New York Nurse Files Lawsuit Against Mt. Sinai Hospital Over Forced Abortion
by Steven Ertelt
April 30, 2010
New York City, NY (LifeNews.com) — A New York nurse working at the esteemed Mount Sinai Hospital and was forced to participate in an abortion has filed a second lawsuit against the medical center. Alliance Defense Fund attorneys filed a lawsuit last year for Cathy Cenzon-DeCarlo and a second one in state court on her behalf.
Since 2004, officials at Mount Sinai Hospital knew that Cenzon-DeCarlo had deeply-felt pro-life views and would not consent to assisting in an abortion.
That didn’t stop hospital officials from threatening her with disciplinary measures if she did not honor a last-minute summons to assist in a scheduled late-term abortion. They said she would lose her nursing license and potentially her job by not participating.
The state suit was filed in addition to the pro-life nurse’s federal lawsuit, which is on appeal, because her rights of conscience are also protected by New York law.
“Pro-life nurses shouldn’t be forced to assist in abortions against their beliefs,” ADF Legal Counsel Matt Bowman told LifeNews.com on Thursday. “It is illegal, unethical, and a violation of Cathy’s rights of conscience as a devout Catholic to require her to participate in terminating the life of a 22-week pre-born child. It was not only wrong, it was needless.”
Despite the fact that the patient was apparently not in crisis at the time of the surgery, the hospital insisted on her participation in the procedure on the grounds that it was an “emergency,” even though the procedure was not classified by the hospital as such.
In the newly filed state suit, ADF attorneys allege that Mt. Sinai is violating state conscience laws, as well as state laws against religious employment discrimination and intentionally inflicting emotional distress on an individual—along with five other claims based on DeCarlo’s coerced participation in the abortion.
“An individual’s conscience is often what brings health care workers into the medical field,” said lead counsel Joseph Ruta. “Denying or coercing their conscience will likely drive them right out.”
ADF attorneys filed the state lawsuit Cenzon-DeCarlo v. The Mount Sinai Hospital with the Kings County Supreme Court.
ADF attorneys filed the federal suit in July 2009, claiming Mt. Sinai ignored federal laws prohibiting such coercion while receiving hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding.
Mt. Sinai responded by saying Cenzon-DeCarlo had no right to sue and no legal rights.
Cenzon-DeCarlo previously told the New York Post about what it felt like to have to participate in an abortion against her wishes.
"It felt like a horror film unfolding," she said. "I couldn’t believe that this could happen."
She told the newspaper she has been having nightmares and trouble sleeping ever since the May 24 incident.
"I felt violated and betrayed," Cenzon-DeCarlo said about how officials at the hospital treated her after knowing her faith and values.
Now, she hopes the lawsuit will be sufficient to restore protection for her religious and moral views about abortion in the workplace.
"I emigrated to this country in the belief that here religious freedom is sacred," she said. "Doctors and nurses shouldn’t be forced to abandon their beliefs and participate in abortion in order to keep their jobs."
Related web sites:
Alliance Defense Fund – http://www.telladf.org
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