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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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82 Responses

  1. Kyra
    Kyra December 15, 2009 at 2:47 pm |

    It is a privilege to have life hand you only what you’re comfortable with. It is an obscene privilege to expect someone to risk death so you can stay comfortable.

    Health care is full of complicated situations with high stakes for mishandling them, simply because one deals with the human body in all its inconvenient and complex glory, which includes pregnancy and includes abortion, and how one manages to get through a nursing program thinking pregnancy never goes wrong . . . health care, police work, firefighting, any sort of emergency service, your personal comfort is not the priority.

    If this woman had died due to the nurse’s refusal to assist, her family would have sued the nurse for negligent homicide, and rightly so.

    Yes, the hospital should have tried to find someone who wasn’t morally opposed. Hopefully they DID. Hopefully they continued looking/calling during the procedure so that somebody could’ve, if available, relieved her. But thing is? There would have been an unopposed nurse right there and available—if they hadn’t hired this one instead.

  2. Another Laurie
    Another Laurie December 15, 2009 at 2:53 pm |

    The quibbling over whether the abortion was “really” a necessary life-saving procedure and whether it really needed to be performed immediately SCARES me.

    It scares me that the doctors running around trying to save my life have to now worry about whether the procedure is really dire enough to satisfy some nurse who doesn’t value my life or my health at all compared to the almighty fetus.

  3. Erica A
    Erica A December 15, 2009 at 3:00 pm |

    Spot on.

  4. benvolio
    benvolio December 15, 2009 at 3:07 pm |

    I don’t know if I can ever agree to conscience clauses for medical practitioners of any kind. These are positions that require state licensing, and the state can and should require that all licensees put their patients’ needs ahead of whatever personal qualms they have. If that’s impossible for you as an individual practitioner because of your personal beliefs, then you are free to seek another line of work.

    Doing a survey among your staff to see who’s up for assisting in an emergency TOP appalls me to my very core. If you’re licensed to give care, then you give care. Period.

    Why are you an ER nurse if these kinds of things offend you?!? (And as an aside: Who’s hiring ER nurses who have these kinds of self-inflicted restrictions?)

    If I were heading up any state’s licensing board, and this kind of thing crossed my desk, I’d start yanking licences like nobody’s business. You’re a caregiver to all the patients of the state, not just the ones who share your beliefs.

    And it never is some dude whose medical care is compromised by anybody’s belief, I hasten to notice.

    Grrrr. A hot button for me.

  5. Manju
    Manju December 15, 2009 at 3:14 pm |

    its hard to believe they couldn’t just get another nurse.

  6. FashionablyEvil
    FashionablyEvil December 15, 2009 at 3:18 pm |

    Matt Bowman, legal counsel for the ADF, explained that the hospital could not legally have required the nurse to participate in the abortion even if the case had been a “Category I,” meaning that the patient required “immediate surgical intervention for life or limb threatening conditions.”

    I, um, WOW.

  7. micheyd
    micheyd December 15, 2009 at 3:19 pm |

    I take a pretty hard line on this as well. If you have moral objections to providing certain types of care that are likely to be required to perform in an emergency, you shouldn’t be in the line of work you’re in. Full stop. Bake cakes, or something that makes you happy with no complicated moral issues. Of course, we know a lot of these “conscience” people purposely get into healthcare to obstruct reproductive care, so there’s that.

  8. micheyd
    micheyd December 15, 2009 at 3:20 pm |

    “that you are likely to be required to perform”, that is.

  9. sherrold
    sherrold December 15, 2009 at 3:21 pm |

    ARGH! Yeah, nurses with objections shouldn’t be asked to do *elective* abortions — but how can anyone, Catholic, or whatever, object to doing a surgery to SAVE SOMEONES LIFE!

    I don’t even think the Catholic church insist that the mother dies in that case, do they?

  10. Robin Abrahams
    Robin Abrahams December 15, 2009 at 3:23 pm |

    Just FYI, leaving someone to bleed out on the Sabbath would get you kicked out of Jewdom faster than Caster. We have a law called “piku’ah nefesh,” which roughly translates as “This sh*t isn’t supposed to kill folks, yo.” You can break just about ANY law if another life is at stake.

  11. Ursula L
    Ursula L December 15, 2009 at 3:28 pm |

    Second, a nurse is an employee and not a business owner. She has rights, but those rights are constrained by the requirements of her job.

    I have a problem with the employee/business owner distinction in these cases – the business owner being allowed to refuse to carry something like Plan B, but the employee not being allowed to refuse to dispense it.

    Owning a business shouldn’t give one the right to deny others their rights.

    What would have happened if the ambulance had taken this woman to a Catholic hospital, which won’t perform abortions, rather than the one she was lucky enough to get to? (This isn’t an abstract question, many communities are served partially or primarily by religious hospitals, and not everyone who is having a medical emergency is able to insist that they be taken to a more distant full-service hospital.)

    The nurse shouldn’t have the right to refuse to provide medical care – but the employer-hospital shouldn’t have that right, either.

    Providing abortion services should be mandatory for ob/gyn licensing and for emergency licensing. On both the individual and the institutional level.

  12. Mighty Ponygirl
    Mighty Ponygirl December 15, 2009 at 3:36 pm |

    Again and again, we keep hearing about these cases, and the comments section (again and again) includes a common-sense approach surrounding “don’t take a line of work you can’t perform.”

    What we’re failing to see is that we’re arguing from the POV that all of these people are getting into jobs that they would do but for the moral qualms, when in fact these people are taking the jobs because of the moral qualms.

    Make no mistake about it: far-right churches are urging/assisting their un- and under-employed congregants to complete schooling for medical degrees (including pharmacists, medical assistants, and even RNs) for the express purpose of “doing the lord’s work” as it pertains to reproductive health. They actively encourage their members to get involved in these incidents.

    It’s the equivalent of laying down in a busy road so that you can sue when you get hit by a car.

    The only solution is to implement strong mandates surrounding government-licensed jobs that guarantee a basic standard of care and prevent individual moral prohibitions from overriding a patient’s ability to seek care.

    If I’m an atheist, I have every right to not shop at a hardware store that has a bunch of religious crap in the window. When I’m being rushed to the hospital in an ambulance, I have significantly less choice available to me to ensure that I will receive the care that I require to ensure my life and health. It’s hard to exercise your consumer rights when you’re unconscious and bleeding.

  13. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan December 15, 2009 at 3:50 pm |

    We have a law called “piku’ah nefesh,” which roughly translates as “This sh*t isn’t supposed to kill folks, yo.”

    I guess when Christianity split off it added a syllable in there before the “folks” part that means “white/rich/male/Christian/not slutty.” What an economical language! :p

  14. Wednesday
    Wednesday December 15, 2009 at 4:02 pm |

    I don’t even think the Catholic church insist that the mother dies in that case, do they?

    I’m not so sure about that. This summer the Pope announced that anyone who assists a woman in getting an abortion for any reason is automatically excommunicated, and that this has always been the situation. (He made this announcement in response to Catholics in Brazil being outraged that a woman was excommunicated for saving her raped, pregnant-with-twins, 9-year-old daughter’s life by getting her an abortion.)

    And some years back, a US Catholic hospital wouldn’t let a doctor remove a dead fetus in their facilities because the mother wasn’t hemorrhaging or septic yet.

  15. Faith from F.N.
    Faith from F.N. December 15, 2009 at 4:08 pm |

    I used to work for the SPCA as a kennel attendant. I took the job knowing full well that the job involved participating in euthanasia. Even though I’m against euthanasia of animals (unless there is truly no other option), I decided to take the job and do my best. When it came time for me to learn to perform euthanasia, I couldn’t bring myself to do it.

    Did I try to sue the SPCA for trying to make me perform a part of my job requirement? No. I just quit the damn job.

    People do not have a right to not perform a part of their job because of ethical objections. They are responsible for either performing the job, or finding a new one.

    Why this is so difficult for some people to understand is beyond me.

  16. Joe
    Joe December 15, 2009 at 4:35 pm |

    Has this lady ever read the end of Mark Chapter 2 or the beginning of Chapter 3? Jesus made it pretty clear that the moral Law (in this instance, the Sabbath) does not allow us to, as it were, play dumb. The nurse in question reminds me of the “false” mother of 1 Kings 3:16-28, who insists with a perverse kind of conviction the necessity of Solomon’s judgement, despite the other woman’s relinquishing of the baby and thereby the whole dispute.

  17. Felicity
    Felicity December 15, 2009 at 4:45 pm |

    I found a news article from July at the Washington Times. It makes clear at the end that they only have the nurse’s side of the story. She claims the woman’s pre-eclampsia wasn’t life-threatening and that other treatments hadn’t been taken. She also claims that “[Mount Sinai] usually schedules abortions on Saturdays, which is the Jewish sabbath.” I don’t really get this. Is she saying the Jewish hospital arranges for Jewish staff not to have to do these dirty, dirty abortions? *scratches head*

    Anyone have links for the churches encouraging people to get into these professions and situations?

  18. Thomas
    Thomas December 15, 2009 at 5:09 pm |

    Any ER nurse who puts a moral objection above the patient’s care is in the wrong career. That’s like a Legal Aid lawyer with an objection to representing drug couriers — they should be immediately fired for failure to perform their duties. Except that little lawyers do it time critical, and most of what ER nurses do is.

    Also, this is one of those areas that make clear that states’ rights is a flag of convenience. Conservatives like Fiano like to say they are for it, until they’re talking about how we here in the Northeast do things — here, we expect people not to take jobs that their religion forbids them from performing. Then, conservatives suddenly find new universal rights.

  19. Mighty Ponygirl
    Mighty Ponygirl December 15, 2009 at 5:18 pm |

    Felicity — I’d read an article about it online a couple of years ago from a reputable news site, and I’ve tried to re-find it but I don’t think my Google-fu is quite powerful enough to find a needle in a haystack of religion and abortion.

  20. chipchop
    chipchop December 15, 2009 at 5:44 pm |

    Kyra, this:
    __
    It is a privilege to have life hand you only what you’re comfortable with. It is an obscene privilege to expect someone to risk death so you can stay comfortable.
    __

    is really wonderfully put, and it’s applicable to so many things. Thank you.

  21. akeeyu
    akeeyu December 15, 2009 at 6:36 pm |

    This nurse really disgusts me.

    Pregnancy and medicine aren’t exact sciences, so when somebody may die within six hours, you don’t say “A-HA, then we have 5 hours and 45 minutes in which to proceed,” you move with all due haste NOW.

    “She claims the woman’s pre-eclampsia wasn’t life-threatening and that other treatments hadn’t been taken.”

    ….aaaaand if she wants to be the one making decisions like that, maybe she should have become a doctor, not a nurse. It is simply not her call.

    I’ve had preeclampsia. It’s not pleasant. It’s frightening. The drugs they give you to keep you from having seizures are incredibly unpleasant. It’s not something you want to continue to inflict on another person on a whim unless you’re…well, a bad person.

  22. Felicity
    Felicity December 15, 2009 at 6:51 pm |

    Mighty Ponygirl — No problem, just curious.

    akeeyu — Oh, I wasn’t defending her. As I understand it, she has to come up with some reason the woman’s life wasn’t in danger or else she can’t invoke the conscience clause? So this is her story, and it’s one that seems to me would only make sense if you believe, as many pro-lifers seem to, that people who perform abortions are just chafing to perform more of them.

  23. Butch Fatale
    Butch Fatale December 15, 2009 at 6:59 pm |

    I think it’s fair to say there are circumstances under which we might like to see someone not fired for refusing to do part of their job. If that part of their job is obeying a superior and the superior’s order may or may not conform to the profession’s ethical standards? Maybe we are comfortable with that person resisting both the order and disciplinary action. If their job is to be in the national guard and they’re called up to a war they believe is illegal, we may expect them to be fired for refusing to go, but we also probably feel okay about their refusal and might not feel okay about the level of discipline they receive. The issue here is that emergency abortion isn’t something a health care provider at a hospital that has emergency services and performs abortions should get to opt out of. I don’t think this can be summarized as “do your job or leave” because while I’m perfectly comfortable saying that here, it’s because of the nature of the thing she doesn’t want to do and the nature of her job, not because it’s a good standard to have across the board.

  24. akeeyu
    akeeyu December 15, 2009 at 7:07 pm |

    Oh, Felicity, I didn’t think *you* were defending her. Not at all.

    I only quoted your paraphrase of her story because I think that her ‘defense’ is a poor one. One of Phil Hartman’s characters once said “Wait, if what you’re saying is true, then I STILL don’t care,” and that’s kind of my take on this nurse’s position.

    No matter how she spins it, she’s still putting her own comfort above a real woman’s life and health.

  25. karak
    karak December 15, 2009 at 9:10 pm |

    It shocks me that a woman’s choice to LIVE after a pregnancy goes terribly wrong is not as important as someone else’s choice to… what? Feel good about themselves? Not do something unpleasant? I don’t even know.

  26. Mike Crichton
    Mike Crichton December 15, 2009 at 9:18 pm |

    Manju : “its hard to believe they couldn’t just get another nurse.

    Right, because hospitals are so overstaffed these days they have abundant nurses just loitering around. This is why there’s never any delay at the ER. Oh, wait… :-P

    Jill: “It’s the same thing with ectopic pregnancies, even though everyone knows there is NO WAY that can ever result in a baby. ”

    Actually, there have been a handful of cases when both mother and child survived. It’s literally a 1-in-a-million chance, but that’s enough for some idiots religionists.

  27. Wednesday
    Wednesday December 15, 2009 at 9:21 pm |

    I was trying to find out more about the lawsuit (and if there was any reason the blogger linked “Stop the ACLU” – that is, if the ACLU was involved in the case.)

    I haven’t found out more about the case, but at least one “Pro-Life” website went so far to erase the danger to the mother’s life and simply call it a scheduled late-term abortion.

    And the more I think about it, I’m kind of horrified that Cassy Fiano’s “first thought” is not “how horrible and tragic for the pregnant woman, losing what was probably a wanted fetal child” but “whaaa the hospital was MEEEN to the nurse and made her help save a woman’s life.”

  28. jemand
    jemand December 15, 2009 at 9:27 pm |

    @Mike, pretty sure it’s more like one in a hundred million or something.

  29. preying mantis
    preying mantis December 15, 2009 at 9:55 pm |

    “Actually, there have been a handful of cases when both mother and child survived. It’s literally a 1-in-a-million chance, but that’s enough for some idiots religionists.”

    Untreated tubal pregnancies are not ever going to result in a live child. The tube bursts and kills mom before they even get out of the first trimester. I think it usually happens within three weeks. The tube simply doesn’t have enough give to it to accommodate any kind of embryonic growth. Every so often you get a textbook-definition miracle where a zygote has gone through the uterus and attached elsewhere in the abdominal cavity, and the mother is able to carry the resulting fetus to term without dying during delivery, which is incredibly dangerous due to the skyrocketed risk of hemorrhaging.

  30. Mighty Ponygirl
    Mighty Ponygirl December 15, 2009 at 10:00 pm |

    Actually, there have been a handful of cases when both mother and child survived. It’s literally a 1-in-a-million chance, but that’s enough for some idiots religionists.

    They’re invested in miracles. If they don’t keep those one in a hundred million chances in the casino (read: woman’s body), how could we get another miraculous birth? Jesus could have been aborted, etc, etc.

    Except that Mary was visited by an angel and told that she was chosen by God to bear the Son of Man.

    If I had an ectopic pregnancy, about the only way that I could be convinced to allow the miracle to go forward would be if I had a Seraphim tell me (when I was lucid and not passed out from painkillers) that the pregnancy was going to be a miracle and it was important for me not to have it removed. And I mean we’re talking that dude’s gotta be on fire when he’s talking to me and I need at least three forms of heavenly host ID.

    And unless I, personally, get that revelation, I’m not letting a doctor play Miracle Roulette with my body.

  31. preying mantis
    preying mantis December 15, 2009 at 10:09 pm |

    Oh, and the ectopic pregnancies that do have a slim chance of resulting in both a live birth and a live mother require at the very least major surgery to get there. It’s expensive, it requires a crazypants level of medical intervention to have even remote odds of a good outcome, and I’m guessing most of the people wailing and gnashing about that one baby they saw in their church bulletin that god personally saved by hiding him from the evil abortion doctor in his mother’s left lung really aren’t all that in favor of society picking up the tab if the mother wants to take the risk of dying trying to deliver if she’s not from the right demographic.

  32. Rob F
    Rob F December 15, 2009 at 10:20 pm |

    Why do so many conservatives support the right of people not to do their jobs and simultaneously oppose the right of businesses not to employ them?

    Many of these people who use refusal clauses want the easy way out; to use a tired cliche, they want to have their cake and eat it to. They want to be able to make a stand for a cause (by not doing their jobs) and at the same time want to weasel out of the consequences of their belief. They don’t accept being punished for their beliefs. How many of these same people would support an atheist cashier getting a job in a Christian bookstore, refusing to ring in Bibles, and suing to get their job back? How many of these people would be on the side of a pacifist voluntarily joining the military, and then refusing to serve? If someone refused to do their jobs due to reasons of “conscience”, and accepted being fired for it, I’d strongly disagree with what they were doing, but at least they would be willing to accept the consequences of their belief.

    And speaking of refusal clauses, anti-choicers support for this is another example of how they do not act like they believe abortion is murder (see here at Amptoons for more examples). If we pretend for the sake of argument that abortion is murder, how could forcing a pharmacist to give out (say) barrier contraception possibly be worse than murder? It makes no sense this way. What this really shows is that they want to punish women for having sex.

  33. vgnvxn
    vgnvxn December 15, 2009 at 11:42 pm |

    FashionablyEvil- ADF is a catholic organization, so take that lawyer’s viewpoint with a major grain of salt.

  34. Dianne
    Dianne December 16, 2009 at 8:51 am |

    She claims the woman’s pre-eclampsia wasn’t life-threatening and that other treatments hadn’t been taken.

    The treatment for pre-eclampsia is delivery of the fetus. There are some temporizing measures that MAY work in the very short term IF the pre-eclampsia truly is mild and IF there is reason (i.e. a borderline viable fetus) and IF the woman who is pregnant is willing to take those risks. I haven’t found any link to the original article on this case yet, but it sounds like none of those conditions were met.

    The woman whose life was endangered by this turd masquerading as a nurse should sue her for malpractice.

  35. Dianne
    Dianne December 16, 2009 at 8:58 am |

    Church doctrine says that the physician/nurse must treat both lives equally and try to save them both, and that they cannot do something that purposefully ends the life of the fetus.

    Which means that there are a number of situations in which a “good Catholic” is supposed to simply watch a woman die of a pregnancy that is never going to be viable rather than save her life.

    To give a couple of scenarios, both of which I have personally seen (though some details changed.)
    1. A young woman with lymphoma who is 8 weeks pregnant and in need of immediate bone marrow transplant. The lymphoma is very aggressive (growing visibly in the week from first appointment to second) and the chances of her surviving without transplant are nil. The pre-transplant chemoradiation will probably kill the fetus and leave her with a mass of rotting tissue in her uterus just when she is most immunosuppressed. In short, no chance for the embryo, no chance for her without the abortion.
    2. An adolescent with primary pulmonary hypertension. The pulmonary stress of pregnancy would kill her though there is the marginal possibility that the fetus might make it to 20 weeks before killing her. A 20 week fetus can be born live but virtually no children born at 20 weeks gestation survive without severe problems.

    In neither case is there a problem with the uterus or the fetus per se. So the Catholic position is just let them die. Very pro-life, I’m sure.

  36. vmb
    vmb December 16, 2009 at 9:20 am |

    I am wondering why she agreed. If it was that morally objective to her, wouldn’t it be worth her job? If you believe any abortion is killing, then…why would you kill to save your job?
    I wouldn’t. I am curious as to the story from all sides…

  37. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub December 16, 2009 at 9:21 am |

    The surgery needed to be performed within six hours. But you know, things can happen to switch it from Category II to Category I, and hospital staff can only spend so much time pissing away the chances of a patient’s health and safety. Six hours isn’t actually that long of a time considering all the things that can and do happen, and if they dragged their feet on this and something awful happened as a result, the hospital would have been rightly sued. This is not the place for refusal clauses. You know what? You don’t want to perform emergency abortions, you shouldn’t be working in the ER.

    And I’m sorry, but WTF? The nurse thought the condition wasn’t that life-threatening? Not that I buy into the Doctor-as-God-and-Infalliable or anything, but I would give an ob-gyn more credence than an ER nurse on this one. And if I was that pregnant woman, I’d kick her ass for being so cavalier with MY life. I think anyone who would prioritize a fetus of the life and well-being of a woman is just disgusting.

  38. kerry
    kerry December 16, 2009 at 10:19 am |

    if you’re a doctor or nurse, your job is to save people, not judge them. you don’t get to refuse to pull the bullet out of a murderer or a rapist. even if you have a moral objection to murderers, as most of us do, you don’t get to just choose to let a murderer die on the operating table. you do what is medically necessary and let the justice system take care of the rest. if you want to judge people, you picked the wrong profession.

    this may get more complicated when there are two lives to save, but i think the situation is usually pretty clear from a medical perspective: you work to save the life or lives that has the best chance of being saved. in this case, it seems to have been the pregnant woman. in other cases, it might be the fetus. but the decision about which life to save is a medical, not a moral, decision to be made by a doctor with medical training, not a nurse with religious bias.

  39. lauredhel
    lauredhel December 16, 2009 at 10:39 am |

    “virtually no children born at 20 weeks gestation survive without severe problems.”

    Did you mean 23-24 weeks? 20 weeks isn’t viable, no way, nohow, no matter what lying forced-birthers would have you believe.

  40. Niki
    Niki December 16, 2009 at 10:46 am |

    To everyone calling out the hospital for hiring this nurse, keep in mind that the hiring staff may not have been aware of the woman’s politics. And, if her views on abortion weren’t made known to her supervisors until after she was hired (and particularly if they weren’t known until after her probationary period), it would have been very hard for the staff to fire hire after she had already been employed and guaranteed employee rights.

    Ideally, the scheduling staff could have at least made an effort to only schedule her in areas of the hospital where this would never be an issue – like, never in the ER or maternity ward, for instance – but obviously that strategy would work way better in theory. Hospitals are frequently short-staffed and sometimes nurses have specializations.

    That said, if I were a medical professional, I would never *knowingly* hire an anti-choice medical worker. That’s a situation in which I consider the demands of the job and the philosophy irreconcilable. And this nurse? She’s an asshole. “Oh, I’m going to sue the people I work for because they wouldn’t let me passively let a client die.” Um…yeah.

  41. Mel
    Mel December 16, 2009 at 10:50 am |

    Does anyone else have an issue with this line in Fiano’s article:
    “they sought out the Catholic nurse who they knew had moral and religious objections to abortion, and forced her to do it.”
    This makes it sound as though someone in that Emergency Room, knowing she opposed abortion, made a point of finding this nurse and forcing her to assist in the procedure, passing over more willing and available nurses. WTF? Who in an emergency has time to purposefully find the nurse that they know has religious objections, and why on earth would they do that? Fiano is an idiot.

  42. Mike Crichton
    Mike Crichton December 16, 2009 at 11:40 am |

    jemand : I meant 1 in a million of ectopic pregnancies, not pregnancies total. Still absurdly rare.

    Jill: Actually, the surviving ones were all cases where the egg anchored elsewhere in the abdomen entirely, where it could get a better blood supply. Intestines, Liver, etc. It’s very fascinating, and completely disturbing at the same time.

    Anyway, while I have _some_ sympathy for the nurse, I have a lot more for the patient, whose right to expect that the the people working in a hospital would put her life first, is vastly more important than any “right” of theirs.

  43. czarsketch
    czarsketch December 16, 2009 at 12:07 pm |

    Here’s a concept that I think a lot of the comments have touched on: the woman would have DIED had the operation not been performed? How does that make the procedure “abortion”? To me, and to a lot of doctors, when a fetus causes life-threatening problems to the potential mother, it’s more a parasite or a tumor than it is a potential person.

    I think it’s horrendously offensive for people to try and place the burden of blame on the hospital staff and remove it from the nurse’s shoulders without knowing the specifics of the situation. All we know is: a woman presented with a pregnancy that needed to be terminated to save her life. A nurse was asked to assist, and now she is suing.

    We cannot speculate about what the staffing situation at the hospital is like, nor about the interaction between the nurse and the hospital staff, nor the immediacy of the patient’s condition (beyond the classification, that is). So, the only conclusion we can draw is that the doctors did what they thought was necessary. In fact, we can assume that the nurse is acting out of what she believes is best without judging her for suing the hospital.

    She wants to sue? So be it. More frivolous cases are seen every day. But guess what? The patient survived, and she was given access to the procedure she needed. I’m going to sit back now and smirk at all the right-wing backlash to this and think to myself “wow, the system actually worked this time…”

    I might even have a celebratory drink.

  44. Dianne
    Dianne December 16, 2009 at 12:22 pm |

    Did you mean 23-24 weeks? 20 weeks isn’t viable, no way, nohow,

    For some reason I had thought that there were case reports-as in one or two cases ever reported in the literature-of survivals at as early as 20 weeks gestation (22 weeks from LMP). However, I can’t find any so I’m going to assume that you’re right. In any case, “survival” for an extremely premature infant generally means living with severe mental and physical problems which preclude independent living. Or, often, consciousness. Not a great outcome, to say the least, even in the rare survivors.

  45. Dianne
    Dianne December 16, 2009 at 12:26 pm |

    Actually, the surviving ones were all cases where the egg anchored elsewhere in the abdomen entirely, where it could get a better blood supply. Intestines, Liver, etc. It’s very fascinating, and completely disturbing at the same time.

    Of course, men have livers, intestines, etc too…thus my proposal that any man who makes a fuss about “snowflake babies” being thrown out should be offered the choice of having one implanted on his intestinal lining for gestation or shutting up.

  46. lauredhel
    lauredhel December 16, 2009 at 12:42 pm |

    Dianne, “weeks gestation” refers to post-LMP in all conventions except for the forced-birther one; I don’t know why you’re using it here. You may be thinking of cases like this one, where a 23+6 baby survived. She was paraded as a poster child and reported as 21+6 by people trying to push their agenda.

    Please also watch out for ableism here. The lives of people who can’t live independently aren’t a “bad outcome”, they’re lives.

  47. Sarah
    Sarah December 16, 2009 at 12:44 pm |

    Dianne’s posts, and the ableism within them, show why many women with disabilities are uncomfortable with the mainstream pro-choice movement even when we agree with its general goals

  48. Dianne
    Dianne December 16, 2009 at 1:25 pm |

    The lives of people who can’t live independently aren’t a “bad outcome”, they’re lives.

    You’re right and I apologize. Certainly many people need help of one form or another and that’s not a bad thing. But a not infrequent outcome for a 22 week gestation survivor involves being blind, mentally disabled to the point of not having enough brain activity to learn to talk, and being unable to move purposefully. Sorry, but ableism or not, I consider that a bad outcome. I mean people living the lives of Terri Schiavo from birth on.

  49. Dianne
    Dianne December 16, 2009 at 1:28 pm |

    Sarah: Are you prochoice or are you not? Or do you allow only those choices of which you approve? You may not approve of someone having an abortion because they found out the fetus had tay-sachs or cystic fibrosis or is female (or male) or will be blue eyed but unless you are willing to allow the woman who is pregnant to make the choice, with or without your approval, then you do not agree with the general goals of choice.

  50. lauredhel
    lauredhel December 16, 2009 at 1:40 pm |

    Dianne, I really don’t appreciate what you’re doing here, and suggest you educate yourself on the issues some _pro-choice_ feminists with disabilities have with some of the ableist language and ideas that are thrown around within some nominally pro-choice conversations, instead of assuming that your interlocutors are forced-birther assholes. Here’s something I’ve written.

  51. Sarah
    Sarah December 16, 2009 at 2:03 pm |

    Dianne, I am pro-choice and I don’t think law or anything else should dictate which abortions are acceptable. I just am not comfortable with the way that many (not all) non-disabled pro-choicers present many disability-related issues, and I think that a lot of pro-choicers need to seriously examine their ableism. Comments suggesting disabled lives as bad “outcomes” are ableist.

    I’m also kind of bothered the fact that simply raising the issue seems to result in non-disabled pro-choicers questioning someone else’s pro-choice credentials. Because you can’t be pro-choice unless you agree with the “standard” pro-choice line, whatever that even is.

  52. preying mantis
    preying mantis December 16, 2009 at 3:11 pm |

    “I am wondering why she agreed. If it was that morally objective to her, wouldn’t it be worth her job? If you believe any abortion is killing, then…why would you kill to save your job?
    I wouldn’t. I am curious as to the story from all sides…”

    In a case like this, there would probably have been more at stake than just her job. She may have been getting into patient abandonment territory, and of course if her failure to perform her duties had resulted in the patient’s loss of fertility/disability/death, she’d have been liable for damages in the resulting lawsuit. And the whole “I have religious objections”/”Yes, we know, we’ve checked for replacements and there aren’t any” conversation means that she would have been aware of the fact that her refusal would jeopardize the patient at the time she issued it.

    But yes, I can sympathize with the “If you really thought this was tantamount to smothering an infant in the crib, you’d have walked” feeling, because it’s astonishingly difficult to think of someone agreeing to something that they really, honestly felt was the same as killing a baby in order to save their career or keep themselves out of jail.

  53. veganemelda
    veganemelda December 16, 2009 at 3:31 pm |

    Dianne: My personal point of view is that it’s not whether the child has a disability or not, it’s what the mother can handle. Period. I may personally choose otherwise in regards to people aborting because of Down’s Syndrome, or that they’re having yet another girl, or that they are worried this fetus might have a disease that would kill the child young… but I still think it’s their choose to decide the outcome of their pregnancy (as much as we can, as evidenced by the emergency abortion we’re discussing).

    There’s a difference between basically saying “disabilities = bad” and saying “I don’t think I can handle this.”

    lauredhel- Thank you for the link! Sarah- thanks for pointing out the ableist language to begin with.

  54. Cara
    Cara December 16, 2009 at 4:11 pm |

    Dianne, several people now have called you out on your ableism on the thread. This mod asks that rather than responding by defending yourself against the charges, or further rationalizing them by saying things that include phrases like “ableism or not,” you go and reflect on your own biases and why other commenters here are having these reactions to what you’ve said. And maybe read Lauredhel’s link while you’re at it.

  55. Kyra
    Kyra December 16, 2009 at 4:15 pm |

    To perhaps offer clarification on the disability thing:

    Good argument: “Women have the right to have an abortion due to fetal disability for the same reasons they have the right to have an abortion for any other reasons: she is the best judge of what’s right in her situation and what she can or is willing to handle.”

    Bad argument: “Women have the right to have an abortion due to fetal disability because living disabled is a fate worse than death/disabled babies aren’t worth creating/any sweetened or concern-troll version thereof.”

    We *already* support women’s rights to abortion, we support *elective* abortions of healthy pregnancies—there is ABSOLUTELY no need to add justification for pregnancies where the fetus is disabled. We don’t need to use ableism to justify a particular subtype of something we’ve already justified.

    If someone is violently attacked, reasonable self-defense (potentially including violence) is an acceptable response due to being attacked—it would be both bigoted and completely unnecessary to use, say, the attacker’s race, to justify it further.

    Pro-choice supports women having the option of aborting after discovering fetal disability for the same reasons as pro-choice supports women having the option of elective abortions after discovering pregnancy: it’s ALWAYS up to the woman to say whether she can handle caring for this baby, or whether she can handle and live with completing it and then giving it up for adoption.

    That it is acceptable later in the pregnancy to abort for fetal disability, is due to that one becomes *aware* of fetal disability later in the pregnancy: the woman gets a chance to decide if she can do this after becoming fully informed of the circumstances.

    While we can’t completely excise ableism from the factors influencing the mother’s decision (without excising it completely from society itself), raising a disabled child carries different demands of time, energy, expense, et cetera, from raising a fully-able child, and a disabled child’s adoption prospects are different as well. Both of these factors could vastly alter a mother’s analysis of whether there’s going to be enough care for the child should she bring it into the world, and whether she can justify providing its care, and whether she can live with giving it up for adoption.

    Just like pregnancy itself brings the question of “can I do this extra stuff that will be required as a consequence of creating a child?” (raising, or giving up for adoption), knowing that the child will need extra care/time/expense brings the same question of “can I do this extra stuff?” (or “will this extra stuff be available?”), and that alters the decision. It’s just that the revelation comes somewhat later in the game (although still in the point where the mother’s bodily input is still necessary for awhile longer to create the baby).

  56. Alara Rogers
    Alara Rogers December 16, 2009 at 4:26 pm |

    It’s triage. You don’t belong in the ER if you can’t do triage.

    If a dying baby and a dying woman come into the ER at the same time, and the assessment is tht they don’t have the resources to save both and the woman is more likely to survive, ER personnel *will* kill a baby (or, rather, passively let it die by not treating it while they work on the patient with a chance of survival… but honestly it’s the same thing.)

    The nurse should be fired, as she has proven that she cannot do triage, and she will prioritize a baby who will die either way over a woman who can live. Even if you take the pro-life belief that fetuses are babies seriously, it’s *still* wrong not to kill the baby to ensure the mother’s survival, because the baby can’t possibly live. 20 week old fetuses can’t survive outside the womb (if they could, it would likely have been an emergency c-section, not an emergency abortion), so either the mother and baby die, or the baby dies. Triage says save the mother, kill the baby. And if it was *actually* a baby you’d *still* be expected to perform a medical treatment that would kill it in order to save a dying woman’s life if the baby can’t live either way. That’s why surgeons *kill conjoined twins* when one twin has the heart and the other doesn’t and the heart isn’t strong enough to pump for both of them, so either the baby with no heart dies, or both babies die. Cutting a baby free of access to the heart it’s using is certainly killing it, but medical professionals have performed that exact procedure in order to save lives, because it is morally wrong to do nothing and passively let two die rather than kill one to save the other, if the one you are killing cannot live either way.

    As for ableism, living is a better outcome than not living, but living with blindness is not a better outcome than living with sight. I don’t think Dianne is saying that the disabled don’t deserve to live, but that they would have better lives if they weren’t disabled (since she was talking about prematurity, not about whether it’s a good idea to abort a disabled fetus or something like that). Which, if all other things were equal, is hard to argue against. (All other things may not be equal in an individual’s personal life, of course.) And I don’t see that living without consciousness could possibly be a good outcome for anyone.

  57. Dianne
    Dianne December 16, 2009 at 5:13 pm |

    on the issues some _pro-choice_ feminists with disabilities have with some of the ableist language

    As it happens I’m a pro-choice feminist with a disability. And while I appreciate that my views on disability are not everyone’s views, I find the attitude of the mostly non-disabled people posting a bit condescending. But thank you non-disabled types for the lesson in how I SHOULD feel. Maybe if I study at your feet a bit longer I’ll get to be nearly as good as you.

  58. Dianne
    Dianne December 16, 2009 at 5:24 pm |

    Comments suggesting disabled lives as bad “outcomes” are ableist.

    Sarah: Do you think that Terri Schiavo had a good quality of life after her brain injury? Do you think Tom Delay committed murder when he withdrew care from his brain injured father? That’s the kind of outcome in extremely premature newborns that I was describing as “bad”: that level of brain and body injury. Yes, I put it very badly at first and I can see why you would challenge me for that. But can you really not see the difference between a typical person with Down syndrome or autism or cerebral palsy and that?

  59. ThickRedGlasses
    ThickRedGlasses December 16, 2009 at 5:34 pm |

    When you’re in a helping profession, like nursing, you are second to the people you serve. Therefore, students of helping professions are required to take ethics courses and reflect on their personal beliefs. This nurse probably shouldn’t have graduated her nursing program, or should have held herself back from the nursing program, since she already knew that one of her beliefs would make her unable to complete part of her job. Nobody said that helping people was easy. If she wanted to be number one, she should have considered a different career.
    And anyone else think it’s funny that anti-choicers call women who have abortions selfish, but it’s not selfish to deny the people you’re supposed to serve necessary medical procedures and legal prescriptions just because they don’t like it?

  60. William
    William December 16, 2009 at 5:54 pm |

    The thing that gets me about stories like this is that it seems the right has forgotten that actions have consequences. We all have our ethical lines, I’ve run into mine as a therapist and I’ve had to say no to people in a position of power. You want to be opposed to abortion? Fine. Want to refuse to participate? Also fine. I don’t agree, but I get it. But to believe that somehow the rest of the world should bend over backwards to accommodate you, even at the expense of the lives of people you’ve contracted to save? Thats just plain arrogant.

  61. Mike Crichton
    Mike Crichton December 16, 2009 at 6:55 pm |

    Dianne : Of course, men have livers, intestines, etc too…thus my proposal that any man who makes a fuss about “snowflake babies” being thrown out should be offered the choice of having one implanted on his intestinal lining for gestation or shutting up.

    We don’t know enough yet to even begin doing the sort of experimentation that would make that sort of operation feasible, some day. But it’s a nice thought. :-)

    preying mantis: it’s astonishingly difficult to think of someone agreeing to something that they really, honestly felt was the same as killing a baby in order to save their career or keep themselves out of jail.

    I find it pretty easy to think that. The Milgram experiment showed that the majority of people could be coerced into “committing murder” by a man in a lab coat with a clip board nagging them.

  62. bellareve
    bellareve December 16, 2009 at 8:20 pm |

    “Customers, meanwhile, are free to shop wherever they choose. If they don’t like a pharmacy that refuses to sell contraception, or a doctor’s office that won’t perform abortions, they can go elsewhere.”

    This is the most infuriating part to me. So, I guess women who are unable to drive or walk, or unable to afford transportation, or live someplace without an abortion provider, etc, are just shit outta luck!

  63. Jadey
    Jadey December 16, 2009 at 8:52 pm |

    @ Mike

    The Milgram Experiment has dubious validity in this situation, considering that a couple of key variations to the experiment could produce a near total reversal of the original results (notably, any change that increased the proximity of the participant and the “victim” confederate or made the experience more hands-on and realistic than pressing a button in a different room).

    In the most generous interpretation possible, I’d say that this nurse found herself in a situation she wasn’t prepared to deal with, fell back on her familiar trained role of doing her job the way she’s told, and is now trying to fit the experience as best as she can within a paradigm that doesn’t make her feel at fault, but a victim, without changing her fundamental beliefs (unpleasant, but fairly commonplace human response). Less generous, she expected to be put in this situation and was prepared to make it difficult in order to make a point and knows that if she’d walked out and the woman died, she’d have lost any possible moral leverage. Her participation in that case would have been an act of (in her mind) semi-martyrdom, justifying her role in the death of the foetus (as she would define it) as for a greater good.

    @ Alara Rogers

    I don’t think Dianne is saying that the disabled don’t deserve to live, but that they would have better lives if they weren’t disabled

    The assumption that the lives of people with disabilities are inherently worse (as a generalization) puts the lives and self-determination of PWD at risk. Individual PWD with specific impairments and contexts may have more complex feelings toward their situations, but the attitude you describe *is* ablist and that’s exactly what was objected to in the original comment.

  64. Mike Crichton
    Mike Crichton December 16, 2009 at 9:15 pm |

    Jadey : I was just using it as an example of something that many people would consider unbelievable (or at least would not want to believe), turning out to be true.

    I can easily believe a pro-life nurse thinking that the abortion she’s about to perform is murder, and still doing it for fear of losing her job. This is why she should never have _had_ that job in the first place. IMO, if you’re not prepared to do everything that your job might legally require you to do, then you’re not really qualified for it.

  65. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub December 16, 2009 at 9:26 pm |

    This is why she should never have _had_ that job in the first place. IMO, if you’re not prepared to do everything that your job might legally require you to do, then you’re not really qualified for it.

    This. Seconded. And I’ll say again–I think it’s disgusting that a nurse would put a fetus over the life and well-being of a patient.

    And anyone else think it’s funny that anti-choicers call women who have abortions selfish, but it’s not selfish to deny the people you’re supposed to serve necessary medical procedures and legal prescriptions just because they don’t like it?

    I’d say it’s more telling than anything. It’s about punishing women for having sex. Women aren’t “people” you see–we aren’t beings who have rights and stuff like that. That’s for the menz.

  66. jemand
    jemand December 16, 2009 at 9:41 pm |

    @Mike, heck, just stick the snowflake babies in. If god wants to make a miracle than there will be a miracle lol.

    Seriously though, these people believe in the power of god. They believe letting snowflake babies die is murder. There apparently have been recorded cases of fetuses surviving to viability in the general gut area. Men have general gut areas. So why don’t they do simple laproscopic something or other and just dump the embryo in? No pregnancy, ’twas god’s will, don’t worry about it. At least it’s not murder.

  67. NancyP
    NancyP December 16, 2009 at 9:51 pm |

    There’s more to the case than is made available by the plaintiff’s lawyers. This is a case that will be used to generate publicity. It doesn’t have much chance of a judgment against the hospital.

    The nurse may have participated freely in the procedure and then had second thoughts (or someone gave her the guilts), or may not have understood what the procedure entailed. She may have been reluctant to participate, but also unwilling to speak up beforehand. (Tough sh*t – her bosses and colleagues aren’t mind-readers, and the immediate boss won’t necessarily know about a statement made to hiring personnel years ago, should she have made a clear statement at hiring). She may have been a “float” nurse (hospital employed nurse assigned to different services as the need arises) (or possibly a nurse from a temp agency, though the article claims that she had been employed by Mt. Sinai since 2004). I doubt very much that this was a long-term employee of the hospital who had a known objection to participating in induced non-viable deliveries / abortions. Hospitals simply do not go out looking for lawsuits, and if the nurse had made her objections known to the director of nursing PRIOR to any specific incident, she would have been assigned to some other service than obstetrics or ER. Once an emergent situation arises, it is too late to guarantee accommodation for conscientious objectors.

    The nurse should have known that non-Catholic hospitals are not automatic abortion-free zones. If she had inquired at all, she would have found out that all major US Jewish rabbinical courts (Orthodox, Conservative, Reform – I don’t know about the “ultraOrthodox” groups) consider the mother’s life to take precedence over the fetus’s life, and that the mother has a moral duty to agree to abortion if her own life is at stake.

    Now as to the nature of the nurse’s duties, it is likely that she objected to performing procedures not specific to abortion, for instance, starting an IV line on the patient, drawing blood for necessary testing (probably done before the decision to deliver), transferring patient to pre-operative nursing staff, anesthesia, etc. An ER nurse is not going to be involved in the actual Caesarean section surgery, and not all labor and delivery nurses act as surgical technician (passing clamps, sutures, retracting, suctioning, etc) during the surgery itself – some are just non-sterile “circulators” (go-fers who restock, count sponges and instruments with the surg.tech., answer phones, call for blood units, send blood drawn by anesthesiologist to the OR stat blood gas lab., call for on-call neonatologist).

    The nurse isn’t in the position to judge pre-eclampsia/eclampsia risk (excepting very experienced L&D nurses with advanced training, that is, a boss). She’s dreaming if she thinks she could stop a delivery once the doctor has decided that expectant waiting is either futile (fetus in poor shape) or dangerous to the mother. She’s dreaming if she thinks she could be protected by the hospital from all emergent duties that might involve fetal loss or abortion. There is simply too much moral, legal, and public relations risk to the hospital (and its physicians) if the hospital alters “standard operating procedure” in an emergency in order to accommodate an objecting employee.

  68. Femnist
    Femnist December 16, 2009 at 10:40 pm |

    Wait a sec… Aren’t these the same people who scream that abortion traumatizes women?

    So adding to the trauma of a woman who’s had to rush to the hospital, undergo a surgery, lose a child that she wanted to have, recover from surgery while coping with the changes that a twenty two week pregnancy has made in her body is OK? That can’t be right, by any religious or moral code of conduct. Conscience, please!

    I wish she would sue that nurse for putting her to unnecessary psychological distress by dragging her into the news!

  69. Femnist
    Femnist December 16, 2009 at 11:08 pm |

    Just an addition – I’ve heard a doctor with an extremely rigid personal code of conduct say this: My ethics apply only to me. If a patient’s life is concerned, I don’t care, not even if I have to beg, borrow or steal. That’s the attitude of most people in the medical profession. If not, it’s time to get them out, period.

  70. preying mantis
    preying mantis December 16, 2009 at 11:47 pm |

    “I find it pretty easy to think that. The Milgram experiment showed that the majority of people could be coerced into “committing murder” by a man in a lab coat with a clip board nagging them.”

    I somehow doubt the Milgram experiment would have shaken out the same way had the subjects been given baseball bats and told to hop to, never mind if they’d been given a butcher knife, shoved into a maternity ward, and told they’re not getting their $100 fee if the man in the white coat can still hear crying in an hour.

    See also, how we can have drastically different reactions to a news report of a pile of corpses turning up somewhere in the third world and the actual reality of a pile of corpses winding up in the street in front of our workplace.

  71. NancyP
    NancyP December 16, 2009 at 11:49 pm |

    1. Catholic hospitals can and do put the fetus’s life above the mother’s life, and there is no legal penalty for their actions.

    2. re: abdominal ectopic pregnancies surviving into the third trimester. Exceedingly rare. Fetus can die in abdomen, and get calcified – the “stone baby”, of which there has been one ~100 year old report in a mentally ill woman who refused to be delivered when she went way over term, and on death years later (from other causes) was found to have a fetus shaped/sized calcification in the abdomen.

  72. Anna
    Anna December 17, 2009 at 1:34 am |

    Dianne, lauredhel is a woman with disabilities, and a disability-rights advocate. Please don’t assume everyone in this thread objecting to your language is currently able-bodied.

    Alara:

    As for ableism, living is a better outcome than not living, but living with blindness is not a better outcome than living with sight.

    I have a sneaking suspicion that you think being blind is like being sighted with your eyes closed. Being blind is not a tragedy. Being Deaf is not a tragedy. Being a full-time wheelchair user is not a tragedy. And coming back to Terri Schiavo, as though she both represents all people with disabilities, and as though disability rights activists haven’t talked about that case and the problematic nature of it, is not very productive.

    No one in this thread is arguing that women should be forced to carry an unwanted child to term. But it seems some are arguing that obviously disability is a tragedy, all the time. Those of us with disabilities are asking you to stop doing that because it’s not productive to a conversation that’s not about disability & abortion, but about so-called conscience clauses that are only selectively adhered to.

    Sticking to the topic at hand would be nice, rather than going through another round of “Let’s demonstrate how often Feministe comments can be really really ablist.”

  73. Cactus Wren
    Cactus Wren December 17, 2009 at 3:30 am |

    I would like to point out that the illustration attached to the article at hotair.com is a photograph of an aborted fetus.

  74. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub December 17, 2009 at 9:39 am |

    At the risk of derailing, I really want to address the disability argument here: I carry the gene for Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON). If I birthed a son, there’s a good chance he’d be legally blind by his early 20′s. If I wanted to have children (which I don’t, but let’s just say for shits and giggles that I did), this would not deter me because, as others in this thread have pointed out, people with disabilities have lives worth living. Yes, one of my relatives would like to have his sight back. But there are non-disabled people who have shitty lives–and this relative doesn’t. He’s happily married, he’s working, he has a lot of friends, he does interesting things, he enjoys life.

    If a woman choses to terminate a pregnancy and it’s not because of health complications, then it’s because for whatever reason, she does not want/does not think she can handle having a child. I won’t fault anyone for thinking they can’t handle the issues around a specific condition, since I couldn’t handle a physically-typical and neurotypical child. However, I can say that and not freak out when disabled-rights activists question the dominant cultural perception of ability/disability and which lives are happy/worth living. I don’t see any disability activists working to erode people’s choices–just to change the culture and perception around disability.

  75. thetroubleis
    thetroubleis December 17, 2009 at 7:05 pm |

    “I don’t see any disability activists working to erode people’s choices–just to change the culture and perception around disability.”

    Yes, this! It isn’t about individual abortions, but the devaluation of a life with disability.

  76. La Lubu
    La Lubu December 17, 2009 at 11:40 pm |

    It is a privilege to have life hand you only what you’re comfortable with. It is an obscene privilege to expect someone to risk death so you can stay comfortable.

    Kyra, I love that quote. Very succinct, and spells out the issue here perfectly.

  77. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig December 18, 2009 at 10:42 am |

    Yet another case study in why one should not trust medical professionals.

  78. skeptifem
    skeptifem December 22, 2009 at 1:28 am |

    wait… a hospital in new york, and they couldn’t find another nurse to replace her? This sounds like total fucking bullshit to me. I’ve worked in hospitals for a few years now and people swap when they feel uncomfortable with something. I am really struggling to think of a situation where a unit only had a single nurse on hand for anything, and where there wasn’t another nurse in house (like in the surgical icu, or filling in on other units) that could assist with any given procedure. A good sized hospital (like the one that this occurred at) is fucking filled with nurses, and everyone does on call anyway. There really isn’t much excuse for forcing her to help with the procedure, it has nothing to do with abortion rights either; it has to do with her employer being a real jerk.

  79. merlesray
    merlesray January 6, 2010 at 3:16 pm |

    This faux nurse’s sense of entitlement is overwhelming. Soldiers are asked every day to commit murder and genocide. How is this different? Any soldier blatantly not following the orders of a superior officer would be court marshalled regardless of any “moral objections” they posessed. Any person would be setting themself up for a life of unhappiness to go into a field of study where they have personal religious caveats that are in direct opposition to the job description. Vegans aren’t livestock farmers; park rangers aren’t lumberjacks. Staunch pro-lifers should be banned from medicine and pharmacy if they can’t be expected to fulfill the job duties required.

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