Chapter 22 » 22.57

Parents and children

Difficult decisions in pregnancy

However one views it, and for whatever reason it is carried out, an abortion is a deliberate taking of a potential life. The arguments around the right to life versus the right to choose do little to help those who believe in personal morality yet whose religion lays down no hard and fast rules about moral issues such as abortion.

As a nurse who was asked to become involved in the procedure of therapeutic abortion I was forced to decide. My final decision, made after much heart-searching, was to say ‘No’. As a result I had to move to a less conveniently placed hospital, but my decision was accepted and at no time was my livelihood threatened.

The right of medical personnel to choose not to become involved in the procedure of therapeutic abortion is enshrined in law. In my case I used my right to choose, but this left me with a dilemma. Where should I stand on another’s right to choose to have an abortion? My choice was respected and my rights maintained. My responsibility had to be to respect another’s choice and maintain their right to my compassion and understanding. To do less would make my decision nothing more than a pious declaration which ignored the very real pain suffered by many women who decide to have an abortion.

Pauline Condon, 1994

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