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Pro-life nurse forced to assist an abortion

posted at 11:45 am on December 12, 2009 by

This is certainly not an unusual case, or else we wouldn’t have federal statutes to prevent it. In New York, a Catholic nurse was forced to participate in abortion, despite the fact that her supervisors knew of her moral objection to it. When she initially refused, they threatened her job.

The Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) has filed a lawsuit on behalf of a Catholic nurse who was forced to participate in an abortion, despite voicing her moral objections.

Catherina Cenzon-DeCarlo, a nurse at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, was instructed to assist in a late second-trimester abortion for a woman 22 weeks into her pregnancy. The hospital had known of the nurse’s religious objections to abortion since she was hired in 2004.

Cenzon-DeCarlo reminded her supervisors of her religious objections, but was told that if she did not participate, she would be charged with “insubordination and patient abandonment,” which could result in disciplinary action and the possible loss of her job and nursing license

Hospital officials told Cenzon-DeCarlo that the situation was an “emergency,” although evidence suggests that this was not the case. The hospital itself labeled the case as a “Category II,” meaning that the operation needed to take place within six hours. This would have allowed enough time to find another nurse without moral objections to assisting in the abortion, her lawyers said.

Matt Bowman, legal counsel for the ADF, explained that the hospital could not legally have required the nurse to participate in the abortion even if the case had been a “Category I,” meaning that the patient required “immediate surgical intervention for life or limb threatening conditions.” Federal statutes prohibit recipients of federal health funds from requiring employees to perform abortions, Bowman told CNA.

However, the evidence in the case suggested that the patient was not even at the “Category II” level, as the hospital had claimed. When the woman was brought into the room, Cenzon-DeCarlo observed no indications that the case was a medical emergency. The woman’s blood pressure was not at a crisis level, and standard procedures for patients in crisis had not been taken. Yet the nurse was still required to aid in the abortion.

When CNA contacted Mount Sinai, officials refused to comment or explain why the nurse was asked to participate in the abortion. Officials stated that they would not comment because a lawsuit is pending.

Now, the ADF has filed a lawsuit against Mount Sinai for violating Cenzon-DeCarlo’s rights of conscience.

… Earlier this month, President Obama promised that a “robust conscience clause” would be forthcoming, but critics are skeptical after his earlier decision to repeal conscience provisions put in place by the Bush administration.

My first thought is how cruel this is — to force someone to participate in something that they have such a strong moral objection to. If her supervisors knew of her objections to performing abortions for five years now, and then forced her to assist one anyways, then that seems to me like a petty, cruel thing to do. As explained in the article, the hospital is claiming that the patient was a Category II case, meaning the operation needed to take place within six hours. That would have been more than enough time to find a nurse without moral objections to perform the abortion. Yet instead, they sought out the Catholic nurse who they knew had moral and religious objections to abortion, and forced her to do it. That is cruel, and unnecessarily so.

Unfortunately, this is all too common and in a variety of ways. It’s mostly thanks to feminists who howl in rage if anyone has a moral objection against anything they feel is a “reproductive right”. Doctors and nurses who don’t want to perform abortions, pharmacists who don’t want to dispense the morning after pill or contraception… they’re all told that they’re required to do these things and if they don’t like it, to get out of their field. Organizations like Pharmacists for Life International find themselves the target of feminist wrath. And whether it’s regarding pharmacists, doctors, or nurses, the end point is still the same each time: it’s about restricting choice. This is America, where free-market capitalism is supposed to reign. A business owner can operate his or her business how they want to. They can sell whatever goods or products they want to — and likewise, refuse to sell whatever goods or products they don’t want to sell. Customers, meanwhile, are free to shop wherever they choose. If they don’t like a pharmacy that refuses to sell contraception, or a doctor’s office that won’t perform abortions, they can go elsewhere. Some people though — ironically, most so-called pro-choicers — don’t want people to have that choice, though. Abortion is legal, so therefore, all doctors and nurses must be willing to perform it, no matter what their religious and moral principles tell them.

What’s worrying is how prevalent these cases may become if Obama’s government run healthcare reform passes. Obama is arguably the most extreme pro-abortion president we’ve ever had. This is the guy who voted three times against the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, which would guarantee medical treatment for babies who survive abortions. He’s repealing conscience provisions put in place by President Bush. If his health care reform passes, complete with the inevitable more taxpayer funding for abortion, what kind of protection are pro-life doctors and nurses going to have? My guess would be very little. Hopefully Cenzon-DeCarlo wins her suit.

No one should have to be forced to do something that they feel goes against their religious and moral principles. But in Obama’s hopier, changier America, is that where we’re heading?

Hat Tip: Stop the ACLU

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Cross-posted from Cassy’s blog. Stop by for more original commentary or follow her on Twitter!

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I’d lose my job before I’d participate in an abortion. I’m not saying any of this is right or fair, obviously it’s not but no one held a gun to this nurse to force her to participate. I’d quit or get fired and then take it to court.

beachgirlusa on December 12, 2009 at 12:22 PM

To force anyone who opposes the murder of an unborn child to participate in the evil procedure of abortion is an abomination. I truly hope that Cenzon-DeCarlo prevails in her lawsuit.

However, as a Christian, if I were in the same situation, I would have instantly quit my job (and then filed a lawsuit) regardless of the impact that being unemployed would have had upon my finances. There is not enough money in this world to cause me to take the life of an unborn child.

GrannyDee on December 12, 2009 at 12:26 PM

This post has been promoted to HotAir.com.

Comments have been closed on this post but the discussion continues here.

Ed Morrissey on December 12, 2009 at 1:01 PM