In November 2017, three nurses spoke at a press conference in favor of the Conscience Protection Act, which will soon be voted on in Congress. If passed, the Conscience Protection Act would prevent pro-life nurses and other medical workers from being forced to assist with abortion. The law would forbid hospitals, doctor’s offices, and other health care centers from firing employees who refuse to help kill preborn babies.
Nurse Cathy DeCarlo is a devout Catholic whose faith inspired her to choose a career in nursing in order to help people. The same faith leads her to view human life as sacred and oppose killing preborn children. She says:
My faith in God and the Catholic Church’s teachings about the sanctity of all human life further inspired my career in nursing as it encouraged me to serve all those who are sick with gentleness and respect. My faith also informed my conscience to never harm or intentionally take the life of an innocent person.
When DeCarlo accepted a job at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, the hospital administration promised her she would never have to assist with abortions. However, just five years after she began working at Mount Sinai, she was order to help abort a 22-week-old preborn baby.
Not only was DeCarlo threatened with the loss of her job if she refused to help abort the baby, she was told she would lose her nursing license as well. The hospital threatened to charge her with insubordination and patient abandonment and take disciplinary action. This would have meant the end of her career as a nurse. DeCarlo tried to assert her right to conscientiously object, but her supervisor refused to listen. Faced with the loss of a career that she loved and her ability to help other patients, DeCarlo succumbed to the pressure and helped with the abortion. Her job was to count the body parts and make sure all pieces of the baby had been aborted.
The abortion was done by D&E. In a D&E abortion, the abortionist dismembers the baby with forceps, pulling the child apart piece by piece. After extracting the arms, legs, torso, and organs, the abortionist crushes the baby’s skull and removes it. In the video below, former abortionist Dr. Anthony Levatino explains the procedure:
DeCarlo sobbed while describing what she witnessed during the abortion:
I’ll never forget that day as I watched in horror as the doctor dismembered and removed the baby’s bloody limbs and I had to account for all the pieces. I still have nightmares about that day.
At 22 weeks, the baby was likely to have experienced pain during the dismemberment. He or she was fully formed, with every organ and body system present.
Another nurse who spoke in favor of the Conscience Protection Act was Fe Vinoya. Vinoya was one of 12 nurses at the University Hospital in New Jersey who were threatened with losing their jobs if they did not help commit abortions. Vinoya says:
After years of working as a critical care and emergency room nurse, I never imagined that the hospital I worked for would force me to choose between taking the life of an unborn child and losing my job. I became a nurse to help people, not to do harm.
The third nurse to speak, Sandra Mendoza, lost her job at the Winnebago County Health Department in Illinois when she refused to assist with abortions. Mendoza had worked for the health department for 18 years, but was dismissed when she would not violate her conscience by taking part in an abortion procedure.
These nurses were put in a position that no medical professional should be forced into: having to choose between their careers and helping to kill a developing human being.
The actual text of the Conscience Protection Act, which was introduced in the House on January 24, 2017, is:
This bill amends the Public Health Service Act to codify the prohibition against the federal government and state and local governments that receive federal financial assistance for health-related activities penalizing or discriminating against a health care provider based on the provider’s refusal to be involved in, or provide coverage for, abortion. Health care providers include health care professionals, health care facilities, social services providers, health care professional training programs, and health insurers.
The Office for Civil Rights of the Department of Health and Human Services, in coordination with the Department of Justice (DOJ), must investigate complaints alleging discrimination based on an individual’s religious belief, moral conviction, or refusal to be involved in an abortion.
DOJ or any entity adversely affected by such discrimination may obtain equitable or legal relief in a civil action. Administrative remedies do not need to be sought or exhausted prior to commencing an action or granting relief. Such an action may be brought against a governmental entity.
If the bill passes, nurses like Mendoza, Vinoya, and DeCarlo will no longer be coerced into helping with abortions.