Assisting in abortions

  1. 0 I was watching an old episode of ER and it got me thinking (dangerous, I know). In the episode, an abortion clinic was bombed and the ER was receiving the casualties. One patient was in the middle of an abortion when the bomb went off and the abortion was not completed. When this was found out, the doctor's had to complete the abortion because she was bleeding out and crashing. An intern refused to participate even though without completing the abortion the patient would most likely die.

    My question is, legally do nurses have to participate in a case like this? I've thought over the possible answers and can't decide.

    Please, please do not turn this into a debate over whether or not abortion should be legal or not. I'm not looking into personal views, but the legalities of not participating.
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  3. Visit  bethin profile page

    About bethin

    Joined Sep '05; Posts: 7,765; Likes: 1,211.

    43 Comments so far...

  4. Visit  Marie_LPN, RN profile page
    0
    I don't know what the policy is for something like that where i work, but, IMO, i wouldn't feel like i had the right to refuse in an emergency, and i would feel like i just let the pt. die.

    Routine ones is another story. I made sure that the place i work didn't do them, so it's not an issue for me.
    Last edit by Marie_LPN, RN on Mar 8, '06
  5. Visit  JeanettePNP profile page
    0
    ER is fiction, right? I don't know why it would even be a question to complete an abortion for a woman who was bleeding out.

    Personally, I would not initially choose a field that involved assisting in abortions (say, working for a gyn who does abortions), but if it incidentally came up as part of my job I would assist.
  6. Visit  The Sphynx profile page
    0
    I believe the moral objection applies.Unlike the clinic's, you are not
    the medical assistant or nurse regularly taking part. You would likely
    have other nurses who can step in if they feel compelled.
  7. Visit  Marie_LPN, RN profile page
    0
    You would likely
    have other nurses who can step in if they feel compelled.
    Assuming there's one that can step in, who isn't tied up with something else.
  8. Visit  epiphany profile page
    0
    What a loaded question you have asked. It's hard not to put a personal view into addressing your question, but I'm going to take up your challenge and just speak in terms of what I think about legality.

    Whatever you need to do to save a pt's life, you probably have to do legally. The abortion is already well underway and irreversible, we are to assume, right? So the only issue at hand is are you obligated to do what you can to prevent a human being from bleeding to death? I think when it comes down to that, you have to - that is the role you agreed upon when you became a nurse, especially whilst on duty in the hospital. You cannot abandon your pt.
  9. Visit  sharann profile page
    0
    If allowing her to bleed out was more morally correct to this intern or nurse then fine. But then they need to explain why this woman was allowed to die because they refused.
  10. Visit  canoehead profile page
    0
    Once you get to the point where the mother's life is in danger the baby is done no matter what you do. So if the situation described I don't see any reason for moral objection...can someone clarify if I'm wrong?
  11. Visit  epiphany profile page
    0
    I doubt there such a thing as moral objection in law, which allows a nurse to abandon a pt.
  12. Visit  bethin profile page
    0
    Quote from epiphany
    What a loaded question you have asked. It's hard not to put a personal view into addressing your question, but I'm going to take up your challenge and just speak in terms of what I think about legality.

    Whatever you need to do to save a pt's life, you probably have to do legally. The abortion is already well underway and irreversible, we are to assume, right? So the only issue at hand is are you obligated to do what you can to prevent a human being from bleeding to death? I think when it comes down to that, you have to - that is the role you agreed upon when you became a nurse, especially whilst on duty in the hospital. You cannot abandon your pt.
    This is what I was thinking. It was past the point of no return. The fetus is already dead, so why not try to save the woman's life? Plus, if the fetus is dead there's no way you can explain letting the woman die. You have to stand by your patient.
  13. Visit  Noryn profile page
    0
    Whenever nurses have moral or religious objections to providing care they have to communicate this with their supervisor. It really depends on facility policy on how they handle it but until care has been transferred to another nurse, the nurse with the objections has to continue to provide care.

    So my answer is that no, nurses cannot refuse to assist on their moral or religious beliefs. If they did of course it all depends on the facility on what they would do but I am pretty sure the state board of nursing would be very upset.

    Pharmacists are in this same boat with the morning after pill.
  14. Visit  epiphany profile page
    0
    Quote from bethin
    This is what I was thinking. It was past the point of no return. The fetus is already dead, so why not try to save the woman's life? Plus, if the fetus is dead there's no way you can explain letting the woman die. You have to stand by your patient.
    Having said that, what you have to do, and what you are capable of doing, might be different.

    I had a close encounter with a situation like that personally. It was an ICU pt, all tubed up and unconscious. But by some fluke, his criminal activities was on his record - he had been in legal trouble for child molestation. I had an unexpected emotional reaction. I thought, this is a man that could hurt my child. I don't want him to live. You can rationalize from afar, but you can't help how you feel. I was hit with the realization that if I were this man's nurse, which I wasn't, I would definitely ask my assignment to be changed. In a life-saving emergency, I HOPE that I would have the strength and principle in me to do what I need to do professionally, but I have learnt never assume for damn certain what I am or am not capable of doing.

    That's also why I feel strongly that I should not have to know about my pt's background that's not related to his/her health. I don't want to be judge or jury.
    Last edit by epiphany on Mar 8, '06
  15. Visit  a_clay profile page
    0
    Quote from Noryn
    Pharmacists are in this same boat with the morning after pill.

    This is interesting. I have saw on the news last year that alot of pharmacists in this area (I don't know about other areas) refuse to fill perscriptions for bith control pills because it is against their religious beliefs. Is this LEGAL for a pharmacist to do this?


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