“I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child—a direct killing of the innocent child—murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another?” (Mother Theresa)
Before I graduated, before I was allowed to wear the blue-ribboned cap of my nursing school, I had to take an oath called “The Nightingale Pledge”:
“I solemnly pledge myself before God and in the presence of this assembly, to pass my life in purity and to practice my profession faithfully. I will abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous, and will not take or knowingly administer any harmful drug. I will do all in my power to maintain and elevate the standard of my profession, and will hold in confidence all personal matters committed to my keeping and all family affairs coming to my knowledge in the practice of my calling. With loyalty will I endeavor to aid the physician, in his work, and devote myself to the welfare of those committed to my care.”
Like many student nurses, I repeated these words with great determination—who among us was not going to go out and save the world? But I’m not so sure, looking back, that I actually paid much attention to what I said. The thrust of the pledge was the doing of good and the avoidance of harm and, for the most part, I believe that I did uphold the pledge. But slowly, over time, a funny thing happened. I began to understand the concepts of harm and welfare not only in clinical terms but also in religious terms. I had, after all, sworn before God to live and practice in purity and faith. However, especially during my 16 years in women’s health, I came to realize that in the real world of medicine and nursing, God and faith were often very far away.
To briefly summarize a very complicated and lengthy change of heart, let me say that I came to see the process of abortion—the taking of pre-born human life—as something harmful, deleterious and often mischievous, not only harmful to the unborn but often to the mother herself and certainly to our society as a whole. I couldn’t rationalize the commandment “Thou Shalt Not Kill” with the practice of treating abortion as simply one more gynecological procedure, available on demand. I came to see the counseling given to women pre-abortion as inexcusably incomplete, nothing like the detailed “informed consent” given to patients prior to other surgical procedures. I found that we too often failed to guide, failed to help, and failed to provide good medical, physical and emotional care. I came to feel the truth of Mother Theresa’s warning:
“America needs no words from me to see how your decision in Roe v. Wade has deformed a great nation. The so-called right to abortion has pitted mothers against their children and women against men. It has sown violence and discord at the heart of the most intimate human relationships. It has aggravated the derogation of the father's role in an increasingly fatherless society. It has portrayed the greatest of gifts—a child—as a competitor, an intrusion, and an inconvenience.”
And so this part of my website is devoted to this simple belief: that children are a gift of God, even when they come at an inconvenient time, even when their arrival is not expected or particularly welcomed. I am not blind to the plight of abused and unwanted children or to the dilemma of the poverty that mostly affects single mothers. If you are familiar with my writing, you know that I have been both poor and a single parent. But the answer is not, I believe, abortion. The answers lie in the deeper reform of our present society, one that looks to self, to possessions, to slick celebrity, to sound bites, to quick cures, to superficial panaceas—one that has either forgotten how to love or chooses not to love when that love, as it always does, involves sacrifice and an outward, rather than an inward, attention. We caregivers do not love our female patients by thoughtlessly performing their abortions or throwing the birth control pill at them as a cure-all. We have failed our women patients, and their children, miserably. It is not easy to be “pro-life”—not an adequate title anyway—in this medical world. But I have decided that this is the only way that I, as a nurse, can continue to practice.
Cortney's Blog: "A Funny Thing Happened"
Birth Control: A Message to Women
In this brochure I explain why, after years of prescribing contraceptives, I decided---for both medical and moral reasons---to stop. I also discuss how various chemical contraceptives work, why they are called "abortifacients," and how they can interfere with relationships. If you are interested in purchasing this informational pamphlet, please send me an e-mail by clicking the button below, or send a query to: Cortneydav@yahoo.com
It a Baby, or Just Some Cells?
In this booklet I tell the story of how,
during my more than 16 years in women's health, I became pro-life.
My mind was changed by the women I cared for, the procedures I observed,
and the abortions in which I participated—a transformation which
occurred over time and not without much hesitation on my part. Understanding
how risky, how unpopular it is to be pro-life in a pro-choice world,
I offer this testimony of my own journey, in hopes that it might help
you on yours.
To Begin Again: The story of a young doctor who chooses life
This new novel by Cortney Davis examines how patients and medical professionals, doctors and nurses, struggle to determine the paths they will take: pro-choice or pro-life?