Information concerning the ethical dilemma confronted by this professional nurse was obtained through the conduct of an interview with the individual.
The ethical dilemma faced by this nurse involved a conflict between strongly held personal beliefs on the part of the nurse with respect to abortion and the professional obligations of this nurse to provide care to a patient with an immediate need for care that could not be delivered at the moment of need by anyone other than the professional nurse confronting the situation. The conflict in this situation arose from that fact that the care required by the patient was in conjunction with an abortion procedure.
Law, as well as ethics, affects the role of the professional nurse with respect to abortion (Bayer, 1990, pp. 564-569). The directive issued by Health and Human Services Secretary Louis Sullivan in the Bush Administration as an example prohibited nurses from providing counsel to clients regarding abortion. Further, attempts to legally define the point at which at fetus will be viable outside the womb hold the potential to make a mockery of both law and medicine (Beller, 1992, pp. 537-540).
The role of nursing in cases of abortion is especially difficult for many individual nurses. While some individual nurses approach the issue in the context that the delivery of care in