Ethical dilemma for nursing job

I am a NICU nurse and I have a job interview coming up at a large metro hospital. It is not specifically a children’s hospital, so they of course have various clinical specialties - including a women’s center. I looked at their website and found in their “services offered” section, a long list of prenatal testing - including “early genetic testing”, “amniocentesis” “genetic counseling”, etc.

Now, I know that the physicians often counsel prospective parents to terminate their pregnancy if there is a genetic abnormality. It happens frequently, and for abnormalities as minor as cleft palate, unfortunately.

My question is this: Can I, as a Catholic, work in a facility where I know women will be counseled about terminating their pregnancies? Obviously, as a neonatal ICU nurse, I would be completely uninvolved in any such scenario, but I would still be working in the same hospital.


Prenatal testing and amniocentesis are morally neutral. You can assist with those legitimately. There are many reasons to get prenatal testing and many women who would never consider abortion get testing. In my case, a certain kidney malformation is genetically present. Prenatal testing was done to see if the baby might have to be delivered early or if special treatment would have been available as soon as he was born.

You are not responsible for what others do with the information.

I couldn’t have put it better than Corki. I hope the job interview goes well for you.


You might even consider that being place there is an opportunity for you to do some good work in that area. Many times people confide in nurses some things that they won’t tell doctors. Someday, sometime, you might be a Saint to a woman considering an abortion. :thumbsup:

Thank you for your responses :slight_smile:


ask to speak to an ethicist.

They are the experts …

I did contact the Catholic Bioethics center and this was their response:

*Thank you for contacting us. Hopefully this reply reaches you in time. There is no moral objection to taking the nursing job so long as your nursing activities have no connection with the activities of the women’s center at the hospital. You can work in the same organization, and not contribute to or assist in the evil actions taking place in other departments. Other people are performing those evil actions, and are relying on assistance you do not provide (since you would be providing good nursing care in a different department). The most important point is, you would not be assisting in or contributing to the counseling (for abortion) in any way by your activities in the NICU. Thank you for contacting us.

Stephen Napier Ph.D.
National Catholic Bioethics Center*


So, supposing you take the position as a Critical Care or Neonatal Care nurse, but you get transferred to the Women’s Health Center? You decline the position, or make it known that you won’t participate in abortive counseling?

Tough moral position, especially in today’s employment climate…

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit