A stunning story related to us by Matt Bowman of the Alliance Defense Fund (which represents the twelve nurses in this story):
Before October 2011, Lorna Mendoza and her nurse colleagues at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey served patients every day in the same day surgery unit without any hint that the hospital’s respect for the nurses’ religious beliefs was about to come crashing down around them.
Then the hospital announced that all nurses in the unit must assist with abortions or lose their job. Even though they objected, the hospital is still planing to force Lorna and Julita to assist at abortions this Friday.
This really is an open-and-shut case in favor of the rights of the nurses not to assist at abortions. Under New Jersey state law, Federal Law, and following Supreme Court precedent, you can’t force someone to perform or assist at an abortion. Period.
Yet when one of the twelve nurses objected to assisting abortions on the grounds of her religious beliefs, a supervisor responded that UMDNJ has “no regard for religious beliefs” of nurses who object to participating in abortions, even though the supervisor admitted that the abortions are elective.
I’m glad to see that the Alliance Defense Fund is aggressively defending the conscience rights of these nurses — and demanding penalties to be given to the hospital:
ADF is not only seeking a reversal of UMDNJ’s new policy, but is also asking the court to order the hospital to return a portion of the millions of federal dollars they’ve received. The money came with known and justifiable strings attached, but UMDNJ is obviously trying to break its public promise not to discriminate, and to get away with it.
The court needs to make sure such lawless hospitals understand that things just don’t work like that in a free society.
In our efforts to build a culture of life we must especially remain vigilant that pro-life nurses and pro-life doctors are allowed to practice medicine free from the coercion to assist or perform abortions. It’s amazing to me that the pro-abortion side which supposedly values the “freedom to choose” so often attempts to deny pro-life people the freedom to choose life in their professional medical practice.
So let’s hope (and pray) that these nurses are not forced to assist at abortions!
UPDATE — ADF attorney Matt Bowman has secured a temporary restraining order from a judge that “prohibits [the] New Jersey hospital from forcing any of 12 nurses that sued the facility to participate in training or services related to abortions.” More here.