A Day in the Life of an Abortion Nurse

Ann Litts
Fearless She Wrote
Published in
7 min readJul 5, 2019


Photo by Piron Guillaume on Unsplash

It’s Thursday. I’ve been assigned to OR 3 with one of my favorite scrub techs. It will be a tough day and I’m relieved to have her.

Thursday in my OR is the day our OB/GYN service has block time to schedule D&Es. To the non-medical personnel out there — abortions. Room 3 is their room. I’m their circulating nurse for the duration.

On this Thursday — we have four cases scheduled and a ‘hold’ spot for the end of the day in case one of their partners sees someone in clinic and there is an emergency. Because, yes, there are times when women emergently need to terminate a pregnancy.

As the scrub tech sets up our OR for the first case, I go out to see the first patient.

She is in her late thirties. Her husband is with her. She has stopped sobbing, but she is still clutching the box of tissues the pre-op nurses gave her like the lifeline it is. Her husband holds her other hand. I look through her paperwork and see the doctor has filled out the forms with her to request a chaplain come and bless the products of conception and also for the cremated remains to be sent to her after pathology has completed their examination.

This pregnancy was wanted. Desperately so. In fact, the fetus was a result of IVF (in-vitro fertilization) from our infertility specialty clinic. At sixteen weeks in…