With a federal court’s recent dismissal of the American Civil Liberties Union’s lawsuit against Trinity Health, a Catholic hospital system, the message was loud and clear:
Medical professionals cannot be forced to perform an abortion, especially if their beliefs prohibit it.
This was not the only victory we’ve seen for pro-life medical professionals. In honor of Throwback Thursday (#tbt), we’d like to remind you of some of the cases in which the rights of medical professionals to operate according to their beliefs were upheld.
Cathy DeCarlo, an operating room nurse in New York City, made it abundantly clear to her hospital that she would not perform abortions. The hospital agreed she would not be forced to violate her Catholic faith. But five years into her work at the hospital, Cathy was called to assist with what she was told was a miscarriage procedure. She soon found out that the procedure was actually an abortion. Despite her efforts to be removed from the case, she was forced to assist a gruesome 22-week abortion.
Cathy contacted Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) for help and filed complaints against her supervisors for forcing her to violate her beliefs. After a federal investigation, the hospital changed its policies to protect the rights of their medical personnel so that no one else would be put in Cathy’s position.
Dr. Nancy Fredericks
Dr. Nancy Fredericks, an anesthesiologist at a University of Wisconsin owned surgical center, found out that the center was planning to take on the 20-week abortion procedures of a local Planned Parenthood facility. Alarmed that the center would do this without informing or protecting their staff, she reached out to ADF for help.
ADF sent a letter to the board and public officials asking them to honor the conscience rights of their staff. With ADF’s input, Nancy and pro-life organizations across the state addressed the board, organized marches, made calls, sent emails, and staged boycotts to prevent public entities from getting involved in abortion and medical personnel being pressured to assist. Eventually, the surgical center announced that they abandoned their plans to perform late-term abortions.
12 New Jersey Nurses
Twelve nurses at a New Jersey hospital were informed of a new policy that required them to assist with elective abortion procedures or be transferred, or worse, fired. The hospital even forced three of the nurses to handle abortion cases. One nurse immediately reached out to Alliance Defending Freedom and local allied attorney Demetrios Stratis for help.
ADF and Stratis filed a lawsuit against the hospital. They obtained a temporary order protecting the nurses from immediate abortion training. Then in the courtroom for the hearing, they successfully pushed for a settlement where the hospital agreed not to force its employees to perform abortions and not to punish its employees for refusing to do so.
California v. Conscience Laws
The State of California sued the U.S. government to strike down the Weldon Amendment, a pro-life law that Congress wrote to ensure tax dollars are not given to government entities if they force people to participate in or help with abortions.
Like the current ACLU v. Trinity Health case, ADF, along with the Christian Legal Society, intervened on behalf of three pro-life physician organizations to help protect and uphold the law. Ultimately, the courts rejected California’s attempt to get rid of the law and protected the rights of pro-life medical professionals.
Give thanks for theses victories and the courage of those who stand for life!
Pray with us that God would continue to grant victories for the sanctity of life and to affirm the freedom of medical professionals to work according to their beliefs.