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High Priority: Public Comments Needed on American Nurses Association’s New Draft Position Paper on Denying Food and Water

by | Nov 23, 2016

By Nancy Valko

Editor’s note. This important request appears on Nancy’s blog. Her specific rebuttals of portions of the nine-page-long position can be found at nancyvalko.com/2016/11/23/high-priority-public-comments-needed-on-anas-new-draft-position-paper-on-denying-food-and-water. 

d34de971410f7d002d98c2030a51a9d5Although the American Nurses Association (ANA) claims it represents the over 3 million US nurses, only a tiny fraction of nurses actually belong. ANA does not give out the actual number of members.

I used to belong both to my state nursing organization as well as the ANA to try to uphold good nursing ethics and conscience rights for nurses. I finally gave up when my state organization would not address even the conscience rights of nurses in the Nancy Cruzan feeding tube case.

I gave up on the ANA when I discovered that the ANA opposed a ban on partial-birth abortion without notifying its membership. I only found this out when I watched a TV show that mentioned the ANA position. I called the ANA public relations department myself to protest both their position and not notifying members like me and resigned.

Yesterday, I received a call from a nurse in another state who sent me the website for public comments due by 5 pm EST 12/1/2016 about a proposed new ANA position on nutrition and hydration at the end of life.

The proposed position paper is 9 pages long and I sent the following comments with the referenced lines as requested. It would have taken me many pages to address all the issues [See here].

Apparently, the ANA is proposing that the right to refuse to participate ends when the death of the patient is deliberately intended.  Ironically, the ANA’s 2010 position paper on reproductive rights (i.e., abortion) states that

“Also, nurses have the right to refuse to participate in a particular case on ethical grounds. However, if a client’s life is in jeopardy, nurses are obligated to provide for the client’s safety and to avoid abandonment.” (Emphasis added)

Conclusion:

Just this week, it was reported that a union for Australian nurses is backing voluntary euthanasia. The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (South Australian branch) is even partnering with other Compassion and Choices-style groups in Australia to pass a voluntary euthanasia bill. This could well be our future here in the U.S. if we do not respond.

As nurses and citizens, we need to fight for truly patient-safe health care by responding to groups like the ANA through comments sections like the one above (which ends December 1) and in the media. We must also support and insist on ethical health care providers for ourselves and our loved ones as well as protecting our patients. As much as we can, we can also help state and national organizations that fight against euthanasia.

Especially if you are a nurse, consider joining the National Association of Pro-Life Nurses and following our Facebook page.

Our profession, our patients and even our nation are at stake!

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