Three Year Review will be nothing more than a farcical exercise if it doesn’t explore in wide-ranging detail the views and concerns of healthcare workers who have been catapulted into an environment that went from always protecting human life to one that now ends human life on a whim.