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Life is precious to me. Choosing a pro-life stance has been an important, yet costly, decision. Through my story, I hope that nurses and other health care professionals will get a sense of what they might expect if they verbalize an anti-abortion position in secular hospitals that demand political correctness.

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Psalm 139:15-16 (TEV) says, "When my bones were being formed, carefully put together in my mother's womb, when I was growing there in secret, you knew that I was there-you saw me before I was born. The days allotted to me had all been recorded in your book, before any of them ever began."


We often cite these verses in defense of pre-born persons. They remind us of God's providence and his promise never to abandon us in times of difficulty and to lead us to the place where he can make the best use of the gifts he has given us. What is required of us is that we are courageous and stand up for his truth.


Recently I accepted a position as an RN at a reputable Midwestern hospital. I had just finished my master's degree in Christian counseling, and I sought a nursing position that would blend my nursing and counseling education and skills. I believed I had found it in this facility. Around that same time, I also applied for membership in the National Association of Pro-life Nurses (NAPN).


In my new nursing position in psychiatry, not obstetrics, the opportunities to speak out for life came rather quickly and unexpectedly. One morning, a coworker approached me to say that the psychiatrist, the head of our department, was planning to discuss the option of abortion with a patient who had been on antidepressants and pain medication. I expressed my disagreement with this plan.


Shortly afterward, I was in a treatment team meeting when this psychiatrist informed other members of the team that he was going to discuss the option of abortion with this patient, as he feared that the medications she was taking might affect the fetus. He also said he was afraid the patient might try to sue him down the road if she had a deformed baby.


I quietly asked a team member if abortion was necessary. It seemed to me that if the patient was as bad as the doctor suggested, she might miscarry anyway. The team member replied that the patient would more than likely carry the child to term, and the baby probably would be disfigured.


No confrontation occurred with this team member or anyone else in the room. I said no more and went to my office. Crying and shaking, I prayed that the patient would make the right decision and keep her child. She did, and she left treatment, which was a relief to me.


Soon afterward, I was given another chance to speak up for life. I was coleading a chemical dependency group therapy session when my coleader stated that she had left one church for another because of the abortion issue. Believing it was inappropriate professionally and ethically for her to make that statement in this setting, I talked to her privately after the group session ended. I told her she treaded dangerously close to promoting a pro-choice agenda, and that I personally know women who suffered greatly after having an abortion.


She tearfully confessed to me that as a teenager she had been raped and had an abortion. She repeatedly referred to the man who raped her as a monster, adding, "I don't see him as a human being." She had difficulty referring to the fetus as a baby.


Ironically, she said she was afraid that if she had continued the pregnancy, she would have seen the baby's face and wanted to keep her child. I pointed out this contradiction to her and suggested that she had depersonalized her attacker and the baby in an attempt to avoid facing the reality of what had happened to her and to avoid grieving it. She agreed with me. She showed no hostility to me, and she said she was having difficulty in her marriage as a result of what had happened to her in her youth. She said she and her husband were hesitant to become parents.


Several days later, trouble seemed to be starting. At my first employee evaluation, my supervisor said that I seemed to have a religious bias and mentioned my opposition to abortion. She gave me an unsatisfactory in "customer service" because of my bias. She did mention something about a conscience clause, but we didn't pursue this issue any further. Surprised that she was focusing on my anti-abortion stance, I felt numb and confused about what was happening.


She said, "You don't see yourself as others see you."


I responded, "I am really baffled by all of this."


She then said, "And that is what concerns me."


I asked for specific instances, but she provided none. She suggested that I was dissociating. She assigned me the task of interviewing my nursing coworkers to see what they thought of me and to ask for suggestions for self-improvement. I came up with nothing and got only encouraging and supportive comments from them. The supervisor said I should follow up with her every Friday from then on to discuss my "progress."


When we met the following Friday, she said that I had made "improvements," although she was not specific. She then criticized my sense of humor, saying others didn't understand it, and she instructed me to stop knitting my eyebrows, as I came across as "confused" and "judgmental" when I do.


Ultimately, I decided to resign, as I felt certain my supervisor would continue with misdirected criticism stemming from my pro-life position. At this point, I am not pursuing anything legally, unless I strongly suspect that she or that hospital is giving me a bad reference. A career counselor with whom I am consulting said my former supervisor was unethical in her personal attacks and her failure to address my job performance.


I am still left with a few questions: What are the rights of pro-life nurses? How can we recognize harassment and intimidation from supervisors?


I believe it is crucial to network with the pro-life community, which is what I am doing. I have found other nurses who have described similar situations and have listened to how they have handled them. They have offered support by giving me contacts. It is important to know that we are not alone.


We must protect ourselves by knowing our rights. Through NAPN and other pro-life leaders, I have become aware of a conscience clause. A nurse can file this clause when she accepts employment, stating that it is against her conscience to take part in abortion or physician-assisted suicide. The facility is then required to make accommodations for her beliefs. Local pro-life organizations are often helpful in providing us with knowledge of our rights. I have also contacted NAPN's website regarding this issue (


If an evaluation leaves you baffled and confused as mine did and nothing seems to make sense, remember that something other than an objective judgment of your ability to do your job could be going on. Seek the support of family and friends who know you better than your supervisor and coworkers do. Pray. Give thanks and praise to God for your difficulty, and he will powerfully show you the way to go.