By Nancy Vallo
Recently, I was contacted by a college political science professor who is writing a paper about “pro-choice and pro-life viewpoints” and she wanted to know more about the National Association of Pro-Life Nurses.
I was delighted and we had a long conversation about what motivates pro-life people-and especially nurses.
I told her about our National Association of Pro-life Nurses and the why and how we do what we do. Our motto since the organization began in the 1970s is “Take my hand, not my life”.
The professor seemed surprised that the pro-life movement is founded on caring rather than the common misperception of politics and political power.
Instead, as I told her, the pro-life movement is about helping people in crisis situations from conception to death and educating people about upholding the excellent, life-giving ethics and laws that protect all lives from conception to natural death.
It is also not about being judgmental but rather about truly caring and offering help to desperate people in crisis situations and the people around them before-or even after- a person has chosen abortion or is considering medically assisted suicide. (see “Pro-Life and Other Resources for Help and Information to Protect Human Life”)
And this works!
Many people are surprised when they find out that even NBC News admits that:
“More than 2,500 crisis pregnancy centers operate in the country, outnumbering abortion clinics nearly 3 to 1 by some estimates. Critics, as well as supporters, have said the number of women seeking support at them has grown quickly in the 11 months since federal abortion rights were overturned, which resulted in the closing of abortion clinics in dozens of states.” (Emphasis added)
And as pro-life nurses who care for everyone–not just in hospitals and crisis pregnancy centers, but also in prisons, at home in poor and sometimes dangerous areas, in homeless situations, etc., we are truly interested in helping instead of judging people.
Our message is “We Care” and I have yet to meet a pro-life nurse who isn’t also involved in some sort of volunteer work.
In my 50+ years as a nurse, I have worked in burn units, medical and surgical units, burn units, dialysis, intensive care, oncology (cancer), hospice and home health. I have also cared for relatives and friends with terminal illnesses, dementia, critical heart defects, cancer, disabilities, severe psychosis, suicide, drug addiction, teen pregnancy, etc. but never once was I tempted to end a life.
Just as doctors used to take the Hippocratic Oath that said “I will not give a lethal drug to anyone if I am asked, nor
will I advise such a plan; and similarly I will not give a woman a pessary to cause an abortion.”
New nurses used to take the Nightingale Pledge that said ”I will abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous, and will not take or knowingly administer any harmful drug.”
Unfortunately, today these oaths are little used or changed to allow for formerly illegal practices and this has harmed both professions and to the detriment of healthcare and public trust.
I have also been a newspaper reporter and writer for several publications but in 2015, I started my blog “A Nurse’s Perspective on Life, Healthcare and Ethics” to report on the many healthcare ethics controversies and I often use my personal and professional stories to show resources and how to help people in difficult circumstances.
Most of all, I have seen the power of “I Care/We Care” to help people and their families at some of the most desperate times of their lives and I am proud to be a member of the National Association of Pro-life Nurses.
Please join us and/or follow NAPN on Facebook.
Editor’s note. This appeared on Nancy’s fine blog.