UVM Nurse Forced to Perform Abortion Against Religious Beliefs

Tags: Currents, Abortion, Catholic Education, Faith, Pro-Life

Currents News Staff

A new federal lawsuit centers on an allegation that a Vermont hospital forced a nurse to help perform an abortion, despite moral objections.

“They did not respect those who had this conscience objection to abortion,” said Francis J. Manion of the American Center for Law and Justice.

Minion says his client was on the so-called ‘opt-out’ list because of their Catholic faith but feared repercussions from the hospital if they refused to work on that type of procedure.

[Related: USCCB Committee Chairmen Commend Administration for Actions Enforcing Conscience Law on Abortion]

“There was other staff available who could have stepped in and just didn’t and we think that’s because that was sort of the toxic atmosphere there with regard to this issue,” said Manion.

The University of Vermont Medical Center was put on notice after a report from the federal government that claims a nurse’s civil rights were violated when they were forced to aid in an abortion.

“Our client talks about a systemic disdain for the rights of conscience and they want to see that fixed,” Manion added.

Federal law allows medical workers to withdraw from performing abortions for religious or moral objections.

In a report from the Department of Health and Human Services and the Office of Civil Rights, investigators found the nurse was, at least on one occasion, “Led to believe they were scheduled to assist in a procedure that did not involve the abortion when in fact it did. They objected but were coerced by UVMMC into participating. The experience left them deeply traumatized.”

UVM Medical Center’s Interim President, Dr. Stephen Leffler, says the hospital has invited regulators to suggest updates to their conscientious objection policy, but believes it already meets a robust standard.

“We did a very thorough investigation when we first learned of this complaint and we are very comfortable that their allegations do not support the facts of the case. We believe we have a strong policy. We believe we have a policy that meets the needs of our patients and our staff and we are not changing our policy right now but we would be open to making it better,” said Leffler.

According to the report, the hospital has 30 days to amend their policy or could risk having their federal funding revoked.