MONTVALE, N.J.—Nearly two-thirds of the hospital-based registered nurses polled by RN magazine say that partial-birth abortions should be prohibited by law. And six out of 10 would not work in an OB/GYN unit where abortions — of any kind — are performed; a decade ago, the majority (52%) said they would.
“We saw perhaps the most striking change among nurses who actually care for mother and baby,” said Marianne Dekker Mattera, editor of RN. “Only 37% of the respondents who work in obstetrics or the nursery say they would work on a unit where the abortion is performed, a decline of 18 percentage points from 1988.”
The article suggests a number of possible reasons for the decline in support for abortion. One is that more nurses today may be personally opposed to abortion given the myriad of abortion alternatives available.
As opposed as most nurses may be to abortion, however, some are still adamantly for abortion: A greater number today (35%) than a decade ago (20%) say they wouldn't work on a unit where abortions were prohibited.
The survey was mailed to 2,000 randomly selected, hospital-based nurses who subscribe to RN. Results are based on 743 responses. Findings from the survey, conducted on the 10th anniversary of RN's last survey on ethical issues, are featured in a six-part series that began in the November 1998 issue of RN.