Former nurse practitioner Robyn Strader has filed a complaint against CVS with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on the grounds that the drug store chain terminated her employment after she refused to fill a prescription for contraceptives that are potential abortifacients.
The First Liberty Institute, a non-profit group, filed the letter with the EEOC on behalf of Strader. The letter explains that, as a practicing Christian, Strader refused to prescribe birth control on the basis that many of those contraceptives are actually abortifacients. Strader asked for a religious accommodation before she was hired over six years ago, and at that time, CVS agreed. The letter then explains, “[f]or the next 6.5 years, CVS accommodated Ms. Strader with no issues. On the rare occasions someone requested contraception, Ms. Strader referred them to the other nurse practitioner at her location or to another CVS MinuteClinic two miles away.”
However, in August 2021, CVS changed its position. According to the complaint, “CVS announced that all nurses must perform essential services related to pregnancy prevention” — including contraception. The letter goes on to say that in September, CVS “would no longer honor religious accommodations regarding pregnancy prevention services and that Ms. Strader had no religious accommodation on file with CVS.” Strader did not change her position and was subsequently fired in October.
“I am a Christian and longtime member of a Baptist Church,” Strader said. “I believe that all human life is created in God’s image and should be protected. For this reason, I cannot participate in facilitating an abortion or participate in facilitating contraceptive use that could prevent the implantation of an embryo, cause an abortion, or contribute to infertility.”
The Christian Post reports that in response to the suit, CVS stood by its actions, saying that while it would grant “reasonable accommodations due to religious beliefs,” it was policy for nurses to perform “essential functions” of their job. CVS’ Executive Director of Corporate Communications Mike DeAngelis said that “educating and treating patients regarding sexual health matters — including pregnancy prevention, sexually transmitted infection perfection, and safer sex practices,” were considered “essential job functions of our providers and nurses.”
Strader objects to prescribing certain forms of birth control because they can, in fact, cause an abortion. For instance, emergency contraception works to prevent the egg from implanting in the mother’s womb. If that egg has been fertilized (and therefore, is a new human life) — that is, if it has fused with sperm — preventing implantation aborts that preborn child.
Strader’s plight points to the importance of conscience protections in the workplace. No person should be forced to participate in any action that violates their religious convictions, especially if that action may result in the death of a preborn child.
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