Chinese health care workers and the ‘one-child’ policy

Since at least1991, Australia has been faced with Chinese women who apply for refugee status because of China’s ‘one-child policy.’  Senate committee hearings were conducted into the matter. One of the witnesses, who identifed herself by the pseudonym “Dr. Wong”, was heard by the committee in February, 1995, and July, 1999. The following extracts provide some information about the operation of the ‘one-child policy’ and the coercion of health care workers. [Full text]

Freedom of conscience, professional responsibility, and access to abortion

J Law Med Ethics 1994 Fall;22(3):280-5PMID: 7749485

Rebecca S. Dresser

Acess to abortion is becoming increasingly restricted for many women in the United States.  Besides the longstanding financial barriers facing low-income women in most states, a newer source of scar­ city has emerged. The relatively small  number of physicians willing to perform the procedure is compromising the ability of women in  certain parts of the country to obtain an abortion. Do physicians have a duty to respond to this situation? Do they have a professional responsibility  to ensure that abortions are reasonably available to the women who want to terminate their  pregnancies? Or, is abortion so morally and socially controversial as to remove any professional  obligation to provide reasonable access? [Full Text]

Hospital Restricts Nurses’ Freedom of Conscience

Markham-Stoufville, Ontario, Canada

David Dooley

If the province can spend millions of dollars setting up abortion clinics, Stephens said, it can well afford to hire nurses prepared to take part in abortions, rather than forcing others to go against their consciences. . . . And if hospitals pride themselves on being responsive to the community, this one should make plain how the recent decision was made and why the nurses are under such compulsion.

In a column in the May issue of Thornhill Month, John Stephens asked, “Must it be a matter of either job or conscience?” Until now, he wrote, the Birthplace Unit at the Markham-Stoufville Hospital has been used as the name implies. Now, nurses in the unit who abhor abortions are being told either to assist at these procedures or accept transfer to another department. “For nurses who have developed great skill at the birthing process,” Stephens pointed out, “this means giving up the job they love, and losing the opportunity to practise their expertise. In other circles, this would be called wrongful dismissal.” [Full text]

Sweeney Defends Firings

Transition house workers fired, denied benefits for ‘misconduct’

North Bay, Ontario, Canada

Frank M. Kennedy

The implication of the Minister’s defence is clear. Government-funded  “independent” social agencies, such as homes for battered women, may freely adopt a pro-abortion policy and then dismiss pro-life employees.

The Honourable John Sweeney, Ontario Minister of Community and Social Services, recently defended the dismissal of three pro-life staff workers at the Nipissing Transition House, a home for battered women in North Bay, for refusing to go along with the pro-abortion policy of the board.

Employees fired

Lorainne Carbonneau, married and the mother of three children, was fired on December 23 of last year [after] five years as a full time worker and, at one time, the assistant co-ordinator. She was fired because she would not counsel women for abortions or refer them to any pro-abortion counsellor working at the Nipissing Transition House.

One week later, two others were let go. Carol Baillargeon, a child care worker, and Rae desBlois, a household manager, were both fired over the phone one week after Christmas, also because of their refusal to refer for abortions. There was no other criticism of their employment records. [Full Text]

 

Nurses Fight for Freedom

21 out of 30 paediatric nurses resign

Mississauga, Ontario, Canada

Michael Otis

 “The consequences for not meeting these expectations,” warns Bachle, “will be disciplinary action immediately, up to  and including termination.”

Some Toronto area hospitals are forcing nurses to perform abortions. At a press conference called on February 16 by Nurses for Life, spokeswomen Kathleen Winarski and Helen McGee detailed the situation of nurses who face discrimination or loss of employment for refusing to assist with abortions. In a letter released to the press, Margaret Madill, President of Nurses for Life called upon Health Minister Elinor Caplan to “give nurses the assurance that their personal and/or religious beliefs will not be violated by forced participation in the termination of human life.”

Last month the Paediateric and Gynaecology Departments of Mississauga’s Credit Valley Hospital were amalgamated. From now on, therefore, second trimester abortions will be carried out on the pediatric floor itself, by pediatric nurses. . . . [Full text]

 

Supervisor demands nurse assist with abortion

Nurse quits at Shaughnessy Hospital

Sean Murphy*

When Gina Fraser applied to work in the operating room at Shaughnessy Hospital in Vancouver in 1983, she made it clear that she was unwilling to assist with abortions.  The supervisor told her that other nurses were willling to do so, and she would be accommodated.  For the next four years she worked in the operating room under the terms of this unwritten agreement. . . [Full Text]

 

Hospital aide fired for refusing to clean abortion instruments

Valparaiso, Indiana, U.S.A.

Sean Murphy*

Elaine Tramm was fired despite the fact that Indiana had a protection of conscience statute. It took three years to win a lawsuit against the hospital; five months later, a jury awarded her $5,200.00 in compensatory damages and more than $18,000.00 in punitive damages. The following excerpt from the judgement of the District Court sets out the circumstances leading to her dismissal.

… On November 13, 1986, the plaintiff, Elaine Tramm, was hired by the Porter
Memorial Hospital (PMH) as a part-time Workroom Instruments Aide and was
assigned to the Portage Medical Surgical Center (Center). . . On December 1,
1986, Tramm began a full-time orientation program . . . The job description for
an aide included cleaning surgical instruments and handling surgical specimens.
Tramm claims that at the time she was hired she was not aware that abortions
were performed at the Center or that the job description included cleaning
abortion instruments. On December 7, 1986, Tramm learned that the Center was
equipped for abortions. Tramm subsequently informed her supervisors, Leslie
O’Toole, Isobel Cardonna, James Pingatore, and Donald Wadle, that she was a
Roman Catholic and that because of her religious beliefs she was opposed to
cleaning and preparing instruments used in performing abortions or handling
fetal tissue after abortion procedures. On December 12, 1986, Tramm claims that
another Aide, Marlene Haller, told her to clean instruments that had been used
in abortion procedures. According to Tramm, she cleaned the instruments because
she was afraid of losing her job. [Full text]

 

“Insubordination” : Worker fired for refusing payment for illegal abortion

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Sean Murphy *

Introduction

Cecilia Moore was a probationary employee of the British Columbia welfare department when a client asked for medical coverage for an abortion. The abortion would have been a criminal offence under the law in force at the time, and was, in the view of the attending physician, not only unnecessary for medical reasons but actually contra-indicated.

Moore refused to approve coverage on the grounds that the client was ineligible under departmental policy. However, her supervisor ordered her to sign authorization for coverage. Moore persisted in her refusal, citing policy, the criminal law and her own conscientious objections to abortion. Although rated as “an excellent worker”, she was dismissed.

Seven years later the BC Council of Human Rights ruled that Moore had been a victim of ‘adverse effect discrimination’ awarding $7,703.80 for compensation in lost wages and $1,000.00 as compensation for “humiliation.”

What follows is a summary of the facts drawn from the reported case and a summary of evidence prepared for the hearing. [Full text]

Nurse Denied Employment, Forced to Resign

A Two Tiered System of Civil Rights

British Columbia, Canada

Sean Murphy*

Bradley, an operating room nurse with 15 years experience, was told that she could keep her position only if she assisted in abortions. As a result, she went to Children’s
Hospital, and eventually left the nursing profession. She has not worked in the health care field since 1984.

Registered Nurse Linda Bradley had been refused employment at four British Columbia hospitals when she applied to work at Richmond General Hospital in 1977. Langley Memorial, Peace Arch Hospital, Delta Hospital and Vancouver General had all denied her employment because she was unwilling to assist in abortions. When asked if she would assist in abortions at Richmond General, she agreed. By that time she was desperate for a job.

Nurse Bradley was involved with abortions at Richmond General for about two years, assisting at about nine abortions monthly. The abortions occupied a total of about four hours of her work each month.

One day, however, she was told to scrub for a hysterotomy of a woman 5 1/2 months pregnant. A hysterotomy is a Caesarean section performed for the sole purpose of killing the child. Reason for the abortion: “multiparity”. The woman had had previous pregnancies. [Full text]

Question of conscience

R. L. Walley, FRCSC, FRCOG, MPH *

It was quite a surprise, back in 1973, to be informed by an eminent professor of obstetrics and gynaecology . . as a Roman Catholic specialist, that “there is no place for to practice within the National Health Service . . .” [I]n order to stay in the specialities in the United kingdom, I would have had to compromise a  conscientiously held abhorrence to the direct taking of human life. I refused and as a consequence became unemployed with a wife and three children and had to leave country, home and family in order to practise my chosen specialty in full freedom.[Full text]