New Jersey Nurses Fight Against “Assisting” In Abortions

For the twelve nurses filing a lawsuit against the University of Medicine and Dentistry in New Jersey, the issue is cut and dried. The hospital’s same day surgery center is forcing them to participate in assisting with abortions, against their moral objections and despite a federal law stating that they can opt out because of the conscience clause.

But the hospital says it is following federal guidelines, no one is being forced to assist with the procedure and that they aren’t breaking any laws.

Who’s right? It depends how you define “assist.”

Two nurses explain their objections, and the words that they use make all of the difference in the world. One states, “We come from different backgrounds but we all have the same conviction that we do not want to help in the killing that happens in abortion.

But another says, “No nurse should be forced to violate her religious or moral beliefs in order to keep her job. Nursing is a healing profession, and the law protects our right not to provide any services related to abortion.

Any service. It’s a very, very broad term. For most people, the idea of “assisting” in an abortion would be giving the patient the drugs that would induce the birth, inserting the speculum, opening the cervix, using whatever tools are involved in the type of abortion the woman is undergoing.

But for the nurses in question, assistance goes beyond that. It would include getting her a hospital gown. Taking her blood pressure. Entering her pre-op information. Even any sort of monitoring after the abortion was over. The nurses are arguing that if the patient is there for an abortion, they should be allowed to refuse any contact with her, for any reason.

Is this really “not being complicit in abortion?” Or is this about shunning and shaming women they consider to be guilty of making the wrong choice in their pregnancy? Nurses are obligated to “heal, not help kill” as one nurse stated, but is it also their right to punish, too?

Where exactly are the limits of the conscience clause? The definition of “assist” is becoming so broad as to encompass any action a person wants to take against a woman obtaining, or even just suspected of obtaining an abortion. As we learned from the bus driver who refused to take a customer to Planned Parenthood or the pharmacist who denied drugs to stop a woman’s bleeding, the conscience clause can be used to allow nearly any worker to deny services of any type to a woman they believe is getting an abortion.

Will we hear next that admin staff refused to file paperwork for an insurance claim (for the rare insurers that still cover the procedure), or the orderly refused to prep a bed? Maybe the gift shop clerk will get to deny her purchase of a bag of gummy bears on the way out of the building? Under these rules, all of these situations, as ridiculous as they sound, could officially be covered.

Photo credit: wikimedia commons


ERIKA S1 years ago


Danield A.
Danield A5 years ago

I would like for them to comment on what they would do if a woman in pre-labor was dying, and the only way to save her would be an immediate abortion. Would they get a gown to prep the woman? Would they help with any prep? Would they help with the abortion itself? Would they help the woman at all? I do not wish to have a help system, in which each person bases treatment on what their beliefs are. Medicine is an art/science, and individual religious beliefs should not be part of the practitioner's Rx. The patient's needs are of prime importance. Should an Orthodox Jewish Nurse withhold breakfast from a patient because there is ham or bacon on the plate? Should a very devout Catholic withhold a meat dish on Friday? What about a devout born-again right wing anti-LGBT nurse. Should he/she refuse to treat a going-to-hell gay or lesbian person? This is a slippery road to disaster. If you are a professional, you do what the patient needs or has come to you for. You don't preach!

Ralph Henderson
Ralph Henderson5 years ago

This is getting plain sad.
If their religion shows they should shun those they consider to have "sinned", I'd like to see it.
Most religions teach love for all, even those you would consider "enemies". Is this love? Is this the "Do unto others..." they were taught?
And when Jesus says "I was sick and in prison and you did not visit me", will they answer it was not Him, just some worthless sinner? Will they say that to the One who sat with the prostitutes and tax-collectors and said "those who are whole do not need a doctor, but those who are sick"?
I think some people are going to get a real surprise when they find out who they are really serving in their "religion".

Shan D.
Shan D5 years ago

Ron and Carol, this is not a personal chat room. Why don't you two exchange email addresses so the rest of us can discuss the actual topic at hand?

Nimue Pendragon

They are obviously in the wrong profession. Nursing is about helping people, not judging them.

Carol M.
Carol m5 years ago

Hi Ron, sorry your other knee will also need replacement. But your doing good with the fitness program , keep it up... I haven`t been on the computer very much, been busy . Larry had back surgery and running to the dr. Your not kidding with the topics of discussion with this election, all a bunch of poppy cock , they say whatever they think will win votes. It is really crazy this Gov`t we have here. Sure will look at " Life site News .com" thanks. the weather here in Tn. has been beautiful , I love it warm. How cold does it get there in NZ? My bird sanctuary is wonderful , your right they are like pets. The swans eat out of my hand, and the ducks and all.. all around me . I love it! I am very blessed. friends tell me to advertize the sanctuary . I am afraid with all the crazy people in the world. I have learned so much from the water fowl just by watching their antics. WOW the Rena broke in two. It sure caused caused a lot of damage and will continue to do so, Hu? Keep up your spirit , and get that knee in shape , So nice hearing from you Ron, God bless you to.

Michael Bristow
Michael Bristow5 years ago

So this is becoming ridiculous. What's next the food service people will decide not to feed them. What if being Muslim is against my religious convictions, do I get to not do "my job" and care for them, or if a gay person comes in, or for that matter a right-wing bigot...which I strongly disagree with, do I get not to treat them because in doing so allows them to continue advocating things that I find moral objectionable? I can accept not forcing someone to physically care out the procedure, but all care prior to and afterwords should not be able to be refused. If you are just handing out the pills, then do your job and hand them out. In most states it's considered murder if the Dr actually pushes the plunger, but it's not if they set it up and the patient is the one to push it themselves. Unless the pharmacist is actually injecting/placing the pills in the patients mouth, then they need to do their job and handout out the prescribed medicine as the doctor directed!

Carol M.
Carol m5 years ago

Hey Ron, what `s ya up these days? ..... Carol

Heidi B.
Heidi B5 years ago

I think they should be fired. I would fire them if they were my employees. Abortion is a legal medical procedure. If they can't accept another woman's decision and do their jobs, they need different jobs.

Carol Mac
Carol m6 years ago

Rebecca , thanks for your comment , I am glad these nurses are doing the job that they are committed to, SAVING lives.