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]

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]

 

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]