Greetings, fellow nurses. I came to the field after several other professional lives, obtaining my BSN from Northern Kentucky University in 2008. I'm a Kentuckian by birth and in virtue of having lived there my whole life, but since starting my nursing practice at University of Cincinnati Medical Center, also claim a strong stake in the well-being of Ohioans. This is my first ONA Blog post.
This past week, the ONA sent Gov Mike DeWine a letter opposing the medical practitioner right of refusal of care that was inserted at the last minute (and without an opportunity for comment) in the Ohio budget. I am so proud of this action by the ONA. Despite many phone calls, letters, social media posts from individuals and organizations, Gov DeWine did not veto this measure. It is horrifying to me that the bill never identified which patients could be refused care because of the nurse's or doctor's or other healthcare professional's religious beliefs, and no religion was specifically named. This is horrifying because this measure represents an assumption that all healthcare professionals are Christian, and that LGBTQ patients are not human beings.
Yes, I know another unsaid word is "abortion." I am a Christian but also partake of other faith traditions. I don't want anyone to have to obtain an abortion, but I recognize there are agonizing life situations in which a pregnant person doesn't see any other way out -- birth defects that imperil the life of the fetus even still in the uterus, rape, for example. Unless you yourself have walked in that person's shoes, I don't believe you have a right to legislate away that person's free will.
I ask that any Ohio nurses concerned about this and other attempts to deny LGBTQ human beings their rights contact me. We all of us know that crucial 1st provision of our Code of Ethics: the nurse practices with compassion and respect for the inherent dignity, worth, and unique attributes of every person. I believe all of us should be deeply offended by this terribly motivated "permission" to violate our ethics. Thank you for reading, Nisia Thornton RN BSN MSN