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Supreme Court of the United States

NJ Hospital Administrators Flout Law To Violate Conscience Rights

By Alan Sears posted on:
October 17, 2017

Alliance Defense Fund attorneys have successfully (for now) frozen a New Jersey hospital’s efforts to force its nurses to participate in the cold-blooded termination of life in the womb.

That compulsion has been happening for the last month to several of 12 nurses employed in the Same Day Surgery Unit of a hospital run by the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.  In September, UMDNJ announced a policy change that would require all nurses in the unit to undergo training for, and then assist with, abortions. Supervisors began imposing the policy in October, forcing the nurses, one by one, to train by actually assisting surgical abortions.

Many nurses at the hospital consider abortion to be, in the words of the U.S. Supreme Court, “an act of violence against innocent human life.” Their protests have been met repeatedly with threats of termination. When one nurse explained that participating in abortions would violate her religious beliefs, her supervisor replied that UMDNJ has “no regard for religious beliefs.”

On October 31, Alliance Defense Fund attorneys filed suit against UMDNJ, citing federal and state laws that explicitly protect these nurses from being forced to participate in abortions.

Federal law, for instance, prohibits hospitals that receive certain federal funds – UMDNJ receives approximately $60 million such funds annually – from forcing employees to assist with abortions. And New Jersey law specifically states that “No person shall be required to perform or assist in the performance of an abortion or sterilization.”

“Nurses should not be forced to participate in taking a baby’s life,” says ADF Legal Counsel Matt Bowman. “No less than 12 nurses have encountered threats to their jobs at this hospital ever since [this] policy change. That is flatly illegal.”

The ADF lawsuit asks that the hospital be ordered to return part of the federal taxpayer money it has received in light of its violation of federal law. ADF attorneys also asked the court to issue an order stopping the training sessions while this lawsuit moves forward. On November 3, the court granted that request, with the hospital's last-minute consent – saving nurses Lorna Mendoza and Julita Ching from having to assist in abortion cases the very next morning, and protecting all the nurses from such compulsion pending a November 18 hearing. If, on that day, the hospital again asks permission to violate the law and the nurses' rights, ADF will be there.

Demetrios K. Stratis, one of nearly 2,100 attorneys in the ADF alliance is local counsel in the case, Danquah v. University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.

Cases like this are increasingly common in the U.S., as the battle over abortion spurs attacks on rights of individual conscience. ADF is involved in a similar lawsuit in New York state court. Please be in prayer for medical professionals and health care workers nationwide who are being pressured to ignore their deepest faith convictions, just to facilitate the killing of human lives.

And please pray for our attorneys, as they work diligently to preserve life and protect our God-given rights of conscience as protected by the Constitution.

Alan Sears

Alan Sears


Alan Sears served as founder of Alliance Defending Freedom, building on his experience as longtime leader of the organization to strengthen alliances, forge new relationships, and develop ADF resources.

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