Are nurses forced to assist abortions? - page 5

by lookingintoRN 23,482 Views | 123 Comments

Hello, I'm looking into a career as an RN and I am just curious - Are nurses forced to assist abortions? I've heard recently of several nurses being forced to assist or they lose their job. Is this the case with most hospitals?... Read More


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    As most other posters have stated, there is a very simple solution to your question. I have been a nurse for 4 years and I have never once had to deal with anything like this working in pediatrics/neurology though I have, of course, taken care of patients who have previously terminated pregnancies. (I'm sure I have also encountered mothers of patients who have done so and probably co-workers just based on how common it is but it's not something that ever comes up.) If you CHOOSE to work in the OR, L&D or at Planned Parenthood, it is reasonable to expect that abortions will happen in those settings and that you may be expected to assist.

    The only situation in which I can imagine it coming up in my job would be if one of our patients on treatment for chemotherapy or taking a number of known teratogenic anti-epileptics that cannot be stopped got pregnant by accident. Abortion is usually an outpatient procedure so I can't even imagine that I would encounter it in those incidents. If I really stretch my brain to its limits, I could imagine that a teenager is found to be pregnant just with the pre-op pregnancy screen when she gets admittedly emergently for a newly diagnosed malignant brain tumor or something. In that case (which I have never actually seen happen) I could see how it MAY happen that she would choose to terminate the pregnancy which could possibly happen while she is already in the OR for a tumor biopsy/resection/whatever it may be (provided that GYN could work out a mutal OR time with Neurosurgery). And yes I would be expected to care for her post-op since all post-op cranis end up on my floor. Though I don't see why anyone would have a problem with this; in this situation my job would be to be the bedside nurse and care for her in the same way that all post-op cranis are cared for. It's not my job to cast moral judgment on my patients.
    Fiona59 likes this.
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    Quote from AZnurse_2B
    No need for snarky comments. I will gladly post more information/clarification, but my two best sources are well-respected MDs who are doing international healthcare consulting in Columbia at the moment (returning next week I believe). I do know that this was addressed at the Catholic Medical Association 80th Annual Meeting just last month here in Phoenix.
    Yes, I'd love to see their sources for this information, because that quote simply isn't true and I'd love to know how they came to that conclusion.
    KelRN215 and HazelLPN like this.
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    Just curious... Where did the OP say they wouldn't provide care to someone following the procedure?

    I just looked again and all they asked was if they could be forced to participate...

    Everyone's freaking out and quick to add their personal feelings to an innocent question - glad I didnt ask... I dont think my throat would fit all y'all jumping down it.
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    Quote from anie10
    Just curious... Where did the OP say they wouldn't provide care to someone following the procedure?

    I just looked again and all they asked was if they could be forced to participate...

    Everyone's freaking out and quick to add their personal feelings to an innocent question - glad I didnt ask... I dont think my throat would fit all y'all jumping down it.
    There was an article posted about nurses in NJ who said they were "forced to participate in abortions." They weren't OR nurses, they were pre-op and PACU nurses who did not want to care for the patient before or after the procedure. That's where all those comments came from.
    anie10 and pockunit like this.
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    Quote from AZnurse_2B
    No need for snarky comments. I will gladly post more information/clarification, but my two best sources are well-respected MDs who are doing international healthcare consulting in Columbia at the moment (returning next week I believe). I do know that this was addressed at the Catholic Medical Association 80th Annual Meeting just last month here in Phoenix.
    No snark, just requiring a certain amount of proof, given the amount of data and logic to the contrary.

    Given that no hospital that receives federal funds provides ALL services available, it would be virtual impossible to enforce such a law. Most medical schools do not require indepth abortion training, beyond emergency issues. Many hospitals do not have access to abortion providers. You cannot force an MD to provide care that they do not feel competent in, nor force them all to go back and train in that specialty, especially given the current lack of adept providers. Many smaller hospitals that receive federal funds don't provide more advanced cardiac procedures, or advanced neurological care, certain surgeries. Do you think that the need to perform abortions is going to override those other priorities for developing care in a facility?

    In FL, some facilities have few birthes at all much less opportunities for providing "a certain number" of abortions.

    The reason that we question such an encompassing statement, is that it would logistically not be workable. Thus the request for "proof".

    I have also seen "respected MDs" that swear that to a number of things that are false.
    Last edit by caroladybelle on Dec 6, '11
    herring_RN, HazelLPN, Chris787n, and 3 others like this.
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    As a nurse you really can't dicatate patient's care plan.. if they want an abortion you just have to assist medically. Your judgements are out the door per say. If you really disagree with abortion and are asked to assist in your job you could say you aren't comfortable or whatever but that's not nursing and you are totally in the wrong position. The patient makes the decisions on their care you are just there to assist medically. If you feel uncomfortable with abortion stay away from that...
    anie10, Anonymous865, Fiona59, and 1 other like this.
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    it is illegal for a hospital to force an employee to participate in abortion.
    my state nurses association recommends writing a letter to management informing them of your conscience restrictions so they can plan to staff a willing nurse.
    42 usc sec. 300a-701/07/2011 (111-383)
    title 42 - the public health and welfare
    chapter 6a - public health service
    subchapter viii - population research and voluntary family planning


    sec. 300a-7. sterilization or abortion
    -statute-
    prohibition of public officials and public authorities from imposition of certain requirements contrary to religious beliefs or moral convictions


    the receipt of any grant, contract, loan, or loan guarantee under the public health service act [42 u.s.c. 201 et seq.], the community mental health centers act [42 u.s.c. 2689 et seq.], or the developmental disabilities services and facilities construction act [42 u.s.c. 6000 et seq.] by any individual or entity does not authorize any court or any public official or other public authority to require -

    (1) such individual to perform or assist in the performance of any sterilization procedure or
    abortion if his performance or assistance in the performance of such procedure or abortion would be contrary to his religious beliefs or moral convictions;

    no entity which receives a grant, contract, loan, or loan guarantee under the public health service act [42 u.s.c. 201 et seq.], the community mental health centers act [42 u.s.c. 2689 et seq.], or the developmental disabilities services and facilities construction act [42 u.s.c. 6000 et seq.] after june 18, 1973, may -

    (a) discriminate in the employment, promotion, or termination of employment of any physician or other health care personnel, or

    (b) discriminate in the extension of staff or other privileges to any physician or other health care personnel, because he performed or assisted in the performance of a lawful sterilization procedure or
    abortion, because he refused to perform or assist in the performance of such a procedure or abortion on the grounds that his performance or assistance in the performance of the procedure or abortion would be contrary to his religious beliefs or moral convictions, or because of his religious beliefs or moral convictions respecting sterilization procedures or abortions.

    http://uscode.house.gov/uscode-cgi/f...20
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    Unless you're willing to set your prejudices aside and take all patients as they come to you, in whatever circumstance...nursing may not be for you.
    Anonymous865, Fiona59, JZ_RN, and 2 others like this.
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    No, you're not forced to directly assist in abortions. However, some nursing schools (at the advance practice level) may teach you to offer abortion as an alternative in certain high-risk pregnancy cases. And then penalize you if you don't. Some schools offer conscience protection, some don't. If you are going into an advanced degree program, find out ahead of time before you invest a lot of money only to have to violate your conscience later on down the road.
    lindarn likes this.
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    You will not be forced into assisting in an abortion procedure. However, you have no right to refuse to care for a patient who just had an abortion.


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