Abortion Rights and Nursing

Abortion rights can be a divisive topic in our society. It has become a political weapon for many who oppose or defend it. As nurses, we have an ethical obligation to our patients, but also to self. This question will explore a woman’s right to autonomy and a nurse’s right to practice within a personal moral and ethical value system. Review this case study and then respond to the questions. Please do not respond based on your feelings alone: Sara comes to Dr. Houston requesting an abortion. After performing an ultrasound, Dr. Houston decides to perform a first trimester aspiration procedure for Sara in the hospital setting. While this is not always necessary, Dr. Houston thought the procedure would be easier if she were able to use anesthesia to relax the musculature, which would make the procedure easier for her and more comfortable for the patient. The nurses are surprised by the presence of an abortion case on the operating room list. Dr. Houston had not thought to discuss the case in advance with the nursing staff, assuming that there would not be any issues. However, the nursing staff have not previously encountered this type of case and are uneasy about how to care for a woman seeking abortion care. One nurse states that she does not believe in abortion and thus should not have to care for this woman. She tells Dr. Houston that she cannot participate in Sara’s care. The other nurse on duty decides to act similarly. Dr. Houston was surprised that the nurses had an objection to the case, but she cancels the surgery and Sara goes home without the procedure. a) Based on the ANA Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements, make an argument for the nurses being able to preserve their professional integrity and refuse to participate in the surgery. (Hint: There may be multiple provisions, but you only need to choose one.) b) Based on the ANA Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements, make an argument that the nurses acted outside of their professional obligation to the patient. (Hint: There may be multiple provisions, but you only need to choose one.) c) Was there a better way for the nurses to object and for Sara to have received the surgery? Can you base it on one of the Code’s Principles? d) Cite your sources using APA format 🙂

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