Down the Slope to Infanticide

Nurses At Foothills Hospital Rebel Over The Horrifying Results Of Late-Term ‘Genetic Terminations’

Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Marnie Ko

Genetic terminations unquestionably constitute murder in the minds of the Foothills nurses who contacted this magazine after hospital administrators demanded they assist with abortions. The nurses are backed by a February 26 administrative memo obtained by this  magazine which states that for Maternity Care Centre (MCC) staff, “not participating in terminations is not an option.”

At Calgary’s Foothills Hospital some premature infants are born alive, then routinely allowed to die. For instance, last  August a doctor told a mother-to-be that her baby suffered from lethal genetic defects. The mother was persuaded to undergo a “genetic
termination,” and a regularly used procedure called an induction abortion was performed only five weeks before the baby was due. Chemically induced labour was followed by a live birth. But because the mother had decided her child should not live, nurses were forbidden to provide even such basics as food and fluids. [Full text]

Nurses Triumphant! Human Rights Case Ends in Settlement

After a difficult five year struggle, eight Ontario health care professionals win the right to choose.

Markham-Stoufville, Ontario, Canada

Sue Careless*

Staff with religious objections will not be required to provide primary nursing care to a patient admitted for an abortion, but could be required to provide post-abortion nursing care. They would not, however, have to in any way participate “in the administration, monitoring or documenting of the pregnancy termination process.”

They did it!

After a five year battle, eight Ontario nurses won the right to refuse to assist in abortions at the Markham-Stoufville Hospital, just outside Toronto. The nurses had taken their fight to the Ontario Human Rights Commission, and one nurse, Ailene George, had filed a civil suit.

They hope their victory will be precedent-setting. “I want all nurses in the future to have the right to say, “No,” said Joanne Van Halteren, one of the eight. “This will have a ripple effect.”

The case was to be heard by the OHRC, but the sides reached a mediated settlement April 13 in which the hospital issued a policy respecting the nurses’ religious objections to performing abortions.

. . . The nurses’ battle took its toll. One nurse, Ann Mahon, died of cancer in May 1998. Others suffered stress-related illnesses. Una Clennon had a lump removed from her breast that her doctor believed was brought on by stress. [Full text]

 

Personal Qualms Don’t Count

Foothills Hospital Now Forces Nurses To Participate In Genetic Terminations

Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 Marnie Ko

 “The present mood is…chaotic, helpless, frustrated and highly emotional,” Sally wrote. In the past weeks, I have witnessed tears, breakdowns, illnesses, and stress such as never before…Sick calls have been high and experienced staff nearly impossible to recruit.”

 

Though the tiny infant had been condemned to die, distraught nurses at Calgary’s Foothills Hospital spent hours last August caring for it anyway.

“The mother didn’t want the baby, so we took turns rocking and holding it for 12 hours until it finally died,” says Foothills nurse “Catherine,” whose real name has been withheld to protect her job. “Nurses were only allowed to comfort the suffering infant, but this did not even include feedings.”

The rejected baby’s fate was sealed when it survived a “genetic termination,” an abortion performed only five weeks before the mother’s due date. Doctors had told her that her baby had lethal genetic defects. But Catherine could see only a baby. “I was sick for weeks,” she says. [Full text]

Hospital Restricts Nurses’ Freedom of Conscience

Markham-Stoufville, Ontario, Canada

David Dooley

If the province can spend millions of dollars setting up abortion clinics, Stephens said, it can well afford to hire nurses prepared to take part in abortions, rather than forcing others to go against their consciences. . . . And if hospitals pride themselves on being responsive to the community, this one should make plain how the recent decision was made and why the nurses are under such compulsion.

In a column in the May issue of Thornhill Month, John Stephens asked, “Must it be a matter of either job or conscience?” Until now, he wrote, the Birthplace Unit at the Markham-Stoufville Hospital has been used as the name implies. Now, nurses in the unit who abhor abortions are being told either to assist at these procedures or accept transfer to another department. “For nurses who have developed great skill at the birthing process,” Stephens pointed out, “this means giving up the job they love, and losing the opportunity to practise their expertise. In other circles, this would be called wrongful dismissal.” [Full text]

Sweeney Defends Firings

Transition house workers fired, denied benefits for ‘misconduct’

North Bay, Ontario, Canada

Frank M. Kennedy

The implication of the Minister’s defence is clear. Government-funded  “independent” social agencies, such as homes for battered women, may freely adopt a pro-abortion policy and then dismiss pro-life employees.

The Honourable John Sweeney, Ontario Minister of Community and Social Services, recently defended the dismissal of three pro-life staff workers at the Nipissing Transition House, a home for battered women in North Bay, for refusing to go along with the pro-abortion policy of the board.

Employees fired

Lorainne Carbonneau, married and the mother of three children, was fired on December 23 of last year [after] five years as a full time worker and, at one time, the assistant co-ordinator. She was fired because she would not counsel women for abortions or refer them to any pro-abortion counsellor working at the Nipissing Transition House.

One week later, two others were let go. Carol Baillargeon, a child care worker, and Rae desBlois, a household manager, were both fired over the phone one week after Christmas, also because of their refusal to refer for abortions. There was no other criticism of their employment records. [Full Text]