by Jack Minor –
A New Jersey judge is being asked by a hospital for permission to break the law, according to an attorney for the Alliance Defense Fund.
According to the ADF, in September the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey initiated a policy change and told staff members in the Same Day Surgery Unit they would now be required to assist with abortions and those refusing to do so could be terminated.
Matt Bowman, legal counsel with the ADF said the hospital’s policy is basically saying “Christians need not apply, when it comes to the healthcare field.” The organization is representing 12 nurses who object to being forced to violate their conscience regarding abortion, which they regard as the taking of a life.
When one particular nurse objected, she was told the hospital has “no regard for religious beliefs” regarding abortion. On Oct. 14 the nurses began their training, which involved assisting in surgical abortions.
After nurse Lorna Jose-Mendoze was scheduled to assist with abortions, Judge Jose Linares issued an order barring the hospital from requiring “the named plaintiffs from undergoing any training, procedures or performances relating to abortions pending the court’s determination on the merits.”
According to the ADF’s lawsuit, the hospital may be forced to return funds received from the federal government as a result of their actions.
“UMDNJ’s coercion of the nurses is a blatant violation of federal and state law, which explicitly prohibit UMDNJ from penalizing employees including plaintiffs because they object to assisting abortions,” the lawsuit explains. “Because UMDNJ’s federal tax funding is also conditioned on UMDNJ not discriminating against employees’ civil rights when they object to assisting abortions, the nurses also seek an order requiring UMDNJ to disgorge the nearly $60 million in federal health funding that it received in 2011, and an order requiring that UMDNJ be disqualified from receiving additional federal health funding unless and until it demonstrates compliance by ceasing its illegal coercion to assist abortions.”
The judge also said in his order that the hospital could not discriminate “in the employment, promotion, or termination of employment of, or in the extension of staff or other privileges to the named plaintiffs based on any of the plaintiffs’ refusal to undergo training, procedures or performances relating to abortions.”
Following the judge’s order, the hospital informed the nurses the hospital could change their duties or transfer them to another nursing facility because of their objections to “performing certain of your current job duties.” Bowman said the phrase is a reference to the new abortion requirements and that the intimidating tactics fly in the face of the judge’s order against retaliation.
Bowman said that the hospital has not yet violated the judge’s order, but they are claiming they have the right to force employees to participate in performing abortions.
“The only thing stopping them right now is the court order. They are arguing they should be allowed to force the nurses to assist in the abortions,” Bowman said. “The hospital filed a brief Tuesday, arguing why it should be allowed to break the law and violate the nurse’s conscience rights.”
“Abortion institutions around the country think that they can violate clear federal and state laws that prohibit forcing a person to participate in an abortion. This is a very clear violation of religious freedom.”
Bowman said the ADF has filed similar cases around the country. “I filed a case against Vanderbilt University in Tenn. for requiring all nurse applicants to promise they would assist in performing abortions or their application would not even be considered.”
Prior to Obama’s inauguration he stated one of his first goals as president would be to overturn a Bush era executive order guaranteeing conscience protections for healthcare workers.
Recently former Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi has expressed contempt for healthcare workers being able to follow the dictates of their conscience.
LifeNews.com reported that Pelosi was upset that the U.S. Catholic Bishops are protesting a possible Obama administration decision to force insurance companies to provide birth control and other drugs that could cause abortion without allowing for some religious groups to be exempt.
Pelosi says allowing hospitals to have conscience protections is akin to them saying “to a woman, ‘I’m sorry you could die’ if you don’t get an abortion.” Pelosi went on to say she is a devout Catholic and those who disagree with her on abortion “have this conscience thing.”
Pelosi also said that Republicans who wanted to prevent Obamacare from covering abortions “want women to die on the floor.”