By Dave Andrusko
While the nuts and bolts of any story are essential, the “human element” is what makes it real to someone who is not directly involved.
Readers of National Right to Life News Today are familiar with the case of twelve New Jersey nurses who are suing one of the state’s largest hospitals for compelling them to choose between their pro-life convictions—not participating in ANY way with abortions—and retaining their jobs. (www.nationalrighttolifenews.org/news/2011/11/rep-chris-smith-joins-%E2%80%9Cnurses-of-conscience%E2%80%9D-at-press-conference/; www.nationalrighttolifenews.org/news/2011/11/judge-issues-tro-temporarily-stopping-new-jersey-hospital-from-compelling-pro-life-nurses-to-assist-in-abortions).
In response to a lawsuit filed on the nurses’ behalf by the Alliance Defense Fund, the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey insists that nurses are not required to have direct involvement in abortions, which infuriates the nurses, Congressman Chris Smith, and the nurses’ attorney, Matt Bowman.
Bowman quoted from an email from the hospital’s attorneys which Bowman pointed out was factually incorrect. First, nurses had been required—and had participated—in abortions. Second, the hospital conceded that “they [the nurses] are required to provide patients who have elected to terminate their pregnancies with pre-operative care (not including the administration of induction medications), and postoperative care.” To the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, “Pre- and post-operative care provided to these patients is of the same nature as that provided to patients who have undergone other surgical procedures.” Talk about missing the point.
But this was a necessary evasion. Because as Congressman Smith pointed out in Monday’s press conference, “UMDNJ’s coercive anti-conscience policy is not only highly unethical but blatantly illegal. Federal and state law couldn’t be clearer on this matter.”
I’ve included the press statements of nurses Fe Vinoya and Beryl Otieno Ngoje. By all means, please read them.
Fe Vinoya also gave an interview to Fox News & Commentary yesterday. When given the choice—“assist with abortion procedures or be fired”—she said, “It felt like the whole world crashed on me,” adding, “You could sense the sadness in all of us. We felt betrayed.”
Vinoya went home and told her family the news.
“’That day my eight year old son was learning about The Ten Commandments in church,’ she said. ‘He recited the sixth commandment – we are not to kill anyone. I just cried. I knew that God had given me hope and that he is really on our side.’
“She said she received further affirmation from her 13-year-old son who was working on a school project about religious freedom.
“’This fight really is a good fight,’ she said. We are talking about religious freedom and it’s being violated right in front of us.’”
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Defiant: At a press conference outside the hospital, the nurses, led by Fe Vinoya (bottom), speak out against a new policy ‘that insists they take part in abortions’