2009-10-26 On being pro-life in the workplace when faced with adversity

Several years ago, while between jobs, I took a temporary position at a primary care office.  At first, I was thrilled to be in a private office, and thrilled to be working with the general public.  Then the phone rang.  It was a woman looking for an appointment with the nurse practitioner.  Upon asking the reason for the visit, she told me she wanted an prescription for the “abortion pill”.  I was shaken by that call.  After putting her on hold and requesting someone else make the appointment, I went to my supervisor and explained that, because of my moral and ethical beliefs, I could not have any hand in the patient’s appointment.  The supervisor was accepting of my stance and off I went.  When my position ended, I vowed that I would never work in primary care again, and I asked God to save me from being put into situations like that again.

I ended up in neurology and then mental health.  With the mental health practice, I was so blessed to have never encountered clients considering abortion.  If there were any clients, my employers were conscious enough to realize that it would have posed a problem for me, especially with the nature of my position.

After that, I worked for the Church.  What more can I say?  There’s nothing like working in an environment where morality isn’t questioned.   During those years, I found a window “sticker” that states “It’s a child, not a choice.”  Anyone who sees it instantly knows where I stand on this issue.  No one need ask.

When I took my current position for a cardiology practice, I was certain that I would never have to encounter the horror of patients calling to request abortions.

Then three weeks ago, one of the front staff (and a friend) came to me in a panic saying that a patient was on the phone in need of an urgent cardiac clearance–the woman was scheduled to have an abortion that afternoon.  I was so shaken by the request that I reminded my friend that I couldn’t help her; that I couldn’t and wouldn’t even search the schedule for an appointment.  My friend went to my supervisor looking for help (mind you my friend didn’t like taking the call either).  My supervisor immediately came to me and asked if there were any urgent appointments available. Knowing the reason for the request, I refused to answer the question and told my supervisor that my moral and ethical beliefs would not allow me to assist her or the person on the phone.  She fumed at me and then demanded that I look in the schedule and tell her if there were any appointments.  I again refused and told her to look for herself, and then I left my desk.  I was so shaken.  Shaken over the call, shaken over the request and demand of me, shaken by the disrespect for the child whose life was about to be ended, shaken over the realization that the patient would end up suffering tremendously by this horrible decision.  Think about it.  A woman needs to have cardiac clearance to ensure HER safety under anesthesia while the child in her womb is being murdered.  The logic doesn’t fit!

Anyway, I went to the Administrator, and told her what had just transpired–the call, my refusal to assist, the response of my supervisor in front of other staff.  The administrator is a practicing catholic and supported me 100%.  A rarity these days.  After leaving her office, the tears came in torrents.  It’s as if I was experiencing the emotional anguish of what was to take place that afternoon.  Words cannot describe what I felt.

When I returned to my desk, the office was somber.   I know there are women in the office who are on both sides of the issue, but for those who believe the same as I, undoubtedly most are afraid to say anything.  I spoke up!  If nothing else, people went home that day and thought seriously about what they heard and saw transpire.   On a side note, when I left for my lunch, I did text everyone that I could begging for urgent prayers for the woman and for her unborn child.  I don’t know what happened to the woman.

The Way of the Cross is NOT easy, but knowing that I did and said the right thing in God’s eyes outweighs everything else.  I think I can say with certainty that I passed the test that day.

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