Are nurses forced to assist abortions? - page 7

by lookingintoRN 22,773 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


  1. 6
    Ah, but we all must remember that as a nurse, we must also explore why it is that our personal boundries would have a thing to do with what someone else chooses to do regarding their own body and own health.
    Just because one personally believes something to be wrong, doesn't mean everyone does. Just because personally one would not have an abortion, take birth control, smoke and have COPD, eat incorrectly and have high blood pressure or diabetes doesn't mean that the patient's one encounters will not.
    A huge part of nursing is to be non-judgemental in the care you provide. There are waivers that one can sign that state that nurses prefer not to take part in what they believe to be morally incorrect. However, as a general rule, we are there to care for patients, not take some sort of moral/ethical stance.
    ktbugg, Anonymous865, NRSKarenRN, and 3 others like this.
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    Quote from windsurfer8
    Where did you "hear" that nurses were forced to do abortions? Some hardcore anti abortion group? NO ONE is forced to do a damn thing. Chill out. And guess what..you will have patients who are...DIVORCED! Wait..isn't that a "sin" as well? Will you take care of those people? Will you provide care to atheists? Will you provide care to people who covet their neighbors wife? Will you provide care for anyone you disagree with? You better be ready to check yourself a bit before you become a fricking nurse.
    As a nursing student, I have had similar, if not the same, questions.

    To all of you who have criticized lookingintoRN for an honest question that regards a belief he/she obviously holds dear, shame on you and maybe you should "chill out". This person is trying to figure out whether or not they will be able to perform their job as a nurse or even pursue a career in nursing while maintaining their moral integrity. To turn this into an avenue for ugly remarks, political debates, anger at religious groups, and generalizations towards people who disagree with abortion is both counterproductive and immature. This person was asking for help, not condemning others, which is what many of you have so willingly done to lookingintoRN.

    Also would like to point out that just because one does not believe in abortion does not make them judgmental to a patient who chooses to have an abortion, nor does this mean that their beliefs, or as many of you called "prejudices", will get in the way of how they treat a patient on a personal level. Just because a healthcare provider may not agree with and even opt out of assisting in an abortion does not mean they treat the patient any less human. Each patient deserves equal respect.

    So back lookingintoRN's ACTUAL question…
    There are ways to avoid this. As many have already stated, choose a field in which abortion will not be an issue and choose your place of employment wisely. Here is what I found on the topic as far as what is legally required of nurses that might be helpful. This is a code of ethics published by the American Nurses Association.

    http://www.nursingworld.org/MainMenu...-of-Ethics.pdf
    hope3456 and kungpoopanda like this.
  3. 9
    Quote from nursewithquestions
    As a nursing student, I have had similar, if not the same, questions.

    To all of you who have criticized lookingintoRN for an honest question that regards a belief he/she obviously holds dear, shame on you and maybe you should "chill out". This person is trying to figure out whether or not they will be able to perform their job as a nurse or even pursue a career in nursing while maintaining their moral integrity. To turn this into an avenue for ugly remarks, political debates, anger at religious groups, and generalizations towards people who disagree with abortion is both counterproductive and immature. This person was asking for help, not condemning others, which is what many of you have so willingly done to lookingintoRN.

    Also would like to point out that just because one does not believe in abortion does not make them judgmental to a patient who chooses to have an abortion, nor does this mean that their beliefs, or as many of you called "prejudices", will get in the way of how they treat a patient on a personal level. Just because a healthcare provider may not agree with and even opt out of assisting in an abortion does not mean they treat the patient any less human. Each patient deserves equal respect.

    So back lookingintoRN's ACTUAL question…
    There are ways to avoid this. As many have already stated, choose a field in which abortion will not be an issue and choose your place of employment wisely. Here is what I found on the topic as far as what is legally required of nurses that might be helpful. This is a code of ethics published by the American Nurses Association.

    http://www.nursingworld.org/MainMenu...-of-Ethics.pdf
    A.This thread was started in 2011.
    B. This thread has had no activity since almost a year ago.
    C. The OP hasn't posted since 2011.
    D. Why would you dig up an old thread to berate other posters? First, no one was criticizing the OP but offering insight into the fact that if one feels unable to participate in abortions that the onus is on that person to find a job where that situation will not occur. Perfectly logical.
    Heathermaizey, LadyFree28, jadelpn, and 6 others like this.
  4. 0
    Like the original poster, I have done research on topics like abortion and other ethical dilemmas one will face in the nursing field before deciding to enter the field myself. I came across this thread, as it addressed one of the topics I have researched and am currently writing a paper on, and read through each page to see what options/advice people offered to the OP. I agree, choosing a job outside the medical field is a perfectly logical option, which I stated in my original post. Although some were truly offering helpful advice, there were others who undeniably took this to the extreme like the user quoted in my previous post. If you were the OP, you would find comments like that helpful? I certainly would not.
    That being said, I was not trying to dig up old dirt or berate other users by any means, just simply felt that the way some were responding to the OP's question was unnecessary and uncalled for, regardless of what year it is. And since I found a source that might be helpful, I felt compelled to share. Not trying to start a war here, just sympathized with the OP since many of us have been in his/her shoes with similar questions.
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    If a nurse is fearful that he/she might have to participate in something like abortion it is wise for that nurse to avoid specialties where abortion might be a consideration. END OF PROBLEM.

    Don't make your religious sensibilities a problem for your employer or your patients.
    caroladybelle, LadyFree28, and KelRN215 like this.
  6. 7
    Quote from AZnurse_2B
    I wish it was as simple as this. Part of the new healthcare plan includes mandates that all hospitals (even those that are Catholic) perform so many abortions each year ........
    I'm not an expert, but I get the feeling this thread was started just to spread some propaganda about and against the ACA. Did this section of the law specify if we are going to have to endure forced bussing of pro choice pregnant women to centers that are not up to quota, or are we just going to hold a lottery and pick names from the perinatal unit to be selected for the mandatory abortions?.
    caliotter3, caroladybelle, KelRN215, and 4 others like this.
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    Women have the right in this country to choose what they would like to do with their bodies. I am not of the thought process that many women take this decision lightly. There are just as many women who desperately want to have children, however, because of any number of reasons have to make a choice that can be heartbreaking. There are women who spontaneously abort, and this is something that can not be prevented. The religious right in this country have morality problems with that as well. No woman, for whatever reason, by choice or by chance needs to be subjected to the horror of entering clinics that are heavily picketed by people who believe themselves to be morally superior. Nor does a women need to be cared for by a medical professional who is of this line of thinking--IF said medical professional can not seperate one's self with one's professional self. Therefore, yes, give a choice on patients one would choose not to care for, as the patient would be better for it.

    It is a highly personal choice. It is sometimes not a choice, but having to deal with what one's own body has rejected. And that is an awful situation to be in for a patient. "Assisting in abortions" is not a character defect on anyone. It is not a moral decomposition. It is beyond sad that we have come to a place where medical procedures are trumped by superiority complexes.
    Heathermaizey, morte, LadyFree28, and 2 others like this.
  8. 4
    Here's my two cents, just because I can.

    I believe it is a persons choice what they decide to do with their body, whether it be plastic surgery, tattoos, eating crappy foods and getting diabetes, smoking themselves to copd, or even abortion. Each act has lasting effects, some worse than others.

    I am pro choice and I'm ok with saying that. But in saying that, I don't think I could ever have an abortion unless there were circumstances where it would lead to the death of myself or the little nugget in my uterus.

    That being said...to refuse to care for someone is unethical. Now before anyone has an attack..it's ok to choose not to take part in the abortion itself. But to refuse care to someone pre or post to me is just wrong. That's like refusing to take care of someone because they have aids...it's just not right.

    If someone were to feel that strongly about caring for someone getting an abortion, work in a different area because those patients deserve compassion. You don't know their reasons or how it's effecting them.

    I guess I'm pro patient more than anything. I don't mean to offend anyone and I'm not attacking anyone, but while you can pick your specialty in nursing you cannot pick your patients. And as another poster mentioned, how do you know that you've never cared for a patient who has had an abortion? Or that some of your coworkers haven't? I don't know, everyone has opinions but nursing shouldn't be about judging anything other than the condition of your patient and how to treat.
    Kaley1, Heathermaizey, LadyFree28, and 1 other like this.
  9. 4
    NO! Nurses are NOT forced to assist abortions.
    Federal law prohibits forcing nurses or others to participate in abortion or sterilization.
    U.S. code states:
    ... prohibition of public officials and public authorities from imposition of certain requirements contrary to religious beliefs or moral convictions
    No law authorizes a court or individual] 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…

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/42...0---a007-.html
    Hospitals have repeatedly lost lawsuits regarding this. - http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/fir...t-in-abortion/

    No requirement that hospitals perform abortions.
    --http://www.healthcare.gov/law/full/
    Last edit by Esme12 on Apr 1 : Reason: formatting
  10. 0
    I've never heard of this happening myself.

    Just don't take a job for abortion-providing women's clinics or in the ORs of surgery centers or hospitals that do them. Also if you have objections to emergency contraception (for the chance that it can prevent the implantation of a newly existing zygote), don't plan on working in the ED where you'll be expected to administer it to rape victims.

    Even if the hospital does them, unless you're in a unit that would be doing them--basically the OR--you won't have to make the choice in the first place.

    ETA: I haven't read through all the replies, just scanned some. But the OP wasn't asking if she can refuse to take care of someone who's had an abortion, she was asking if RNs can refuse to assist with the procedure. That's an honest question.
    Last edit by Here.I.Stand on Apr 9


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