What the Nurses Knew

Jul 14, 2022 | National Review

Like most adults today, I barely remember life before Roe v. Wade. But I do recall the flashbulb moment when the new world order hit home. One night in 1973, my mother returned from work with something shiny on the collar of her starched white uniform: a silver pin representing two tiny feet. She would wear it at the local hospital from then on, she explained, and so would some of the other nurses. The pins signaled their refusal to participate in abortion — a word I heard that night for the first time. 

This was not an association of Catholics. These were nurses, period: medical professionals in a small-city hospital in upstate New York. They knew from their shifts in labor and maternity wards that what grew within a pregnant woman was no mere “clump of cells.” Long before the sonogram would settle the question forever, nurses and doctors and midwives and others experienced in handling pregnancy and birth knew.

It would take a massive campaign of indoctrination by the country’s most elite institutions, and staggering complicity, to try to obliterate that knowledge. Courts and universities, medical schools and prestige journalism, Hollywood and the arts, trend-setters and jet-setters all thronged to the challenge. It would take culture-wide mendacity of a most vigorous and self-interested kind to replace what the nurses knew with one bold lie after another: Violence toward the unborn is a human rightMothers and children are natural enemiesCareer comes first. My body, my choice.

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