After Vermont incident, nurse tells pro-life nurses to stay out of health care

By Mary Margaret Olohan

Nurses who don’t want to provide abortions should not go into health care, according to associate professor and clinician-scientist Monica R. McLemore.

McLemore bashed pro-life nurses in an op-ed in Vice titled “If You Don’t Want to Provide Abortions, Don’t Go Into Health Care.

“To be clear, I respect people’s desires not to do things that go against their moral or religious beliefs,” the registered nurse wrote. “I know that professional nursing in the United States was established in religiously affiliated institutions. However, people shouldn’t go into health care if they don’t want to provide health care.”

University of Vermont Medical Center

UVM Medical Center

McLemore referred to a case involving a nurse at the University of Vermont Medical Center (UVMMC) who filed a conscience and religious complaint with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights against UVMMC.

The nurse’s complaint, filed on May 9, 2018, said she was forced to assist in an abortion that violated her conscience rights, according to HHS.

HHS notified UVMMC on Aug. 28 that the center had violated the nurse’s rights — a notification that demands the center bring its rules into compliance with federal requirements within 30 days or face losing federal funds, including $1.6 million received from HHS’s Health Resources and Services Administration over the past three years, according to The Washington Post.

“There’s a larger issue here that isn’t being discussed,” McLemore wrote. “Who is worthy to serve the public with comprehensive reproductive services, and what are the standards of care that should be provided?”

“Privileging the health care workforce over the needs of the public runs counter to our commitment to patient-centered care,” McLemore wrote. She argued conscience rules disproportionately affect people of color.

“This is why the accommodations for conscience need to be re-examined as unethical and incompatible with the social contract to which members of the health professions commit,” McLemore wrote.

The associate professor said she would have asked the nurse “to wrestle with why her discomfort with abortion kept her from empathizing with the person who needed it.”

“My research has shown that nurses wrestle with ethically challenging care in real time, because there are few places in their educational preparation and on-the-job training to do so,” McLemore wrote. “Once afforded the opportunity to critically dissect their views and clarify their values, nurses are able to understand that the people we serve are experts by experience and know best what they need — more so than we do.”

Other medical professionals disagree with McLemore’s point of view.

“Despite the euphemisms of abortion as ‘women’s health care,’ it must be emphasized that abortion is not health care,” Dr. Ingrid Skop, a board member of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “It is a medical procedure that addresses the social problem of unintended pregnancy.”

“Disrupting the normal process of pregnancy and ending the life of a baby by abortion is the very antithesis of health care,” Skop added.

Skop also said that while she agreed with McLemore that serving as a medical professional is a privilege, she also understands “the harm that can result to a woman and her child from the medical unnecessary procedure of abortion, and I do not choose to use my healing skills for a life-destroying procedure.”

“Abortion is not health care, and no twisted logic can justify it as health care,” David Prentice, vice president and research director for the Charlotte Lozier Institute, told the DCNF.

“It would be tragic to force any health care worker to break their sacred oath committed to healing and coerce them to participate in an act so clearly against their conscience,” Prentice added.

Registered Nurse and Family Nurse Practitioner Sharon MacKinnon commented on the matter when HHS notified UVMMC, saying that “Doctors and nurses should never be forced to choose between risking their jobs or violating the dictates of their consciences in assisting or performing an abortion.”

“The convictions that stop me from assisting in abortion – the taking of an innocent human life – are the same convictions of compassion and care for the most vulnerable that drew me to the nursing profession in the first place,” McKinnon said in a statement. “I’m grateful the law has been rightly enforced in this instance, as it should be in all cases, so that what happened to this nurse never happens to another medical provider.”

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities for this original content, email

Image courtesy of University of Vermont Medical Center

9 thoughts on “After Vermont incident, nurse tells pro-life nurses to stay out of health care

  1. So Ms. McLemore help me understand your ridiculous reasoning that people who become nurses and provide the much needed and selfless care that they give to actual sick people suffering from cancer, heart disease, aids and so many other illnesses and injuries should not go into this field if they do not want to murder helpless babies. While I certainly understand the need for abortions in certain cases such as rape, incest, and saving the mothers life there are plenty of people willing to perform these services. What I cannot understand is your reasoning that any nurses who do not want to assist in abortions should get out of or never get into nursing at all. I cannot think of anything more stupid than this article other than Vermonts babbling moonbat who thinks he is going to be the next president. If you should ever write another article you should probably read it out loud to yourself thirty or forty times and make sure you do not come off as the idiot that you have portrayed yourself here.

    • Totally agree with your statement…good job. I wonder where the religous of this state are when they don’t comment publicly about statements made by this woman and Bernard Sanders? Shocking lack of support for the unborn, defenseless . Also no comment by the Bishop on the hospital that was given to UVM medical center years ago that is now directly associated with abortions.

    • There will be a nice warm place in hell for these people that think its ok to kill these babys that have a heartbeat. There is no reason on earth that they should be doing that. They need to think about where the are going to spend ETERNITY. Forever is a very long time.

  2. A real-world Nurse Ratched. Thankfully it’s a little known and meaningless associate professor, not involved in actual nursing.

  3. The nurse was told that the procedure was a D & C and then after scrubbing in and already ready in the operating is was an abortion, what part of bait and switch don’t you understand. Ms. McLemore? I certainly hope and pray that none of my friends/family in Vermont end up with you in the hospital. The next step for all of you power hungry leftists is deciding when someone is at the end of their useful life. God Help Us…we are de-evolving.

  4. Oh gracious – I know that it’s become the standard for your profession to hold the view that “comprehensive reproductive services” and “health care” includes the correction of reproductive mistakes and the extermination of the issue from such mistakes, but you must know that most of us don’t buy into this delusional network? Couldn’t your augment, that only those who buy this idea should be in health care, just as easily be pointed at those of you who champion such death?

Comments are closed.