Twelve pro-life nurses have reached a successful agreement with their employer, the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, who they claimed in a lawsuit required them to participate in abortions or lose their jobs. U.S. District Judge Jose Linares said he would “continue to monitor the situation,” according to the New Jersey Star-Ledger, “to make sure the spirit of the agreement–reached in several hours of negotiation this morning and afternoon–would be followed.”
The nurses’ lawyer, Matt Bowman of the Alliance Defense Fund, told National Right to Life News Today, that the settlement was a victory.
“It is a victory because the hospital finally agreed to obey the law and not force our clients to do any work on abortion cases in violation of their beliefs. The hospital agreed not to penalize our clients in any way because they choose to not help abortions, according to their legal rights. The hospital is required to fully staff all abortion cases so that our clients would never be needed for those cases, and the hospital cannot use pro-abortion staff to replace our clients or reduce their hours. The judge warned the hospital that our clients could return to his court if they were assigned to work abortion cases or if the hospital claims that routine abortions are emergencies. We hope that other hospitals will realize that they should agree to obey conscience laws that protect pro-life medical personnel.”
Bowman previously explained that a change in hospital policy came “out of the blue.” He told Fox News that the hospital “had been performing abortions for decades without forcing nurses to violate their religious beliefs.”
However, according to ADF, in September, the hospital initiated a policy change and began telling Same Day Surgery Unit nurses that they must assist in abortions. The following month hospital imposed the policy on the nurses “and repeatedly threatened that they must assist abortions or be terminated.”
“When one nurse 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,” according to ADF.
The “training” was not merely observing. “The training involves actually assisting surgical abortions, which the nurses believe is, in the words of the U.S. Supreme Court, ‘an act of violence against innocent human life,’” ADF said.
Assisted by the ADF, the nurses took the hospital to court where on November 3, a federal judge granted a temporary restraining order stopping all training, procedures and performances related to abortions for the suing nurses.
The hospital has steadfastly denied that it threatened to fire any of the nurses if they did not comply, which would be a violation of both state and federal law, and that it was demanding only that nurses “perform peripheral duties for abortion patients”—such as “logging information, drawing blood,” etc.
Said Edward B. Deutsch, the Morristown attorney representing the school, “The hospital’s very pleased it’s resolved.”