How do you handle this after working in a abortion clinic

Specialties Ob/Gyn


Greetings and Salutations All Nurses,

I am having one of those delmias where I am sort of offended for being a Pro_Choice supporter and a former nurse at a free standing Womens Center (Abortion Clinic). I am not posting this there, to hear why it is wrong or right. I do not want open that can of eggs!

I was just talking (in the chat room) and the subject went to abortion from oral birth control pills. I am very open and told them I had some experience in that area, the Nurse I was talking to got offended that my greatest desire is to catch babies and I am Pro-Choice. They would not drop the subject when I said we had a difference of opinion and I asked them to talk about something else. This was after we had chatted for hours previously! I even said I like you, lets not go there!

They said I contraindicated myself as a supporter of natural childbirth and I was basically a hippocrate. I was offended and had some thoughts about what they just said and wanted to tell them so. Since they basically said there piece and left (rudely) I thought I could ask you how to handle this if we ever meet again or if someone else dumps on me about working in a abortion clinic.

I had wanted to say that I support Pro-Choice and all Womens Rights. This includes the right to birth in the enviroment she desires and all that entails. I think you can not support one right and not others! I also wanted to say that I do not think it is right to have it on demand for a means of contraception, but as a last resort. But in order to keep the right I must support the right to have it on demand, or it will be regulated to the piont of no return and fade away as a right!

But my post here is not about the right or when it is correct but how to say "YES, I have worked in an abortion clinic" and not have to defend my actions or be embarrassed about saying that I have that experience. I am still a member of the ARHP (the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals) their URL is

Why should I feel the need to hide my past or such? How do you as a nurse promoting birthing options and rights of the mother deal with these type of people? I would really like to hear from Nurses who have or do work in abortion clinics to help me answer this for future reference and to help ease my mind a little! Oh by the way I am a male and I need to show all my experience on a resume where I have worked with female specific clients, as this is the area I want to work in as my carreer goal! I know that this work HX has cost me some employment oppurtunities, also! During interviews it always comes up!

Here is how I worded it in my resume and it is factual, no hype:

Participated as a member of a multidiscipline team providing holistic gynecological and abortion

services. The position was as an admitting nurse and post operatively in the PACU, and as the

discharge nurse. Duties included maintaining a safe environment for the client throughout

the stay of the client. Responsibilities where to assess and document vital signs, provide client

education, emotional support, and administer medications per protocols. Post operatively assessed and documented client’s responses to the surgical procedures; vital signs, lady partsl

discharge and fluid loss, pain level, their emotional status and provided additional client education. Prior to the release of the client, counter signed for prescriptions of oral contraceptives

and dispensed samples per the physician’s and NWC.’s protocols. This was a part-time position.

I did not say in the resume that we also did paps, STD/HIV testing/education, abortion alternative counseling/referral, or post abortion counseling. At the time I was not preforming those services in my position. Since then I have become certified as a HIV/AIDS Education Instructor in two different courses through the American Red Cross!


Those who want to debate the issue of abortion need not reply!


[ May 01, 2001: Message edited by: jamistlc ]

While I haven't worked specifically in an AB clinic, I usually just say that I have worked in many different areas of women's health and consider it a priveledge to assist women in all stages of their reproductive lives. I am very pro-choice, but I don't usually mention that unless asked.

Greetings All Nurses,

Happy Nurses Day! Thank you for responding to my question! I trry to avoid talking about it also during the interview, also but it seems to be like a blazing red flag with interviewers! I to have assisted a 11 year old incest victim, so sad. Her father who brought to the clinic knew her menses better than she did and she would not talk about the father of the "product of conception". We had are suspensions but our hands were tied becuase she did not out right say who the father was. I would say I am grateful for the experience but it has presented problems during the interview. I once had a nurse Recruiter say to me lets not mention this to anyone else, after she hired me! Yea, like I would bring it up in everyday conversation. I am not stupid is all I can think, when she said that. It is to contriversal, like talking about someones religion from a judgemental POV. It is not me! And it is not polite conversation. I am more of a laid back persona than to do that! I support my POV in more democratic ways like writing my Representatives to keep our rights and freedoms! I am not a Oracle or debater!

Have a Blessed Day,



[ May 07, 2001: Message edited by: jamistlc ]

I like the above response. I worked 12 years on a Mother/Infant unit, prior to that I assisted with second trimester abortions at a midwestern hospital. My youngest patient was an 11 year old incest victim. I make no apologies and feel no shame, it was some of the most rewarding nursing that I have ever done in my life. I support women in there reproductive choices, what ever they might be. I won't work for an organization that does not respect and support that. Good luck to you! I know this a difficult and touchy topic.

Originally posted by mom22:

While I haven't worked specifically in an AB clinic, I usually just say that I have worked in many different areas of women's health and consider it a priveledge to assist women in all stages of their reproductive lives. I am very pro-choice, but I don't usually mention that unless asked.

Thank you, sounds like a way to say I want to assist women in all aspets of their reproductive care and say I support women in any way possible for their freedom of choice and to provide holitic care. Sounds like a good idea, but as anyone who knows what I was saying it is difficult to say. This is due to the fact if they have an issue with it they will continue to poke and probe.


Jami :)

Fascinating topic.

I also am pro-choice but I keep a low profile about it and not because I am embarassed about it but more so because it took me a long time to come to this conclusion. It is not a simple issue and I have never been able to completely articulate my position with someone whose main desire was to "convert" me. It never ceases to amaze me that the black and white thinking that occurs that fails to understand that pro-choice means pro-choice and that nothing is a happier event than a person who is pregnant and wants to be pregnant. I formerly worked in a Title X Family Planning clinic and we provided contraception to minors. We were told that many folks regard us synonomously with abortion. For a time, under the Reagan admin we were gagged from doing choice counseling (and that horrified me, that the government would place itself in my consulting room). I imagine that will return with Mr. B in the driver's seat.

Anyhow, I agree with Feistynurse. I keep it simple and descriptive and my resume says that I provided services in a Title X Family Planning Clinic, which is pretty cryptic to all but those in public health. I would never allow _my beliefs_ to become the topic of discussion in a job interview, but I would be willing to talk about what I am comfortable with. I am/would be comfortable in taking care of post-AB patients, doing choice counseling and accepting and respecting patients' choices, naturally including taking a pregnancy to term if the baby was severly disabled, without a father or being born to a drug addicted mother [or not]. That latter is the concern of someone who hires me; the former (my beliefs) is not. With people that catch me by surprise, like the on-line chat people, I keep it succinct and move on just like you did. The topic, as you know evokes a tremdendous amount of adrenalin and people (on both "sides") don't hear or think well with that much adrenalin in their system, so there isn't much you can do except to hear them out and move on gracefully. But, like you, I find the strength of emotion generated is always unsettling.

Frankly, jamistic, I would be comforted to have a health care professional who, if I had an ominous sono or AFP or genetic studies, would sit down with me and say, "What do you see as your options?" and then hear me out and not tell me what the good or moral option is and but help me work through my grief and my decisions.

Our unit (500 deliveries a month) has all viewpoints from militant pro-life to 'it's not my decision,,,I'm just taking care of the patient" to militant pro-choice L&D nurses...

Conversations sometimes get heated, but we all respect each other enough to allow for opinions without trying to 'convert' everyone to our own viewpoint! (Yes, I DO work with a great staff of peers!)

Our "sister-unit" the NICU has more ProChoice nurses than ProLife they have to work with many of the deformed or debilitated children that suffer so during their brief lifetimes.

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