ABORTION: AN ETHICAL DILEMMA FOR A PROFESSIONAL NURSE
Nurses in the 1990s are confronted with an array of issues that contain moral dimensions (Clarke, 1991, pp. 22-25). These issues run the gamut from considerations of a patient's right to die, to adhering to physicians' "do not resuscitate" orders, to the role of the nurse in questions of abortion (Silva, 1991, pp. 69-79, Yaring, 1990a, pp. 335-342; Yaring, 1990b, pp. 327-334).
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, 1990, pp. 32-35). Research also has found that many women experience difficulty in verbally expressing their feeling with respect to a decision concerning an abortion (Fraser, 1990, pp. 45-47).
Within the discipline of professional nursing, disparate opinion also exists with respect to the abortion issue (Silva, 1991, pp. 69-79). There are pro-life nurses and pro-choice nurses, as there are pro-life and pro-choice proponents in the general population. There are also professional nurses who are ambivalent towards this volatile issue (Silva, 1991, pp. 69-79).
The professional nurse has a primary responsibility to serve her or his patients. The personal values of individual nurses, however, both should and do influence the approach to the discharge of a nurse's professional responsibility.
This research analyzes the ethical dilemma faced by one professional nurse in relati