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ABSTRACT

In 1971, the Board of Directors of the American College of Nurse-Midwives approved a statement that prohibited certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) from performing abortions. In 1990, the statement was superseded by a second “Statement on Abortion,” which essentially reworded the 1971 statement with no substantive change. In 1991, 20 years after the first statement was adopted, a resolution was approved at the Annual Meeting recommending that the Board of Directors rescind the statement, thereby allowing individual CNMs to utilize the guidelines for the incorporation of new procedures into nurse-midwifery practice if she/he decides to provide abortions. This article describes the historical basis for the initial 1971 statement in the hope that an understanding of that history will assist nurse-midwives as they reconsider the statement.