Nurses Fight for Freedom

21 out of 30 paediatric nurses resign

Mississauga, Ontario, Canada

Michael Otis

 “The consequences for not meeting these expectations,” warns Bachle, “will be disciplinary action immediately, up to  and including termination.”

Some Toronto area hospitals are forcing nurses to perform abortions. At a press conference called on February 16 by Nurses for Life, spokeswomen Kathleen Winarski and Helen McGee detailed the situation of nurses who face discrimination or loss of employment for refusing to assist with abortions. In a letter released to the press, Margaret Madill, President of Nurses for Life called upon Health Minister Elinor Caplan to “give nurses the assurance that their personal and/or religious beliefs will not be violated by forced participation in the termination of human life.”

Last month the Paediateric and Gynaecology Departments of Mississauga’s Credit Valley Hospital were amalgamated. From now on, therefore, second trimester abortions will be carried out on the pediatric floor itself, by pediatric nurses. . . . [Full text]

 

Supervisor demands nurse assist with abortion

Nurse quits at Shaughnessy Hospital

Sean Murphy*

When Gina Fraser applied to work in the operating room at Shaughnessy Hospital in Vancouver in 1983, she made it clear that she was unwilling to assist with abortions.  The supervisor told her that other nurses were willling to do so, and she would be accommodated.  For the next four years she worked in the operating room under the terms of this unwritten agreement. . . [Full Text]

 

“Insubordination” : Worker fired for refusing payment for illegal abortion

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Sean Murphy *

Introduction

Cecilia Moore was a probationary employee of the British Columbia welfare department when a client asked for medical coverage for an abortion. The abortion would have been a criminal offence under the law in force at the time, and was, in the view of the attending physician, not only unnecessary for medical reasons but actually contra-indicated.

Moore refused to approve coverage on the grounds that the client was ineligible under departmental policy. However, her supervisor ordered her to sign authorization for coverage. Moore persisted in her refusal, citing policy, the criminal law and her own conscientious objections to abortion. Although rated as “an excellent worker”, she was dismissed.

Seven years later the BC Council of Human Rights ruled that Moore had been a victim of ‘adverse effect discrimination’ awarding $7,703.80 for compensation in lost wages and $1,000.00 as compensation for “humiliation.”

What follows is a summary of the facts drawn from the reported case and a summary of evidence prepared for the hearing. [Full text]

Nurse Denied Employment, Forced to Resign

A Two Tiered System of Civil Rights

British Columbia, Canada

Sean Murphy*

Bradley, an operating room nurse with 15 years experience, was told that she could keep her position only if she assisted in abortions. As a result, she went to Children’s
Hospital, and eventually left the nursing profession. She has not worked in the health care field since 1984.

Registered Nurse Linda Bradley had been refused employment at four British Columbia hospitals when she applied to work at Richmond General Hospital in 1977. Langley Memorial, Peace Arch Hospital, Delta Hospital and Vancouver General had all denied her employment because she was unwilling to assist in abortions. When asked if she would assist in abortions at Richmond General, she agreed. By that time she was desperate for a job.

Nurse Bradley was involved with abortions at Richmond General for about two years, assisting at about nine abortions monthly. The abortions occupied a total of about four hours of her work each month.

One day, however, she was told to scrub for a hysterotomy of a woman 5 1/2 months pregnant. A hysterotomy is a Caesarean section performed for the sole purpose of killing the child. Reason for the abortion: “multiparity”. The woman had had previous pregnancies. [Full text]