Can you be pro-life and an OB/GYN nurse at the same time?

  1. I think the subject line sums it up...


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  2. 56 Comments

  3. by   mark_LD_RN
    I believe you can.I am pro life and am an OB/GYNnurse. I have never had a real problem with it. I just do not apply for jobs at places like planned parenthood etc. I also do not participate in abortions of viable babies. but have cared for ones after and do not believe that that compromises my beliefs in any way.
  4. by   imenid37
    i'd identify myself as pro-life in that i am anti-abortion on demand. i am not anti-birth control. I would not work at a place which required that i participate in abortions and have had no problems finding a job. i used to work in a Catholic hospital and i now work in a small non-sectarian level one facility where abortions are NOT done. i do feel that the abortion pts do not belong in l/d. there are a lot of nurses who do not want to care for them and do not tx them as kindly as they should. i worked in a facility briefly where ab's were done in l/d. like mark, i did not participate but did not feel emotionally "there" for the pt's i cared for post-ab. some of my co-workers were plain mean to these women.
  5. by   KarenAR
    That is my feeling on it. However, in my school program there is a definite sentiment among several instructors/lecturers that it's really not acceptable to NOT be pro-choice. And I wondered if that is the general sentiment on OB/GYN/L&D floors.

    A nurse who guest lectured in one of my classes said that at her hospital you cannot refuse to participate in an abortion ... that the topic is covered in job interviews and if you have a problem with it you are basically told you should not be working in (or are not really welcome in) their women's and children's area.

    (Side note: Is that even legal? I thought nurses had the right to refuse to take part in something like this if they are morally opposed...)

    I am perfectly happy to take care of patients before and after. I just don't want to be forced to take part in the actual procedure, and I don't want to be "blackballed" because of my beliefs.

    Thanks for your note...I look forward to reading other people's thoughts!
  6. by   KarenAR
    My "that's my feeling on it" was referring to Mark's post...just for clarification...

    But I feel pretty much the same as you too, imenid37. And I don't ever want to pass judgment or be "mean" like the nurses you mentioned. Unfortunately, those mean/judgemental nurses are the ones who give the rest of us who are "pro-life" a bad rep.

    It's just so weird to me that the same nurses who feel called to help bring babies into the world are also asked to "take them out," so to speak. I agree that abortion patients should not be in L&D, for a variety of reasons...including, what if the patient really didn't want the abortion but for whatever reason ended up having one - what kind of psychological torture must that be to be on the L&D floor surrounded by new moms and babies???

    I guess I'm just struggling with this, as a student who's trying to figure it out...I feel the calling but it doesn't include helping with abortions...
  7. by   bagladyrn
    Yes I believe a "prolife" (anti abortion) nurse can work sucessfully in OB, just as I believe that I, as a pro-choice nurse who has participated in every phase of care of a woman undergoing an abortion can also have a place in "helping bring babies into the world". In both cases the important issue is supporting the patient's choice as an independent adult to make her own decisions and not to pass judgement or inflict our own moral values on her. I feel that birth, termination, care of gyn pts. are all aspects of the care in my chosen area.
    I feel it is equally important that we support each other as nurses in the right to form our own moral values and do not attempt to "convert" one another to our way of thinking. or to make someone feel less than moral because our ethical decisions are not identical. For example, I have gone in on my days off to "special" an abortion patient when the nurses on duty did not feel comfortable with this. I consider this to be supportive of both the patient and my co-workers.
    You should not be required to participate in these procedures, but only you can decide whether you will feel comfortable working in a facility where abortions are performed.
  8. by   mark_LD_RN
    karenAR the problem is that most instructors tend to be liberal, even at the private baptist program i went to. I remember one instructor in particular (my peds instructor and community health) that felt the need to indoctrinate all students to her thinking. me and her clashed heads more than once Iused to pick prolife topics to write on just to get under her skin. i eventually had to report her to the dean to stop her obsesive behavior.
  9. by   L&D.RN
    I worried about the same thing before I got my first job. It wasn't talked about all that much at school, and when I interviewed it wasn't mentioned, but the director said that I would "help cover the acute side" which is women's surgeries. I guess I thought about it after I went home because I'm pro-life, and I didn't know a great way to call back and ask, and to me it was important enough that I wouldn't have taken the job if I was expected to help. I believe, as several others have mentioned, I wouldn't want to participate in the procedure, but I would have no problem caring for the patient otherwise. I finally worked up the nerve to ask a nurse from there...she felt as I do, and no, they don't do abortions there. Whew.

    Most, if not all of the L&D nurses that I work with now are pro-life, and it was the same at my last hospital. You'll be fine!
  10. by   SmilingBluEyes
    I guess we have options.....We can pick and choose where we work. At One of the places I work (Catholic hospital) abortions are not performed. (I am PRO CHOICE by the way, just to make things clear). But I believe you can uphold your standards and still practice OB/GYN nursing. ALL the surgeries are gynecological, including hysts, bladder repairs, etc, not AB's, where I work. I have never seen an AB come through in the NON Catholic hospital I work, either. I know in tertiary hospitals, there are terminations due to poor prenatal outcomes and such. I just have never worked at one. I am not saying I personally would not, but it is a choice I can make either way.

    This is what I believe: You don't have to APPROVE the choices people make (like doing drugs while pregnant) but can refrain from making judgements that affect the care you provide. Besides abortion, are there not a HOST Of things that our patients/client can do that are offensive to our sensibilities or against our religious practices and beliefs? I know I have seen it. It is indeed challenging. But I do NOT let it affect my judgement and how I care for them. I think you need to separate this. You care for the PERSON not the DEEDS they do. Anyhow that is what I believe; I will refrain from a prolife-v-prochoice fight here...always have.
    Last edit by SmilingBluEyes on Oct 31, '02
  11. by   L&D.RN
    I agree with you on that! Their choices are just that, their choices, and I would not treat my patients any differently in the care that I give them regardless of their choices. I won't participate in the actual abortion procedure itself, just as I wouldn't participate in the host of other stuff, such as "doing drugs" that you mentioned either. I have cared for many addicted mothers and treated them with respect as well.
  12. by   KarenAR
    Thank you all. I think your thoughts were just what I needed to hear. I just needed to know that I would not necessarily have to choose between my beliefs and what I think may be my calling.

    I absolutely do want to care for all the patients no matter their choices or circumstances, and I totally agree with you about caring for the person and not the deeds. I just don't want to get into a situation where I'm forced to participate in the actual procedure, or where I'm an outcast among my peers because I don't tow the same party line.

    So it is good to hear all of your feedback. Thanks again!

  13. by   RNMom1969
    Absolutely! You can be pro-life, as I am, and work as an OB nurse. I have no difficulty explaining my stand on the issue to fellow co-workers as well. At my hospital, there are occasionally terminations done between 18-22 weeks. These are ONLY extreme cases.......anecephalic, trisomy 18 etc. To be involved with the "induction" is purely voluntary. We DO have the right to refuse. In these cases, these patients need as much support and help as they can get. I know it's not an easy decision for them to make. I also know I cannot give them what they need.....I just can't do it. So, I opt to stay off the "team". There are many wonderful nurses who ARE able to give more of themselves than I am able to....
    Joyce
    PS we do not do "routine" abortions........least not in L&D
  14. by   rdhdnrs
    Said it before, I'll say it again. It's not my job to moralize. It's my job to take care of pts who have already made their decisions. I think you have a right to refuse to take part in ETOP. I am not for abortion for convenience, only for lethal anomalies or for malignant maternal conditions.

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