Thursday, December 24, 2009

Clinic Violence: From Only One Side?

There have sometimes been violence associated with the abortion debate in the United States of America. However, which side commits such violence?

Anti-Abortion Violence?

Those who protest against the legality of therapeutic abortion are often vilified as violent. "Protestors [against abortion] seem to have changed tactics, and engaged in hate letters, harassing phone calls, bomb threats, etc." says (1). Back in April of 2009, the Department of Homeland Security released a document titled "Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment" which pointed out specifically those against abortion are possible terrorists and even assumed that "right-wing" people were racist against blacks (2). Even Sherry Colb, who shows an intelligent understanding of the topic, assumes that pro-lifers are almost always the instigators of violence as is shown by her statement: "In hearing about clinic attacks, my initial response is anger and outrage, as I suspect it is for virtually everyone who shares my view [of] abortion..." (3). Organizations that favor legalized therapeutic abortion further spread the thought that pro-lifers are violent in their numerous articles regarding this without ever mentioning any violence from those that support their view; examples of these organizations include the National Abortion Federation, and Planned Parenthood (4, 5).

Pro-Abortion Violence?

The anti-abortion side of the debate has often answered by both refuting much of the claims of violence and/or accusing the other side of just as much or more violence committed. One such example is of Human Life International's website in which they show a "documented more than 8,519 acts of violence and illegal activities by pro-abortionists" (6). Another example of a pro-life organization accusing the other side of violence is of the American Life League (ALL) in their story "Pro-Abortion Violence on Rise After Media Build Up, ALL Reports" (7). My conclusion is that violence is coming from both sides of the debate.

My experience with abortion-related violence has been quite plentiful although I have not protested often. I have only experienced violence from those opposing my pro-life viewpoint. When I protested with fellow protesters near a beach in Southern California there were people cussing in my face as they walked by and others who were throwing things at me as they drove by. When I protested at an abortion clinic in the Inland Empire, CA there were people cussing at me as they stopped at the nearest traffic light. When I had a bumper sticker that read "Abortion is Murder" I had at least one instance a month of people driving next to me and yelling profanities at me and even wishing that I was dead. When I protested at another abortion clinic in Downtown Riverside, CA there was a driver of biomedical-waste who said that he wanted to beat me up.

Most recently, I have been debating the abortion topic with a blogger named OperationCounterStrike. Through this persons profile this individual says that I am a murderer because of what I believe: "ALL right-to-lifers are murderers." (8) Furthermore, this person has called for the death of Phill Kline, Eric Rucker, and a blogger named Rick (8a, 8b). I'm sure that there are other instances of this individual encouraging violence (the same violence this person supposedly condemns).

Violence is from Both Sides?

What is true in reality is that there are numerous examples of those from both sides of the debate committing violence. What is important in this debate? Condemn any form of violence from anyone no matter what is their belief. As an aside, it is also important to condemn the restriction of the right to peaceful free speech and assembly.

Violence in unacceptable. The way to change the hearts and minds in this country is through peaceful protest. This is the way that I have protested. Further, I encourage everyone to know the facts of the abortion debate rather than to be following strictly the emotional aspect! I also encourage everyone to share their views peacefully and fully in as many ways as possible. A national dialog about the facts of abortion is very long overdue. The truth is that the most violent thing that is happening today is the death of innocent unborn children.

(1) Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance ( as accessed on December 24, 2009. URL LINK
(2) Department of Homeland Security, "Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment," published April 7, 2009. PDF DOWNLOAD
(3) Colb, Sherry, "Abortion Clinic Violence: Is Pro-Life Murder an Oxymoron?" published on January 9, 2008 as accessed on December 24, 2009. URL LINK
(4) National Abortion Federation, "Anti-Abortion Violence" as accessed on December 24, 2009. URL LINK
(5) Planned Parenthood, "Creating Healthy Responses to Hatred and Violence" as accessed on December 24, 2009. URL LINK
(6) Human Life International, Home Page as accessed on December 24, 2009. URL LINK
(7) Walker, Katie, "Pro-Abortion Violence on Rise After Media Build Up, ALL Reports" published on July 2, 2009 as accessed on December 24, 2009. URL LINK
(8) OperationCounterStrike, Profile as accessed on December 24, 2009. URL LINK
(8a) OperationCounterStrike, "Don't investigate him; kill him" published on September 23, 2009 as accessed on December 24, 2009. URL LINK
(8b) OperationCounterStrike, "Euthanise this geezer" published on September 1, 2009 as accessed on December 24, 2009. URL LINK

Nursing and Abortion: Compatible?

I am currently a new graduate from Registered Nursing school. Nursing is considered one of the most compassionate careers to be a part of. Why? The reason is because nurses have great opportunities to heal and help patients physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. Indeed, the nursing profession is consistently one of the highest respected professions in the United States (1).

Since many nurses do indeed assist in therapeutic/elective abortions throughout the United States, it is arguable whether the current nursing establishment would have anything against the practice. However, what is the intention of the profession? How does the foundation of nursing, which nurses continue to be encouraged to follow, relate to the topic of abortion? If there is any indication of what the framework of nursing is look no further than the Florence Nightingale Pledge. This pledge was written 1893 by Lystra Gretter in honor of Florence Nightingale and is considered to be a modification from the Hippocratic Oath that physicians recite, although their oath has been modified throughout the years.

The Florence Nightingale Pledge is what I recited at my graduation ceremony from vocational nursing school (the nursing pledge from registered nursing school was altered somewhat). What does this pledge mean to me and the nursing profession as a whole in relation to therapeutic/elective abortion? Should nurses be involved in therapeutic/elective abortion?

I solemnly pledge myself before God and in the presence of this assembly, to pass my life in purity and to practice my profession faithfully. I will abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous, and will not take or knowingly administer any harmful drug (2).

It is the responsibility of the nurse to not do anything harmful to patients. Who are patients? A patient is any "individual awaiting or under medical care and treatment" (3). Then, reason asks, who is an individual or human being? For many in the abortion debate, this has been a perplexing question. If highly subjective opinions were not considered then the word individual would include everyone from the moment of conception (refer to's article regarding the zygote).

Since "no harmful drug" can be administered knowingly then it matters if the unborn is a human being or individual. Since the word "individual" includes the zygote, embryo, and fetus then no drug should ever be administered that purposely kills these individuals. In today's practice, nurses do administer or aid in the administration of medications and agents that harm and, ultimately, kill the unborn individual.

Some surgical abortion procedures require administration of specific medications or fluids. Prostaglandin labor induction abortions (past 20 weeks gestation) can include the use of oxytocin, misoprostol, dinoprostone, among others (4)(5a). Saline abortion (past 20 weeks gestation, although today this form of abortion is rare) involves the use of injecting a fluid highly concentrated in sodium chloride into the amniotic sac thus killing the unborn individual (5a). Another method of later term abortion is "intra-amniotic or intrafetal digitalis" (a medication which can indeed be lethal to adults as well) (5b)(6). Mifepristone (RU-486), and methotrexate in combination with misoprostol are ways to accomplish a medical abortion (which is suggested to work "up to day 49 of pregnancy and regimens up to day 63 are effective as well") (5a).

I will do all in my power to maintain and elevate the standard of my profession, and will hold in confidence all personal matters committed to my keeping and all family affairs coming to my knowledge in the practice of my calling. With loyalty will I endeavor to aid the physician in his work, and devote myself to the welfare of those committed to my care (2).

The standard of the profession is caring for ALL patients. Aiding the physician does not mean to do anything that the physician tells you to do. The care of patients come first and foremost. The unborn have consistently been considered patients in the medical field. "...fetal patients may well be considered the 'best' patients by medical workers" as written by Monica Casper in the book The Making of the Unborn Patient (7). In the past, the unborn have undeniably been considered patients by the medical establishment.

Thus, since it is established that the individual is a defined as a separate creature from other individuals, the unborn is certainly classified as one. Furthermore, nurses have an obligation to protect all patients, who are all individuals, from harm; this includes the unborn. The conclusion is that the unborn patient should not be harmed. Rather, the unborn patient should be aided so that he can be born and live a long and as prosperous of a life as possible. The same and equal consideration should be made to the mothers of these unborn patients. Indeed, both are patients and both must be showed love, compassion, and care that is necessary to be a true nurse. God is my witness; that is my goal as a nurse.

Thus, nursing and therapeutic/elective abortion are incompatible with each other.

Nursing is an art: and if it is to be made an art, it requires an exclusive devotion as hard a preparation, as any painter's or sculptor's work; for what is the having to do with dead canvas or dead marble, compared with having to do with the living body, the temple of God's spirit? It is one of the Fine Arts: I had almost said, the finest of Fine Arts." --Florence Nightingale.

(1) Brandon E., "The Most (and Least) Prestigious Careers" published on August 2, 2007 by U.S. News and World Report. URL LINK
(2) American Nurses Association, accessed on December 24, 2009 by Nursing World. URL LINK
(3) Marriam-Webster Online Dictionary, accessed on December 24, 2009. URL LINK
(4) Goldberg, A, & Wing, D. "Induction of Labor: The Misoprostol Controversy" from J Midwifery Womens Health in 2003 as accessed on Medscape Today on December 24, 2009. URL LINK
(5a) Trupin, S. "Elective Abortion" from eMedicine, last updated on December 22, 2008 as accessed on December 24, 2009. URL LINK
(5b) Trupin, S. "Elective Abortion: Treatment and Medication" from eMedicine, last updated on December 22, 2008 as accessed on December 24, 2009. URL LINK
(6) Aggrawal, A. "Death by Digitalis" from The Poison Sleuths August 1999 issue as accessed on December 24, 2009. URL LINK
(7) Casper, M. The Making of the Unborn Patient: A Social Anatomy of Fetal Surgery, copyright 1998 published by Rutgers University Press. URL LINK