This research considers the role of nursing in relation to abortion. Nurses in the 1990s are confronted with an array of issues that contain moral dimensions (Clarke, 1991, pp. 2225). These issues run the gamut from considerations of a patient's right to die, to adhering to physicians' "do not resuscitate" orders, to cheating in clinical research, and to the role of the nurse in questions of abortion (Hoyer, 1991, pp. 170173; Silva, 1991, pp. 6979; Yarling, 1990a, pp. 327334)).

Research has found that a decision to abort or not to abort is difficult for a woman, regardless of the circumstances and the nature of the decision (Hall, pp. 3235). Research has also found that many women experience difficulty in verbally expressing their feeling with respect to a decision concerning an abortion (Fraser, 1990, pp. 4547).

Within the discipline of professional nursing, disparate opinion also exists with respect to the abortion issue (Silva, 1991, pp. 6979). There are prolife nurses and prochoice nurses, as there are prolife and prochoice proponents in the general population. There are also professional nurses who are ambivalent towards this volatile issue (Silva, 1991, pp. 6979).

The professional nurse has a primary responsibility to serve her or his patients. The personal values of individual nurses both should and do influence the approach to the discharge of professional responsibility. The general



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