By Dave Andrusko
More than a few readers reacted with anger and concern to our story about twelve nurses who were being forced to choose between their jobs and their consciences (www.nationalrighttolifenews.
But it wasn’t until I had time today to read the lawsuit, filed by the Alliance Defense Fund on behalf of the nurses at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ), that I understood how unjust were the hospital’s actions.
As you probably recall, “out of the blue,” UMDNJ, which had been performing abortions for decades without forcing nurses to violate their religious beliefs, changed its policy. The new policy? Take training in abortions (which means actually assisting in abortions, not merely watch) or be fired.
The ADF filed suit in U.S. District Court in New Jersey, on behalf of the nurses who “possess strongly held religious and moral beliefs that she may not participate in the process of an abortion that causes the death of a preborn child,” according to ADF Legal Counsel Matt Bowman.
“No less than 12 nurses have encountered threats to their jobs at this hospital ever since a policy change required them to participate in the abortions regardless of their religious objections,” he said. “That is flatly illegal.”
The details are fleshed out in the lawsuit. For example, several nurses have already been compelled to participate “by threatening them with termination”—and if nothing is done, “the hospital is planning to force Lorna [Mendoza] and her colleague Julita Ching to assist abortions this Friday, Nov. 4, despite the hospital’s crystal-clear legal obligations not to coerce them,” according to Bowman.
Just how high-handed the hospital has been is illustrated by the case of one nurse who was assigned “to train for abortion without warning or notice to her,” according the lawsuit. “She was first informed when she arrived for her regular morning shift on October 28, 2011.” The lawsuit continued
When [Sharon] Danquah reiterated her religious objections to training in or assisting abortions that morning before the cases began, Defendant [Tammy] Ludwig responded that [the hospital] has ‘no regard for religious beliefs’ of nurses who so object” and “that “’everyone on this floor is required when assigned to do TOPs [termination of pregnancies; abortions]…”
In a story posted at nationalreviewonline today, Bowman wrote
“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.”
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